First Gwinnett and now Cobb: No dues to Georgia PTA until ‘questionable practices’ addressed

National PTA intends to monitor Friday’s Georgia PTA election, which is likely to be tense.

Following the example of the Gwinnett County Public Schools, Cobb is advising its local school-based PTAs to withhold dues to the state organization over allegations of misconduct and concerns over a pivotal election Friday morning to choose new leaders.

The National PTA intends to observe the election process, expressing concerns in a letter last week that the nomination process was “not complete nor transparent.”

The election culminates a tumultuous year that began with the ouster of a popular state PTA president and her supporters by a controlling faction that, in response to mounting criticism, has adopted a bunker mentality and contends it’s done nothing wrong. (Yes, this is the PTA but it’s turned into a street fight.)

Despite National representatives being on hand in Atlanta, National PTA spokesman Heidi May Wilson said, “They will not be interceding or forcing nominations from the floor. National PTA does not have the authority to do this. National PTA is limited by our Bylaws and the Standards of Affiliation that we have with each state. Only the delegates of Georgia PTA have the ability to make change. ”

I am told the state PTA board intends to hold fast to its ruling that floor candidates — who consider themselves a reform slate — did not qualify and thus cannot be considered. So, the scene at the PTA convention Friday will likely be contentious.

Here is the letter from Cobb’s school chief to Georgia PTA President Tyler Barr:

Dear President Barr:

The Cobb County School District has been a strong supporter of PTA for many years. We have enjoyed tremendous success over the years working with thousands of volunteer parents who have given so much of their time, energy, creativity, and resources to support our school communities.

Unfortunately, the troubling state of Georgia PTA leadership and operations during recent months has led to parents, teachers, and officials of the Cobb County School District raising concerns about our school district’s association with Georgia PTA.

I am particularly troubled by the National PTA’s July 27th letter to you in which President Accomando expressed deep concerns about Georgia PTA’s nomination and election process and reported that members of Georgia PTA have reached out to the National PTA to call into question “Georgia PTA’s processes, intent, transparency and credibility.” President Accomando’s letter continued,

The National PTA Board of Directors is closely watching Georgia PTA’s actions and the harm being done to the PTA brand. Lack of action by the Georgia PTA board to open the election process and alleviate members’ concerns will be considered an affront to National PTA’s members who reside in Georgia, a demonstrable lack of care by the Georgia PTA for the PTA brand and a willful disregard for the reputation of PTA at all levels. The National PTA Board of Directors cannot allow the brand to be further tarnished and will take appropriate action.

Just as the National PTA cannot allow its reputation and brand to be tarnished by the operations of Georgia PTA, neither can the Cobb County School District allow its reputation and brand to be tarnished by an unconditional association with Georgia PTA. Moreover, we take seriously our obligation to protect our schools and families from questionable practices.

As a result of the ongoing and substantial concerns surrounding this matter of significant public interest, I believe our school district’s local PTAs should consider temporarily withholding payment of membership dues to the Georgia PTA until such time as these concerns have been appropriately addressed. Because we believe in the value of PTAs, our schools will continue to encourage parents and teachers to participate in PTA activities until further notice. Nevertheless, if our concerns and the concerns of the National PTA are not appropriately addressed, the Cobb County School District may reconsider its association with Georgia PTA.

I am encouraged by the efforts of the National PTA to support immediate improvement of Georgia PTA’s operations and leadership. I encourage you and the rest of the current leadership at Georgia PTA to follow the guidance provided by the National PTA to ensure the August 4th election process is free from conflicts of interest and open to qualified individuals who have expressed an intent to run. I will be closely following the election process and your compliance with the National PTA’s guidance. It is my hope that Georgia PTA operations will turn around immediately so that we can all once again be proud of our association with Georgia PTA.

Regards, Chris Ragsdale Superintendent

Reader Comments 0

42 comments
bicami
bicami

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dsw2contributor
dsw2contributor

Maureen, sorry to change the subject, but a lot of Dekalb schools buses and employees in their personal vehicles are currently stuck in a traffic jam trying to get into Duluth's Energy Center. A lot of teachers won't be arriving in time for the 9:30 start of "Out of Steam Green's" Convocation.


You'll be able to see the traffic jam yourself if you go to the Georgia Navigator website and pull up the traffic camera named :"SUGARLOAF PKWY: E of GWINNETT ARENA ENT (mile 2.7)".

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@dsw2contributor I posted a photo of the traffic and some info on the traffic issues on AJC Get Schooled Facebook. 

altAJC2
altAJC2

If this Sturm und Drang leads to more PTOs rather than PTA groups, then so much the better. Education will benefit.

Astropig
Astropig

Georgia PTA board: 


If you really believe that you are doing what is right "for the children",why are you putting the state organization through all of this? Why can't you,if for no other reason than to end the infighting,do the right thing and resign? Is having this little smidgen of power and control really worth this to you? Are you really this selfish,both as a group and individually? 


It's time for you to go.Do the right thing,at long last,and just go.

Kathleen White Corrao
Kathleen White Corrao

Troubling that one needs to pay for the conference in order to vote. Voting numbers per school are determined by memberships, not by who can pay for a conference. Hmmm....

Patty McSweeney Yohn
Patty McSweeney Yohn

Just need a card to vote - you can be a non voting delegate without a card.

Nichelle Young
Nichelle Young

How is the conference going to be paid for if they don't charge?

Heather Curtis Shaw
Heather Curtis Shaw

I wonder if the media can be present at CLT or only registered attendees? It would be nice to have the media present for an accurate unbiased account of the General Sessions. That way the he said/she said aspect is mute.

Abby Friedman Shiffman
Abby Friedman Shiffman

Janice West that may be difficult... there is usually a rule about no recording devices

Rhonda Powell-Woodard
Rhonda Powell-Woodard

The small control faction wouldn't want everyone to see their claws. Wipe the slate clean including the existing President that claims transparency and input educated volunteers that wasn't to do these jobs because of our children.

Janna Frankel Giles
Janna Frankel Giles

Yep. Kinda sad to be missing it. Wish cherokee could've banded together as a county and done the same

Erika Strom Brasco
Erika Strom Brasco

We have to hold steady and try our best. Tomorrow will prove interesting.

Margaret Price Ciccarelli
Margaret Price Ciccarelli

Why GAPTA is bent on destruction, I still don't understand, despite following this saga from the beginning. If you're worth your salt GAPTA, you're monitoring this thread. There is still time to do better.

AJC  Get Schooled
AJC Get Schooled

The state board members believe they are wrongly being persecuted. This has become an us vs. them thing with no easy resolution in sight.

Molly Marshburn Bell
Molly Marshburn Bell

They need to do the right thing but I am afraid that they have no clue what that is. This is serious and they have no right to block other people from running who are more then qualified. I think they are scared that they will get beat and, when it goes into new hands, their deceit will be exposed. Why else would you come up with any reason to block people from running!!

Patty McSweeney Yohn
Patty McSweeney Yohn

AJC Get Schooled their excuse is that they're being persecuted but yet they refuse to answer members questions, they refuse to comply with National, they refuse to allow transparent elections. These are all bad choices for a group with nothing to hide. May the members stand together and fight back against this craziness.

Diane Jacobi
Diane Jacobi

If they truly were thinking about the children, then they would voluntarily resign, so the focus could shift back to the mission of the organization.

Amy Clark Carter
Amy Clark Carter

Patty McSweeney Yohn ---They also block members from their GA PTA FB page for questioning some of the decisions they've made since January.

Katrina Bishop
Katrina Bishop

I don't understand how a volunteer position could be "this" valuable to anyone. Especially at the risk of permanent removal and possible banishment. When the oversight organization steps in there is something wrong! The current state board folks have lost sight of their mission.

Donna Gregory Savas
Donna Gregory Savas

Oh, boo hoo! \U0001f62d They need to consider the children and do what's right and stop making it about themselves! Hopefully local units not being supported by their counties will follow suit & send the minimum 25 members in or organize a PTO. It's a very sad thing to see the successful organization (that you worked so hard to promote) fold, but I agree with the choice our high school made, given the circumstances!

Kyla Oswald Cromer
Kyla Oswald Cromer

National PTA needs to step in and fix this mess. The support the local units provide the schools is too valuable to lose.

Abby Friedman Shiffman
Abby Friedman Shiffman

THeir hands are tied with what they can and can't do... probably have to wait until end of probationary period in September

Kyla Oswald Cromer
Kyla Oswald Cromer

Wishing we'd get it resolved sooner than that, like prior to sending August dues.

Abby Friedman Shiffman
Abby Friedman Shiffman

Kyla Oswald Cromer don't send your dues... you can hold off on that... send in your minimum 25 in your bylaws but hold on until we can have trust in a Board...there is nothing that mandates they must be turned in fully on time....hang on just like the Cobb and Gwinnett Superintendents suggested... it is the membership's money and you can protect it until this gets straightened out... then you can send in the state and National portions

Amanda Malone
Amanda Malone

Kyla Oswald Cromer has Cherokee County ever considered having PTOs instead of PTA and as a board member, do you think Cherokee will follow Gwinnett's stance regarding PTA this year?

Nichelle Young
Nichelle Young

Abby Friedman Shiffman, if you do that... then be sure to send in your council dues at least.