Working with the Schools

National PTA believes that the public schools, which provide the common experience that helps ensure a democratic society, are essential and must be strengthened and supported. It also believes that parents and other adults have the right to join together to positively affect the education of all children through membership in groups such as PTA.

The National PTA Board of Directors states all PTAs have certain organizational rights, which are to function as an independent, nonpartisan, child advocacy group; seek enactment of policies and practices that protect children and youth; participate in making decisions affecting policies, rules, and regulations; and meet with appropriate school officials to discuss matters of mutual concern affecting children.

In turn, National PTA believes that PTA members have the responsibility to do the following: protect access to quality education for all children; seek information on policies, curriculum, and laws that affect children; share accurate information with its members and the school community; know, help, and interact with teachers and administrators; accept responsibilities willingly to ensure that the PTA is strong and active; work within both the PTA and the school in a constructive manner; maintain respect for democratic procedures and a tolerance for the diversity of opinions; work in partnership with school professionals to determine appropriate levels of programs and services; and participate in making decisions affecting policies, rules, and regulations.

PTAs should ensure that the process for establishing school policy is clear and provides an opportunity for the public to express its concerns.

PTAs should maintain contact with school board members as well as school administrators and other school professionals; establish and maintain lines of communication between and among its members, the school staff, and the school board; attend school board meetings regularly and report on the proceedings to the PTA membership; and make statements representing the PTA to a school board only after official authorization by that PTA.

A unit, council, or district PTA may present its criteria for any employee position to the school board. A PTA should appoint a representative when invited to serve on a personnel selection and/or promotion committee. Neither the unit, council or district PTA nor its executive board members may become involved in personnel assignments. Such assignments are the legal responsibility of school boards.

PTA Use of School Facilities

PTAs frequently use school district facilities for programs and fundraising activities. One should never sign a Hold Harmless Agreement on behalf of the PTA. If the school district requires the PTA to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement for use of school premises, the PTA should contact the California State PTA insurance broker. If the PTA is then directed by the insurance broker to sign a Facilities Use Permit Addendum one may be found in the Forms section. The governing board of any school district is obliged to authorize use of school facilities or grounds within its control, when an alternative location is not available, to nonprofit organizations including PTAs.

Any school district authorizing use of school facilities or grounds shall be liable for any injuries resulting from negligence of the school district in the ownership and maintenance of those facilities or grounds. Any group using the school facilities or grounds are liable for any injuries resulting from the negligence of the group during the use. The school district and the group each bear the cost of insuring against its respective risks and shall bear the cost of defending itself against claims. (See Insurance and Loss Prevention Guide.)

facilities use permit: A permit required by most school districts that, when approved, authorizes the PTA to use school site facilities.

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