Thursday, January 16, 2014

PTA: The changing of the guard.

I, in all of my craziness, agreed to be PTA president two years ago.  I have 6 more months of presidency before I hand it off to another individual.

I'm really quite okay with that.

Two board members have taken on double board responsibilities this year.  Our recording secretary has also taken care of corresponding secretary duties.  Though it is unadvertised, I have been doing the responsibilities of the 2nd VP, which is creating, printing and distributing the monthly newsletter. Just the other night, I spent 5 hours typesetting it.

Obviously, I've also been doing the president gig, but also membership chair, co-chair of Birthday Book Club, co-chair of Scholastic Book Fairs, Red Ribbon Week chair, 100 Book Challenge chair, Garden Fair chair and the chair of the non-perishable food drive that benefits the area food bank that benefits many of our northeast Ohio food pantries.  I've helped with Santa Shop.  I've helped with 5th grade concessions during Santa Shop despite not having a 5th grader.

My reasoning for giving that laundry list is not to get some gold pin, but to illustrate that at some point, you must have "the birth of no."  You see someone vacating, no one steps up and you think, "Gee, that won't take very long."  It always takes longer than you thought.  You say yes to a bunch of little things and in the end, your head is spinning and you don't know which end is up.

We have what appears to be a mass exodus from our PTA board.  I just printed and distributed the latest edition of our school newsletter.  I just can't wait to see the reaction when people find out that 6 of 8 positions are open.  I did have a board member tell me last night that one of our PTA members asked why we were leaving the positions.  "Well, most of us have children that are on the edge of aging out."  "So."  Excuse me?

We have advertised that the board members are happy to be advisors to those taking the vacancies.  We've also said that we are having chair shadowing positions next year so that we may be able to efficiently hand over the PTA to a new group of volunteers.  We also have current board members that are looking at the possibility of shuffling on to beefier positions, while vacating the positions that are easier to get green members to take.

We are not doing a service to the PTA if we don't have a progressive hand-off.  Our PTA is 260+ members (though probably only 35-40 are truly regularly "active") for a school of 530+ kids.  We have 60+ staff members.  We have a lot of people who depend upon us to carry out what we've promised and even if that is just having Popcorn Fridays, it is something that we have obligated ourselves to and we will carry that out.

I think that the PTA is a grand organization.  At least in my experience at K's school, we really try to adhere to the Mission of the PTA:
To support and speak on behalf of children and youth in the schools, in the community and before governmental bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children.  To assist parents in developing the skills they need to raise and protect their children.  To encourage parent and public involvement in the public schools of this nation.  
You'll always fall into the 80/20 rule no matter where a volunteer organization is concerned.  (80% of the work is done by 20% of the people.)  No matter what you do and no matter how you handle it, I've come to the conclusion that there will always, ALWAYS be someone dissatisfied.  Usually, the ones who feel that their child has been slighted are the very same individuals I haven't seen or heard from all year other than to complain.  Good times.

I pray that people will come forward.  They have to.  Many of us are burned out from being on board for so many years.  We have worked hard on avoiding the notion of (P)arents (T)o (A)void.  I just hope that people see that.

1 comment:

ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

I hope people come forward to fill those positions. It's hard to find people who want to volunteer their time. I truly understand the 80/20 rule. That's how it was at our old school. Unfortunately at the new school, I just can't do much due to having the Little Monkey. I have enough on my plate.
BUT I'm sure that once he hits school age, I'll be back in the saddle.