PTA Leaders

Standing Rule 17 Explained

Standing Rule 17 in the Bylaws for Local PTA/PTSA Units is where a unit lists all of its standing committees. So, just what should be listed in Standing Rule 17?

Standing committees are committees whose work continues all year long. Some examples of standing committees are Programs, Membership, Hospitality, Legislation, and Student Welfare. There is no standard list of standing committees. Each unit decides what committees are important to the smooth running of the PTA. The chairs and members of these committees are usually set up in the summertime by the board-elect, so they can begin work before the first association meeting. Standing committee chairs are voting members of the executive board.

In contrast, there can also be special committees. These are committees that are usually organized around a task. These committees exist until the task is completed.

The classic example of a special committee is the nominating committee. The nominating committee comes into existence usually around December or January, and its work is done after the annual election has been conducted, usually sometime from February through mid-April. Other examples of special committees are Red Ribbon Week, Book Fair, or Field Day. Special committees may include members of the executive board only, association members only, or both.

When the chair is not a member of the executive board, then the special committee chair is not a voting member of the executive board. The special committee chair may be granted a courtesy seat at executive board meetings to present a report.


What about specialists, directors, deputies or coordinators in your PTA, who have a job function that lasts all year long but don’t chair a committee, although the unit might want to have these individuals as voting members of the board? These could include Newsletter Editor, Webmaster, Volunteer Coordinator.

Standing Rule 17 is meant as a place to list committees, so specialists don’t belong there. If you have specialists in your PTA that should be voting members of your executive board, then a separate standing rule can be written for each of them. Here’s a sample:

“Subject to the ratification of the executive board, the president shall appoint a ______________ , who shall be a member of the executive board with full voting privileges, and whose duties shall include….”

If you’ve added these board positions to your standing rules, you will also want to add “specialists” to the list of who is on your board, in Article VIII – Executive Board, Section 1, so that your bylaws reflect the full voting complement of your executive board.

Consider this when you make the decision about whether specialists should be voting board members: if the sum of specialists and standing committee chairs is ten or more, your minimum association and board quorums will have to be increased by half this sum, so that your association and board meetings remain representative of their respective members.

Of course, your PTA can also have specialists who are not voting members of your executive board, but who report to a vice president or to the president. In that case, you would leave off the italicized portion of the sample SR.

In short, Bylaws are hard and fast rules that cannot be set aside, and may only be amended after review by the California State PTA Parliamentarian and with prior notice to the membership. Standing Rules may be amended locally without notice.