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Operating Guidance Overview

Louisiana PTA issues Operating Guidance to advise and support Local PTA Units on PTA best practices. Each Guidance is summarized below and then individually listed. Email LAPTA President, Kayla Pagel for further clarification.

School Officials and PTA Funds

Why PTA funds are independent of its affiliated school, who votes on how the money is spent, and a letter from National PTA attorney.

PTA Members as Political Candidates

What to do when a PTA Member or Board of Directors Member runs for political office.

Communications & Social Media Policy

Learn how to best represent the PTA on all social media platforms and with all communications.

School Officials and PTA Funds

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, PTA is an independent association designated by its unique IRS Employee Identification Number (EIN) and governed by its Board of Directors and membership. It is required to uphold a Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty, and Duty of Obedience to the local PTA, Louisiana PTA, and National PTA. Its priority and legal obligation with the IRS are to further the mission of PTA.  All local PTAs fall under the Louisiana PTA tax umbrella. The IRS does not classify PTA as an educational organization but as a civic organization with the primary activity listed with the IRS as "Parent Teacher and Student Advocacy." If any of these components are not upheld, then the IRS has the authority to remove the nonprofit status and Louisiana PTA can revoke its charter. Commingling of private and public funds is forbidden by the IRS. This is cause for revocation of the nonprofit status and is considered tax fraud if educational and PTA funds are commingled. PTA funds belong to the members, and the general membership as a whole approves the proposed budget and utilization of those funds. The PTA Board of Directors is then responsible for the proper management of the PTA funds.    A school official (a school employee with authority over teachers) may be on the Board of Directors although not on the Executive Committee as that presents the impression of having undue financial influence over the PTA’s spending. A school official may not be an authorized signer on the PTA accounts. A school employee, and not a school official, may have signing authority on a PTA account only if they are an elected officer of the PTA. The PTA checkbook resides with the PTA Treasurer. A minimum of three authorized bank signatories are required on the bank account with two of these being the President and the Treasurer.  Bank statements are mailed to the PTA’s permanent address which is the school’s address or are printed electronically. All bank statements are reviewed and signed by a non-signatory as required by insurance providers.   PTAs annually submit their Active Affiliation Report to LAPTA which includes documentation of IRS tax filing, LA Secretary of State annual filing, current Bylaws, approved budget, insurance declaration page, LAPTA training, and the PTA Audit Report. The audit of the previous year’s financial books is conducted by three or more people who are not authorized signatories. LAPTA reviews all documentation.  Email Kayla Pagel at President@LouisianaPTA.org for further clarification.

PTA Members as Candidates for Public Office

​The Louisiana Parent Teacher Association recognizes the fact that the experiences and interest gained by its members through participation in PTA activities make them particularly qualified to serve the community as elected officials such as members of the local school boards of education. PTAs are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and must remain neutral and nonpartisan during elections. PTA members running for office may not seek PTA endorsement to support their election. If a PTA member runs for an elected office, no endorsement by the PTA should be given or implied. The inclusion of a reference to PTA service or honors on a list of the candidate’s qualifications for office is permitted. PTA members who are likely to be recognized locally as being active PTA spokesmen or leaders, and who choose to enter the political or legislative arenas in their private, non-PTA capacities are strongly urged to avoid even the appearance that their private activities have, in any way, the endorsement, approval, or support of the PTA. PTA members who consider public office while they serve as PTA spokesmen are urged to weigh the impact their candidacy, appointment, or election could have on PTA’s tax-exempt status. Neither government regulations nor PTA policy prohibit local unit or state PTA officers and other leaders from serving on commissions or other boards active in areas of concern to the PTA, provided that such membership is not designed to support partisan interests such as those of any political party or candidate. During the course of a campaign, candidates for public office do not discuss political or legislative matters at PTA meetings unless appearing at a candidates' forum where all candidates for designated offices have been invited to speak. Individual candidates cannot be invited to address PTA meetings, even if they are PTA members, unless all other candidates are invited. This avoids the reality or appearance of bias or support of an individual candidate. There is no restriction on a member who is running for office from performing his or her regular PTA duties. ​In addition, there are general basic responsibilities of nonprofit boards that should be strongly considered by members seeking office: 1) Avoid even the appearance of a partisan political activity that might embarrass the board or the association and disclose any possible conflicts to the board in a timely fashion.  2) Maintain independence and objectivity and do what a sense of fairness, ethics, and personal integrity dictate, even though not necessarily obliged to do so by law, regulation, or custom.  3) Be mindful to keep PTA and campaign activities separate.

Communications and Social Media Policy

Social Media Administrators Local PTA Units are encouraged to have an online presence through social media and other platforms. All PTA social media posts must be respectful, truthful, discreet, and responsible. Posts must be noncommercial, nonsectarian, and nonpartisan according to PTA policies. The purpose is to increase awareness, promote participation, and increase membership in PTA. Social media accounts must include “PTA/PTSA” or “Parent Teacher Association” to designate a different entity from the school. The administrators of social media accounts must be PTA Executive Committee or Board Members with a minimum of two administrators per account. The PTA has authority over the PTA social media accounts. Local PTA Units must respectfully work with their principals who shall be informed of any online accounts. Content must follow all school and school board rules, guidelines, and policies. No school may operate social media accounts with PTA/PTSA in its name. Communication Strategy Before posting on social media, take time to consider what information will be most useful for members and what communication methods will be most efficient. Use a variety of communication methods to reach all constituents. Not all communities have equal access to technology. Be aware of cultural and language differences and translate your materials into other languages as needed. Social Media Social media platforms allow PTA to connect to members and potential members in a very interactive way. PTAs can share information, photos, and videos that can help to increase membership, communicate with current and potential members, fundraise, generate positive exposure, receive feedback, and network. Use social media to teach, remind, and recognize the members. Consistently monitor the sites. Give credit where it is due. In the process of gathering ideas and being influenced by others, remember to provide a link to the original content and use the author’s name and/or organization whenever possible. Keep content and comments professional and respectful. Be consistent. Be sure to maintain consistency across platforms with PTA brand guidelines. Be safe. Be particularly mindful of child and family privacy. Choose PTA individuals who are willing and able to provide high-quality basic social media posts, produce content, and moderate content posted by others. Disagreements are central to growing ideas, but do not attack anyone personally. Quickly address any inappropriate messages or misuse of the PTA brand. Be prepared to respond to negative or inaccurate posts if a reply is warranted; however, some negative comments do not require a response, while others should be taken seriously and addressed. Personal lives and professional work can intersect on social media. Navigating between them can be difficult. Communicate the ground rules ahead of time to ensure that all volunteers are clear about the expectations. When volunteers communicate through social media, unless authorized to speak on behalf of PTA, they are representing themselves and should use a disclaimer that what is being said is representative of their own views and opinions. If an individual is speaking on behalf of PTA, that should also be made clear.  Privacy and Permission PTA should not post photographs or images of any volunteers, families, children, etc., on any social media without having their express permission to do so. Secure a written consent form at events or at the beginning of the school year releasing the rights to use and post pictures. Do not discuss a situation involving individuals on a social media site that might identify the person. Don't post anything that would not be appropriate to present at a conference or in person. When sharing information from another source, assume that it is copyrighted and properly cite the source or provide a link to the original content.

Communications Overview

Remember, You Are Representing the PTA

  • Adhere to PTA policies regarding noncommercial, nonpartisan, and nonsectarian content.

  • Inform every family in the school about the aims and accomplishments of the PTA.

  • Encourage and highlight attendance at PTA meetings and family engagement in PTA programs.

  • Foster cooperation with the school in keeping parents informed about school functions, regulations, and procedures on child-related issues.

  • Inform the community about PTA activities and school functions.

  • Express appreciation to those participating in or contributing to programs.

  • Tackle barriers such as language and culture by translating materials.

 

Ensure Quality Communication

  • The principal is responsible for the accuracy of school information and compliance with the State Education Code and school district policy, while the PTA president is responsible for the accuracy of PTA information and compliance with PTA policies.

  • Use the PTA logo in all communications.

  • Abide by copyright laws and republish articles and art in an ethical manner.

  • Do not include photographs of or specific information (names, class, email, address, etc.) about adults or students without written permission.

  • Create visually interesting communications with careful use of photographs, bullets, quotes, and graphics.

  • Have 2-3 people other than the author proofread prior to publishing or posting.

  • Keep your message brief and to the point.

  • Arrange for translation services.

  • Date all materials.

 

Social Media Guidelines

  • All PTA social media posts must be respectful, truthful, discreet, and responsible. Posts must be noncommercial, nonsectarian, and nonpartisan according to PTA policies.

  • Have at least two administrators for each site.

  • Posts should be PTA-related such as flyers, events, grants, PTA and school deadlines, and other information valuable to PTA members.

  • Keep information current. 

  • Respond promptly to messages and comments. 

  • Cite or link the source of original content.

  • State when someone is speaking on behalf of the PTA.

  • Contact the insurance company to discuss additional coverage for Media Liability.

  • Consult Louisiana PTA for further guidance at President@LouisianaPTA.org.

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