Bylaws are the fundamental governing rules of a PTA. The bylaws of a PTA contain basic rules relating to the association as an organization in order to conduct the unit's business and govern its affairs. These bylaws define the primary characteristics of the organization, prescribe how the association functions, and include all rules that the association considers important to the rights and responsibilities of the membership, whether present or absent from the assembly. The provisions contained in the bylaws determine the amount of control the members and assembly are to retain and the powers and limitations of powers to be allowed officers, boards and committees. The bylaws of an organization are always superior to and supersede the procedures and parliamentary authority of the entity. One always looks first in local unit and council PTA bylaws for a ruling on any question, then to procedures, and finally in Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised.
Since local PTAs are organized and chartered by Georgia PTA and are units of the National PTA, certain articles are included in every local association's bylaws. These articles include Name, Articles of Organization, Purpose, Basic Policies, Relationship with National and Georgia PTA, Members and Dues, Officers and Their Election, Duties of Officers, Meetings, Board of Directors, Standing and Special Committees, Council Membership, Fiscal Year, Parliamentary Authority and Amendments. Also, certain sections within articles are included in all local associations' bylaws.
Approval of Bylaws
Once a local unit has been organized and voted on bylaws, the District Director or State representative will take two (2) copies of the bylaws to the state office to be approved by the Georgia PTA Bylaws Chairperson. A copy will be returned to the local unit for their permanent files. It also is important to give a copy to all officers and board members, as well as have a permanent copy on record for all members to read. It is highly recommended that each board member become familiar with the bylaws document and refer to them regularly.
Amending the Bylaws
When a change to the bylaws is desired, members should follow the procedure outlined in the bylaws for making amendments. Refer to Article XVIII: Amendments, Section 1.
Bylaws may be amended at any regular general membership meeting by a two-thirds vote of those present and voting, a quorum being present and notice of the proposed amendments has been provided to the membership thirty (30) days prior to the meeting. The amendment becomes effective upon receipt of approval from Georgia PTA.
When giving notice that an amendment will be proposed, you should word the notice formally: For example: To "Amend Article III, Section 4, Line 2 Dues, by striking out $2.00 and inserting $3.00." Include a brief explanation as to the reason for the proposed change.
Each amendment to the bylaws needs to be submitted to the state office on a separate form. Send two (2) copies of each amendment that you want to be approved to the state office. Upon approval, the original will be attached to the bylaws at the state office and a copy will be returned to the local unit.
Duties of the Bylaws Chair
The Bylaws Chair should:
- Be informed regarding local, state and National PTA bylaws.
- Distribute copies of the bylaws to all board members and other PTA members upon request.
- File one copy of the bylaws with the President, one with the principal, and the approved copy in the secretary's permanent minute book for safekeeping and quick reference.
- Review the local unit bylaws every year and include any automatic changes that may have occurred in state and national bylaws.
- Amendments to local unit bylaws require: (1) 30 days’ notice to the membership of the specified change, and (2) approval by a 2/3 vote of the members at a general meeting.
- One copy of each bylaws amendment is to be forwarded to the Georgia PTA for approval. Bylaws become effective upon receipt of an approved stamped copy from Georgia PTA.
- Study and discuss bylaws at board meetings or in study groups. Familiarize members with their specific duties as outlined in the bylaws.
- A copy of the bylaws should be a part of the procedure book for each officer and committee chairperson.
What do we do if our president resigns?
Fill the vacancy according to your local unit bylaws, Article VI, Section 6.
If a quorum was not present at a general meeting and we voted on officers, is that a legal election?
No. If a quorum is not present, then no business is to be conducted. If the presiding officer ignores the fact, any member should call attention to the lack of a quorum before any business or elections take place. If a quorum is not present at any meeting required in the bylaws such as election of nominating committee or officers, you must fix the time for an adjourned meeting. An adjourned meeting may be held any time prior to the next regular meeting.
What's the difference between an amendment and a revision?
Amendments are changes made to bylaws. A revision is the substitution of an entirely new set of bylaws. A revision is more complicated because your old bylaws are opened up for changes as well as the new revised bylaws. A vote has to be taken on which set of bylaws the unit wishes to adopt. Amendments are much easier to deal with even if there are a significant number of them.
How often does our local unit need to send in our bylaws?
Local units operate under bylaws that have been approved by Georgia PTA. Mandatory amendments adopted by the National or Georgia PTAs are automatically part of your local unit's bylaws. If your local unit makes a change at the local level, your bylaws must be submitted to Georgia PTA for approval.