PTA - Did You Join?

Updated on March 29, 2015
K.H. asks from Lindenhurst, NY
33 answers

Hi guys,
Hope all is well with you & yours!
Who's on the PTA at their kids' school & how's that been?
Thinking about joining but I'd like a eye opener as to what I might be walking into?
Is this just fundraising for extra fun stuff? I'm sorry if that question shows my ignorance on it all, but I'd like to be schooled.
Political hot mess? Or free manual labor for the school, cutting out things & making copies?:)

As always, any and all options wanted & appreciate!
Please & Thank You

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answers from Dallas on

For the past 20 years I have joined the PTA where I teach, and as my boys have grown I have also joined each of their schools. That means most years I join 3 different PTAs. I feel it's my duty to join. I need to be in the loop and do my part at each of the schools.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I always join, and then I volunteer when I can. I am unable to chair any fundraisers or anything, but we try to attend all school PTSA related functions whenever we can. :)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I went ahead and paid for a membership to support the PTA at school, but I didn't usually go to the meetings or get involved in the activities....

I work at a school now, and still join PTA at the school, even though my kids are all grown...... PTA does a lot of nice stuff for the staff, and I want to still support them.

It doesn't cost that much... I think it is $7 a year at my school.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Tampa on

I actually know quite a bit about this topic. I am currently serving as the President of the PTA at my children's elementary school. There are lots of great things about getting involved and being in the PTA. You absolutely DO know more about what is going on in the school. The administrators see your face and know that you care. It makes a huge difference when issues come up with your child that need to be addressed. You can just pay your membership and join...nothing else is required. We are just thrilled when folks show up to our events and support things at the school.

If you choose to be on the PTA Board, it is a lot more time and work. We do a bunch of stuff considering the size of our Board including selling tickets for the Fall Festival, Veteran's Day Breakfast, Science Night, Holiday Gift Shop, Science Night, Daddy-Daughter Dance, Mother-Son Game Night, Teacher Appreciation luncheon etc... I am very proud of the work that we have done. I feel that we do things that enhance the school experience. We have also used proceeds from the fundraisers to buy Kindles, science supplies and microscopes...things that the school might not otherwise have been able to have.

That being said, there is a tough side to PTA too. It is REALLY easy to get burned out. Although it might seem a bit clique-ish, I have found that it is often just the same few people showing up to do everything. I have about three other people on my Board this year that I can really count on... I had a volunteer coordinator at the start of the year that came to about 2 meetings ever. We set up the schedule of events for the year back in July. One of our biggest projects is working our Holiday Gift Shop. I asked everyone on my Board to work at least one day during the week. I gave everyone the dates back in July so there was ample time to make arrangements for time off from work. My volunteer coordinator did NOTHING the entire year leading up to December and then told me week of that she would not be able to help with the Holiday Shop. At that point I told her that we would love to have her involved with the PTA Board, but that the expectation was that she would be able to attend meetings and assist with some of our events. She hasn't shown up since. I have a similar situation with my Membership Coordinator.

Since everything with PTA is a volunteer situation, we often have folks to commit to doing something, but do not follow through... SO, the same few folks get stuck doing all the work. I would love to try to drum up more members at our events... However, the few of us there are too damn busy running the events to be able to recruit new members at the same time. I am not sorry that I got involved in PTA, but I sure wish that folks would do what they promise that they will do...

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

The PTA is pretty much like the general population.
There are doers, complainers, planners, power struggles, fighting, friendships, genuine concern and political gain.
It is what you make it.
Usually there is a wide range of things for which to volunteer.
Ours is oretty good about evening meetings and opportunities for working moms to get involved.
Just remember WHY you're doing it. That helps. A lot.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

I've been on PTO since my kids have been in school. Our PTO organizes a lot of the fundraising and 'fun' events at school (school dance, school auction, teacher appreciation week, etc). The fundraising is essential. It provides things that the school is unable to provide (either because they don't have enough money or because the school can't spend school dollars on certain things).

The great thing about PTO is that there is such a variety of jobs--something is sure to fit everyone's time and talent!

Some parents can cause drama and be 'cliquey', but I've had a good experience. Unfortunately, about 10 % of the parents do 90% of the work. I'd say jump and and see how you can help!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Yes, we do every year. Some years we are "on the books" members and some years we are able to put in time for events and meetings. You do not HAVE to be there to pay the dues and be on the email list, etc.

For one, it is a way to keep involved in our child's school. For two, it is a way to be a part of the fundraisers that bring in necessary money not only for things like Science Night but for materials for the building. We provide scholarships for kids who can't pay for field trips. For three, our PTA also advocates for our kids. We noticed a weird, sour smell the first weeks of school and the PTA presented that concern (and a few others) to the principal and building management and it got resolved. When there was a busing issue, the parents contacted the PTA who contacted the principal and bus depot.

Our meetings include information about the school, events, how to help your kid with reading and math, programs for the summer, etc. We help choose the on-site caregivers for before and after care.

Our PTA joins other PTAs at the district and state level. We advocate for budgets. We send representatives for our particular school and weigh in on things like bell times and zone changes.

So, no, our PTA is not just money. I choose what I get involved with and our PTA is not a bunch of divas. If they are divas, then sign up only for what you want to help with (like I did setup for a silent auction but did not organize the auction).

IMO, "free labor" can be any parent who wants to volunteer. I helped the art teacher with her display last year, just because she asked for some help. She certainly did not get paid to stay all afternoon and was so happy to have people helping. A team of about 8 got it done in 2 hours after school so she could go home for dinner.

In general, I find the PTA to be a good way to know what's going on and to be a "face" in the building so that if I have any concerns about my child, I know how to get them addressed.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If you join, it does not mean you are required to do anything. It is a purely volunteer organization and you get out of it what you put into it.

Can some of them be a political hot mess, YES

Can some of them be very rewarding for you as a volunteer, YES

Free labor?? I guess some people look at it that way. My view of making copies, laminating, etc was that I was glad to do it in order to help the teacher so that she/he is more focused in the classroom and on students than worried about all the other things to be done either before of after school if you have no help.

I am a regular substitute going on 15 yrs and there is a lot of piddly work that has to be done in order to make everything go smoothly in the classroom. As a teacher, the lunch break is barely enough to go to the bathroom and grab a couple bites of food, planning time is supposed to be for planning, parent conferences, etc but in my experience, many parents see that as a time to go chat with the teacher like she/he has nothing to do while the students are in PE, music or another class.

My daughter is currently finishing up her 2nd year in college and I am still active in both the elementary school PTA and her Senior High School PTA because I enjoy being a part of the community to help make things better for our students.

The fees are not bad at all, usually $10 or less and you choose how active you would like to be in the program.

I've been involved since my daughter started K and here it is with her graduated from HS and I am still involved. For the record, there are MANY parents who have children who have gone through a particular school and they choose to stay involved with the school and PTA.

I have been very involved with PTA, booster clubs for cheer and athletics, fundraising and more. It can be a rewarding experience if you make it that way. I have seen others get so turned off by some of the drama that some people will always have. You just figure out how much you can deal with and how much you can ignore in order to fulfill what you want to do as a volunteer.

I am not at the schools and as involved as I once was as because my priority is our company that we run from home, I am CFO. I substitute and volunteer as much as I can but I can only do so much now due to a healthy growing business.

If you join, just go about it slowly, get to know people and don't commit to something unless you are 100% on board. Learn to say NO

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

of course we were members. we wanted to be involved as much as two working parents could be in our kids' education.
we weren't on the board and didn't plan things. just too busy to take on much in the way of responsibility. but we wanted to be current with the discussions and issues, and have a vote when it came to fundraising, both how to do it and how to allot the funds. when my schedule allowed i'd be a classroom helper or do other things that needed to be done. i just didn't offer to do more than my schedule or talents allowed.
i don't really get why anyone with a kid in PS wouldn't join.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

PTA might be different from school to school as far as expectations.

To be just a regular member, not much is expected, but you get more access.
-Emails are sent out to all for help with various things regardless of membership.
-There are PTA meetings and You do not have to be a member to attend, but to vote you do have to be a member.
-You get a school directory of phone numbers (assuming the child's family wanted to be included)
-Some have a small fee ($10) to join
-If you joined the board (PTA president or treasurer) you may notice more political type issues and power trips. You will also be dealing with more complaints. Some PTA board members do a great job dealing with the complaining types. Some parents are never happy, and a successful board member will not spin their wheels trying with these types. I've seen them shut down pretty quickly.

The labor (cutting/copying) is really something each classroom teacher delegates and not so much part of PTA at my kids' school. Some teachers do it all themselves and another teacher may ask for parents to help her.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

You have joining - paying your membership fee, which helps the pta financially, and also to get awards and recognition. To join you have to do absolutely nothing other than pay your fee. The money goes to fund programs for your school.

Then you have have volunteering - this is entirely separate from joining. If you join a committee or head a committee, then it's free labor for the school. Not all committees are involved in fund raising. Some are involved in planning the fun stuff (carnivals, family nights, etc), some are involved in the educational aspects (reading/literacy, science, etc).

Although I haven't found much politics involved, there is some, but that doesn't happen unless you are on the actual board of the PTA. Our meetings are only attended by the Board and some committee chairs. They are open to everyone, but members don't tend to come.

Cutting, making copies, etc - that is a volunteer at the classroom level in my school. I am on the PTA board and do a bunch of planning and organizing with that. I then volunteer in each child's classroom one day a week, and the teachers ask me to cut and make copies.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Last year, when my daughter was in Pre-K, I attended PTO meetings and volunteered where nad when I could. This year, I am co-treasurer and in charge of our spirit wear. I also volunteered to chair our big raffle in the fall and our spring silent auction. I plan on continuing chairing these events until my kids are no longer at the school. Next year, I will remain co-treasurer, but take on more of the deposits and money handling.
We raise money to support the teachers and the school where needed. We pay for Art Masterpiece, the AR reading program in English and Spanish, we payed for after school enrichment programs when budget cuts forced our schools to have 1 pm release every Wednesday this year, and for the last 3 years we payed for 2 part-time Kindergarten aides when the budget cuts eliminated those positions. Next year, my pet project is to get safety sleeves for every door on campus, in case of an emergency lock-down.
There is no politics, no cliques, nothing but a dedication to make our school better for our kids.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I chair a small fundraiser that doesn't require me to go to meetings etc. There are likely many levels of involvement. Our PTA is excellent and I've never been involved enough to know if there is real drama or not. I think it depends a bit year to year but I don't think it's bad at all. For the most part, these moms donate so much time which helps our school fund great programs. So I also donate money. Try to get involved in some way slowly and then see how it goes.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

My kids' school had a PTO. I was an officer on the board for 3 years. Before my time, the PTO had a reputation for being difficult, ineffective and cliquey. Big changes were made and much effort put into repairing the damage.

Being a PTO, parents are automatically members. There is no membership fee. Whether or not they choose to attend meetings or volunteer for activities is up the the individual. We collected contact info at the start of the year and would offer opportunities as they came up. Our budget and spending was public info.

Our PTO did host several fun family activities, but the bulk of our fundraising money went to cover education-related gaps due to lack of state funding as well as helping children in need by providing supplies, field trip funds, etc.

Your experiences will depend on the current culture of your location. PTAs have to follow rules that PTOs do not as well, so your experience will be different in that regard as well.

As a volunteer, don't forget that the word No has to be in your vocabulary. It is easy to get caught up and take on more than you can reasonably handle. When you take something on, you want to do it well, but if you have too many balls in the air it is easy to drop them.

Added: Our PTO had free childcare available during meetings. We also had a mix of full-time working parents, part time workers, and SAHPs.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Well clearly this will be different at every school.
I "joined" the PTO because it was only $25, I got a sticker for my car and a parent directory (aka the playdate and birthday party bible) and it provided the basic funding for some fun school events.
I never served on the board, but that was because I volunteered in other ways and didn't need another monthly meeting and responsibility.
Most of the moms who served were very nice and hard working, and yes, of course there were a few type A women that could be seen as hard to work with.
But overall I had a lot of respect for these women, like I said they worked hard, and not just on baking cookies and making copies (though they certainly did that) but by working with staff and parents on major issues and big budget projects that ultimately benefited the entire school community.
I stepped up and helped out whenever possible :-)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Asheville on

I join every year, but I never really volunteer for any of the fundraisers and such anymore. I attempted to volunteer for something once, and was rejected- yes, they told me they didn't need my help (probably because I work full time and couldn't devote a set number of hours each week during the school day). So, now I just give them my money and let the SAHMs do all the grunt work.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I pay the inexpensive yearly dues to keep an active membership. The school receives funds from the State's PTA according to membership. I believe it is like 12 bucks a person...or something like that. You are not required to do anything past that.

Then I just volunteer when I have time. Emails come in requesting help. When it works with my family's schedule then I help or donate items. I rarely attend PTA official business meetings.

It is free manual labor that benefits the school and students as well as fundraising.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

My experience is the same as Jill K, almost word for word.

However - one of the changes we made when I was on the board (I served as treasurer for 2 years) was to change the meeting schedule so that every other month it was convenient (or inconvenient, depending on your perspective) for schedules of all parents. 1st month was before school, 2nd month during the day, 3rd month in the evening. This way ANY parent could attend once a quarter. And we ALWAYS had child care.

We also tried to find ways that any parents could volunteer, regardless of their work schedule. Can't volunteer in the classroom? Well, can you ask for free gift cards for prizes any time and any where you shop? Can't man the phone tree list for info? Well, can you help update the website with dates and info etc?

There CAN be politics.... but I hope not. Our PTA funded HUGE things for the school. We funded 2 entire teachers, created and managed the before school and afterschool care programs (not free so we managed the communication, insurance and taking money/paying teachers) and sponsored the spring musical. We also put together Thanksgiving and Christmas meal baskets for any family that requested one.

It is a great experience and a great way to get involved and meet teachers and other parents so you really get a feel for the pulse of what's going on at your kids school - beyond just their group of friends.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

I think it depends on your school - it is a lot of fund raising, but in our school, it pays for the fun stuff but also for textbooks the district won't provide, smart boards, and other things that the school really needs.

Personally, I join and pay the $5 dues, but I often don't have time for the meetings. I volunteer when I can.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Not only did I join, but also was very active. Our daughters school was perceived by outsiders and parents as being cliquish, but I learned that it was not true. Instead they had been burned over and over by people saying they wanted to volunteer, but most people ended up backing out or never seemed to actually have time.

I started off with small projects and events and then realized I could handle some if the large projects and events. I buddied up with some of the existing patents so that they knew the parents in the school. And could tell me how things were done and why.

Since I had been in retail as a career, I knew how to get things done and how to get others to help.

Just asking people directly for help, seemed to do the trick.

I ran the school carnival with a mom I had never met before.. loved it so much I did it a second time, then gathered the names of the people that complained and had suggestions and put them in charge for the next year! It was a group of dads!

I would walk out in front of the school right before the bell rang and would ask those parents "how can you help with these projects?" I met so many great parents this way. I always encouraged each volunteer to think of another parent who would be great as a helper.

Yes, I ended up being a PTA Vice President, then President at the elementary level and again at daughters middle school. Even sat on the district PTA board of directors! Lots of the parents, staff and teachers are still some of my best friends!

Do not shy away from stepping up and asking what needs to be done. If they reject you go straight to your child's teacher, librarian and the front office and ask them, "how can I help you. Here are the hours I am available, here are my contact numbers, I will be waiting for your answer." If they do not call in a week, go back and remind them. Remember they are busy, so they get bogged down.

If you hear of a PTA event that you want to help with, contact the person in charge and ask them how you can help.
I know it seems like these people are not always gracious, but they are also very busy. They sometimes feel like it is hard to train people. So jump in, show up. They will find something for you to do.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Bear in mind, joining the PTA as a member does not mean you will have to try to get to every meeting, or to any meetings. I am a member,but I do not attend PTA meetings at our daughter's school and never have - but I am the chairperson of a committee. It's fine. So don't think that you will be forced to be at meetings in the evenings or during the day when you work or whatever. A lot depends on the culture of your school and its PTA culture as well. I imagine there may be some presidents out there who are persnickety about "Well, we need you to turn out to meetings!" but in both my kid's elementary and middle schools that was not the case. PTAs usually need people to head up events, or just work on projects and events if not head them, that they cannot afford to be in a twist about who made it to meetings and who didn't.

You can participate in specific activities as you prefer, as a volunteer. You can choose to be part of the larger PTA board that plans long-term, handles a budget, talks with administrators, etc-- or not. I'm in the "or not" category. Do join officially and pay the usually very nominal dues; this allows your school PTA to report a membership number to national PTA and that does help the school PTA with resources and attention from state and national levels. But it does not mean you married PTA.

Look online or on the PTA's web page (I sure hope they have one) or wherever and find out what the subcommittees are and what specific events and initiatives they have done in the past and plan to do this year. I figure your kid is halfway through the year now but that's not too late. If you just e-mail someone who's listed as contact for, for instance, "Spring Fling field day" or whatever, and say you'd like to volunteer your time to help with it--they'll be thrilled.

PTAs do much, much more than extra fun stuff at many schools. Some use their money to pay for things like field trip costs for kids whose families cannot afford field trips, or they defray costs of instruments so that band and orchestra can be available to kids who, again, have zero money at home for instruments. Our elementary PTA paid for any kid who could not go on the four-day sixth grade camping trip, because that trip was considered high priority for that grade.

PTAs sometimes lead the way in anti-drug activities and assemblies, together with student government at higher grades. PTAs often fundraise for very big projects--the one at our elementary replaced a badly aging playground with solid, great new equipment and landscaping, which was a big expense the school could not have afforded. That was about safety as well as about fun, so it's pretty important. That PTA also had a garden club that really did amazing things with the grounds that could not have happened otherwise -- that was a case of a couple of parents who loved gardening and who came up with that idea to present to PTA. So there is a lot that PTAs do both directly with kids and by funding needed improvements. I don't know if you'd see things like the gardening as "free manual labor" but those parents devised the idea themselves and weren't told to do it by the school, and they were highly valued by the school for their initiative.

It's only a "political hot mess" if the officers make it that way. We can't say what it's like at your kid's school; you'll have to dive in and find out. Ours never were political but were pretty mellow. It's not "free manual labor for the school cutting out things and making copies" -- that kind of activity, which is really only in about grades K and maybe 1 or 2, was organized by teachers asking for parent volunteers, unrelated to PTA at all. tTeachers don't ask PTA for parent help but ask the parents of their students, in my experience.

Not sure what your school is like, but you can only find out by getting involved on whatever level works for you. If you decided you don't like PTA then do get involved in your child's classroom (that ends after about third to fifth grade depending on the teacher and by middle school, teachers do not need or really want parent volunteers except on field trips, so if you have a younger kid--get involved now.)

PTA and volunteering both keep you plugged in to what the teachers are like, how the administrators are, you get to know the "extras" teachers etc., you get to know other parents. You will be much more informed about things (including teachers your kids might have in coming years) if you participate however you can.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You should definitely join the PTA (pay the dues) and receive the email updates. Member dues and volunteers giving their time are what make PTA events possible. They are for your kids. I have a minor position with our PTA and volunteer in several classrooms. I attend most events to help. It's important to understand that you can give as little (just your $5 dues) or as much (PTA President?) time and money as you are willing. There is no commitment unless you agree to take on a particular position.

As some have mentioned already, it is usually the same people that put together the events and volunteer, so extra help, however minimal is always appreciated!

All in all, join and see what you can do to help. No need to overextend yourself. You may be asked often to help, and need to be prepared to say no when it doesn't work for you...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Yes, you should join the PTA. I always do and I have not seen any drama. Just nice women (and a few men) volunteering time. You can choose to help with something or not...if it appeals to you and you have time. The school my son is currently at has a policy of holding fundraisers that do not make the kids sell anything. I love it! One is a big chile cookoff with live music. One is a "drive through" at the school where you can pick up dinner. One is where each class puts together an amazing basket and you buy tickets and your kids put tickets in for each basket they wish to win in a raffle. I always volunteer each year to help out at the book fair...they need plenty of adults and you do a 2 hour time slot so it's easy. I always volunteer to help bring a dish for the teacher appreciation breakfast. I have helped make copies and staple and put flyers in the kids mail boxes. One year I was the one to submit the spirit wear design to a tshirt company and get the school shirts made. Once I helped serve pizza at a school event. Stuff like that. I even was the secretary one year and took notes at each meeting. Now I attend a few meetings a year. Usually it does not take up much of your time bc many people sign up to take a time slot. The more people who can join the PTA and help the easier the work is for everyone.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I just started going this year. It's been good and I like knowing what's going on at the school. I'm on the fringe in terms of volunteering. They ask for volunteers in the cafeteria at lunch, for putting away books in the library, and other things that I can't do because I'm at work. But I still like to know what's going on, and every once in a while something comes up that I can help with.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

In our schools almost everyone joins - they need the membership money - but actual participation is another ball of wax.
Our high school changed to become a PTSA (Parent Teacher STUDENT Association) so the students join - and yeah there's a fee for that too although it really irks me that the students have to pay for that.
It makes me really wonder how hard up for money they are.

Fundraisers - I do not deal with them. Period.
If the organization has a way for me to write them a check so they get the %100 of the funds I donate - then we're good.

If I've got to pimp my kid selling cookies, fruit, wrapping paper, candy, candles, etc (the list is exhaustive), spending my time taking orders, handling paperwork and money, making deliveries so they can make 20 cents on every dollar spent and that's the only way they have for earning the money - then they are out of luck - I WILL NOT DO IT - and they can't make me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I always used to become involved with my kids schools and joined the PTA group. I worked full time, but had a flexible schedule so that I could participate when I wanted to and also served on several PTA boards. I think that experiences can vary quite a bit based on the PTA leadership and the principal of the school and also the district. PTA's are dependent on volunteers, so most work hard to accommodate the schedule of parents. The PTA Board meetings were usually held at night and the general meetings were held in the evenings too. (usually with dinner or paired with a grade level performance to incentivize parents to attend). Why don't you attend a PTA meeting, read their communications to all parents and read some of the national/state guidelines for how PTA's are supposed to operate. Then decide if it is something you would like to support. Also, ask some questions - find out what the expectations of the members are, what the goals for the organization are, what fundraisers are spent on. For me, PTA let me have a better idea of what was going on at school and in the classroom. I was able to find out who I needed to talk to if I needed to advocate for my children and they were usually very willing to meet with me. It also gave me a chance to meet other parents and get to know the kids that my kids knew and wanted to play with outside of school. There are some PTA groups that do have a lot of drama. Overall, I think that the PTA helps the students have more opportunities in early years by supplying money for things that cannot otherwise be funded, educating parents about helping children learn and supporting teachers so they have more time to teach.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I joined the PTA when my granddaughter was in grade school. I continued with the PTA until this year when she started in middle school Which is high school in our district. I paid the dues but am not involved otherwise.

I was in my 60's much older than the moms. I was accepted by everyone. I did have to get used to the extra respect because of my age. lol. I helped with projects to raise money and enjoyed the comradery and sense I was helping make schools better. I was elected to be co-chairman managing volunteers. The other chair put in tons of time. Mostly I showed up and helped with the event. Each person does what they can do. I felt no pressure to do more.

I enjoyed being with the moms. All of us were interested in helping our children. I was glad to help with raising funds because the money paid for one more teacher and provided money for Teacher's supplies after budgets were chopped. I liked knowing more about the school. I was also interested in knowing what is now important to kids now. this helped me relate better withe my granddaughter. Life is very much different than it was when my daughter was in school.

For 2-3 years I did join without being involved because PTA monies are essential to provide a well rounded ucation for our children. Sounds like you think money is for fun extras. This is far from true. Our schools need the money just to pay for programs that are cut during the budget process

Of course I don't know what your school's PTA is like. I suggest you join and find it out. Membership fees are minimal and the money is used for many projects useful for the teachers and students.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I did not. I found they scheduled meetings in the middle of weekdays and were unwilling to accommodate working parents of either gender. Would not even consider holding meetings after regular work hours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Yes. I'm an active member of our PTA. I also serve as an officer on two boards. Of course there's drama and gossip. I really don't give a F*** about what anyone thinks of me, so I haven't been touched by it. I have friends that have been affected. You really get to know the principals of the schools and it's great to know what is going on. You also know who is a backstabbing liar and who isn't. All good information.

It's always good to get involved. You can volunteer as much or as little as you want.

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answers from Chicago on

I've been on the fringe of my school's PTA. I never wholeheartedly committed to it, but volunteered for a couple things and went to some meetings. I was never on the board or anything like that. The biggest challenge I saw was getting parent volunteers and raising money. Neither appealed to me. I was friendly with one mom who was the VP and she was nice. I never saw a lot of drama, but, like I said, I was always on the fringe.

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answers from New York on

I did not. We both work. With our schedules being what they are, I would have to hire a babysitter in order to attend meetings, planning and prep sessions and PTA events. If I am about to get a sitter, I would sooner use it for a night out.

Having said that, I understand they do great work, and can be a good source for networking with other parents, and for insight into programs the school has to offer that you might not otherwise be aware of.

F. B.

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answers from Detroit on

I volunteer at my kids 3 elementary schools. I'm not involved I. The PTA at the K-1 & 2-3rd grade schools because their meeting times don't work for me and they seem to have decent amounts of volunteers. The. PTA at tge 4th-5th grade school is defunct and I'm trying to revive it prior to teacher appreciation week. It's really tough, I've had quite a few parents commit to helping me and then cancel the night before leaving me to complete the task, which took 6 hrs by myself! Twice!
However, I have a great relationship with the staff at all the schools and the president of the school board.
Honestly, it's very beneficial for the kids to see parent volunteers. Go ahead and try getting involved-just take it slow until you feel comfortable.


answers from Dallas on

I joined when my son started Kinder. Went to the first meeting and it was VERY clear that I was the new person. They had the same people from the year before, the events they were going to do for the year already planned out with the people that were going to chair and co-chair already determined, and the board was already set. The only reason I was even able to be at this meeting was because their normal 2PM meeting in the library was bumped for a school program and they moved the meeting to 6. I asked a few questions about the finances because the first meeting they were talking about how they had a late bill from yearbooks the year before and the bank account was already questions as to why there was no money were not received well. That was the last meeting I went to. I wasn't going to take time off work every month for a 2PM meeting to be ignored. I volunteered with my son's teacher and that was it.

First grade, we moved to a different state and I joined the PTA again. They had a separate website set up for the PTA for meeting info and updates, so I thought this would be better. I paid the dues, signed up my email, and never heard another thing. Website was never updated, no notices of when meetings were occurring, no request for volunteers for anything, etc. The school itself sent out a volunteer sheet that you could sign up for different things that the teachers had access to, and I've had the teachers ask me to cut out stuff at home, etc., but none of that was from the PTA. I know the PTA does stuff at this school, because the beginning of the school year has the PTA selling the school supply kits and T-shirts, but I guess they already have enough people if they aren't asking for more. I didn't sign up this year and doubt I will next year unless something changes.

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