Is Your PTA in Compliance with the IRS?

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Are you looking to support your PTA by becoming a better leader? One way you can help your Local Unit PTA excel is by making sure it is in compliance with the IRS!

Many local and state leaders don’t realize that every PTA, due to being a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, must file some type of paperwork with the IRS every year. To help support our local and state PTAs with this issue, National PTA is developing a series of e-Learning courses on how to maintain your 501(c)(3) status regardless of your PTA size or income!

The first of these courses, Maintaining Your PTA’s 501(c)(3) Status, is set to be released Nov. 14. This course looks at the issue of revocation through the eyes of a Local PTA leader and walks you through the process of maintaining your Local PTA’s 501(c)(3) status.

In just 10 minutes, this e-Learning course will help you will identify the last time your PTA filed paperwork with the IRS and learn how to properly fill out your IRS paperwork for filing on time each year.

Have more questions about managing your PTA’s IRS paperwork? No problem! Maintaining Your PTA’s 501(c)(3) Status will be only the first in a series of finance courses based on this subject that will be released over the next few months!

Have general questions about managing your PTA’s finances? We can help with that, too! Over the past few months we have released other finance-related e-Learning courses to help local PTA leaders with some other areas of interest:

  • Quick Guide to Budget Basics
  • Quick Guide to 501(c)(3) Status
  • Quick Guide to Taking & Approving Meeting Minutes

All three of the above e-Learning courses cover a specific topic in under 10 minutes or less! These “micro-courses” are different from normal full length courses in that a specific topic is covered in depth over a short period of time, rather than covering many different topics over 30-45 minutes.

We believe that these new micro-courses give our members the flexibility to learn about a subject they are interested in or need help with over a very short amount of time, which fits better into all of their busy lives.

To access the PTA eLearning courses, visit PTA.org/eLearning. You will find our entire e-Learning library of 17 full-length courses, three micro-courses and four of our most popular e-Learning courses in Spanish!

Make sure to be on the lookout for more updates on National PTA eLearning courses in the future via National PTA’s Twitter and Facebook pages!


Jonathan Baker is the e-learning manager at National PTA.

Honoring Jan by Honoring Diversity and Inclusion

At the end of February, we lost a tireless advocate for this association, but most especially someone who had devoted her life to making the world a better place for our children. During its March meeting, the National PTA Board of Directors approved the recommendation of the Diversity Committee to name an award focused on diversity and inclusion for Jan Harp Domene. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could be more fitting. Jan had a deep seeded passion for ensuring that everyone was included and treated with respect and fairness. She was someone who did not just ‘talk the talk’ – no, Jan did much more; she ‘walked the walk.’

You have recently had the opportunity to read about her many accomplishments, as well as her contributions as our National PTA President, 2007-2009. What I want to offer is some insight into Jan as a person worth knowing, as well as to Jan my friend.

I first met Jan when she served as NPTA Secretary-Treasurer during Linda Hodges’ administration (2003-2005). As Tennessee PTA president, I had the chance to work with her on a number of occasions and even had the good luck to have her serve as Nat Rep to one of our conventions. What I remember best about those first interactions is Jan’s warmth and sense of humor. Being around Jan could be such fun!

In the years that followed, our relationship grew from mere acquaintances to one of complete friendship. We traveled together, roomed together on occasion, sat up late into the night sharing our lives – in essence we shared a special bond, a deep friendship. There is something so remarkable about a person who can at once lead an association such as ours and also sit with you deep into the night to share all your secrets. But that was Jan!

More than that, Jan taught me many things about what it means to be a leader. It was her passion to ensure that the National PTA Board began to reflect the children and families of this country. Jan showed me that diversity does not just happen – we must work to make it happen. With each appointment to the Board and to committees, she made a conscience choice to guarantee that we would begin to set a standard for others to follow. It left an indelible mark on how I would choose to lead in the future.

When I got the call that Jan had died, I was speechless, shocked – it had to be a mistake. Her husband, Greg, asked if I could share some thoughts about Jan at her memorial. To say that it was one of the toughest things I have ever done would be an understatement. How do you sum up such a special gift as Jan in just a few minutes? Here are the words I shared at the memorial:

To know Jan meant so many things — above all was her love and devotion to Greg and her family — and her passion for her work.

Jan never went in to anything unless it was to succeed. She did not know the word “failure.” She could be a tough task master in the very best way — especially, when it came to PTA — and her passion for its ideals, and for our work.

Yet, she could be extremely thoughtful, especially in the way she could remember the little things.

In early December, we were able to spend one of those ‘perfect’ days together. We went to Newport Beach to have lunch and shop – it had been such a long, long time since we were able to spend that kind of time together. In the evening, we went to dinner at a favorite restaurant, Lin Chin’s, with Greg, Kris, Cali, her favorite niece, and friends – the family. And I was part of the family – we had such an incredible time — food, fun and laughter — it was quintessential Jan!

As she took me to the airport the next morning, she gave me an early Christmas gift – a Lenox china star, which reads ‘Believe.’ Jan believed in her family, in her mission as an advocate for children…..Jan believed in me.

I want to share her note with you, because it is so ‘her’ – “Remember we have a whole country of children depending on us and the work we do. Stay focused on them — and always believe in yourself. I am always here for you….Whatever!”

Her legacy is in the family that she loved ….in her California roots….it is in her tireless devotion to every child in this nation. Jan served as our National PTA President – one of only handful of individuals that have ever held that honor. She has left an indelible mark on an association that would not have been the same without her leadership.

Jan believed in the ‘all’ – not just the ‘one.’ She believed in the ‘end’ — not just the ‘beginning.’

Most of all, she showed us the value of a “single” life and how important each one of us truly can be in making a difference.

Our memories of the people we have loved are truly how we keep them alive. I have wonderful memories of Jan – our friendship wasn’t always smooth, but that is what made it all the richer. She was in many ways the big sister I never had – as I was part of her family, she was part ours. Mary Frances’s wedding would not have been the same with her and Greg!

It would mean the world to Jan to know that she will be remembered to future generations of PTA leaders and members through this award.

My friend, Jan, made a difference to me – much more importantly, she made a difference in PTA that will only continue to enrich and grow our association until we finally are truly reflective of the children and families that we choose to serve. Just as she dreamed!

New Years and New Approaches

Welcome to 2010!

Now, be honest, how many of you have already broken at least one of your New Year’s Resolutions? I resolved this year not to make a resolution that was easy to break!

I resolved to 1) learn to tie my bow ties for myself, 2) work on improving my poker game, 3) play golf more often, 4) stop eating French Fries (which will be tough) and 5) walk more (had to do something healthy besides stop eating the fries).

One easy resolution that we all should remember is asking one person to join PTA.

Membership campaigns should be a year-round effort. PTA has built its history, and reputation, on the many voices speaking as one for all students. Yet, we see so many that are not part of the family. Are your neighbors members? How about your school board members? Does your school have 100% teacher membership? If you’re in a middle school, junior high or high school; how many of your students are members?

I find it impossible to believe that we each do not know at least one person we can recruit that is currently not a PTA member.

I can hear it now. I don’t have kids in school, why should I join PTA? Why not? When schools succeed, children succeed. When schools succeed, communities succeed. When businesses see this success they are more often willing to invest in that community. The tax base grows and everyone sees success, and that’s just one talking point.

By the way, Mom, is Dad a member?

Please join us by helping secure one new PTA member as your New Year’s Resolution. Good things will happen.

Until next time!
Charles “Chuck” Saylors
President, National PTA

Addressing Recent Questions about National PTA Positions

Hello again National PTA Blog readers! It’s always a pleasure to take some time and write about the association and its happenings…

There’ve been some very interesting conversations on National PTA’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/parentteacherassociation) about recent events and I’m writing this post to address some of those topics.

The first topic includes President Obama’s back to school speech a couple of weeks ago. National PTA proudly commended the President for addressing America’s youth as they launched a new school year.

As we mentioned in our statement (onevoice.pta.org) the day of the speech, the association believes it is positive any time a U.S. President, regardless of political affiliation, speaks directly to students about the responsibility they have for their education and to their families, their country, and themselves.

As an association that includes more than 60,000 students among its membership ranks, PTA maintains that it is relevant and encouraging for America’s students to hear examples of how other children, like them—and even the President himself, overcame the odds to pursue higher education. We also support the President’s remarks regarding the strong role that parents and families can play in the success of their children’s education.

The message of the speech was simple: work hard and stay in school. This speech was not meant to indoctrinate our schoolchildren to any agenda.

Let’s remember that Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all addressed the same general theme during addresses to schoolchildren during their administration. I think all Presidents should take the time to address our students, every year.

There have also been some assertions that the President’s speech was a violation of parents’ civil rights. I completely disagree. The President’s speech should be looked upon as an opportunity—an opportunity for parents to have a candid conversation with their children about setting goals, staying in school, and completing their education. That’s what I did with my kids following the speech, and I expect most parents did the same.

Now, the second topic I’d like to discuss is the question of vaccine safety… it’s a complicated one. There are so many different opinions about vaccine safety and I champion the rights of Americans to express their opinion.

National PTA has a great campaign to vaccinate children, called Let’s Fight Flu Together. It is set up to make it easy, convenient and accessible for PTA’s to host vaccination clinics.

But, let me be clear: National PTA is not an association of clinical research scientists. We rely on the facts available and the expertise of other national advocacy groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Medical Association, to guide our policies.

It is my understanding that no causal link between vaccine additives and autism has been established up to this point. The increased incidence in autism to which some may refer is actually an increase in diagnoses of autism and not necessarily an increase in prevalence of autism, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics among other groups. Some increase in autism diagnosis should be expected, as the medical profession furthers its understanding of the collection of disorders that we refer to as autism. The predominant view of the science and medical community is that the number of disorders in this group has grown over time, as has the awareness in the medical community, which could lead to a dramatic increase in diagnoses. As the parent of a special needs child, I see this first hand.

While vaccine additives like thimerosal that are used as preservatives in vaccines are still used in some vaccines, including some flu vaccines, it is my understanding that both the number of vaccines in which they are used and the amount that is used in individual vaccines have decreased sharply.

Again, National PTA does not have expertise in immunization formulation, vaccine safety, or the disorders. However, those who do have expertise should continue to test and monitor the results of immunizations in order to ensure that we are keeping our nation’s children safe. These procedures are ongoing, and National PTA believes they should continue.

The association continues to take great care in aligning its initiatives to our mission and will continue to do so…

Until next time everyone!
Chuck Saylors- president, National PTA