Monday, January 20, 2014

Rowcliffe's ironic email to PTA

So, Sandra Rowcliffe, president of the Knox County Council PTA, picked up a nominating petition to run for office – specifically the 6th District school board seat.

Now, picking up a petition doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actually going to run. (You have to get the signatures and turn it in to the Election Commission to get on the ballot.)

But, roughly a week later she sends an email to PTA members, telling them not to get all political. 

Maybe I’m the only one who sees the irony in this. You know: Do as I say, not as I do.

Naw, I doubt it.

Here’s the email (Subject: protocols to follow):

Hello Knox County Principals and Local Unit PTA Leaders-

Because we find ourselves in what seems to be a fairly active political climate in Knox County, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you all of several protocols to be followed with regard to elections, candidate debates, and legislative positions.  These are NOT rules and regulations enforced through PTA but rather through the IRS if an organization is considered a 501(c)3 not-for-profit group. 

Therefore, Principals, I would ask that if your parent group is a PTO as opposed to a PTA that you inform them as well if they are, in fact, a 501(c)3.

Representing PTA
As a PTA leader, you represent PTA wherever you go.  It does not matter where you are - on Facebook, the grocery store, your church or your school - people look at you and think “PTA.”

It is also important that you know when you can publicly speak for PTA and when you may not. Only the president of a PTA or the Board/Executive Committee may authorize you to speak for PTA. No one else has that authority. This is true for a local unit, council, district, state or the National PTA. If you are contacted by any media sources or outlets regarding statewide issues, you should refer that person to the state PTA President or executive board. Likewise, if you are contacted about county issues, you should refer that person to the county PTA President.  It is important that you only make statements that represent Board approved PTA position statements when representing your local unit PTA.

PTA is a non-commercial, non-sectarian and non-partisan organization. Because PTAs are 501(c)3 tax-exempt organizations, the IRS rules regulating some types of legislative activities of non-profit organizations must be followed.

Certain political activities are absolutely prohibited: supporting or opposing political parties or candidates for federal, state, or local public office. PTA may only engage in non-partisan, issue-oriented advocacy. PTA members are encouraged to be informed voters. Likewise, PTA units are encouraged to take an active role in informing both their members and community members about pertinent educational issues.

In an effort to maintain a non-partisan effort, it is strongly encouraged that all candidates be invited and allowed equal time to address the public and answer questions when legislative forums and candidate debates are hosted.

PTAs must be careful not to be used by other individuals, groups or organizations to promote non-PTA interests. In voter surveys, PTA is widely respected for its positions on children’s issues.

Thank you for your time, and please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. 

Kindest regards,

Sandra Rowcliffe, President
Knox County Council PTA


Jennifer said...

"As a PTA leader, you represent PTA wherever you go. It does not matter where you are - on Facebook, the grocery store, your church or your school - people look at you and think “PTA.”"

Curious. She is listed as having to be in court this week, is she representing PTA there too?

Mike Donila said...

Oh no, she's in court for a while 'nother reason.