One of the most important functions of the PTA is to provide information to its members about legislation and activities related to the eduction of their children. To make a difference, PTA must continually advocate for the education, health and safety of our children. The definition of "advocacy" is to "urge action". Per the California State PTA:
üPTA is nonpartisan and never endorses or opposes a candidate for public office.
üPTA does take positions on issues that affect children and youth.
To maintain the PTA tax exempt 501 3(C) status however, it is critical that Units carry out their advocacy activities within the guidelines established by the National and State PTA as well as those set forth by our local school district.
PTA participates in the legislative process by encouraging citizens to vote, by providing information and by advocating for the PTA positions. PTAs must recognize the distinction between information pieces and advocacy pieces to insure the guidelines are followed:
| Advocacy urges action and is persuasive
. Advocacy ("Vote YES on Measure D!") may be handed out at PTA meetings as long as a facilities use permit has been obtained, distributed on the sidewalk (not on school property), included on a PTA/PTSA website or PTA/PTSA List Serve or mailed home if it is not printed by the CUSD Print Shop. It must not
be sent home directly with children. SAMPLE: "The California State PTA urges you to vote NO on Proposition 76" is considered advocacy
and may not
be sent home with children.
| Information is evenhanded, dispassionate and factual
and may be distributed in the above listed ways, may be printed at the CUSD Print Shop and also may be sent home with children. Anything
sent home with the children must be approved by the school principal.
SAMPLE: "The California State PTA has taken a position opposing Proposition 76" is a piece of information that can be reported without being advocacy.
General Information about Communication related to Advocacy
What Unit PTAs can communicate to their members through their stand alone website, unit supported Constant Contact OR though the CUSD communication systems such as ListServe:
- PTA and CUSD can encourage voter registration and voting in a nonpartisan manner. The paragraph following is fine for PTAs to communicate through a stand alone website or through CUSD:
"The general election is November 3, 2020. Every citizen that is 18 years old by November 3, 2020 can register to vote. Everyone can register to vote online by going to https://www.ocvote.com/registration/register-to-vote The last day to register to vote is October 19, 2020. For more information about the election and how to vote please visit ocvote.com. Ballots will be sent out on October 5, 2020. You can turn in your paper ballot starting that date. Make sure to sign your ballot. Early in person voting will begin on October 30, 2020. The PTA strongly encourages our members to vote in all elections and in particular this November 3, 2020, our general election."
- If PTA communicates with members using the districts or schools communication (school messenger), PTA may not endorse any proposition or position within their message as it can appear that the district is supporting it.
What PTAs can communicate only through an independent communication system (not CUSD) and other guidelines:
- If a PTA has an independent communication system with their members, such as Constant Contact or a stand alone website, that PTA can support Props 15 & 16 and encourage members to vote FOR them. You do not have to do this. You can remain neutral or not write about them, but since PTA has taken a stand, you cannot use PTA to speak AGAINST these props.
- PTAs are allowed to support positions and propositions that the PTA membership has voted to support. In the upcoming 2020 election, that includes Propositions 15 & 16 (split roll tax and affirmative action). State PTA must follow a process of research and membership approvals before supporting propositions.
- PTAs are not allowed to support candidates.
- CUSD is also not allowed to support political positions, which includes candidates and propositions.
The following links provide further information for our Units on this issue from Fourth District PTA and the California State PTA.