Georgia PTA - Every Child One Voice
Georgia PTA - Every Child One Voice - Message From The Board
News Updates From the Georgia PTA Board of Directors
to its Local Units, Councils and Districts
As a result of the disciplinary action that took place at the Georgia PTA Board of Directors’ January 27-28, 2017 Winter meeting and some unfavorable events that ensued thereafter, a few questions have arisen. We want to allay any concerns that you may have and assure you that we are steadfast in our resolve to stand on the truth based upon facts, as opposed to hearsay.
National PTA – We can assure you that we are continuing to work closely with the National PTA to ensure that they have accurate information based upon facts. The Georgia PTA Board of Directors is responsible for submitting its governance documents to the National PTA. The National PTA graciously provides all state PTAs with National Service Representatives (“NSRs”). It is National PTA’s goal to ensure that all state PTAs are in compliance with the Standards of Affiliation (“SOA”). All state PTAs are required to submit their governance documents to designated NSRs on an annual basis. We are all extremely proud to report that Georgia PTA has a rich history of submitting its governance documents to assigned NSRs, and we have always met the deadline set. This 2015-17 administration is no exception, and documentation due for 2016-17 was submitted to National PTA several months ago.
Adherence to Georgia PTA Board of Directors’ Governance Documents – The collective body of the 2015-17 Georgia PTA Board of Directors have acted in good faith and adhered to its current bylaws and policies with regard to disciplinary action and decisions that were made.
Georgia PTA’s Bylaws and Policies and Procedures – The 2015-17 Georgia PTA Board of Directors have not arbitrarily made changes to its Bylaws or its Policies and Procedures designed to disallow elected leaders to serve their full term. The rules contained in our Bylaws regarding discipline and the guidelines in the Policies and Procedures have been in existence for several years, even prior to the past two Georgia PTA administrations. Noteworthy too is the fact that each state level administration has a bylaws chair and a bylaws committee that reviews our policies. Adherence to our governance documents is a responsibility that we take seriously.
False Allegations re: Financial Improprieties – The accusations that some have chosen to publicize over the past few months regarding financial improprieties within our Board are unequivocally baseless, unsubstantiated, and totally inaccurate. The fact is that there has been no financial oversight and that there is nothing to substantiate that the 2015-17 Board has not been financially accountable. The fraud cases that were brought to Georgia PTA’s attention did not in any way involve wrongdoing on the part of any member of our Board. Instead, these cases pertain to reported financial mishandling of PTA funds in local unit PTAs that were brought to us by these units for assistance. Georgia PTA has a highly-qualified and reputable C.P.A. firm that have handled our annual audits over the course of many years, but neither the 2013-15 audits, nor the one for 2015-16 are reflective of financial mishandling of funds. In fact, it was specifically noted by the auditor that it was impressive that for one of these audits, an extremely high percentage of the funding was spent on programs and services.
Funding of Georgia PTA Board of Directors to Attend 2017 National PTA Convention – The Board of Directors reached a unanimous decision to cancel the contract with the Hyatt Hotel for our 2017 CLT. We discovered that if we had carried out the terms of the contract, Georgia PTA would have been subjected to a financially burdensome obligation. As you all now know, this cancellation cost us a significant amount of money. Each member of board has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the assets of the Association. Therefore, the Board of Directors met and also decided to reduce the number of individuals that will be funded to attend the 2017 NPTA Convention to five (5).
Timing of Allegations Brought Against Georgia PTA – If the allegations that have been represented by a select few individuals were factual, the million dollar question is why were they not brought until immediately after Georgia PTA’s January 27-28, 2017 Winter Board of Directors’ meeting? Due to harsh nature of allegations that were launched, this question is certainly a reasonable one. Why were these accusations not made before that time? The burden of proof is on the part of the complainant in instances of this magnitude; one cannot simply make these type allegations randomly without merit.
Georgia PTA Board Resignations (Post January 27-28, 2017) – There were very few Board member resignations after the January 27-28, 2017 Winter Board meeting. In fact, the majority of the resignations were not elected Board members but were instead individuals appointed by the state president. The overwhelming majority have continued to do the work of the Association, without letup. However, some of the challenging situations that have created problems financially for the current Board members were inherited by unfavorable and adverse actions that had already taken place way before the January 27-28 Board meeting. A primary example is the problematic matter that surfaced with regard to the previous president’s mishandling of venue selection process for our 2017 Convention Leadership Training (“CLT”). Unfortunately, this has created a significant amount of work, not to mention the negotiation process involved with attempting to reduce the cost of the contract cancellation
Georgia PTA Parliamentarian – We are pleased to have retained the services of a highly qualified and knowledgeable parliamentarian (former president of the National Parliamentarian Association) to assist us.
2017 Convention Leadership Training (“CLT”) – Legitimate questions and concerns have been raised by some of our local units, councils and districts regarding our annual Convention Leadership Training (“CLT”). There are some significant factors directly related to the delay in getting CLT information out as has customarily been done. The Board of Directors have met, and we have decided to share information with you regarding significant challenges that we have been faced with regarding CLT venue and date. Our Bylaws and our Policies and Procedure state that CLT venues must be selected by the Board of Directors. This selection and actual execution of the contracts for both the 2016 and 2017 CLTs had already been made before it had ever been brought to the Board of Directors. After directly communicating with the selected 2017 hotel venue after our January 27, 2017 Winter Board meeting, we determined that the contract was exorbitant in the scope of pricing (rooms, foods, parking, etc.) We had a fiduciary duty to make an earnest attempt to cancel out of this financially burdensome contract. Therefore, we proceeded to engage in communications with the hotel to cancel this contract while at the same time, searching for an alternate location that would not result in a financial burden to the Association. We successfully negotiated a reduction in the cancellation fee, but it still cost Georgia PTA an unexpected $20,000. Although this was a very tedious, painstaking and time-consuming process, we were pleased with the results from our efforts in this regard.
Amidst all the heavy scrutiny and accusations that our current Board was at fault for the delay in releasing CLT information, we nonetheless remained laser focused on seeing this through. Pursuant to the mandate specified in the Georgia PTA Bylaws and our Policies and Procedures, the Board of Directors voted on the venue and date for our annual convention. We are overly excited to report that our 2017 CLT will take place on August 4-5, 2017 at the beautiful Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. The fees associated with hosting our CLT at this venue are significantly less than the downtown Hyatt. We have also identified our CLT Co-Chairs, as well as our Key Team Chairs, for this event.
National PTA Eligibility for Georgia PTA Reflections Winners – Our Reflections ceremony in March 2017 was a beautiful occasion with a packed house. The enormous amount of effort poured into our Reflections Reception programming both before and during this magnificent affair, as well as the post-event work, was remarkable. We all recognize that the behind-the-scenes work is significant in scope. One of the hardest working members of our Board of Directors is Reflections Chair, Janice Gurley. She is grateful to all of the PTA leaders from various councils that extended invitations for her to attend their Reflections celebrations in their respective areas over the past few months. Janice has indeed proven to be a blessing for our Association. In addition to the multitudinous tasks that she was responsible for, she also successfully submitted entries to the National PTA in a timely manner. Our children’s’ winning artwork was therefore accepted and judged. This was indeed GOOD news. The even GREATER news, however, came when we recently learned that Georgia PTA has National PTA level winners! Janice has already released the names to all of you in an e-blast. Please join us in congratulating every child that participated in this program – they are all winners, and we are very proud of them.
National Schools of Excellence Program – Georgia PTA is eligible to participate in National PTA’s Schools of Excellence Program. Our Family Engagement Chair, Kym Evans, is among the many individuals that continues to serve on our Board of Directors. Kym has remained steadfast in her resolve to ensure that the PTA leaders are well informed regarding various deadlines and updates associated with this amazing program.
Georgia PTA Membership – We are happy to report that PTA membership continues to be submitted on a monthly basis by local units from around the state.
PTA Dissolutions – Since our winter Board meeting in January 2017, there has only been one (1) PTA dissolution.
Scholarships For the Kids! – We lost our Scholarship Specialist soon after the January 27-28 Board meeting. However, another one of our “bright spots” among our Board members, a dedicated, child-focused volunteer leader, Sophronia Qualls (Georgia PTA Youth Services Chair), stepped right up to fill this gap. Sophronia gets really excited about the opportunity to make a lot of noise regarding what we are doing for kids! A journal was just created last week entitled, “For the Kids,” which outlines a very lengthy list of efforts and initiatives by Georgia PTA For the Kids. We have received right at seventy (70) scholarship applications from seniors across Georgia. Due to the tireless work of her Committee, the scholarship selection process has been completed.
Georgia PTA Spring District Conferences – Spring is a busy time for the PTA districts around the state. We are pleased to report that many of our district conferences have already taken place. We have two more districts gearing up for their conferences that are scheduled to take place soon. In line with the Resource Guide, our President, Tyler Barr, has availed himself of the opportunity to share his vision for the upcoming 2017-19 administration with local unit and council leaders, as well as school administrators, at these district conferences.
Conclusion
In sum, advocating for children continues to be the primary focus of the Georgia PTA Board of Directors. We are thankful to the many Georgia PTA leaders from across our districts that strongly supported PTA Day at the Capitol. We were awarded a CCRI grant from the National PTA College and Career Readiness Initiative. The grant purpose is to assist us with engaging parent’s voices in advocating for the implementation of ESSA including advancing college and career readiness and aligned assessments. It will also help to educate and train PTA leaders, members and parents about College and Career Readiness/ESSA and effective advocacy skills. Also in the month of March, several of our Board members attended the National PTA Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. This event was very special for Georgia PTA because out of all the state PTAs around the country, we won the highly-coveted national legislative award presented to only one state for its outstanding legislative efforts. This amazing accomplishment would not have been possible without the collaboration of our state, local, council and district levels of PTA.
We are working together to persistently address some of the most pervasive educational challenges in our state and are steadfast in our devotion to the educational successes of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. Our sincere desire is for “every” child to successfully fulfill his/her potential. Working together, our “voice” for “every” child is even stronger. With that said, we feel confident that you will continue to display unparalleled, genuine support for Georgia PTA.
Yours in service,
2015-17 Georgia PTA Board of Directors