Committees Help Your PTA Get Things Done

by California State PTA Leadership Services Commission

Are you wondering how your executive board can possibly plan, promote, and implement all the activities you hope to have? Are you looking for ways to engage new PTA members or those with limited time to volunteer? 

Effective PTA leaders know the answer to both of these questions is to form committees!

Committees expand the opportunities for meaningful contribution and build a leadership pipeline by including more volunteers in small but important roles that can engage and excite them to continue with PTA. Well structured committees can also dramatically increase your PTA’s capacity to get things done. When committees work on the details and are ready to recommend actions to the executive board and association, it can also help reduce the length of association and executive board meetings. 

Considerations when forming a committee:

  • You’ll find a useful list of potential committees in the California State PTA Toolkit.
  • Bylaws describe committee appointments and membership. 
    • The president appoints committee chairs which are ratified by the executive board. 
    • Committee chairs are voting members of the executive board unless otherwise designated. 
    • Committees may be recruited and appointed throughout the year. 
    • Chairs may serve for no more than two terms.
    • Committee chairs and members are members of the PTA. 
    • The quorum for a committee is a simple majority of the members serving on that committee. 
  • Standing committees are listed in your bylaws’ standing rules.
    • A standing committee performs a continuing function and is permanent. 
    • Its duties are performed throughout the year, e.g., membership committee. 
    • Standing committees may be chaired by an officer. 
  • A special committee has a definite purpose and is subject to the directives of the membership. It exists until the duty assigned to it is accomplished, unless discharged sooner, and it ceases to exist as soon as the association receives its final report. Examples include Founders Day or Staff Appreciation Week Committees. 
  • You’ll find job descriptions for many typical committee chairs here.

PTA committees should follow some general rules

The responsibilities and goals of the committee need to be clearly defined in order for the committee to be successful. The committee members should know if funds have been allocated for the committee’s use and what records or resources are available to them. The committee should also have a timeline for scheduled meetings, the completion of specific tasks, and the presentation of the final report to the president and executive board.

Committee members should understand that:

  • Committees do not function as independent groups but are part of the association and operate within the framework of PTA bylaws, policies, and procedures;
  • Committees make recommendations, not decisions. The executive board approves committee plans and expenditures;
  • The executive board and the association need to approve all projects and activities in advance, before action is taken; and
  • All money raised or derived from committee activities is deposited in the PTA treasury and shall not be expended by any chair or committee without the approval of the executive board and association.