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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.


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.


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.

Financial Guidelines: Handling PTA Funds During the Pandemic

Remember that the health and safety of all PTA members and the community takes precedence over PTA policies and procedures. Please follow all state and local directives, including school district policies.

All revenue and receipts must be counted and deposited in the bank as soon as possible after the completion of an activity. For ongoing fundraisers or when money is coming in daily, the money should be deposited daily or as often as possible in the PTA’s bank account. At least two PTA members, one of whom should be an officer or a chairman, must count the monies received. The people counting the money shall not be related by blood, marriage, or cohabitation. Do not publicize the place where money is to be counted.

Have all those involved in counting money verify the total and sign the Cash Verification Form. This form is a safeguard when volunteers are handling PTA funds.

The treasurer or financial secretary shall deposit the money immediately in the bank. If immediate deposit or night drop is not possible, plan for the safekeeping of money until it is deposited in the bank. Avoid taking/keeping funds at home if at all possible. Deposits consisting solely of checks may be deposited using mobile or online banking, if your bank offers that option. You must still obtain a deposit receipt (email, text message, paper copy mailed, etc.) and attach the receipt or a scan/photo to your Cash Verification Form.

If a PTA is not able to use the school’s address for mailing, we recommend that the PTA obtain a PO Box. If using the school address or a PO Box is not possible, please remember that bank statements must be sent to an officer who is not a signer on the bank account. Mail containing cash or checks should be opened in the (socially distanced) presence of another officer and a Cash Verification Form must be completed. Never deposit any money in anyone’s personal account or in the school account. Never leave money unattended.

California State PTA offers an optional online electronic membership program called TOTEM. Dues for members who join through TOTEM are automatically forwarded through channels and the portion of dues you keep is deposited directly in your bank account. Using TOTEM is free for your PTA. For additional information on TOTEM, please visit


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.

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

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

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.


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.


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 auditor present the mid-year audit. 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:‐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..

Mid-year audits and year-end audits are due to Councils and Districts. What should we do?

If the audit has been completed, and signed by the audit committee, the audit is presented to the executive board for approval and then the association for adoption. To submit audits through channels, follow the guidelines from your Council or District. Some like to have copies, some like the units to upload into MyPTEZ. If there are no guidelines, upload the information into MyPTEZ as soon as possible.

Are tax deadlines for non-profits going to be extended by the IRS (Internal RevenueService) or the FTB (Franchise Tax Board)?

Tax deadlines have not been extended. If we get any new information we will update our local leaders through our standard social media platforms as well as our
district and council leadership.

What if my unit is interested in redirecting existing funding to support teachers’ online learning? Can our Executive Board vote for emergency funding and reallocate existing funds to supply tools such as headsets?

Every executive board has some power to spend funds that were not budgeted. Refer to this current standard bylaws standing rule #13:

“Authorization for Expenditures – The executive board shall perform the duties and responsibilities prescribed in the California State PTA Toolkit. It is authorized to pay bills for budgeted expenditures and other unbudgeted Association bills not to exceed a cumulative total of ___________________________ dollars ($________) between meetings of the Association. Ratification for payment of these bills must occur at the next Association meeting and must be recorded in the Association minutes.”

The dollar amount depends on the number of association meetings the PTA holds yearly; the fewer the meetings the more money the board can spend in between them.

So every PTA can spend up to this limit in their bylaws on any un-budgeted expenses the board deems necessary. To spend more than the limit, even if those funds were released for a different line item in the budget, requires association approval in advance. Please refer to the guidelines above for holding an association meeting via teleconferencing.

We would also encourage each PTA to look at their budget and determine if there are categories already there and approved that are broad enough to reasonably include the items the PTAs are looking to purchase. If not, and if the board wants to spend more than the limit, the PTA president can call an emergency meeting with 10 days notice and hold it via the methods listed above.

What do we do with donated items now that we can no longer have the event they were donated for (like our silent auction)? Do we need to vote to cancel the event even though we can’t hold it due to school closures and COVID-19 restrictions?

If the donations were solicited specifically for this event that you are now not able to have and not as “general” donation to the PTA, the PTA needs to contact the donors (all of them) and ask them what they would like you to do with the donated items. This is easiest via email, because then you will have written instructions from the donor, which is really what you need. If the donor wants the items returned, you have to give them back. If they give you permission to keep them/use them as needed, then you can vote as an association how to “repurpose” those donations at a future time.

You do not need a vote of the association to cancel a fundraiser/event that you are no longer able or allowed by law to hold. You would only need a vote on how to distribute/use any donations that were not returned to donors. FYI: only donations that you keep have to be reported on tax filings. Returned donations do not need to be reported.

Can our PTA donate to other community non-profits who are taking lead roles in supporting the many under-served families in our district? Can we offer some sort of direct support to members (individuals and families) of need in our school communities?

The IRS is very clear that a 501(c)3 public charity (which all PTAs are) may donate funds to another 501(c)3 public charity with a similar mission. That means that a PTA can donate money only to nonprofits who have similar purposes. For example, you could not donate to the Red Cross, but you could donate to a non-profit children’s library, provided it had 501(c)3 status.

Likewise, the IRS is very clear that a public charity may not gift funds to individuals or families unless that is what the charity was organized to do. PTAs are not organized for that purpose, so we may not give money (including gift cards) to individuals or families in our school communities, regardless of need.

So the PTA may donate to other community organizations if they meet the criteria above (and assuming the association voted to do so), but the PTA could not gift funds to an individual or family.

However, there are several other things that PTAs can do to help and we encourage units to consider the following:

  • The PTA may advertise any and all benefits/fundraisers being held for individuals or families in need or local charities who are assisting those in need, regardless of who is organizing them. That includes letting everyone in your community know about GoFundMe campaigns, etc.
  • The PTA may also help with a fundraiser by advertising it and encouraging volunteers, but it cannot be an official PTA activity and all money collected must go to the organization holding the fundraiser. Checks cannot be made out to PTA and no deposits may be made to the PTA account on behalf of another organization or family in need.
  • The PTA may sponsor a food/diaper/necessities drive or solicit donations of those items to be given to a local food bank, etc. “Necessities” could include personal protective equipment (PPE) for local hospitals and medical facilities if that’s a need in your area.

Can our PTA buy restaurant gift cards for our school staff members since we cannot hold our annual staff appreciation luncheon?

No. Giving a gift card is the same as giving someone cash. In addition, giving a volunteer cash or a cash equivalent like a gift card on behalf of the organization may cause them to be considered an employee or an independent contractor by government agencies. And the IRS considers cash gifts (including gift cards) as reportable income on the recipient’s tax filings. For these reasons, our policies and procedures expressly forbid giving gift cards purchased with PTA funds: “PTA funds cannot be used to purchase personal gifts for staff or volunteers, such as gift cards.” (See Recommended Budget Line Items in the California State PTA Toolkit.)

What can PTAs do for staff appreciation while schools are closed?

  • If local businesses or members of the community wish to donate gift cards/certificates to school staff, you may facilitate that donation.
  • You may pay for a staff appreciation meal for all staff members by paying a restaurant directly.  Many restaurants are now offering “fixed price” menus for pickup and/or delivery.  You may pay a restaurant to provide such a meal to each staff member at your school and then let the staff know how to contact the restaurant to pick up/receive delivery of their meal.  (Remember, your PTA’s total expenses for hospitality, including staff appreciation, may not exceed 5% of your yearly budgeted expenses.)
  • You can issue a “rain check” for your usual staff appreciation activities and plan to hold them as soon as in person school resumes or whenever large gatherings of people are permitted again.

You can send thank you cards (by mail, email, or social media) thanking staff for all their amazing work during this trying time.  Notes from parents and/or students will be particularly meaningful.  You should work with the school principal to determine the best way to distribute these notes to the staff.


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
  5. Facebook Messenger
  6. Google Hangouts

To compare conference call systems, please go to

* 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.


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.