From the Mailbag: Miffed Mom Mouths off about Membership Dues

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From the Mailbag: Miffed Mom Mouths off about Membership Dues

By M Davies   /     Nov 14, 2012  /     Annoyances, Mommyhood  /  

It’s that time of year again.  PTO Membership Drive time!  I’m all about giving my children every benefit that I can to succeed, and if my membership dues allow them to have a book fair, go on a field trip or have an otherwise good time at school, you can count me in.  However, I noticed something this year that perturbed me.

 

My kids go to two different elementary schools within the same school district and I noticed that the PTO dues for one school were more expensive than the other school.  At Ross, I was able to join the PTO for a family for $5.  At Lehman-Jackson, they wanted $5 for a single person membership.  If you wanted a family membership it was 3 dollars extra.  Since my husband does not participate in PTO events, I decided not to make the splurge.  The membership is cheap in comparison to some other things I could buy that my children would get enjoyment out of….candy for example…

 

I decided to send a nasty gram to the offending school where the dues were more expensive:

 

 

A few weeks ago, I received the following email in my inbox:

Good Morning Michelle-

 

I was just finishing up the L-J PTA membership drive for the year and wanted to respond to your note that was on your membership form.  In reference to the cost in dues in comparison to Ross Elementary, L-J is a PTA that was established in 1976.  Ross Elementary is actually a PTO. (And I am no familiar with when they were started)  As per guidelines set forth by the National PTA, our dues are $5.00 per member. (That is actually their cost, and we are told we could ask for even more to make a profit in which we do not.)  You can visit the PTA website online to see where the dues are applied.  As a PTA, we have discussed over the last few years converting over to a PTO.  There is a process involved in order to do so in which we are currently looking into, but it isn’t as easy as just changing to a PTO without losing all of our organizations funds that were collected while being a PTA.  I hope I have been able to answer your statement about why the difference in cost and if you have any further questions about it, please feel free to contact me either by email or you can call me at XXX-XXXX. Thank you for joining the L-J PTA, and we look forward to your help during the school year.

 

Sincerely,

Name Withheld

Membership Chairperson”

 

Ok, so I didn’t realize there was a difference between a PTA and a PTO.  I just don’t understand why there cannot just be one type of an organization throughout all of the elementary schools to make life easier on everyone.  Does it really make a difference?  Just another thing to make my already complicated life yet more complicated.

 

Anyyyyyyywayyyyy…. I volunteered to be the website coordinator for the Ross PTO.  I’ve been working feverishly on that with my spare time (…what spare time…?)  The website is hosted though this company called “Digital PTO“.  You can register your PTO’s website for free using it.  It is a WordPress platform based system.  I guess if you are completely clueless about websites and blogging, it does the job….I just find the platform to be extremely frustrating and a rip off.  It is a hugely stripped down version of WordPress.  The free WordPress blogs have more customization than Digital PTO’s format.

 

What’s that?  You want to embed a Youtube video?  HAHAHAHAHAHA, what are you thinking?  That will cost extra.  You have a Google Calendar with important upcoming events that you want to display?  Yep.  That will be extra.  You’d like to create a custom header image with your logo on your page?  You guessed it, extra.  What a rip off!  Thankfully, the Ross PTO did not pay for any of the “extras” and I have been able to find HTML ways around the embedding in most instances.  I don’t think I’d feel comfortable knowing my membership dollars were going to that con-artist company.

 

Here are the fruits of my labor, if you care to look.  Just don’t mind my afterbirth:  http://rosspto.digitalpto.com/

About M Davies

Hi! My name is Michelle and I'm the sassy author of this blog. I also am a wife, mother, sister, daughter, contributor at NEPA Blogs, 1/3 of NEPA BlogCon and work behind-the-scenes in local TV.

4 Comments

  1. Karla Porter Says: November 14, 2012 4:34 pm

    They get you with FREE meaning very basic theme – though it does say even basic ones can be customized. You can because of your knowledge but most parents would be forced to pony up for additional features. In the end that’s how they make their money… Not a bad idea, Freemium model. Go Michelle =)

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