News + Publications

COVID-19 Resources for PTA Leaders

In this section you will find information and resources to offer guidance on how to handle meetings, events, elections and financial transactions while your PTA is unable to meet in person.

GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR PTA MEETINGS AND EVENTS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Executive Board/Committee Meetings

Our bylaws allow for Executive Board/Committee meetings to be held via teleconferencing as long as all of the members are able to communicate with each other. California State PTA (CAPTA) normally requires that units, council and districts obtain approval from the State Parliamentarian for this section of the bylaws prior to using this method of meeting. However, the current bylaws template authorizes teleconference meetings. The language is permissive using the verb “may”. This authorizes but does not require teleconference meetings.

Association/General Meetings and Events

The current bylaws template authorizes teleconference meetings. The language is permissive using the verb “may”. This authorizes but does not require teleconference meetings. If your PTA/PTSA does not want to use this option for your association, executive board, or committee meetings, you must update your bylaws to disallow this option.

Remember: California State PTA rules do not allow proxy votes.

TELECONFERENCING GUIDELINES

Getting Started

  • Find a platform/app to host the meeting. There are several available. (See the Teleconference and Videoconference Tools section below for some suggestions.)
  • Set up your account.
  • Practice having a meeting with your executive board before you have one with your general association.

Before the Meeting

  • Give notice of the meeting.
  • Establish the ground rules for the teleconference meeting.
  • Prepare the agenda, financial reports, minutes from the last association meeting.
  • Email the reports, agenda, and ground rules for the meeting to those who indicate they will be on the call.
  • Make sure your membership list is up to date and that your secretary has a copy.

During the Meeting

  • Conduct the meeting as you normally would. Make note of the time you open the meeting as well as adjourn the meeting.
  • Set ground rules for the call.
  • Verify everyone on the call can hear and be heard.
  • Remind people to “Mute” themselves to eliminate background noise.
  • Quorum should be established by roll call and identification of individual members.
  • Have your Secretary do a roll call of the Executive Board that is on the call.
  • Have your Secretary do a roll call of other members that are on the call. Verify they are actually paid PTA members.

Remember: The normal rules of holding a meeting apply to your teleconference meeting. People should be treated and treat others with respect and courtesy.

FAQs FOR MEETINGS VIA TELECONFERENCE

Is it mandatory that we hold an Association Meeting via teleconference?

No, we are just giving our Units, Councils, and Districts an alternative to hosting an in-person meeting during the pandemic.

I have no idea how to find a way to do teleconferencing? Where do I start to look?

Go to the internet and type in “teleconference” or “conference calls,” or refer to the Teleconference and Videoconference Tools section below.

How much notice of this meeting do I need to give?

Article VII, Section 1 of Bylaws for Local PTA/PTSA Units provides, “Whenever members are required or permitted to take any action at a meeting, a written notice of the meeting shall be given not less than ten (10) days nor more than ninety (90) days before the date of the meeting to each member who, on the record date for the notice of the meeting, is entitled to vote at such meeting.”

Further Section 2 provides “The Association meeting in _________ [month] shall be the annual election meeting at which time officers shall be elected. At least thirty (30) days prior written notice of the annual election meeting must be given.

How do we give notice of the meeting?

  1. Use the PTA’s social media platforms as well as the website to announce details of the meeting.
  2. See if your principal can place notice of the meeting on the school website and social media platforms.
  3. Email your membership list directly announcing the meeting and agenda.
  4. Board members should also share information about the meeting on their personal pages. This may notify people who are not following the PTA social media pages.

Is it OK to post the documents for the meeting on our website and social media?

Yes, as long as you make sure they are non-editable documents. Also make sure that there is nothing controversial or confidential in the documents. Example: you can list that there are bounced checks from your last fundraiser but do not list the names of the people who bounced the checks.

What should we do if we do not have a current membership list?

If there is no current membership list, then you would have to grant voting rights to all those on the call, once you verify they are actually members of your school population.

How do we handle translation of this teleconferencing meeting?

See if the application or tool you are using has a translation option. Test it out before the meeting. If it does not offer that option, talk to someone who can do translation from the school community. The translator(s) would need to be on the actual call, translating in real time. Prior to the event make sure that person knows the order of what is happening during the meeting and work out how the translation process will work during the call. It is very important to make all our parents feel included.

FAQS FOR ELECTIONS VIA TELECONFERENCE

Does the slate of officers need to be posted?

Yes, your proposed slate of officers should be posted at least 28 days in advance of the annual election meeting (Standard Bylaws, Article 5, ***Section 4e).

We never elected a nominating committee and do not have a slate of officers, what should we do?

It is still important to hold an election. You will need to take all nominations from the floor for the positions listed in your bylaws. Please see the California State PTA Toolkit for further details.

How do people run from the floor?

You can handle this one of many ways. A few suggestions:

  • Have those who want to run from the floor announce their intention at the very beginning of the teleconference. That way it will make things easier when the time comes to hold the election.
  • Have those who are interested in running from the floor make their intent known within a certain time frame after the meeting notice goes out. The chair could then announce the names of those who are running from the floor to let people know in advance, who is running for the various positions.

How do we handle a ballot vote when people wish to remain anonymous regarding who they are voting for?

There are several alternatives to handling a ballot vote. Some of the conferencing services will allow you to vote and only the organizer see who has voted. You can utilize Survey Monkey, the free version, if you set the account up ahead of time and have the names of the candidates.

If there is no election because school is closed, does the current board roll over to the next school year?

When no election is held prior to June 30 or the end of the term, contact your council or district PTA leaders for immediate assistance. Article V, Section 8b states, “No Officer shall serve past the start of the next term unless elected to serve in that term. A person who has served in an office for more than six (6) months of a full term shall be deemed to have served a full term in such office.”

Click here to view instructions for making a Google form, which could be helpful when holding a ballot vote.

FAQs FOR FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS, FINANCIAL REVIEWS AND TAXES

Is it OK to present our financials at a teleconferencing meeting?

Yes, you can present a full treasurer’s report including ratification of payments made and releasing funds. Have the financial reviewer present the mid-year financial review. You can also present the budget for the next school year and release funds to pay summer bills.

How do we approve bills that need to be paid?

During the meeting being conducted via teleconferencing, the treasurer will make a motion to approve the bills that need to be paid. You can make a motion to pay summer bills. The treasurer should also make motions to ratify the payments that have already been made.

Are checks the only way we can pay our bills?

If the person or company you need to pay can accept an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or a payment from your bank’s bill payment system, you can process the payment via that method. There is a form to be filled out and attached to the invoice, which can be found here. Full information regarding the EFT process is available here: http://toolkit.capta.org/finance/banking/expenditures/payment‐via‐electronic‐fundstransferbank‐bill‐pay‐services/. Remember, you should never pay a bill without an invoice or a receipt, and electronic signatures are acceptable on this and other payment authorization forms when necessary..

TELECONFERENCING AND VIDEO CONFERENCING TOOLS

If local leaders choose to hold meetings via teleconference or video conference based on our recent guidance, there are various free tools to consider that allow you to hold online conference calls or video meetings with multiple attendees (subject to limitations).

Some options include:

  1. GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar
  2. Zoom *
  3. Slack
  4. GROUPME
  5. Facebook Messenger
  6. Google Hangouts

To compare conference call systems, please go to https://www.quicksprout.com/best-conference-call-services/.

* Please note that Zoom’s free plan normally limits conference calls to 40 minutes.

Mention of these companies does not imply endorsement by California State PTA.

Click here to view instructions for making a Google form, which could be helpful when holding a ballot vote.

MORE RESOURCES FROM CALIFORNIA STATE PTA

To watch a recording of the May 5 Leadership Town Hall webinar, click here. During this session, California State PTA past president, Celia Jaffe and members of the leadership team offered important information and answered many questions about how to handle PTA business and functions during the coronavirus pandemic.

You can download and view the May 5 Leadership Town Hall PowerPoint presentation, click here.

For answers to frequently asked questions that we were not able to address during the webinar, click the links to read general FAQs, communications FAQs, membership FAQs, parliamentary issues, and financial issues.

If you’d like to watch a recording of the Tools and Best Practices to Hold Effective Virtual Meetings webinar, click here.

You can download and view the Tools and Best Practices to Hold Effective Virtual Meetings PowerPoint presentation click here.