Could the PTA Be Expelled from Comal ISD?
Could Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) be expelled from Comal ISD schools?
Legislation headed for a vote on the floor of the Texas House that’s intended to curb publicly funded lobbying also would ban PTA parent volunteers from using public schools to host meetings, fall festivals, health fairs, parent-education programs, field days, Reflections ceremonies and teacher-recognition programs.
Comal ISD Council of PTAs late this week urged Canyon Lake parents to write and call their elected representatives immediately to keep H.B. 281 from reaching the floor of the Texas House.
A different version of the bill, S.B. 29, passed out of the Texas Senate and is waiting to be assigned to a committee in the House.
According to Texas PTA President-Elect Suzi Kennon, Rep. Mayes Middleton, D-23 (Chambers and Galveston counties), who introduced the bill, has expressed some interest in amending the language to protect PTAs. The measure was not intended to impact PTAs.
PTA member Valerie Lynn Visser, whose children attend Startzville Elementary, said PTA there contributes between $15,000 to $18,000 annually to the school, which has the second-highest percentage of students on free or reduced lunches.
Comal ISD Council of PTAs President Shirley Koop said over 10,000 members volunteer at district campuses.
“They have donated thousands of dollars back into our schools which help provide much-needed items for our campuses,” she said. “By keeping PTAs out of our schools, campuses will lose some fabulous programs…Local PTAs provide much-needed family support, and H.B. 281 would take away the ability to effectively bring about student and classroom support. Contributions to our schools would also decrease. This bill all-around is just a bad idea.”
At a PTA meet-and-greet hosted by the organization at Rebecca Creek Elementary on April 27, Comal ISD Supt. Dr. Andrew Kim describes schools as community centers.
Not having PTA engagement would be like not having ice cream with apple pie, he said.
“I hope that this is not a serious issue,” he said. “I’m wondering why there is even legislation about this…I don’t know what the intent of these bills is, but certainly this is not bringing communities together.”