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Nominations and Elections

The nominating committee plays a central role in the life of a PTA because its decisions shape a unit’s future. Its main focus is to identify potential candidates for the elected positions on a PTA board for the upcoming term.

That’s why members of the nominating committee should reflect the school community, drawing on members from different neighborhoods. Understanding PTA’s mission and policies as well as how a PTA operates is also important.

The school principal, or a faculty representative appointed by the principal, if not an elected member of the nominating committee, serves in an advisory capacity.

(See: Fig. R-3: PTA Nominating Committee Checklist- Quick Tips)


Electing the Nominating Committee
Selecting Nominees
Contacting Nominees
The Election
Questions and Answers


Adopted by the Board of Managers August 2020

PTA was founded in 1897 to advocate for children and families. At the 1937 convention of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, newly elected national President, Frances S. Pettengill, declared that “as citizens in a democracy, our chief function is to prepare the oncoming generation to live successfully in a democracy.”

California State PTA believes an important part of that preparation is fostering voting habits early in life and cultivating a habit of lifelong voting. Research supports this approach and has long shown that lifelong voting habits are formed in childhood and adolescence through parent/adult modeling and Civic Education.

California State PTA also believes that our constitutional right to vote is the foundation of American democracy and our representative form of government.  Public policy issues that we care about are determined by our elected officials and our votes. Therefore, the right to vote, cast an informed vote and have that vote counted, whether it be for candidates or ballot measures, are fundamental to the work we do as PTA and should be protected.

California State PTA supports:

  • Efforts, including legislation, to expand safe, secure, equitable and accessible options for all eligible Californians to have the opportunity to register and vote.
  • Efforts to prevent disenfranchisement of citizens eligible to register and vote, including, but not limited to, communities of color, LGBTQ+ community, youth, language minorities, people with disabilities, people with low income, infrequent voters, and those who are unhoused, housing insecure or geographically mobile.
  • Efforts to prevent the manipulation of voting boundaries or an electoral constituency so as to favor one party or class, such as partisan gerrymandering. We believe voters should choose their elected representatives; elected representatives or their designees should not choose their voters.
  • Efforts, including legislation and working in partnership with community organizations, to teach students the importance of voting in our democracy and to encourage participation in student voter registration drives.
  • Providing voters with timely options for casting their vote, and those options must include both Vote-by-Mail ballots, with multiple secure methods of return, and in-person voting.
  • Allocating resources to educate voters and the public about any changes to voting procedures, including voter registration, and supporting every effort to ensure that equity is central during implementation of those changes.
  • Providing voters with relevant, accurate and easy-to-understand information about elections, their ballot, election issues, candidates and any ballot measures to enable them to cast informed votes.
  • Prioritizing the health and safety of both voters and poll workers and ensuring adequate staff capacity at in-person voting locations; and
  • Continuing the practice of early voting and expanding voter assistance programs and resources, including phone and online hotline assistance, in-person and online language and disability accessibility, and assistance for traditionally underrepresented voters.

Changes in Association Status

To ensure all requirements of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization are met, a unit must notify the district PTA president of any proposed change in association status at least 60 days before the unit votes to make such change. Inasmuch as a change of status represents amending the association bylaws, a 30-day written advance notice is required to all PTA members. The proposed change of status requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote of its members recorded in the minutes. It is the responsibility of the district PTA president to know the status of every unit within the district PTA and give information and advice on the procedures to be followed. Specific PTA procedures are outlined in the California State PTA Advanced Leadership Tools, which is available to council and district PTAs.

Changing Name: When an association votes to change its name or the school district changes the school’s name, the district PTA must send a Change of Status Form and an amended set of bylaws to the California State PTA parliamentarian for approval. Upon approval, the Change of Status Form will be sent to the state office. At the next meeting of the California State PTA Board of Managers, the change will be presented for approval. A charter with the new name will be sent without charge.

Becoming a PTA/PTSA: When a PTA votes to become a PTSA, the district PTA must send a Change of Status Form and an amended set of bylaws to the California State PTA parliamentarian for approval. Upon approval, the Change of Status Form will be sent to the state office. At the next meeting of the California State PTA Board of Managers, the change will be presented for approval. A charter with the new name will be sent without charge.

When the bylaws are changed making the unit a PTSA, the California State PTA recommends that provision be made for at least one position on the executive board to be filled by a student.

The unit bylaws should be reviewed for further information – amendments, officers, election of the nominating committee, and elections. It is strongly recommended that the entire set of bylaws – each article and section – be reviewed.

roster of officers: A listing of all unit, council, and district PTA officers’ names and contact information that is submitted through channels to the California State PTA.

The district PTA is responsible for postmarking or delivering unit and council PTA official paperwork by the California State PTA due dates.

Dividing: When one PTA is serving two or more public schools and wishes to organize a unit in each school, the members may vote to divide into two or more associations. Consideration of a division should be undertaken only in consultation with the principals of the schools involved, the council president (if in council), and the district PTA president. Decisions need to be made regarding unit names, division of assets, chartering, etc. The district PTA must send the Change of Status Form and an amended set of bylaws to the California State PTA parliamentarian for approval. Upon approval, the Change of Status Form will be sent to the state office.

Combining: There may be a number of reasons for combining associations, such as the closing of one school or duplication of activities. Consideration should occur only in consultation with the principals of the schools involved, the council president (if in council), and the district PTA president. Decisions will need to be made on name of the unit, funds in unit treasuries, bylaws, officers, etc. The district PTA must send the Change of Status Form and an amended set of bylaws to the California State PTA parliamentarian for approval. Upon approval, the Change of Status Form will be sent to the state office.

Transferring: When a school district reorganization or boundary change has become effective, it may be necessary for a PTA to transfer from one district PTA to another. The unit should report this change in writing to its present council (if in council) and district PTA, with a copy to the state office. The district PTAs involved will use procedures outlined in the Advanced Leadership Tools to complete the transfer. Other reasons for transferring should be considered in consultation with the council president (if in council) and the district PTA president. The district PTA must send the Change of Status Form and an amended set of bylaws to the California State PTA parliamentarian for approval. Upon approval, the Change of Status Form will be sent to the state office.

Disbanding: Disbanding a unit PTA is of concern to all its members and the community; therefore, steps should be taken to ensure that all will have an opportunity to express their opinions and to allow members to vote whether or not to disband. The district and council PTA president must be notified immediately of any proposal to disband at least 60 days before the vote to disband is taken. Many times, outside help and guidance will give necessary assistance and new direction. Should disbanding be the only alternative, certain procedures must be followed to protect the members and comply with federal nonprofit 501(c)(3) regulations, including meeting notice requirements.

The district PTA is responsible for organizing and disbanding units and must be included in disbanding deliberations.

The decision to disband is significant and requires at least two meetings. All concerns should be discussed at a regular or special PTA meeting with a quorum present. All members, including administrators and teachers, must be notified at least thirty (30) days in advance, following the notice requirements of the bylaws, and district PTA representatives shall be present for counseling and guidance and to address the association immediately preceding any vote to answer final questions or concerns.

After discussion, a committee should be appointed which includes representatives of the district PTA to carry out necessary procedures. These would include preparation of recommendations to be brought to a subsequent meeting of the membership for vote. Members must vote on proper disposition of property and funds of the organization prior to the vote to disband as a constituent organization. If the vote to disband is adopted by the membership, the disbursement of all assets must be handled to comply with the 501(c)(3) requirements as detailed in the bylaws.

Each PTA’s bylaws, as a basic policy, provide that the assets of the PTA be used for one or more of the educational purposes for which they were collected and not be given to individuals.

When a unit votes to disband the unit shall surrender immediately all legal documents, financial and historical records, and all assets, including property to the California State PTA or other PTA organized under the authority of the California State PTA bylaws. The district PTA may hold funds and property of the disbanded unit in trust for a period not to exceed two years. The district PTA will file the change of Status-Disband Form with the state office.

Your PTA was a separate, legal entity with no affiliation to any new or existing group that may form or exist at your site. Therefore upon disbanding, the following came in effect:

  • All necessary documents and communication materials via website (PTA or school), newsgroup, etc. must be updated to remove reference to the name PTA. For example, the PTA End of the Year party needs to be announced as the End of the Year party.
  • Any events, activities, functions from the moment of the vote to disband and going forward are no longer covered under the PTA insurance, even those which may be funded from the PTA proceeds.
  • The PTA’s tax ID number (EIN) may no longer be used.
  • Activity with the former PTA’s bank account must cease. No checks should be issued and signed or cash withdrawals be made from the PTA account. Deposits may be made for any checks issued to the PTA.

Charter Withdrawal: The bylaws of the California State PTA provide for the withdrawal of the charter of a PTA for nonpayment of dues and/or insurance premiums. The unit will be notified in writing by January 15 if these required payments are delinquent. If dues and/or insurance premiums are still not paid by March 31, the unit charter will be withdrawn by vote of the California State PTA Board of Managers at its next meeting.

The bylaws also provide for the withdrawal of the unit charter if that unit is not in good standing for other reasons, such as: (a) fewer than 15 members; (b) vacant president, secretary, or treasurer positions; (c) violations of policies, procedures or other sections of the bylaws; and (d) failure to comply with the legal filing requirements of federal or state government agencies for three consecutive filing periods.

Failure to comply with the legal filing requirements of federal and/or state government agencies for a third consecutive filing period results in automatic revocation of tax-exempt status and automatic withdrawal of the unit/council/district charter.

When there are alleged violations that may be subjective in nature, such as those involving policy and/or not following proper financial procedures, the district PTA or the California State PTA grievance committee may be charged with determining the facts and recommending a solution that may include withdrawing the PTA’s charter.

Upon the withdrawal of the charter, the California State PTA has the right to collect and transfer funds, including funds deposited by the unit with a financial institution over which the unit or its officers have or had signature authority or control. The unit shall immediately surrender all records, assets, and property to the district PTA. Property will be held in suspense for a period of two years. Each local association shall, upon withdrawal of its charter by the California State PTA, immediately cease and desist from any further use of the association’s Internal Revenue Service Employer Identification Number (EIN) as a constituent organization under the group exemption number issued to the California State PTA. The California State PTA will file notice with the IRS that the unit is no longer a constituent organization.

In all cases, the unit shall be notified in writing at least 15 days before the charter withdrawal is to come before the California State PTA Board of Managers for action.

Table of Contents


Historian Report

Historian Report

Public School Employer-Employee Negotiations

Adopted March 1974 – Reviewed and deemed relevant May 2021 – Education Commission

California State PTA recognizes that public school employer-employee collective bargaining is mandated by law and that negotiations greatly influence education. As mandated by law, the bargaining parties are required to make public their positions. These details must be provided to the public at the beginning of the process. PTA has the responsibility to become knowledgeable and to inform the public about the proposed contract and any proposed changes through the negotiations. As PTA is an organization whose membership is composed of parents, teachers, students, school district employees, school board members and concerned community members, PTA must remain neutral in a dispute arising from school employer-employee negotiations.

California State PTA believes:

  • All school employees are entitled to the benefits of fair employment practices including due process, optimum working conditions and adequate salaries and benefits;
  • Locally-elected school boards, as representatives of the people, have legal responsibility for decision-making;
  • Local school boards and school employee organizations should be accountable to the public for the terms of the contract and the fiscal impact on the instructional program; and
  • Full disclosure of the final contract should be made available to the public and fiscal impact of the contract should be discussed at a public hearing before the final vote of the school board.

California State PTA supports:

  • The adoption of policies by local school boards that provide full opportunity for the public to express its views on the issues to be negotiated; and
  • The right of school employees, through their organizations, to meet and negotiate in good faith with public school employers to reach written agreement on those matters within the scope of bargaining according to state law. (Included in scope is the requirement that the local district peer assistance review process will be negotiated in the contract according to AB 2X, Statutes of 1999.)

The PTA has a responsibility to:

  • Study and become informed early in the process about the proposed contracts and the fiscal implications and to analyze the effect on the students and the programs in the district;
  • Inform all parties if any issue being negotiated either is consistent with or differs with adopted California State PTA position statements;
  • Encourage all parties to work cooperatively to develop procedures to ensure that classrooms and students are not used for propaganda purposes;
  • Remain neutral in the event of a dispute††;
  • Continue with normal PTA activities in the event of a dispute; and
  • Inform parents and community members about proposed contracts and encourage other school-based and community organizations to study proposed contracts.

(The above statement is a policy of the PTA as an organization, and is in no way intended as an infringement on the activities of its members acting as individuals.)

Scope of bargaining – The law defines “scope,” as a broad range of issues and subjects that either party may or may not introduce for negotiation. Scope is a crucial, dynamic, and frequently litigated area.

†† Dispute – a verbal controversy, a controversy, a debate, or quarrel on any issue under discussion.

Collective Bargaining

The following “walks” PTA leadership through the collective bargaining process and further provides a step-by-step guide for appropriate PTA activities.

A Checklist for Parents on the Role of Collective Bargaining in Public Education

What role can your PTA/PTSA assume when your local school board and teachers begin to negotiate a contract?

The most important thing your unit, council or district PTA can do is advocate for all children. The members can do this by:

  • Studying the contract proposals and analyzing the effect on the students in the district.
  • Asking the local school board and the local bargaining units: “What effect will this proposed contract have on all children?”
  • Working with all education stakeholders to secure adequate school funding.

The PTA does not advocate the inclusion or exclusion of certain items in the proposed contract. However, PTA members should be knowledgeable and aware of the effects of the proposed contract provisions on students.

Some questions PTA members should ask include

  • Are the implications of the provisions upon the budget/financial resources of the school district understood by all negotiators and the community?
  • If a contract dispute should arise, would an arbitrator’s interpretation of a provision have an adverse effect on the best interests of students?
  • How will this proposed contract affect other school district employees?
  • If the language of a provision is unclear, what is its history? Ask questions from both sides.

PTA unit/council/district PTAs should be aware of the progress of the negotiations, should publicize proposed changes as they are announced, and should give input appropriately to ensure all contract provisions place the interests of the students first.

A check list of items all parents should keep in mind when studying the contract proposals:

Guidelines for Class Size
Does the contract allow
–  adequate student/teacher ratio for individual instruction?
–  adjustments to meet unanticipated needs?
–  flexibility for needed curriculum adjustments or needed education innovations?

Maintenance of Standards
Does the contract allow
–  new programs and changes in scheduling and curriculum offerings to occur during the contract period?

Workday and Workload
Does the contract make provisions for
–  assistance to students before and after classroom hours?
–  staff development and orientation opportunities?
–  staff attendance at evening meetings and student activities?
–  lesson preparation time for appropriate personnel?
–  flexibility to allow for creative and innovative strategies in the classroom?
–  a definition of professional duties?

Conference Time
Does the contract permit and encourage
–  reasonable periods of time for teachers and administrators to confer with parents and students at hours convenient for working parents?
–  reasonable periods of time for meetings among school staff to promote collegiality and better understanding of students’ needs?

Extracurricular Activities
Does the contract provide
–  stipends or incentives for supervision of students participating in extracurricular activities such as sport, drama, music, school newspapers, etc.?

Release Time for Teachers
Does the contract provide
–  unpaid leave for teachers who wish to improve their teaching skills?
–  adequate classroom supervision by certificated personnel when the regularly scheduled teacher is absent from the classroom?

Guidelines for PTAs Regarding Public School Employer-Employee Negotiations

California State PTA strongly urges all unit, council and district PTAs to closely monitor their respective school boards’ compliance with the Public Notice section of the Employer-Employee Relations Act. Unless a PTA does so, it will jeopardize its ability to make meaningful, timely comments about the initial and subsequent proposals under negotiation.

Contract Study Committee

PTA has a responsibility to become knowledgeable and to inform the public about proposed contracts. To fulfill this responsibility, the following steps should be taken:

1.  Form a PTA study committee including representation from all PTA units within the school district. School district employees should not serve on this study committee because they have the opportunity to express their views through their respective bargaining units.
Please Note: Where a council or district PTA relates directly to a school district, the said council or district PTA should appoint the study committee. Where a group of units or councils relates to a school district, the units or councils should appoint members to serve on a study committee.

2.  The PTA criterion for any study, including collective bargaining issues, must be, “WHAT WILL BE THE EFFECT ON ALL CHILDREN?”

3.  Encourage other school-based and community organizations to make their own studies of the proposed contract(s).

4.  Study the current contract, the school district budget, initial contract proposals and subsequent proposals from the school board and employees’ organization.

a.  Adequate lead time is essential for any group beginning to study collective bargaining proposals since several key documents should be reviewed first. The committee must react to contract issues from a position of knowledge about the current fiscal condition of the school district, and how the current agreement affects the education of students.

b.  Documents to be studied:

(1)    THE BUDGET — A thorough briefing on the current year’s budget is essential to understand a school district’s financial condition and how funds are being allocated. This information should be presented by school district financial staff members in a clearly understandable format. (See Resource List, EdSource.)

(2)   THE CURRENT CONTRACT — Almost all school districts have an existing contract with each employee bargaining unit. While it may seem to be a complex task, it is important that time be allowed for the committee to become familiar with and knowledgeable about the current contract language. Particular attention should be paid to the interests of parents and students in the current contract.

(3)   INITIAL CONTRACT PROPOSALS — When each bargaining unit’s new contract is to be negotiated, the initial proposals should be obtained from the employee group and the school district. Representatives from management and the employee groups should be invited to give their interpretations of the proposals. The language should be clear in its intent and the committee should ask, “WHAT WILL BE THE EFFECT ON ALL CHILDREN?”
The school board must allow time for the community to study and then comment on the board’s initial proposals before adopting them as the board’s negotiating position. The PTA should find out what the school board’s time frame is for this process.

(4)   SUBSEQUENT PROPOSALS — The study committee should continue to monitor the negotiating process for the introduction of new subjects arising after the presentation of initial proposals. These subsequent proposals must be made public within 24 hours after their introduction.

5.  If any questions or concerns arise from the study of the initial or subsequent proposals, those questions or concerns should be communicated to the group that originated those proposals.

6.  Report results of the study with any recommended action(s) to the PTA membership. Recommendations might include comments to be made to the school board and/or comments to be made to the bargaining unit. Such comments must be made within the framework of California State PTA policies and positions.

7.  Follow the reporting and communicating procedures through the negotiations process.

8.  Study information published by your local media.

Employer-Employee Relations Act
Article 8. Public Notice

3547. Public meetings; public records

(a)   All initial proposals of exclusive representatives and of public school employers, which relate to matters within the scope of representation, shall be presented at a public meeting of the public school employer and thereafter shall be public records.

(b)   Meeting and negotiating shall not take place on any proposal until a reasonable time has elapsed after the submission of the proposal to enable the public to become informed and the public has the opportunity to express itself regarding the proposal at a meeting of the public school employer.

(c)   After the public has had the opportunity to express itself, the public school employer shall, at a meeting which is open to the public, adopt its initial proposal.

(d)   New subjects of meeting and negotiating arising after the presentation of initial proposals shall be made public within 24 hours. If a vote is taken on such subject by the public school employer, the vote thereon by each member shall also be made public within 24 hours.

(e)   The board may adopt regulations for the purpose of implementing this section, which are consistent with the intent of the section; namely that the public be informed of the issues that are being negotiated upon and have full opportunity to express their views on the issues to the public school employer, and to know of the positions of their elected representatives.

California Government Code (as of January 1990)

The Collective Bargaining Agreement

Current law requires the following:

Before a public school employer enters into a written agreement with an exclusive representative covering matters within the scope of representation, the major provisions of the agreement, including, but not limited to, the costs that would be incurred by the public school employer under the agreement for the current and subsequent fiscal years, shall be disclosed at a public meeting of the public school employer in a format established for this purpose by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

California Government Code Section 3547.5

One of the recommendations from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to school boards for implementation of this law is that the board:

Make available to the public a copy of the proposed agreement prior to the day of the public meeting; the number of days the agreement should be made available to the public is determined locally.

California State PTA strongly recommends that unit, council and district PTAs request their respective school boards to adopt a policy that includes a minimum of ten days as the “number of days the agreement should be made available to the public….” The policy also should require the board to set time aside for public comment before entering into the written agreement.

California State PTA urges unit, council and district PTAs to study the proposed agreement and make appropriate comments. Such comments must be made within the framework of California State PTA policies and positions.

Sample Letter to the School Board, Superintendent and Bargaining Unit President

(May be home address of PTA president)


TO:            _______, President,
Board of Trustees
_______ School District
_______ President, _______ Association

FROM:    _______ PTA (Council or District PTA) President

SUBJECT: Negotiation

The _______ PTA has carefully reviewed the California State PTA’s Toolkit information on negotiations. _______ PTA will follow these guidelines. Accordingly, we shall remain neutral during negotiations. We recognize that at times negotiations can be very difficult and time consuming for the school district and the employee association. We know you can appreciate the awkward situation labor negotiations can create for PTA president and PTA executive board members. To ensure compliance with the California State PTA policy of neutrality, PTA members will not attend separate meetings with either school district or employee association representatives. It would be appropriate for PTA to invite the school district superintendent or representative, a representative of the district employee association to discuss negotiations at a PTA board association meeting, but both sides must be represented at that time. PTA will not distribute information provided by either side, but may choose to distribute information PTA has prepared. The _______ PTA will continue its regularly scheduled meeting on the school or district sites, and its regular schedule of volunteer programs.

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to discuss our position of neutrality or any of the above-mentioned matters with you.


PTA President (Council or District PTA)

Public Involvement in Collective Bargaining Process

When local school boards and employee groups meet at the negotiating table, the decisions made are of great importance to the quality of education provided for students. Parents and concerned community members have realized that negotiations by school employee groups such as those representing teachers, school office personnel, aides, custodians and cafeteria personnel greatly influence events in the classroom and have an impact on the overall cost of education.

It is essential that public input into this process be based on knowledge of the operations of the local school district. It is only in this way the public can become a valid part of the process and present viewpoints pertinent to the current contract or proposals, while consistently advocating positions that support a high standard of education for students in the classroom.

California State PTA has prepared this paper to assist its membership to better understand the dynamic role collective bargaining plays in education.

I.   What Is Collective Bargaining?*

Collective bargaining is a labor relations process developed in the private sector which recognizes the historical conflict between management interests such as profits and the interests of workers such as salaries and working conditions. In the collective bargaining process, the representatives of labor and management present each other with demands—proposals—and proceed to compromise their divergent viewpoints—negotiate—until a written settlement—contract—is reached. Traditionally, private sector negotiations are conducted in private meetings of the two parties and often lead to an adversarial relationship.

II.   Why Is There Collective Bargaining In Public Education?

The momentum for collective bargaining in public education increased during the late 1960s as teachers and other school employees felt they could not achieve desired economic benefits and acceptable working conditions as long as school boards, represented by superintendents, retained unilateral decision-making authority on these issues. More than 40 states now have collective bargaining laws.

III.   What Is The Education Employment Relations Act?

The EDUCATION EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS ACT (EERA) provides that negotiations “shall” occur between school boards and their employee groups and negotiations “shall” be limited in scope to matters relating to wages, hours of employment, and other terms and conditions of employment. The process for establishing collective bargaining was initially spelled out in Senate Bill 160, the Educational Employment Relations Act of 1976 authored by Senator Al Rodda.

*Refer to Contents of a Typical Teachers Contract and GLOSSARY on collective bargaining terminology.

There are also subjects upon which the employer is only required to consult with the employee organization, e.g., definition of educational objectives, determination of course content and curriculum, and selection of textbooks. The school board may expand these topics as it wishes although none of the items for consultation has to be included in the contract.

In reality, however, the exact definition of scope is unclear and is one of the most controversial areas in negotiations. A regulatory body established by EERA—the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB)—is constantly called upon to settle disputes dealing with scope as well as carry out the many other duties with which the PERB has been charged.

IV.   How Does Collective Bargaining Affect Education?

The negotiated contract becomes the instrument for school district governance on each provision that has been negotiated into the signed contract. Therefore, the contract has potential implications for everything which occurs in the classrooms of that school district since issues dealing with class size, hours of employment, teacher transfer policies, procedures for employee evaluation as well as wages and fringe benefits all have an impact on the quality of education.

V.   Why Should The Public Be Involved?

The community has a high stake in its public education system and, therefore, should be equally concerned about the negotiations which result in the final contract. While negotiations are usually conducted in private meetings between representatives of the school district and the employee group, the public must study the issues, evaluate their impact on the educational system, and know how the collective bargaining process works and how the public can fit into the process.

If a representative system of government such as ours—one in which school boards are elected to represent the public viewpoint—is to work, people must have the ability to:

  1. Elect their representatives;
  2. Influence those they elect;
  3. Hold those officials accountable.

VI.   How is the Public Provided For in EERA?

When EERA was passed, it included a very important section which provides for public access to the collective bargaining process. Called the “sunshine” clause, it mandates that all initial proposals of any contract negotiations between the employee group and the school district shall be presented at a public meeting of the board of education and that a “reasonable” time shall elapse to allow for public input before negotiations start. Since PERB has mandated all boards of education adopt a public notice policy, PTA members should become knowledgeable about their school district public notice policy and ensure that it specifies:

  1. How the district will make the public aware of the issues;
  2. When the public can speak to each set of proposals;
  3. How the public may speak to the issues.

VII.   How Does the Public Speak to the Issues?

According to EERA, any person or representative group may comment on the issues to be negotiated or on the contract itself at any meeting of the board of education. The PTA does not advocate the inclusion or exclusion of certain clauses in the contract. PTA members should ask, however, that each clause be analyzed to determine “WHAT EFFECT THIS WILL HAVE ON ALL CHILDREN.”

When feasible, PTA involvement in the collective bargaining process should be through a Public Notice Sunshine Committee. This approach will allow the PTA organization to maintain its neutral position regarding any dispute(s) that may arise, and will preclude offending any one segment of PTA membership.

Contents of a Typical Teachers Contract (EdSource, March 1999)

Compensation: cost-of-living adjustment, salary schedule, pay for specific duties (department chair, coach), minimum teacher salaries; expenses, travel reimbursement, tuition reimbursement; mentor teacher selection process

Benefits: health and welfare premiums, specific plans offered, retiree benefits

Hours: length of work day, school year, student year, calendar (holidays, vacations), minimum days, preparation periods, lunch

Leaves: bereavement, pregnancy, child rearing, religious, sick leave, disability, sabbatical, personal need/necessity, jury duty, military, industrial accident/illness, catastrophic illness

Retirement: early retirement, benefits

Nondiscrimination Job Assignment: assignment, promotion, transfer, reassignment

Class size and case loads: pupils per teacher, students per counselor, number of teaching periods, instructional aides

Safety Conditions

Evaluation: procedures and remediation
Grievance: procedures, appeal process, mediation, arbitration
Discipline: procedures and criteria

Layoff and Reemployment

Organizational Security: payroll deduction of union dues (“agency fee”), maintenance of membership, fair share fees, union rights

Work Stoppage: “no-strikes” clause
Contract: duration, reopeners
Savings Clause: contract in effect if portion invalidated by court, Legislature

Management Rights

Consultation: topics, procedures


* AGENCY SHOP – A requirement, usually contained in a negotiated agreement, that all employees in a bargaining entity pay a fee, (often called a “fair share” or “service” fee) covering the cost of representation to the employee organization which is the exclusive representative of the entity.

* AGREEMENT – A written negotiated contract between the employer and the recognized exclusive representative of employees in a bargaining entity that sets out conditions of employment (wages, hours, fringe benefits, etc.) for a stated period of time. Often contains a procedure for settling grievances over interpretation or application of the agreement and may include terms governing the parties’ relationship. Under EERA, an agreement, which may be for a period of no more than three years, becomes binding when accepted by both parties. PERB has no authority to enforce agreements.

* ARBITRATION – A method of resolving disputes between an employer and employee organization by submitting the dispute to a neutral third party (or tripartite panel) whose decision may be binding or merely advisory.

* CERTIFICATED EMPLOYEE – A school employee who is qualified by a certificate or credential to perform a particular educational service, such as classroom teacher, counselor and psychologist, as defined in Education Code.

*** CFIER – The California Foundation for Improvement of Employer-Employee Relations. The organization is committed to “building and maintaining effective labor-management relationships of partnerships.” Its activities include training programs in negotiations and problem-solving, neutral facilitation services, skill-building workshops and conferences, consultation, research and development, and long-term support service.

* CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEE – A school employee in a position not requiring a certificate or credential, such as teachers’ aides or clerical, custodial or food service employees.

* EDUCATIONAL EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS ACT (EERA) – The process for establishing collective bargaining. Enacted in 1975 as Senate Bill 160 (Rodda), Chapter 961, Laws of 1975 and subsequent amendments.

* FACT-FINDING – The method of impasse resolution, usually advisory, that involves investigation of a bargaining dispute by a neutral third party, or tripartite panel that reports the results to the parties, usually with recommendations for settling the dispute. Under EERA, the parties may request that their dispute be submitted to fact-finding (under specified procedures) if a mediator is unable to settle the controversy within 15 days and the mediator declares that fact-finding is appropriate.

* GOOD FAITH BARGAINING – Broadly defined as the duty of the parties to meet and negotiate at reasonable times with willingness to reach agreement on matters within the scope of representation; however, neither party is required to make a concession or agree to any proposal.

** GRIEVANCE – A means of settling disputes which arise from the interpretation or application of the existing contract. When disagreements cannot be settled at one of the lower levels of the grievance procedure the exclusive bargaining agent may take the disagreement to arbitration. Arbitration can be binding or advisory depending on the wording of the contract.

** IMPASSE – A deadlock or stalemate in bargaining declared by one or both parties. Declaration of impasse usually begins the implementation of impasse procedures (mediation or fact finding), and once these procedures have been exhausted can allow for unilateral action by the employer.

** INITIAL PROPOSAL – A written offer for consideration made by the exclusive representative or the school district as part of the bargaining process for the next agreement. The EERA lists those items which are within the scope of representation and are the subject of mandatory bargaining.

*** INTEREST-BASED BARGAINING – A more cooperative method for reaching agreement about the critical aspects of employer-employee relationships. Negotiations are based on mutual interests rather than on individual positions.

* MEDIATION – Also called conciliation. Efforts of a neutral third party to help resolve a dispute (usually involving contract negotiations) between an employer and employee organization. The mediator normally has no power to impose a settlement. Under EERA, mediation is the first step in the impasse resolution procedure.

* NEGOTIATIONS – The process of the employer and the exclusive representative meeting together and bargaining in a good faith effort to reach agreement on matters within the scope of representation and executing, if requested by either party, an agreement incorporating matters agreed on.

* PERB – The Public Employment Relations Board is charged with administering and enforcing EERA. Among its many functions are investigating and deciding “unfair practice” charges or other claims that the act has been violated, establishing or approving bargaining entities, conducting representation elections, and seeking court enforcement of its orders and decisions as it deems necessary.

** PUBLIC NOTICE – The public notice section of EERA is intended to give the public an opportunity to present its views. Initial bargaining proposals of both the exclusive representative and the district must be presented at a public meeting of the school board and are public records. Negotiations will be delayed a reasonable time for the public to comment.

Unless the parties agree otherwise, laws requiring open meetings do not apply to meetings and discussions between parties; with mediators, arbitrators, or fact-finding panels; and executive sessions of the school board on negotiations.

If both parties agree, any phrase of negotiations may be conducted publicly, or observers may be invited. Typically, the school board and union announce their opening positions and then talk privately. Although any meeting of three or more school board members must be open to the public, EERA specifically permits private meetings between the school board and its negotiator.

* SCOPE OF BARGAINING – The law defines “scope,” as a broad range of issues and subjects that either party may or may not introduce for negotiation. Scope is a crucial, dynamic, and frequently litigated area.

* SICKOUT – A job action involving a number of employees failing to report to work on the same day and claiming to be sick.

** SLOWDOWN – A job action involving a number of employees working at less than normal efficiency.

* STRIKE – A work stoppage. Employees acting together in refusing to work in order to gain a bargaining concession or to persuade the employer to take certain action. Usually occurs when negotiations on a new agreement reach impasse and lasts until settlement on a new agreement is reached, but may be called for a shorter period as a pressure tactic or to protest employer actions. Usually conducted under leadership of the employee organization, following a vote among members. A “wildcat” strike is a walkout by employees without authorization of the organization. A “rolling” or “yo-yo” strike involves several intermittent walkouts of short duration interspersed among days when employees report to work.

* SUNSHINE LAW – A requirement that bargaining proposals or other aspects of public employee bargaining be made public. Under EERA, initial proposals as well as new topics that arise during negotiations must be made available to the public.

* Pocket Guide to the Educational Employment Relations Act, California Public Employee Relations, September 1997
** California Teachers Association Collective Bargaining Handbook
*** Collective Bargaining, 1999, EdSource, 520 San Antonio Road, Suite 200, Mountain View, CA 94040-1217; 650.917.9481;


California State PTA Vice President for Education – 916.440.1985 ext. 305

Selected Readings on California School Finance, EdSource, 520 San Antonio Road, Suite 200, Mountain View, CA 94040-1217; 650.917.9481;

Pocket Guide To The Employer-Employee Relations Act (Fifth Edition, September 1997), California Public Employee Relations Program, Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-5555; 510.643.7092

County Office of Education (Office of Employee Relations)

Public Employment Relations Board (PERB); 916.322.3198

PTA Activities in Relation to Employer-Employee Disputes

Public school employer-employee negotiations and/or disputes and disputes between bargaining units are very much a part of the reality of operating public schools. THE PTA MUST REMAIN NEUTRAL* and MUST refrain from taking sides in all disputes. It is a PTA responsibility to provide opportunities for public understanding of disputed issues through sponsoring public meetings where all sides may present their views.

PTA speaks as an advocate for children and youth. It is a PTA responsibility to urge school board members, school district employees and negotiators on all sides to make the welfare of the students the first and ultimate consideration in all negotiations. PTAs must do this within the framework of California State PTA policies.

(These two paragraphs must be used together at all times, neither may be used without the other.)

*“Not taking part with or assisting either of two or more contending parties.” Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, Unabridged.

1.   PTA Leaders’ Responsibilities When a Dispute Arises:

a.   The PTA council/district PTA leadership must consult with the California State PTA leadership (through the California State PTA office, 916.440.1985).

b.   The council/district PTA leadership must meet with the leadership of all affected unit PTAs to instruct them in observance of PTA’s neutrality policy.

c.   The council/district PTA leadership must meet with the school district administration and bargaining unit(s) leadership to explain PTA neutrality.

d.   The unit PTA leadership must meet with the school site administration and school site bargaining leadership to explain PTA neutrality.

e.   The unit PTA leadership must communicate PTA’s position of neutrality to the membership.

2.   PTAs MUST Remain Neutral:

a.   PTAs must not recruit substitute teachers or staff the classrooms. Classroom instruction is the responsibility of the school district. (See item 4.b.)

b.   PTAs must not recruit substitute classified employees or staff those positions.

c.   PTAs may be on school grounds in general activity areas if there are concerns about the safety of the students.

d.   PTAs must not distribute literature from either side, but may choose to distribute information PTA has prepared.

e.   PTAs must not show partiality toward the administration, the non-striking or striking personnel in any way (e.g., verbally, by serving refreshments, by walking the picket line, etc.).

3.   Remaining Neutral Includes Continuing Normal PTA Activities:

a.   Regular PTA volunteer programs, e.g., volunteers in the media center, library playground, office, lunchroom, classrooms, etc. A list of those who volunteer regularly must be given to the school site administrator and school site bargaining unit(s) leadership.

b.   When PTAs regularly meet in the school facility, such meetings may continue. However, the PTA should make certain that its school facility use permit has not been temporarily suspended by the school district.

c.   Scheduled PTA-sponsored programs and projects may continue.

d.   If a PTA is licensed by the State of California as a child care provider, this activity may be continued. Contracts with parents obligate the PTA to continue providing the child care program. A licensed child care program usually includes a contract with the school district for use of the facility. If this is the case, the district is obligated to ensure safe use of the facility.

4.   PTA Leaders’ Obligations:

a.   There is no intent by the PTA to infringe on the rights of its members to act as individuals. However, if an individual is perceived as a PTA leader, he/she is obligated to consider the effect of his/her actions on the PTA organization.

b.   If a PTA leader believes that conscience requires a statement or action favoring one side or the other, a public disclaimer* must be written and sent to the school site administration, school district superintendent, president of the school board, school district employee organization and PTA organization leadership of council and district PTA.

c.   If a PTA leader is a school district employee and plans to work during a dispute, a public disclaimer* must be signed.

*A public disclaimer should include the following information:

Although I serve as ______(position)______ at the ____________________________ PTA, any statement I may make or action I may take regarding the current employer-employee dispute is an individual statement or action and has no connection whatsoever with ____________________________ PTA, whose position is one of strict neutrality.



d.   If a PTA president is also a school district employee with membership in the organization negotiating with the school district, and a dispute arises, the president must delegate the responsibilities of the presidency to the first vice president during these negotiations.

5.   In the Event of an Unexpected Walkout* the PTA:

a.   May provide volunteers, if necessary, on the day of an unexpected walkout to care for students in general activity areas on the school grounds until their parents make arrangements to get them home. This activity must not include classroom instruction.

b.   Must not staff classrooms. Staffing of classrooms by noncredentialed personnel is not only inconsistent with PTA efforts to have a qualified teacher in every classroom, it is illegal and the school district can forfeit its ADA (average daily attendance) funding from the state. (Authority: California State Education Code.)

*Job action without prior notification to the employer and with/without the approval of the employee organization (e.g., wildcat strike).

It Should Be Noted

  • The school administration is legally responsible for staffing the school. The PTA, as an organization, cannot and must not assume this responsibility.
  • When in doubt regarding any activity, consult with California State PTA leaders – office telephone 916.440.1985.

6.   Dealing With the Media:

a.   PTA leaders should expect to be contacted by the media. Any personal opinion is an inappropriate subject for discussion by a PTA spokesperson.

b.   Consult  California State PTA (through the California State PTA office) if advice is needed about how to effectively communicate PTA’s position of neutrality.

c.   If caught unprepared, do not attempt to speak “off the cuff” to the caller. State that this is not a convenient time to talk and you will return the call.

d.   PTA leaders must not attack other organizations or representatives of other organizations (i.e., employee groups or school board members).

After a Strike

PTA has an opportunity and an obligation to help restore the school environment to one that provides a positive educational experience for all students.

PTA members must consider what is in the “best interests of all students” and be a vital part of the healing process between employees, employers and parents.

Any planned PTA activity for school district employees MUST have the cooperation and support of the school staff and the approval of the principal and the district superintendent.

For advice on handling individual situations, contact the California State PTA vice president for education and/or vice president for leadership services through the California State PTA office.


Revised January 2011 – Community Concerns

PTA activities in citizenship are designed to provide information and inspiration, to help members engage as citizens. By reminding members of their privileges and responsibilities and involving them in community projects, PTA makes an important contribution to the democratic way of life.

Recommended Actions

Urge the display, proper use of, and respect for the American flag in homes, schools, and communities.

Recite the Pledge of Allegiance at each meeting. Arrange for short, inspirational, patriotic messages or music when the flag is presented.

Encourage special programs in conjunction with the observance of patriotic holidays.

Cooperate with established organizations working for good citizenship training.

Invite youth participation at PTA meetings, recruit leaders, and sponsor groups when indicated (Community Organizations, Co-sponsorship, and Coalitions).

Arrange for community recognition ceremonies of newly naturalized citizens.


Stress the importance of voting in all elections. Cooperate with other community groups in registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns.

Encourage student participation in the election process.

Emphasize the need for all citizens to know election laws, including registration requirements.

Get involved with school-bond and ballot-measure campaigns that will improve schools, following California State PTA procedures (See Election Campaigns).

Host candidates forums.

Government Participation

Make information available on how individuals may participate in government, and encourage them to do so.

Promote projects for the study of local, county, state, and national governments.

Encourage attendance at meetings of boards of education, commissions, city councils, and county supervisors, and ask those who attend to report on issues of concern to the PTA.

Encourage the appointment of youth to city and county commissions.

Organize letter-writing campaigns to support legislation that benefits children, youth, and families.


American Legion (
California Department of Education (
California Legislative Analyst (for analysis of ballot measures) (
California Secretary of State (
California State Library (
Constitutional Rights Foundation (
County Registrar of Voters
League of Women Voters of California (
Local United Nations Association
Rock the Vote (
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (
Youth Vote Coalition (
Youth group leaders

Reflections Program


Artwork by D. Chang

Revised January 2010 – Programs and Member Services


Program Theme
2018-2019 Heroes Around Me”

The National PTA Reflections Program is an arts recognition and achievement program for students. The Reflections Program provides opportunities for students to express themselves creatively and to receive positive recognition for original works of art inspired by a pre-selected theme, while increasing community awareness of the importance of the arts in education.

The Reflections Program was established in 1969 by National PTA board member Mary Lou Anderson. Since that time, more than 10 million students have participated in the program. The program’s longevity and participation figures attest to its strength. The excitement and enthusiasm that the program generates for children, parents, schools and communities is unmatched.

Participation and appreciation for the arts is the Reflections Program’s goal. Although the Reflections Program follows a “contest” format, winning should not be the emphasis. Participation in the Reflections Program is a great way for students to explore and learn about various art forms. Creating art is a valuable learning process that challenges students to use their critical thinking skills as well as their creative talents to create art that supports a specific theme.

Students may submit an entry in any of the six arts areas listed below. Only original works of art are accepted. Depending on state and local PTA guidelines, students may enter more than one work of art. The six arts areas are as follows.

  • Literature
  • Music Composition
  • Photography
  • Visual Arts
  • Dance Choreography
  • Film Production

Participation in the Reflections Program is organized by school grade. Student works are critiqued with others in the same grade division. This allows recognition and judging of artworks by appropriate developmental age and skill levels. The five grade divisions are as follows:

  • Primary – Preschool – Grade 2 or up to age 7
  • Intermediate – Grades 3-5 or ages 8-10
  • Middle School – Grades 6-8 or ages 11-13
  • High School – Grades 9-12 or ages 14+
  • Special Artist – Ungraded

The Reflections Program is structured for PTAs to recognize students at the local unit, council, district, state and national PTA levels. Entries are first judged at the local unit level, where selected works are chosen to represent the PTA at each subsequent level depending on each state PTA structure. Once entries reach the state level, the state PTA may select entries to submit to the National PTA. Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit are recognized at the annual National PTA convention and are displayed as part of the program’s traveling exhibit.

Participation in the California Reflections Program is open to all students in attendance at PTA/PTSA schools where the program is sponsored. Entries are forwarded through channels. Each unit, council and district PTA establishes its own due dates, allowing adequate time for displaying and judging of entries. PTA units should require due dates from their council and district PTA. Only district PTAs may submit entries to California State PTA.

Please remember that:

  • Students may submit entries only through a PTA or PTSA in good standing.
  • All entries submitted must be original works and must relate to the annual Reflections Program theme.
  • Each entry must be the work of only one student. Assistance from teachers, parents or friends is not permitted, except in special cases (such as for those with visual or physical disabilities).
  • Participation encourages creativity and exploration. Students should do their best, but crooked lines, incorrect
  • musical notes, or misspelled words do not disqualify anyone.

Future Reflections Program Theme

The National PTA is looking for a theme for its next Reflections Program. A student’s suggestion(s) for the theme ideas may be sent to the state office by the individual student or by a local PTA/PTSA. The theme may include a wide variety of subjects that will appeal to students in preschool through grade 12. The winning student will receive $100.00 and recognition at the National PTA Convention held in June. See for more information.


  • Become familiar with the materials on the California State PTA website at, the National PTA website at, and the Reflections Packet sent to presidents in the service mailing.
  • Develop a Reflections Program planning calendar using council and district PTA due dates; identify key steps to meet calendar due dates. (Note that this program runs early in the school year for local units; therefore the chairman may have to work around athletic events when planning the calendar.)
  • Submit a Reflections Program budget to the budget committee for approval.
  • Explain the Reflections Program to the principal and school staff; encourage their support and participation. Inform parents and community members. Share information about the Reflections Program at a PTA/PTSA meeting, share examples of last year’s entries and have current entry forms and rules for distribution.
  • Publicize the Reflections Program, theme and due dates in the school or PTA/PTSA newsletter. The local newspaper or cable TV station also could be contacted for publicity.
  • Select impartial, qualified judges. Inform judges of the criteria to be used in evaluating/judging Reflections Program entries. (Refer to the rules for each art category.) Remember to accept the judges’ selections of winning entries. Offer sample judging rubric:

Interpretation of Theme: 5 points
Artistic Merit/Creativity: 3 points
Mastery of Medium: 2 points

IMPORTANT: Do not show student information (name, address, etc.) on entries displayed for judging.

  • Suggestions for recruiting judges: ask local newspaper or magazine editors, local authors, music instructors, professional photographers, local artists, next-level teachers or professors in respective area, dance studio professionals, professional videographers, film school professors.
  • Follow guidelines from council and district PTA regarding the number of entries that may be submitted. Adhere to council and district PTA due dates!
  • Make certain each entry meets all judging criteria with regard to size, mounting, etc.
  • Be sure the Official Entry Form (found in Reflections Packet sent to each unit president in the service mailing sent in summer) is completely filled out, signed by both student and parent, and attached securely to each entry, according to the National PTA rules.
  • Complete and send Participation Form A (found in Reflections Packet sent to each unit president in the service mailing sent in summer) with entries, according to National PTA rules.
  • Keep a copy of all Official Entry Forms and Participation Form A.
  • Keep a copy of all CDs and DVDs.
  • After the program, give each participant a certificate of participation.
  • Return entries to students whose work was not selected for the next level of judging.
  • Update the Reflections Program procedure book.
  • Announce the new Reflections Program theme as soon as it is available. The theme is announced at the annual California State PTA convention.
  • Publicize any awards given to local students at other levels of judging.

Please share the Reflections Packet (sent in each summer service mailing from the California State PTA office) with the current Reflections Chairman.

Important: Do not show student information (name, address, etc.) on entries displayed for judging.

Reflections Program pins, medals, certificates and stickers are available from the PTA Store,

Suggestions for judges: local newspaper or magazine editors, local authors, music instructors, professional photographers, local artists, next-level teachers or professors in respective area, dance studio professionals, professional videographers, film school professors

Recommended Activities

  • Hold a Reflections Program workshop or a Family Arts Night on Saturdays, after school or at lunch and provide supplies for students to work on their projects.
  • Enlist support of local businesses for supplies, awards and display of Reflections Program entries.
  • Ask stores in the area to print student artwork on their bags.
  • Inquire with local businesses that print calendars about possible use of student artwork.
  • Plan a local traveling art show.
  • Print a Reflections Program Awards booklet listing the program participants as well as the award recipients. Acknowledge those who supported the program including parents, staff and community members.
  • Display local entries in school (e.g., hallways, display case, library); at PTA functions; in local community buildings (e.g., libraries, museums, banks, hospitals, nursing homes).
  • Publish student entries in a special Reflections Program booklet or calendar. Award it to Reflections Program participants, give as a gift or present as a thank you to judges, teachers and volunteers.
  • Tape musical compositions and play them at PTA functions and school events. Give a copy to a local radio station to play.
  • Organize a special program/reception/assembly where Reflections Program photography and visual arts entries can be displayed, musical composition entries performed, literature entries read aloud, and dance choreography and film/video production entries shown.
  • Make all Reflections Program entrants feel special. Consider awarding students with certificates, ribbons, medallions, buttons, plaques, trophies, art supplies, film, music supplies, dance performance tickets, DVDs, gift certificates, books and bookmarks. Send congratulatory letters to students.

Additional Resources

National PTA Reflections Packet mailed to unit, council and district PTA presidents during the summer
National PTA website
California PTA website

For additional information, contact the California State PTA Reflections Program Coordinator at or 916.440.1985 ext.329.

Restrictions on Endorsement of Candidates

PTAs, as tax-exempt associations, cannot support or oppose political parties or candidates, including those running for school boards and other nonpartisan offices. Participation in these types of activities will endanger the association’s nonprofit status with the IRS (Nonpartisan Policy).

A current or former PTA board member must not use his/her PTA title or the name of the PTA to endorse a candidate even if just for purposes of identification in any print, electronic, or website candidate literature, or interview or letter to the editor.

Judgment should be exercised by PTA leaders on whether privately endorsing a candidate (without using a PTA title) could negatively affect a future relationship with the elected official should a different winning candidate win.

For the purpose of this policy, all elections involving candidates are defined as partisan elections, even those for “nonpartisan” offices, such as school board or city council. Use of a PTA’s name or the PTA trademark with participation in any partisan activity will endanger PTA’s nonprofit status.

PTA members are not prohibited from running for public office themselves nor from listing PTA involvement as part of their biographical information and/or campaign literature

Individual candidates cannot be invited to address PTA meetings, even if they are PTA members, unless all other candidates are invited. This avoids the reality or appearance of bias or support of an individual candidate. There is no restriction on a member who is running for office from performing his or her regular PTA duties. He or she just needs to be mindful to keep PTA and campaign activities separate.

Communicate with Your Elected Officials

Promote legislative advocacy among fellow PTA members by encouraging them to build relationships with state and federal representatives. Begin by identifying the State Senator, Assembly member and Member of Congress who represent your area. Find out more about legislators and their particular areas of interest by visiting their websites; individual websites can be accessed at or, or

For local issues, identify the appropriate school board members, city council members, county supervisors and/or county school board representatives that you will need to reach. Contact information may be found in your local telephone directory or on the websites for each local government body.

Visit Your Legislators

Make an appointment to visit your state and federal legislative representatives at least once per year. Call their district offices to find out when they will be available; many state legislators spend Fridays in their district offices. Arrange for a group of PTA members to visit and share information about what is important to students and parents in your area; include students when they are available.

When visiting your elected representative, take the following steps:

  • Schedule an appointment or, if the elected representative is unavailable, arrange a meeting with the aide handling the issue. When making the appointment, specify how much time will be needed.
  • Draft an agenda and be sure to list the issue(s) the PTA wants to discuss. If PTA members are visiting as a group, assign each person a role. For example, one person can open the meeting, another person can be the recorder, someone else can focus the conversation back to the PTA agenda when necessary, and another person can leave literature.
  • Arrive on time for the meeting. Have the group meet together immediately prior to the meeting and then go in together. Once in the meeting, immediately identify yourself and the PTA represented. During the introduction, state the issue(s) of concern. Keep the time frame in mind during the meeting.
  • Be prepared to educate the legislator or aide about PTA’s history and positions. Be open to questions. If you don’t know the answer, politely explain that you will do some additional research and get back to them. Never give false information or assumptions. Personal credibility and the credibility of PTA are on the line.
  • Ask how the legislator will vote on the issue. If the legislator is unable to make a commitment, tactfully state that you would like to know, and that you are willing to call at a later time to learn the decision. If the response is positive, respond, “We appreciate your support.” If the response is negative, ask, “What are your specific objections?”
  • Develop a positive relationship with elected representatives and their staff members. Communication should be a continuing exchange, not sporadic contact. A solid relationship with legislators and their staff members is an important step in building credibility and power for the PTA.

Write Letters

Letters alert elected representatives to PTA’s views. A letter-writing campaign also educates PTA members about the issues and publicizes the association. Begin the campaign by identifying a coordinator, perhaps the legislation chairman or PTA president.

Determine the message. Have sample messages available to members, as well as fact sheets with the PTA position on the issue. When authorized to write on behalf of the PTA, use PTA letterhead. State the case succinctly and accurately, citing the following:

  • Issue and background facts;
  • PTA’s position, and what PTA wants to happen (e.g., change in regulations, new legislation);
  • Number of PTA members the writer represents; and
  • Your involvement with the PTA and, when applicable, your PTA title (e.g., unit, council or district PTA president).
  • Address the letter with proper titles; and
  • Sign your full name and give your complete address, including telephone number.

Send copies of the letter to other contacts, such as key legislative committee and subcommittee members as well as the California State PTA director of legislation and, when writing about issues before Congress, to the National PTA Office of Governmental Relations.

It may also be helpful, in some cases, to send letters to the editors of local newspapers to communicate the PTA position on a particular issue to the broader community. The letter should be submitted on PTA letterhead and signed by the president or legislation chair of the unit, council or district PTA initiating the action.

Addresses of California’s State and National Elected Officials
The Honorable (name)
Governor, State of California
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable (name)
California State Senate
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable (name)
California State Assembly
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable (name)
United States Senator
Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable (name)
United States House of Representatives
House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

For more tips see Organizing a Letter-Writing Campaign, Fig. A-1


For messages that are time sensitive, faxes are a quick, effective method for making a PTA position known in writing. Most legislative offices have publicly listed fax numbers. Refer to “Write Letters” when composing the fax.

Electronic Mail (email)

Email is another way to communicate PTA positions on legislation. Some elected representatives may not accept email attachments. Check with their offices about their email preferences before encouraging your members to email a particular representative. Refer to “Write Letters” when composing email.


Phone calls are also an effective communication strategy, particularly when timing is critical. When an elected representative’s support or vote is needed within the next 48 hours, a phone call to the legislator may be the best method of communication. Use the phone to communicate PTA views. Phone the elected representative’s district or Capitol office and request to speak with the member or an aide. Be prepared to:

  • State your name and identify your PTA.
  • Identify the bill number or the issue.
  • State that you are from the legislator’s district, and explain the PTA position on the issue.
  • Ask how the legislator expects to vote.
  • Urge the legislator to vote for the PTA position.

Reaching Your Members

PTA members may receive the California State PTA Legislative Alerts by signing up to receive them at

Email distribution lists and telephone trees are effective ways to mobilize many people on a particular issue. When the state president and/or the director of legislation receive information on an important issue, they may pass it on to local legislation chairmen who, in turn, can reach other PTA members in their communities.

Through the use of email distribution lists and telephone trees, within a few hours of a legislative alert or call to action, literally hundreds of letters, postcards, phone calls, faxes or email messages can be on their way to appropriate legislators.

Letters or faxes are best when time permits, but often we must react fast enough for legislators to feel the impact of the PTA lobby within hours.

PTA email distribution lists and telephone trees must only be used to share adopted PTA positions and must never be used in candidate elections.

Establishing an Email Distribution List or Telephone Tree

Email Distribution List – Collect email addresses from members within your PTA who are willing to act. Use these addresses to create an email distribution list. One message can be sent to the entire list, and members can forward it on accordingly. Provide a method for subscribers to unsubscribe from future email alerts if they choose. The legislation chairman and the PTA president are responsible for email accuracy and content. Email legislative alerts or calls to action sent by National PTA or California State PTA can be forwarded without local approval. PTA presidents must approve locally generated legislative emails before distribution to local members.

Telephone Tree – Create a list of names and phone numbers of PTA members within your local area who are willing to take action.

Establish the calling sequence. Select “lead” callers. A lead caller should make no more than five calls.

Last caller in sequence should return a call to a “lead” caller.

If there is no answer after several tries, the caller should go on to next in sequence.

Do not count on answering machines to deliver messages in a timely manner.

Distribute a copy of the entire telephone tree to all involved. Duplicate and distribute legislation materials from California State PTA, the council (if in council) and district PTA.

Tips on Effective Communication Using Email Distribution Lists and Telephone Trees

Have a system to check the effectiveness of email distribution list or telephone tree communications. Is the list or tree functioning efficiently? Are there problems needing adjustment?

Send emails or make your calls to legislators before using your email distribution list or activating the telephone tree. Your personal experience in communicating the message will alert you to any problems with the way you are presenting the message.

Make a list of “talking points,” messages you want your PTA members to communicate to their legislators. Include bill number, author, subject matter, location of bill in the legislative process and the PTA position.

It is important that the same message is delivered each time.

By using an email distribution list or activating a telephone tree, the PTA unit can dramatically increase the number of contacts with legislators. It is important they hear from PTA. Legislators need to be reminded about priority issues.

Update email distribution list addresses and telephone tree phone numbers frequently. Explore ways to expand your email list.

PTAs are encouraged to explore other media communication tools such as texting, social networking sites or blogging, considering PTA publication guidelines.


Following action on a bill, send the legislator your thanks via email, postal service or fax if the vote or action was favorable, or a polite expression of disappointment if the legislator voted against the PTA position. Appreciation can be expressed in other, more public ways as well, such as writing letters to the editor of the local paper. Keep the PTA name visible.


Download the Resolutions Index (pdf)

Resolutions Process

Where We Stand: Resolutions

Each year delegates to the California State PTA Convention take action on resolutions that have been submitted by unit, council, district PTAs or the California State PTA Board of Managers. Resolutions adopted by convention delegates serve as a basis for action in unit, council, district PTA and California State PTA.

Resolutions adopted since 1961 are available from the California State PTA office or through The starred (*) titles represent resolutions adopted by the California State PTA Board of Managers. (These were not voted upon by Convention delegates.)

Achievement: Eliminating the Gap (2009)
Adequate and Equitable State School Finance System (1987)
Aid to Rape Victims and Their Families (1977)
Air Pollution (1973)
Alcohol and Tobacco Use in Youth: Education, Prevention and Intervention (2002)
Alcohol Beverage Advertising that Targets Youth (1992)
Alcohol-Related Driver Education (1982)
Antibiotic Resistance Awareness (2001)
Arts Education (1998)
Attention Deficit Disorder in Children (1998)
Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Awareness in Schools (2011)

Background Checks of Ice Cream Truck Vendors (1986)
Ballot Propositions (initiatives) (1999)
Ban on Drug Paraphernalia (1981)
Ban on Military Assault-Type Weapons (1989)
Ban on the Manufacture and Sale of Saturday Night Specials/Junk Guns (1997)
Bicycle Safety Education and Training (1973)
Bicycle Safety Helmets (1991)
Breakfast in Every School (2003)
Breast Cancer Early Detection Awareness and Education (1988)
Bungalow Classroom Safety (1971)

California K-12 Public School Funding Crisis (1998)
Child Trafficking in California (2010)
Citizenship Education (1989)*
Class Size Reduction (1996)
Climate Change is a Children’s Issue (2015)
Closed Captioned TV (1978)
Comprehensive Waste Reduction in Schools (2007)
Computer Technology in Education (1983)
Computer Workstation Health (2010)
Control of Look-Alike Stimulants and Depressant Drugs (1982)
Creating Lifelong Readers (1998)
Credential Requirement: Parent/Family Involvement Component (1993)
Credentialed School Nurses (2005)

Desegregation and Neighborhood Schools (1979)
Developmentally-Appropriate Physical Education (1999)
Disaster Preparedness (1986)
Drug Advertising (1970)
Duplicate Emergency Forms at Athletic Events (1974)
Dyslexia: Addressing the Educational Implications in Public Schools (2016)

E-Cigarettes/Vaping, Flavored Tobacco Products and Youth Health (2020)
Early Childhood Development and Education (2000)
Early Care and Education for All of California’s Children (2019)
Education: A 21st Century Vision (2005)
Education on Hazards of Involuntary Smoking (1987)
Education on Health Hazards in the Use of Anabolic Steroids (1989)
Educational Technology Funding (1995)
Educational Testing and Test Scores (1971)
Electro-Magnetic Fields (1994)
Emergency School Bus Evacuation (1973)
Equal Access to School Improvement Program Funds (1983)
Equalized Base Revenue Limit Funding (1991)

Family Preservation: An Alternative to Out-of-Home Placement (1990)
Financial Literacy for Youth (1999)
Financing California’s Public Schools (2007)
Firearm Safety and Awareness (1995)
Firearm Safety Devices (1999)
Fireworks: Hazards to Youth (1990)
First Aid and/or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (C.P.R.) (1987)
Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis in Schools (2004)
Football Safety (1975)
Foster Families (1999)
Funding Sources for Adult Crossing Guards (1981)

Grade Retention (1991)

Hazardous Waste Management (1980)
Healthy Lifestyles for All Children (2004)
HIV/STD Prevention Education in Our Schools (2008)
Homeless Families with Children (1989)
Homework: Quality Over Quantity (2014)
Hot Weather Standards in the School Setting (1992)

Immunization Awareness and Educational Programs (1975)
Improving and Stabilizing Education Funding (2018)
Improving K-12 Mathematics Education (1998)
Inclusive Schools Build Stronger Communities (2013)
Increase Funding for Chronic Diseases & Injury Prevention (2020)
Increased School Nurse-to-Student Ratios (1997)
Increasing Counselor-to-Student Ratio in Schools (2000)
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Underfunding (2007)
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in Schools (2007)
Internet Access for California Classrooms (2000)

Juvenile Justice Reform – A Priority (1983)

Learning Disabilities and Learning Disabilities in Gifted Children (2000)
LGBTQ+ Inclusiveness in Health Education California (2015)
Licensing and Registration of Handguns (2000)
Limiting Concurrent Sales of Gasoline and Alcohol and the Proliferation of Outlets (1985)
Literacy Education (1989)
Local School Parcel Tax Measure Threshold Reduction (2008)
Longitudinal Integrated Statewide Data System (2008)
Lowering the 2/3 Vote Requirement on School and Library Bonds (1999)
Lowering the Vote Requirement in the California State Budget Process (2009)

Measles (Rubeola) Vaccinations (1990)
Mental Health Services for Our Children and Youth (2020)
Mental Illness: Treatment and Support (1999)
Minimum Instruction Time (1983)
Mitigating Earthquake Hazards in Public Schools (1989)

Net Zero Emission Schools (2020)
Nonsuspension of Proposition 98 (1991)
Nutrition Education (1991)

Online Safeguards for Internet Use by Children and Youth (1997)
Opposition to Televised Commercials in California Classrooms (1990)*
Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness (1999)

Paintball Gun Control (1993)
Parent/Community Action for Effective Schools (1993)
Pedestrian Safety Education (1990)
Pesticides (1972)
Plant Based Food Options at School Meals (2022)
Playground Equipment Safety Standards (1996)
Playground Surface Safety (2002)
Post Proposition 13 Funding of Public Education (1979)
Primary Prevention of Substance Abuse (1979)
Prohibiting the Promotion of Tobacco Products (1987)
Property Tax Limitation (1978)
Protection of Children from the Harmful Effects of Aircraft Emissions (1998)
Public School Governance Authority (2007)

Qualifications for Candidacy in California Elections (2013)
Quality of Life Portrayed on Television (1979)

Regulation of Liquor Licenses Near Schools (1997)
Regulation of the Display and Sale to Minors of Drug-Use Information and Paraphernalia Including Cigarette Papers (1979)

Safe Routes to School for All Children (2008)
Safety Helmets for Scooter, Skateboard and Skate Users Under the Age of 18 (2001)
Safety Problems Related to Freeway Construction Near Schools (1970)
Sale of Tobacco Products to Minors (1988)
Save Our Kids (1983)
School Absenteeism/Dropouts (1986)
School Buildings and Railroad Safety Requirements (1990)
School Bus Safety (1993)
School Construction Funding (1986)
School Desegregation Through Housing Integration Incentives (1982)
School Facilities and Public Planning (1991)
School Facilities Crisis (1990)
School Funding (1981)
School Library Media Center Funding Crisis (1988)
School Nutrition Programs: Improvement and Expansion (1991)
School Support Program (1976)
School Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Improvement (2001)
School Transportation (1981)
School Transportation: Equitable Funding (2004)
School-to-Career for All Students (2001)
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education (2011)
Scoliosis Screening (1980)
Seat Belt and Child Restraint Usage (1983)
Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility Awareness (1991)
Smoking and Health (1964)
Social Host Accountability and Underage Drinking (2009)
State Government Responsibility for a Rational Budget Process (1992)*
State Tax Reform (1991)
Strategies to Reduce School, Family and Community Violence (1995)
Student Assessment, Achievement and Accountability (2000)
Student Substance Abuse: Alternatives to Zero Tolerance (2003)
Substance Use and Abuse During Pregnancy (1987)
Suicide Prevention Education and Awareness (1983)
Summer Learning Loss (2013)
Summer School (1980)
Sun Safety: Skin Cancer Prevention Measures at School (2005)
Support and Funding for Voluntary Integration Programs (1980)
Support for the Civic Mission of Schools (2006)
Support for Quality Child Care (1986)
Support of Public Education, PTA Priority (1980)
Synthetic Marijuana – Education and Awareness (2015)

Teacher Preparation for Elementary Education (1973)
Teacher Quality: Recruitment, Retention and Resources (2001)
Teaching Hard History: American Slavery in K-12 Education (2021)
Teen Driving Safety (2009)
Television Literacy and Program Accountability (1993)
Television/Screen Time Awareness (2006)
Temperature Control Standards in the School Setting (2019)
Threatening Phone Calls to Schools (1990)
Tobacco Advertising That Targets Minors (1993)
Torture Toys (1972)
Toxins (Persistent and Bioaccumulative) and Their Effects on Children (2002)
Treatment Centers for the Sexually Abused (1978)
Trees for Life (1989)
Tuition Tax Credits (1982)*

Use of Children as Subjects in Pornographic Materials (1977)

Violence and Vandalism (1980)
Violence in the Home (1977)
Violence Prevention in Schools (1999)
Voluntary Fingerprinting (1983)

Weapons on Campus (1973)

Youth Involvement (2004)