Understanding requirements for bylaws submission
We are finding that there is incorrect information being perpetuated regarding what is required when your PTA needs to update its bylaws. We would like to focus on one aspect in this article.
Many people seem to think that if they do not change their bylaws, there is no need to vote on them or notify their membership of the resubmission. Neither is correct. Think of it this way – even if you are not changing your bylaws, they were approved by membership 3 years ago. Even for an elementary school PTA, 3 years sees a lot of change in membership rolls, so your members now are nowhere near the same as three years ago. New members bring new ideas, and these new members are entitled to see, discuss and vote on your proposed bylaws.
In the bylaws template it says the following on the Instruction page, item 4:
When submitting bylaws for review, include the entire original completed bylaw form, two photocopies (for a total of three complete sets), and the minutes from the general membership meeting when they were approved. Bylaws are required to be submitted every three years with or without revisions. The general membership must vote to approve the bylaws even if no revisions are made.
Likewise, in the bylaws themselves, it says: #ARTICLE XVI Amendments
a. These bylaws may be amended at any general membership meeting of this local PTA/PTSA by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of those members present and voting, a quorum being present, provided notice of the proposed amendment, which has been approved by the board of directors, has been given to the general membership at least thirty (30) days prior to the meeting at which the amendment is to be voted upon. When amended, articles are in effect, but shall be subject to the approval of Maryland PTA.
b. A decision to totally revise the bylaws as a substitute for the existing bylaws, requires a majority vote of those members present and voting at a general meeting of this local PTA/PTSA, or a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the board of directors. A committee to carry out this task shall be appointed by the board of directors. The requirement for adoption of a revised set of bylaws shall be the same as in the case of the amendment, including 30 days prior notification to the general membership.
Note that the 30 days prior notice is required no matter whether you are doing a full review or sending in amendments.
What does this mean? It means you need to plan ahead. You cannot wait until your due date for resubmission and then start working on your bylaws! Depending on when your general membership meetings are, and your Board of Directors meetings, and whether or not you can make quorum to take a vote, it can take anywhere from 3-6 months or more to get your bylaws passed so they can be submitted to Maryland PTA.
Oh, and by the way, do you have copies available for any member that requests one? Any paid member of your PTA is entitled to receive a copy of your current bylaws.
HOW TO SUBMIT PROPOSALS TO AMEND MDPTA BYLAWS
All proposed changes to the Maryland PTA bylaws get submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to : Bylaws Committee c/o Maryland PTA 5 Central Avenue Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061. Submittals may be made at any time. They must be received no later than January 8, 2014 for consideration at the July 2014 Maryland PTA State Convention. Any submissions received after that date will be held for the following years’ convention.
Proposed changes can be submitted by individuals, locals or by councils. It is necessary to send a copy of the Article and/or section the proposed change is being made to, exactly what the proposed change in wording is and how the Article and/or section will read with the change. The name of the person or group submitting the proposal as well as a rationale for the change should be attached. Please also include the phone number and e-mail address of a contact person in case the bylaws committee has any questions.
All submittals are considered by the bylaws committee. If they are found to not be in conflict with National PTA bylaws or illegal, they get brought forward to the Board of Directors at their Winter Board meeting. The committee presents a recommendation with each proposal. They do not, however, have the ability to decide that any proposal does not go before the board of directors if they are legally sound.
A vote is taken by the board of directors on each proposed change. This process is what determines which proposed bylaw amendments/changes move to the convention floor.
Below is an example of what a submittal should include:
Article XII State Board of Directors Section 3 Quorum
Amend by adding “, including a majority of officers,”
Proposed by: member John Smith ABC PTA Montgomery Council , email@example.com 410-555-5555
Rationale: Some local PTA's have poor attendance by officers at Board of Directors meetings. This would make it clear that the presence of officers at Board meetings is essential for the functioning of their PTA and might decrease the tendency of PTAs to elect people not willing to fully commit to their duties .The effect at the State and Council level would likely be negligible as the officers of these organizations take their responsibilities seriously.
Is Your PTA in Compliance?
In order for Local PTAs to be eligible to vote at the up in coming Maryland PTA Annual Convention, PTAs must be incompliance with the standards of affiliation by March 31st. If your PTA has not completed any standard listed below, please send in the required information by the deadline date. If you are unsure of your status, please contact the Maryland PTA office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-760-6221 or 1-800-707-7972.
From the bylaws: A local PTA in order to meet the standards of affiliation shall:
Adhere to the purposes and basic policies of the National and Maryland PTA;
Remit the national and state dues to the Maryland PTA office by dates designated;
Have bylaws approved every three (3) years according to the procedures of Maryland PTA;
Have a minimum of twenty-five (25) members;
Shall submit the names and contact information including phone number, address and email address of all elected officers to the Maryland PTA office within two (2) weeks of election;
Remit bonding, liability and directors and officers insurance premiums by the date designated;
Have an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on file with the Maryland PTA;
Maintain its status as a corporation, have as required by MD Non-Profit law, at a minimum a president, secretary and treasurer;
Files the appropriate tax forms, by the required dates, with the IRS and submits a copy to the Maryland PTA office within 30 (thirty) days of filing.
Each local PTA shall submit a copy of its annual financial review, to Maryland PTA within one hundred twenty (120) days following the end of the local’s fiscal year.
Files all appropriate state forms with the appropriate state authorities by the required date and submit a copy to the Maryland PTA office within 30 days of filing;
Maryland PTA Bylaws - Can be downloaded in the Members Only section located at the bottom of the Membership page under the membership tab.
Local Bylaws - A working draft template can be downloaded in the Members Only section at the bottom of the Membership page under the Membership tab.
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