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. If you have any questions, email LAPTA President, Kayla Pagel for further clarification.
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.
If you have a question or concern that needs clarification, email LAPTA President, Kayla Pagel.
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:
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.
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.
Be mindful to keep PTA and campaign activities separate.