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National Parent Teacher Association

PTA logoVision

Making every child's potential a reality.


“To make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.”


  • To promote the welfare of children and youth in home, school, places of worship, and throughout the community;
  • To raise the standards of home life;
  • To secure adequate laws that further the education, physical and mental health, welfare, and safety of children and youth;
  • To promote the collaboration and engagement of families and educators in the education of children and youth;
  • To engage the public in united efforts to secure the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being of all children and youth; and
  • To advocate for fiscal responsibility regarding public tax dollars in public education funding.


  • Collaboration: We work in partnership with a wide array of individuals and organizations to accomplish our agreed-upon goals.
  • Commitment: We are dedicated to promoting children’s health, well-being, and educational success through strong parent, family, and community involvement.
  • Accountability: We acknowledge our obligations. We deliver on our promises.
  • Respect: We value our colleagues and ourselves. We expect the same high quality of effort and thought from ourselves as we do from others.
  • Inclusivity: We invite the stranger and welcome the newcomer. We value and seek input from as wide a spectrum of viewpoints and experiences as possible.
  • Integrity: We act consistently with our beliefs. When we err, we acknowledge the mistake and seek to make amends.
This is what we believe will strengthen our children, families, and schools. We will continue this work to benefit you as long as our Association is in existence. Join us in making the difference in our schools. Join PTA today!

About Us

"National PTA" comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. 

PTA is a registered S01(c)l3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who supports the PTA mission and wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. 

Wisconsin PTA

On the local level our units and councils.partner with their schools to increase parent involvement and enhance and expand the educational opportunity of all children in their community. They work to improve the health, welfare, and safety of all community members and to engage the community in the work of the schools. They provide programs to help families overcome barriers of language, culture and poverty so that their children can succeed in school and grow to be productive adults." 

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  What is the first step to forming a parent group?

The first step to forming a parent group is to find a group of interested parents and meet with them. MPS policy states that parents must decide what type of parent group they want.

Types of parent groups

  1. Formed and run by school
    • Examples are councils, committees and clubs
    • Uses Fund 60
      • Bank accounts are in the name of the school
      • Accounts are subject to the same policies as other district funds
      • Only school staff can handle money
      • Parent group does not have its own EIN number or tax exemption
        • Parent groups can never use the district’s EIN number or tax exemption
  • While parents participate and can hold leadership positions, responsibility for all final decisions rests with the school
  • Must have a staff advisor or advisors who oversees the group and attends all meeting and events
  • This type of group has less work and responsibility for the parents and more work and responsibility for the school
  1. Independent parent group
  • Usually have the words “organization” or “association” in their name
    • PTA and PTO are examples
  • The organization has its own EIN number and tax exemption
  • The organization has its own bank account
    • Funds may never be mingled with school money
  • The organization has leadership elected by its members and usually all are parents
  • The organization collaborates with the school, but makes all its own decisions; the school may not dictate the organization’s actions
  • This type of group puts most of the work and liability for the organization on the parents
  If we have decided to form an independent parent group, what do we do next?
  • Identify individuals interested in forming a parent group
  • Set a place and time for a planning meeting
  • At the meeting
    • Plan outreach strategies
    • Make preliminary goals for the new association
    • Select temporary leaders to undertake responsibilities
    • Set a date for an organizational meeting
  • Publicize the Organizational Meeting
    • Distribute notices to all parents, staff, community members and local business
      • Use all available media types: flyers, posters, email, website, social media, telephone (robo and personal), face to face, etc.
    • Survey the school community to find people willing to be nominated for office
  • The organizational meeting
    • The chair of the planning committee should run the meeting
    • Someone must take minutes
    • Discuss the purpose of forming a parent group, benefits for children and families, what the planning committee believes the group might do for the school, parents and families
    • Take a vote to approve starting a parent association
    • Enroll members
    • Elect officers
    • At this point the newly elected president should take over the meeting
    • Decide on your next actions
    • Form a committee to write bylaws
    • Form other committees as needed
    • Set a meeting date for officers to set goals and make plans
    • Set a meeting date for the next regular membership meeting
  • Obtain an EIN number from the IRS
    • Open a bank account
      • All signers must go to the bank
      • Need to take the minutes that report the election of officers and the organization’s bylaws
  • All groups that expect to have a gross income of $5,000 or more must apply for a tax exemption
    • Gross income is all money you take in during the year, before any expenses are paid
    • Once the association’s gross income reaches $5,000 the group must apply for a tax exemption or pay income tax and possible penalties
    • Pay the application fee ($400 - $850)
    • The bylaws must be completed and approved by the membership before the tax exemption application can be submitted
  • Obtain liability insurance (required by MPS)
  • Set goals based on the needs and interests of the families at the school
  • Plan activities that will help meet those goals
  • Recruit committee chairs, committee members and volunteers for the planned activities
  • Get to work and start making a difference!
  What are the other legal obligations of an independent parent group?
  • Once a federal tax exemption is obtained:
    • Apply for a Wisconsin Sales Tax Exemption
    • If the group’s gross income is over $25,000 register to solicit funds with the State of Wisconsin
  • Every year
    • All parent organizations must file an annual financial report with the IRS, even those who did not need to apply for a tax exemption
    • All groups who are registered to solicit funds must renew their registration and file an annual financial report or an exemption to filing
  How do we choose between forming a PTA or a PTO?
  • Both PTAs and PTOs are independent 501(c)3 entities that work to improve the education of the children in a school or community.
  • PTOs work in one school and are not affiliated with any other groups. They do not have support outside of their school building.
  • PTAs are affiliated with Wisconsin PTA and National PTA.
    • The members of the local unit are also members of the two parent associations
    • Both parent associations advocate for all children and families at the state and national levels
    • Both offer training, programs, resources and support for local PTA units
  • Wisconsin PTA charters local PTAs. This includes:
    • Holding a group exemption which grants a free tax exemption to local units, so units do not need to apply for a tax exemption or pay the application fee
    • Obtains an EIN number for the unit
    • Helps units during the formation proces
    • Gives units a bylaws form to complete; there’s no need to start from scratch
    • Availability of low cost liability insurance
  • Requirements to be a PTA
    • Submit an annual officer list
    • Submit dues for a minimum of 15 members
      • 10 members are required to charter
    • Perform a yearly audit and submit a report
    • Maintain current bylaws
    • Fulfill the annual federal filing requirement and submit proof of filing to Wisconsin PTA
  When is a PTA considered in good standing?

PTA’s are considered in good standing when:

  • A new PTA has 10 members or an existing PTA has 15 members
  • An officers’ list is submitted annually by September 15
  • First installment of dues (at least 15 members) is received in the state office by November 1 membership remittance form
  • A copy of the yearly audit is received in the state office by November 1
  • A current copy of the bylaws is submitted every 3 years for approval.
  • Proof of filing the proper IRS forms is submitted by December 15.

Link to all good standing information and necessary forms

If you need information or help starting a parent group, please contact the Milwaukee PTA Council.

  Where do we go for help or more information?

For more information or to start a PTA, contact either:

Wisconsin PTA


Penny Larson

Milwaukee City Council of PTAs, Inc.


Wisconsin PTA

Family & Community Engagement Specialist:

Darryl Hall

Deparment of Strategic Partnerships & Customer Service

Phone: 414-475-8285

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