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Are the PTA/PTO 'Booster Groups'?

The B-W School Board can't agree on revisions to a school facilities use policy.

Are Baldwin-Whitehall's PTA and PTO "booster groups"?

The question of whether or not those parent-teacher groups qualify as such has contributed to a disagreement among B-W School Board members regarding how much certain groups should be charged to use district facilities and services.

School board member Nancy Lee Crowder, with substantial PTA/PTO experience, doesn't see those parent-teacher groups as "boosters," and at Wednesday night's board meeting, she struck down a motion that would classify them that way, arguing that it would do harm to those groups.

The school board has been debating revisions to the B-W School District's Policy 707, which details what kinds of groups can use district facilities and what costs those groups will have to cover, if any at all.

The policy revisions put in front of the board by district administration have not been made available to the public, but at Wednesday's board meeting, it was clear that Crowder was not happy with the parent-teacher groups having to cover more expenses than they've been used to covering.

"We sit here and we're preaching about parent involvement," Crowder said. "This is a slap in the face of any parent that is involved."

Crowder motioned to table the policy revisions and was supported, 5-3, by fellow board members Tracy Macek, Larry Pantuso, George L. Pry and Nancy Sciulli DiNardo. (John B. Schmotzer, Kevin J. Fischer and Diana Kazour voted against tabling, and Ray Rosing was absent.)

B-W Superintendent Dr. Randal A. Lutz explained that the Policy 707 revisions, as proposed, would not charge booster groups, of which he included the PTA and PTO, to use district facilities, but he said that those groups would have to cover their costs to the district, such as any district goods used—like food or drinks—or any district services used—like a custodian or a security officer.

Schmotzer explained later, "We are not asking the boosters—the PTO, the PTA—to pay for the facility. We're just asking them to cover cost if additional personnel is required—if security is required, if an extra janitor needs to be brought in.

"It's clear, in my mind, that these groups should pay expenses. Why should taxpayers pay for them?"

But Crowder said, "I think that the benefit (of PTA/PTO functions) far outweighs the minimal cost (to taxpayers) for these events that they raise the money for.

"You have the teachers that are OK to dance and donate their money to Make-A-Wish, where it goes out of the district, but you are going to charge parents to come in and fundraise to put the money back into the classroom. Doesn't make any sense to me."

Sciulli DiNardo, who seconded Crowder's tabling motion, said that she also disagrees with the PTA and PTO being classified as boosters, or "school support groups," and would rather see them be classified as "school groups," which don't have to cover as much cost as boosters.

Added Crowder, "In 'PTA' and 'PTO,' the 'T' is for 'teachers.' Those groups do not function without those teachers. Anything that is done in the classroom, whenever I was in any of these groups, had to be related somewhat to the educational day. So, there's nothing that these groups are doing that is not educational, in my mind."

Read through other Baldwin-Whitehall School Board items here.

And check back with the Baldwin-Whitehall Patch on Thursday for more news from Wednesday night's school board meeting.

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cc November 16, 2012 at 09:50 AM
Another bad move of the district.
NB November 16, 2012 at 01:34 PM
What was the actual motion that was recommended by the superintendent?
Robert Edward Healy, III November 16, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Revisions to Policy 707 that, among other things, would classify the PTA/PTO as "school support groups" rather than "school groups."
Robert Edward Healy, III November 20, 2012 at 04:50 PM
As a point of clarification, the PTO and PTA are CURRENTLY classified as "school support groups." What some board members are actually arguing for is a change in classification that would move the PTO and PTA into a "school group" category rather than "school support group." Administration's recommendation is to keep the PTO and PTA as "school support groups" but to change what those support groups are responsible for paying for.

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