Per Capita Membership Dues

Some PTAs prefer to offer varied membership enrollment levels for students, school staff and families and donors. In each instance the amount of per-capita forwarded must be according to the council, district State and National PTA amounts. These membership packages require special attention by the membership chair and the treasurer to assure members receive their memberships cards and the correct amounts are remitted to council and district PTA.

In article IV, Membership, Section 4, insert this language by hand or typewritten:

  • Each faculty member of the association shall pay annual per capita dues of ____dollars and ____ cents ($_____) to the association.
  • Each student member of the association shall pay annual per capita dues of ____dollars and ____ cents ($_____) to the association.
  • Each member of the association shall pay annual dues of _____dollars and ____cents ($_______) per member (also means per capita) to the association, or _____ dollars and _____ cents ($_____) per family of _____ (number) members.


  • Contact your council PTA president, treasurer and/or parliamentarian if in council.
  • If out of council, contact your district PTA president, treasurer and/or parliamentarian.

Signing Contracts and Paying Bills

Signing contracts…Who, what, why, where and when

Annually, many PTAs enter into a variety of contracts, such as contracting with a band to provide live music for a school dance, or to purchase supplies for student spirit stores or for fundraising ventures. “PTA assumes full responsibility to comply with the terms and conditions of the contract and to pay the agreed-upon sum. The fact that the activity or fundraiser may not be a financial success or the PTA has insufficient funds to meet the obligation has no effect on the responsibility assumed.” (National PTA PTA Finance Quick Reference Guide).

Contracts are “legally enforceable agreements between two or more persons or organizations.”  To find guidelines and written resources pertaining to signing contracts, refer to the California State PTA Toolkit, Finance, Policies and Procedures, Contracts; and National PTA’s PTA Finance Quick Reference Guide.

Before entering into a contract on behalf of PTA, consider the following:

  • Has the membership approved the project?
  • Does the president have authorization from the board/executive committee to negotiate a contract?
  • Have all proposed contracts been received in writing?
  • Are the terms and conditions understood by and agreed to by the board/executive committee?
  • Do you need review by legal representation?
  • Is the length of the contract limited to the term of the participating officers, not to encumber future boards?

If the vendor wants the PTA to sign a contract with a “hold harmless clause” the association should contact the California State insurance broker before signing. A hold harmless clause in the vendor’s favor places the responsibility on the PTA for injury or damages.

PTAs are required to obtain a “hold harmless agreement” and “evidence of insurance” from each vendor, concessionaire, or service provider who provides service for PTA projects or events. Instead of providing “evidence of insurance” to each individual unit, businesses may file an annual copy of coverage with the California State PTA insurance broker. A list of approved vendors is updated each month and is included in the insurance section of the California State PTA website.

When entering into a contract, the PTA president is responsible for the agreement and should clearly identify that it is the PTA entering into the contract and not the president or second elected officer as individuals. The signatures on a written contract should read, “____________ PTA (unit, council or district PTA) by: John Doe, president and Mary Smith, vice president.” (California State PTA Toolkit.)

PTA officers cannot enter into any contracts before they legally take office. Remember, if there is any question about the terms or conditions of the contract, the proper time to seek advice is before signing – not after.


Paying bills between association meetings

Bylaws For Local PTA/PTSA Units, Article VIII, Section 2c, states, “The executive board may authorize payment of other unbudgeted association bills not to exceed accumulative total of ($___ amount ) and ($___ amount ) between meetings of the association. Ratification of payment of these bills must occur at the next association meeting and must be recorded in the association minutes.”

What exactly does this mean? When you adopt the annual budget at the beginning of the fiscal year, you are NOT authorizing expenditure of the money. A budget is a financial representation of the estimated costs of planned activities and programs a PTA/PTSA expects to put on during a specific time period. It is a guideline for estimating income and expenditures. An expense is first estimated, then actuated, then the budget is adjusted accordingly, if necessary, as the PTA year proceeds. This budget must be presented to and approved (or adopted) by the general membership by majority vote at the first meeting of the fiscal year. A revised budget is usually presented mid-year and requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote.

As the PTA program continues, expenses are incurred. Each expense must be approved by the membership, either before the expenditure or after. Despite the best planning, expenses will occur between meetings and it is not always convenient to wait until the next association to pay the bill or to repay the person who spent the funds. Article VIII, Section 2c, provides the means to pay unexpected expenses without waiting for prior approval.

The treasurer must track bills paid without prior authorization between meetings to ensure the total amount does not exceed the limit specified in the bylaws. All bills to be paid must be presented with receipts. The amounts paid are then ratified by the membership at the next scheduled association meeting.

Further information may be found in your bylaws, the California State PTA Toolkit, and National PTA’s President and PTA Finance Quick Reference Guides.

Term Limits and Officers


Yes, it’s true. PTA has term limits! You’ll find them clearly stated in your unit, council, or district bylaws.

According to Robert’s Rules of Order, including the phrase, “or until their successors have been elected” is necessary to allow for an officer removal and subsequent election of a new officer within the same term. It does not extend the length of the term nor does it allow for a person to continue holding a position into the next term.

PTA or PTSA unit term of office: Officers shall serve for a term of one (1) year or until their successors are elected. (In the event that no successor is elected, the position is declared vacant. Vacant positions must be filled by the executive board-elect or executive board, per Article IV, Section 11 and Section 12.) No officer shall be eligible to the same office for more than two consecutive terms or hold more than one elected or appointed office.

An election must be declared “null and void” whenever discovery is made that the individual elected did not meet the qualifications for office as stated in the bylaws. For example, an individual who has served two consecutive terms in the same position IS NOT ELIGIBLE for election to an additional term in the same position. Otherwise, with few exceptions, a challenge to procedures or outcome must be made at the election meeting. For assistance contact the district PTA, and refer to the California State PTA Toolkit and Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised, Contesting the Announced Results of an Election and Point of Order sections.

Remember, bylaws cannot be set aside, so mentor potential officers now!


Co-officer alternatives

The California State PTA and Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised – PTA’s parliamentary authority – do not recognize co-officers. “Co-officer” implies two people of equal rank sharing one position. Only one name may be listed for each office and only one individual may vote for the office held. A second individual cannot be listed for any office and forfeits the right to vote as an officeholder.

PTA bylaws include the positions of president-elect, corresponding secretary and financial secretary to provide assistance to the association’s primary officers: president, secretary and treasurer.

Bylaws may be amended to include additional officers to share the workload. When further circumstances arise that require more than one person to handle the duties of a particular position, an assistant or deputy position may be created, with or without voting privileges at executive board meetings, or the duties may be handled by committee.

Each year PTAs report the names and addresses of all elected officers. If there are co-positions of any kind, the California State PTA can only forward one name to National PTA. That person will receive all mailings, be eligible to vote, attend conventions, conduct meetings, etc. If for some reason the president is unable or fails to act, the vice-president shall take over the duties, temporarily or until the end of the term, as directed (Bylaws for Local PTA/PTSA Units, Article VI, Sections 2 and 3). The bylaws offer the position of executive vice president as an assistant to the president.

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