Friday, September 19, 2014

Schools boost PTA membership through student fees

Parents generally have to lay out money for their children at the start of the year in school fees. Some schools are taking the opportunity to boost membership in the parent-teacher organization at the same time.

I'm not sure how widespread the practice is in CMS, but I've come across at least a handful of cases where schools have combined locker, planner and PTA charges into a single fee marketed to parents before classes begin.

Bailey Middle School, for example, sent an email to parents reminding them to send a $20 check to school with their kids for the student fee, covering locker fee, agenda and a PTA membership.

Doing it that way gets results. At Huntersville Elementary, the new $15 "Back To School Bundle" included a planner, logo magnet and PTA membership. It boosted membership in the parent-teacher organization from 372 to 632 this year, according the group's website.

Of course, parents aren't forced to pay the PTA fee if they vehemently don't want to join. But when it's bundled together, it's hard to say no. At Huntersville Elementary, only 67 parents declined to join.

Perhaps this is a good way to get more parents involved in the school. But I've already gotten a few messages from parents who don't like the way it's all marketed together.

I'll expect more thoughts from parents in the comments.


Anonymous said...

Nothing like throwing chum in the water on a Friday morning.

The tactic of "bundling" PTA fees is not about increasing parent participation, it's about raising funds!!

Funds that then can become a slush fund for the school's principal to apply to their pet projects.

Anonymous said...

This has been done for years in south charlotte and continues to be that way.

Paying a fee to join the PTA does not guarantee parents will be "active involved" parents.

Anonymous said...

Principal says "show me the money!"

Anonymous said...

What a crock. Andrew, is their a bundle fee or are the lockers free at Ransom Middle?

Anonymous said...

This is against CMS policy but some PTA's continue the practice even after being told it's not allowed.

Anonymous said...

Is a PTA income of $145,881.00 considered a lot? Yet the school families are still being asked to pay for furniture.

Bolyn McClung said...

At the end of this comment is a list of PTA duties at one CMS elementary. Most can’t be done unless the person successfully completes a Criminal Background Check.

The PTA/PTO/PTSAs are such valuable tools. Yet, the current issue with tighter security is limiting the effectiveness of those groups when a school is heavily populated with children of parents who didn’t enter the U.S. legally. PTA fees bundled in CMS school fees misrepresent an opportunity to volunteer that doesn’t exist for these parents. The bundled fee set a bad image for CMS.

While I support the Criminal Background Checks 100%, the PTA seems to be a logical middle ground for these families to participate at the schools but not in the classroom.


Organize projects both inside and out to make our school look great. Help plan activities for school garden, get supplies and maintain garden area.

Organize annual art program which transfers student artwork to create items such as magnets, ceramic tiles and aprons.



Organize projects both inside and out to make our school look great. Help plan activities for school garden, get supplies and maintain garden area.

Help with sales during fall and spring book fairs.

Update outside marquis and indoor bulletin boards with important information and upcoming events.

Help supervise lunchroom, assist children when needed, and help line up for dismissal. Weekly or biweekly.

Work in classrooms teaching children about character traits. May include reading books, sharing videos, and small craft projects.

Collect records of club times and locations, club members and phone numbers. Help VP of Programs get clubs organized at beginning of year.

Organizes cultural arts programs for the school.

Organizes 5th grade end of year party for students.

Have your name on a list of volunteers that the PTA can call to help with various special projects during the school year.

Be on list so that committee heads can call to provide snack, drinks, and help plan activities for staff appreciation days or special PTA meetings.

Organize the lost and found rack located in the parent room.

Assist media specialist with shelving and checking in/out books for the library on a weekly or biweekly schedule.


Give tours on a rotating schedule with other parents. Be a contact for new families to learn about BES and the PTA.


Work with committee chair to organize events with our partner school, University Park. This may involve volunteering to help tutor students at their school.

Pop popcorn on Spirit Fridays to all students and staff.

Organizes art exhibits for children.

Help committee chair collect Box Tops, Capri Sun pouches, etc. for our school.

Gather name and address information and compile into a yearly directory for our parents and staff.

Help sell school spirit items on Friday mornings, 1 or 2 times a month.

Help sell spirit wear 4-5 times during the year at special events.

Volunteer your time to assist committee chair in planning for and working at our spring event.


Organizes and gathers information to promote reading for our students during the summer.

Have your name on a list of volunteers that the PTA can call to help with various special projects during the school year.
Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...


Organize projects both inside and out to make our school look great. Help plan activities for school garden, get supplies and maintain garden area."

If an illegal immigrant volunteered for this, they might be putting someone out of a job.

Anonymous said...

Bolyn, I have a feeling you did not pull this from the Druid Hills Elementary PTA website. Talk about one extreme to the next. I bet that schools PTA moms call their kids college professors when little Timmy gets a B in Psych 101. Probably also tries to beautify the freshman dorms and get double layer toilet paper in the dorm bathrooms instead of the sandpaper that is usually provided (wish my mother tried to fight that battle-but on was on my own).

Anonymous said...

In the schools that my children attended, we had a PTO as opposed to a PTA. When you join a PTA, part of the dues do to the state PTA and part goes to the national PTA, which is nothing more than another arm of the teachers' union. The PTO has no such affiliation.

Anonymous said...

Hawk Ridge Parents,
How's that particleboard/lithographed furniture fund going? Haven't heard many specifics since everything seems to allude to a southeast school with a principal on a charter school budget appetite.

Wiley Coyote said...

I was under the impression that CMS had rules against bullying.

Any parent that allows a principal or PTA President bully you into paying or buying into the school PTA if you do not want to participate is your own fault.

It's time to stand up and tell these bullies you've had enough; to school administrators, the BOE and politicians. If not, the status quo will keep steamrolling along.

Anonymous said...

People have given over 10k for furniture at this school. Outrageous And guess what-the fun run is next month at HR.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Dunn,

Readers are curious if any of the other 15 CMS schools with the new Personal learning program are being asked to fund a furniture or classroom redesign fund like the posters are discussing.

Take back our schools said...

8:54 is correct about membership not guaranteeing participation. When I was the PTSA president some years ago, we attempted all sorts of strategies to get parents involved. Typically just approaching a parent to volunteer was fruitless. If you found out some parent had a skill that was beneficial for the school, then you needed to approach them with helping with a particular task. So as Bolyn has posted a list from one school, attempt such an effort for your school.

My particular school had a partial magnet in a high poverty school. And as you might expect, getting them to participate is a very difficult task. Do not be put off with such because you will likely find 2 or 3 to partner with some of your active parents and get them involved. They have to be approached with specifics.

Anonymous said...

Principals have been getting " BONUSES " for years for a myriad of things.

SLUSH FUND money control is just another perk of the job.

Where is that " WHISTLEBLOWER "
fund? Now more than ever.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing 3:50. I wonder if any other Personal Learning schools are asking at the same magnitude as HR. Because then you know it is a CMS abuse issue rather than a principle that is way up there on his money horse issue (it almost reminds me of the leader of Elevation Church-people just drinking the cool aide).

Anonymous said...

Time to talk to your new TV partners WBTV about the severe beating at West Mecklenburg. CMS communications is already trying to say that there was coverage in the cafeteria. From the photos of the young lady shown, CMS is going to have to use that proposed tax increase to pay big time legal activities.
Seems like only one TV station calls CMS out on the the violence. One can only imagine which school the perp will end up next.

Wiley Coyote said...


Nothing will happen.

Expulsion will make the school's graduation rate go down due to one less student in the cohort.

As long as CMS can keep incidents in-house such as this, the "we have great, safe schools" facade keeps rolling along in the media talking points.

I hope the mother retains a good lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Funny, the school that Huntersville Elementary's principal came from was selling the same bundle... even after they were told by CMS that that they cannot bundle the PTA fee in.

Anonymous said...

Well, what happens at West Meck STAYS at West Meck...

As far as bad news and the CO goes.

That demographic can do no wrong.

Even to themselves.

According to the liberal view of life espoused by the Co.

I wonder if anyone will be suspended? Or maybe miss school due to jail time?

If this happened to my kid at ANY school, I'd have their rears for sure.

I hope the mother sues, just to point out how bad the "security" is.

Anonymous said...


Maybe West Meck can get a volunteer SWAT team for the cafeteria.

Anonymous said...

Every HS needs a SWAT team. At my HS in FL, they were large bouncer types with white Tshirts saying Security. Each had walkie talkies. Their presence was everywhere, esp. cafe. It worked. Also had Police officer on duty all day. Arrested a kid right outside my English classroom door one day. I did get a writing prompt out of that.

Anonymous said...

Bolyn , So your okay with a "illegal" having your personal information that CMS has to make a directory? I personally don't want my the information of my family bought/sold. Become a legal tax paying citizen and you have benefits of our free society. The security at the schools should be a priority. The PTA should not be a "Hustle" organization either. It is a bad situation today in a lot of schools. We should just write one check at the start of school and have it 100% tax deductible. Eliminate the PTA. KW HURLEY

Anonymous said...

I'm a Bailey Middle School parent and I have no problem with the bundled fee as long as parents have the option of paying a la carte. For me, it was the convenience of writing one check versus three.

Anonymous said...


Were you instructed to do fluff pieces until Ann gets back or is this the extent of your abilities.

CMS has turned their back on hard working families who send polite motivated children to school for a high quality education in favor of graduation rates and achievement gaps. As a CMS High School teacher it is unfortunate that I am no longer comfortable sending my own child to a CMS high school. Violent activity is covered up and not dealt with and insubordination is considered a cultural difference instead of a deterrent to learning.

The stories you should be pursuing are the policy changes that have prevented students from being effectively disciplined and allow disruptive students to continue to withdraw from the majority of our children's education.

Andrew Dunn said...

Yes, Anon 11:20, that issue is on my radar.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:20, No offense to you , but use your name or contact Andrew on the side. Give him the inside scoop as to what your speaking of and he can be confidential. This will allow him to research the issue you present which is valid and then he can question CMS with specific data. Its a problem we all know it so allow him the respect to report it. Ann has moved on after decades of reporting on education. Andrew is the new education reporter for the CO. KW HURLEY

Anonymous said...

My fear is that someone will really have to get hurt before the public wakes up. CMS is closing self contained programs for the emotionally disturbed students. School police are being prevented from doing their jobs. Habitual problem students are not being given consequence's for their actions. Teachers are being bullied by the new evaluation system to ignore certain behavior. Graduated students by any means.. That's the motto. Regardless of student teacher safety. Principals that stood up to these students have all been removed. Yes men have replaced them. This is being pushed by Eric Holder and Obama. CMS lost money for suspending too many minority special education students.

Anonymous said...

was the beating that took place at west meck reported on the news, has there been any follow up with regards to legal actions taken, such as assault charges or arrests. Like some one else mentioned, I hope the parent of this child takes legal action, perhaps this will force CMS to re think their security policies. Teachers are there to teach and educate, the are not wardens and children deserve the right to a safe environment to learn in, we owe them that much.

Anonymous said...

The discipline policy has changed at CMS and students will no longer be suspended for profanity at teachers or consistently disrupting learning and other "minor" offenses. These are now considered classroom management issues. The teacher is at fault for having poor classroom management. it is a teachers job to build a great relationship with students. If teachers develop a great relationship the students, the latter will comply with all that you ask.

Anonymous said...

Hey - personalized learning school talked about on this log- how about taking some of that furniture money and giving it to teachers for paper! We already heard from our teachers that they need paper. Do CMS and our PTA provide anything for our school?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:13pm.

" If teachers develop a great relationship the students, the latter will comply with all that you ask."


If police develop a great relationship with criminals, the latter will comply with all they ask, too.

Yeah, THAT works.

Sometimes you have to realize WHERE these criminals get their start.

A lot of time it's in the schools where they learn they can bully others and darned near get away with anything they please.

How is it a teacher management issue when you're dealing with little thugs who have never had any discipline in their lives?

And if it IS a management issue, then why not penalize ALL authority figures who have "failed" the poor little babies for all their prior years as well?

Including the parents (if available) who didn't raise them right to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Education is becoming a joke in this country because of what is being discussed here. The minute the school district decides not to hold students accountable for behavior is the minute that education and what the Teachers are doing means nothing. The disrespect should NOT be tolerated from anyone. I wonder if they allow this type of behavior in the schools in Korea and Finland that are so often cited here. Bet not.

Anonymous said...

free breakfast! If CMS wants to increase the high schoolers who et free breakfast, most students are running (late) into the school from the student parking lot not the bus lot. Put the food on carts in the lobby area, not in the cafeterias.

Anonymous said...

Audit local PTA's!

Wiley Coyote said...


My son's fiance has an opportunity to study in Finland for 10 days this January.

She graduates college next May and if her education fund will cover the trip, she will go.

It will be interesting to get her take on things there versus CMS where she graduated.

Anonymous said...

These will be the difference she will find Wiley:
1. complete respect for education by the public and entire society-poor, wealthy.
2. teacher pay is very respectable
3. to become a teacher is very competitive and only the best get into a college program
4. even the wealthy kids go to public school because it is that respected, competitive and good.
5. when a child acts out in class it is seen as not-respectable by everyone and so the behavior goes away. Bulling is almost non-existent because it is so cool to be a good, kind student rather in this country the "cool" kids are usually the bully that everyone wants to follow.

We have a lot of problems in this country one is the disrespect of public education on a huge scale, multiple levels even from the wealthy sending their students to private schools. Imagine if everyone in your society respected the same education system and demanded the respect it deserves?

Wiley Coyote said...


She may find that in Finland, but we can have all the respect and pay teachers $150K per year here and nothing would change.

Two totally different societies, history, etc.

Finland: 5.5 million people

US 316,000,00, million people

Nearly 90% are Finnish with the other 10% many other nationalities and nearly everyone speaks Finnish, unlike the US having the same percentage speaking only English.

The US is much more diversely populated ethnically.

Finland: A little less than 1 million kids attend school.

US: 50 million kids attend pre-k through 12.

The US spends almost $3,000 more per pupil than Finland.

Trying to emulate Finland will be a complete disaster, just as trying to replicate Project LIFT throughout CMS would be.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with Wiley and I will take it one step further. It is both foolish and unfair to compare our public education to the schools in countries such as Finland. Such comparisons need to stop because it is pointless and ignores the obvious.

Schools are a reflection of the type of people who attend them, Finland doesn't have a population like ours, thus their schools appear to be better.

Think about it for a moment, which school is going to perform better, a school composed primarily of middle class families with both a mother and father in the home. Or a school composed of mostly single parents, mostly in poverty, where the single parent is barely literate themselves.

why do we continue to blame teachers and schools for the moral breakdown in certain communities?

Anonymous said...

11:09 exactly, no one is blaming the teachers.

But there are two things that exist in some homes here and overall in the education systems in other countries: a respect for education and proper behavior.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Pro Tem Barnes to discuss police, poverty and education

According to a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, climbing out of poverty is a bigger challenge in Charlotte than in many other large cities.

The research associated with this study focuses the poverty level of the neighborhood one lives in, and how moving to a better neighborhood positively impacts one's economic upward mobility. Yet, I can't help but wondering what role CMS might play in the study's results, also....

Wiley Coyote said...

Poverty has the same definition as diversity in today's world.

All ills that befall certain individuals are categorized neatly under these two words as to not have to explain the details of their particular situations.

A person lives on a particular street in a particular neighborhood in a particular zipcode and automatically the umbrella of poverty and lack of diversity within that area become the only reason(s) why someone fails.

Again, we already tried the grand experiment of feel good busing, busing inner city kids to the burbs so they could "feel better". Yet we bused kids in the burbs to the inner city schools to make things "fair".

2+2= 4 in the inner city just as it does in the burbs. Putting lipstick on a pig doesn't change the fact it's still a pig.

Anonymous said...

Point some of the blame at CMS, they are the ones allowing such behavior to continue at the school house.

Anonymous said...

Study: Race, gender affect CMS discipline

Among the report’s summaries:

• Black males with a disability are the students with the highest probability of receiving out-of-school suspensions.

• Black and Hispanic students are more likely to receive out-of-school suspensions than white students.

• Students with a disability, particularly those with a serious emotional disability, are more likely to receive out-of-school suspensions than students without a disability.

• The majority of offenses are behavioral infractions, such as disrespect, disorderly conduct or inappropriate language, for which minority students and those with a disability are more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension.

Anonymous said...

CMS racial data refuels diversity concerns

Almost half of all African-American and Hispanic students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools attend schools that are more than 90 percent nonwhite, according to delayed 2013-14 school demographics.

“Schools mirror local neighborhoods,” said Superintendent Heath Morrison, who came to CMS in 2012.

“It’s not only about money. It’s about education level and emphasis on education in families,” said Amy Hawn Nelson, director of the UNC Charlotte Institute for Social Capital and the co-author of an upcoming book about the history of Charlotte schools.

Levester Flowers, who is African-American, said he wants to work with CMS on getting more families involved in schools. “We need to go back to the roll-up-your-sleeves mentality,” he said.

Wiley Coyote said...

Just when you think Morrison can't get anymore dramatic, the "we're busting at the seams" due to enrollment takes the cake.

Spare us the fake urgency.

Anonymous said...

Wiley, some schools have been "busting at the seam" for quite awhile now, with no sense of urgency.

Wiley Coyote said...


Since arounf 2005, CMS has been hrowing out growth projections during their different "8 year, 10 year growth plans".

Based on their earlier projections, we shoulf have about 160,000 kids in CMS.

Everytime there is a bond on the ballot, it's for building new schools, yet it has been shown that CMS did fine without those that were closed, only now to finish opening the rest of them back up.

The last bond package was passed by voters yet it will take YEARS to implement the plan.

We're still using bond money from 2007. Do the math.

As I said, false outrage over enrollment data I wouldn't give you two cents for....

Chuck said...

Read in the CO that 500 unaccompanied minors from south of the border are now in Charlotte. Are these 500 children now part of the CMS enrollment numbers?

Anonymous said...

If I read thane article correctly, there are "about 2%" more students than expected. How on earth can that small of a number cause bursting at the seems?

Any "overcrowding" at Mountain Island Elementary, now Mountain Island Lake Academy, is self inflicted. CMS added 6th grade this year so the 3rd graders go to lunch at 10:55 (dismissal is at 3:45) and 4th graders are in trailers right next to the public parking lot. The doors to the school are locked so the kids can't freely use the rest rooms without it being a hassle. So much for all that money spent on security upgrades. But the 6th graders have a shiny new dance classroom inside the building.

Anonymous said...

The "Urgency" came back to bite him in the butt. The urgency came to get rid of older experienced teachers and replace with low priced laterals and TFA. The urgency to replace mid-level administrators with the high price spread. The urgency to spin everything with Propaganda Central.

Churn Baby, Churn……you've cried wolf too many times and CMS credibility is nonexistent.

Anonymous said...

The "overcrowding" is really only about 1.2% more than expected.

They have 2% more students than last year, but they expected an increase.

The 1750 students they DIDN'T expect are only about 1.2% of the 145,000 students.

So, yeah, where's the fire?

Wiley Coyote said...


The "overcrowding at MIE" is self inflcited as you say, with the BOE smack in the middle of the responsibility.

While Coulwood Middle School's enrollment is in decline.

It boggles the mind how people like Morrison continue to get away with blatant lying about some aspects of "overcrowding"...

We can send a message folks and that is in the form of VOTING NO on ANY sales tax increase in November in Mecklenburg County, which if it passes, will continue to enable a completely cluelesss Board of Education and Mr. Morrison.

Anonymous said...

An increase in the total number of students may not tell the whole picture.

For example, a decrease in the suburban population of students could be masking a huge increase in the urban population by reducing the overall numbers.

A school-by-school or regional analysis might show the true picture.

Someone needs to disaggregate the data and show what's really happening in the school population. Show who's gaining and who's losing students.

Anonymous said...

Teachers still need to be hired.... I don't want my child in a 35-40 student class. 60 teachers short is a big deal. We are going talking about humans, not random numbers on a spreadsheet.

Anonymous said...

according to CMS employment, still 269 teacher vacancies and 121 non instructional vacancies. That's a lot of holes in the system.

The front line matters, the rest doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Millions of illegal kids have been spread all over America and every school system and city is outraged at the WH and AG who not contributing a dime to educate or pay for them leaving it to local and state.

There have been millions flooded into across of the border that has caused Texas Gov Perry to accuse Obama of coordinating this secret conspiracy since they supposed somehow traveled up to 5-15k miles yet show all together marching in a coached single file with clean clothing and no signs of injury filthiness or travel scars riding rail cars risking death etc.

Gov Perry says Obama is lying thru his teeth and by legalizing them will give way to millions more relatives to creep in all in cooperation with drug cartels who charge 5000 fee per person just to cross the Rio Grande.
Where are they getting that money?

Of course we know white liberals or other liberals do not question anything Obama does when he has told lie after lie about everything.

Illegal kids cost school systems an average of 30,000 per illegal as the sneaky WH spreads these millions all over the nation to absorb costs in typical socialist fashion with his trusty AG Holder backing him up every step.

One may want to ask why Obama is crashing America with up to 50 million illegals other than to legalize them, get their votes, and retain power eternally. His big plan to do this earlier failed that he was hoping would change laws to have him stay in power for life like any socialist tyrant.

He will take plan B since Plan A did not work out unless something drastic like an executive order to legalize all illegals occurs and that is anticipated before his term is out.

We already see his endangerment of America with his lethargic pullout of Iraq and Afghan plus allowing ISIS to formulate and grow into a world threat culminating into the beheading of 2 American media specs plus 100s of US traitors fighting for these radical islamic killers.

The enemy within has attempted to destroy US nukes and reduced US military strength to pre WW2 levels.

Clearly this is all an effort to change every facet of America reducing its military might and influence by this radical socialist muslim in chief while loading it up with millions of illegal lawbreakers and a back breaking national debt.

America is in grave danger with this failed blast from the past Karl Marxist liberal not only destroying America while demoralizing it with homosexuality but redistributing its income.

A very real evil threat exists for this nation in the next 2 years with the ISIS situation that was clearly negligence and incompetence or worst intentional.


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