Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Running Your PTA

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Strengthening the public schools requires that all Californians work together and provide support for our public school system.
The priority of California must be children and public education.

-California State PTA Position Statement


As local officers of the largest grassroots child advocacy organization in the state, PTA legislative advocacy chairs are responsible for demonstrating leadership on children’s issues at the local level by educating PTA members, community members and elected officials about PTA’s issues of concern and legislative priorities and goals.

The California State PTA takes positions on issues/legislation based on position statements in the  California State PTA Toolkit, California State PTA convention resolutions, California State PTA Legislation Platform and National PTA positions and convention resolutions.

The unit, council or district legislative chair provides PTA members with information about PTA positions on current legislation and issues.

Remember: no amount of fundraising can have as much impact as a single piece of legislation.


PTA and Advocacy

One of the purposes of PTA is to secure adequate laws for children and youth. This means law making at all levels, including ballot measures. It is PTA’s responsibility to disseminate as much factual, objective information as possible during election campaigns to help the community make informed choices.
A few key things to remember:

  • PTA is nonpartisan and never endorses or opposes any candidate for public office.
  • PTA does, however, take positions on issues that affect children and youth.
  • A position adopted by the California State PTA on a statewide measure is the official

PTA position for all PTA districts, councils, and units. Therefore, any local unit, council or district PTA may participate in the campaign in support of the PTA position without a vote or other formal action by their local PTA board or association.


What is Advocacy?

•the act of process of advocating or supporting a cause or proposal;
•to support or urge by argument, especially publically.

Why Advocate?

•To secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth

•To educate decision-makers at local, state and/or federal levels

•To educate the public

•To influence laws, policies & programs

•No amount of fundraising equals the impact of a single piece of legislation!


Any PTA district, council or unit may recommend action on legislation to the California State PTA Board of Managers. PTA districts, councils, and units are responsible for taking action on local issues originating in school districts, cities, regions, or counties.

Laws enacted by local, state and national bodies are primary sources of public policy. Securing adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth is one of the purposes of the organization. Therefore, PTA maintains an active legislation program.

PTAs can and must participate actively in the process through which public policy decisions are made.


How to Stay Informed

Sign up to receive regular e-mail updates from:

• Your school district

• Your PTA council (if available)

• Your PTA district (Thirty-Third)

• California State PTA –

• National PTA –


Advocacy & Legislative Events to Attend

(attend as many as your schedule allows)

  • Thirty-Third District PTA Fall & Spring Workshops
  • Thirty-Third District Legislation Conference
  • • California State PTA Legislation Conference in Sacramento
  • • California State PTA Convention
  • • Council/District PTA-sponsored visits to Sacramento and other advocacy events.
  • • EdSource Forum
  • • National PTA Legislative Conference held in Washington D.C.


Helpful Websites/Resources

California State PTAhttp://www.capta

Legislative Alerts

PTA in California newsletter

Toolkit (Available in both English and Spanish online, in print or on CD). Chapter 4 is Advocacy and includes: local advocacy, elections, legislative program, legislation platform, listing of resolutions, position statements, policies and procedures

Resolutions Book



Membership Affects Advocacy

Strength of numbers brings strength of message. This is why membership campaigns are critical!


Advocacy in Action at Thirty-Third

In addition to various advocacy opportunities that reveal themselves each year on an individual basis, Thirty Third District Annual Facilitates active advocacy in the following areas:

Sacramento Safari

Legislation Conference


This Year's Legislation Conference

Each year, Thirty-Third District PTA offers a Legislation Conference, designed to train unit legislative representatives to understand and perform their duties. 

This year’s conference will be held on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at the Lakewood Golf & Country Club, 3101 E. Carson St, Lakewood, CA 90712.  We have a very exciting program that everyone will benefit from attending. We encourage all PTA legislation officers to attend, as well as PTA council and unit presidents and other officers. We also encourage councils and units to include high school students who may be interested in advocacy and education for this educational event.

We are honored to welcome Lea Darrah, Director of Legislation for the California State PTA, who will give us a review of and update on the legislative year in Sacramento. You will learn about the new laws enacted this past year which impact education, which proposed laws were not enacted and education legislative issues which may impact the new legislative year.


Following our Sacramento Update, we will have a very interesting panel discussion on Education Funding In California. Education funding is a critical, but little understood, component of education and advocacy in California. We are very fortunate to have Paul Warren, from the Public Policy Institute of California, join us to provide us with an understanding of the very complex funding formulas for education in California, including the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Proposition 98.  Mr. Warren is former director in the Legislative Analyst’s Office in Sacramento and the former Chief Consultant to the State Assembly’s Committee On Education. Mr. Warren will help lead a discussion on education funding with a panel that includes diverse and unique perspectives on State funding and its impact on education in California.

These panelists include:

  • Dianna MacDonald, President of the California State PTA
  • Dr. Mary Sieu, Superintendent, ABC Unified School District
  • Dr. Don Austin, Superintendent, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District
  • Representatives of Senator Ben Allen, Chair of the Senate Education Committee 
  • Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee 
  • Senator Holly Mitchell, Chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee  

Event check in will begin at 5:30 p.m. and dinner and the program will begin at 6:00 p.m. The cost is $35.00 per person, if paid by September 25, 2017; $45.00 after September 25, 2017.  Dinner and materials are included in the registration fee. Please click on the following link to register: Legislation Conference Registration Flyer.



Election Campaigns


Any use of the California State PTA name for electoral activity requires prior authorization from the California State PTA. No activity engaged in by any unit, council or district PTA should suggest or imply the support of the National PTA or California State PTA (Nonpartisan Policy; Policy 9).

PTAs may not directly or indirectly participate or intervene in political campaigns on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office since this activity can endanger the PTA’s nonprofit status.

Role of the PTA
Restrictions on Endorsement of Candidates
Local Candidates Forum
Candidate Questionnaires
School Bonds and Other Ballot Measure Campaigns
Legal Guidelines for Campaign Activity
Nonpartisan Policy
IRS Reporting Requirements
California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Regulations
California Education Code and Election Law


Organizing a Local Candidates Forum


Since the decisions of elected officials significantly affect the well-being of children and youth, it is a PTA responsibility to disseminate as much factual, objective information as possible during election campaigns to help voters make informed choices. All voters should be encouraged to carefully evaluate each official candidate. Candidates forums provide one way to provide such information in a nonpartisan, impartial, educational environment.

PTA never supports nor opposes a candidate for public/political office, but does take positions on issues that affect children and youth.

For more information on organizing a local candidates forum, see Figure 4-3.

Thirty-Third District PTA, 5629 Pearce Avenue, Lakewood, CA 90712
Mailing Address: Thirty-Third District PTA, PO Box 1235, Lakewood, CA 90714
Phone: 562-804-4519