How to Start a Special Education PTA
A SEPTA (Special Education Parent Teacher Association) is chartered by the State PTA. For those states that do not offer SEPTA’s, parents of special needs children are encouraged, by the State PTA, to join existing PTA’s to ensure that their child’s needs are represented. We strongly suggest you contact your State office to obtain additional information.
In Kentucky, you should contact KY PTA, at www.kypta.org and/or 502-226-6607, and let them know of your intention to start a SEPTA. They will direct you to your District PTA President, who will help facilitate the process from start to finish. They will begin the preliminary meetings and oversee the process until the new SEPTA is formed.
To get started, a small group of parents and/or teachers, who are interested in forming a SEPTA, would contact their District PTA President. All PTA’s are run and organized as completely separate organizations from the schools and the school district. So, while the administrators and staff of the school district are not involved in the chartering process, and though not required, it is a good idea to notify everyone. Good communication is vital to being able to work collaboratively, once your organization is established.
It takes ten members to charter a new SEPTA, but the process can begin with fewer people. Your District PTA President will help set up an informational meeting where interested parents would come to learn about the Special Education PTA, get their questions answered, and learn about the process to organize the new SEPTA. At that meeting, a nominating committee would form of three people and an alternate. They would be given the task of finding people interested to serve as the officers of the new SEPTA. A Bylaws committee would also be formed, and they would put together bylaws for the new SEPTA using the standard template provided by the KY PTA. The District PTA President will provide the paperwork and guide the committee through the drafting of the bylaws.
The next meeting would be the Organizational Meeting and would be run by the District PTA President. At this meeting, bylaws would be presented and adopted, members would join, and officers elected. The District PTA President would then help the new SEPTA fill out the required paperwork for opening a checking account and filing for an EIN and applying for the charter.
This is the format, suggested by the State PTA, for the Organizational meeting:
- The District PTA President will call the meeting to order.
- He/she will assign a Secretary pro tem for the task of taking minutes.
- He/she will discuss creating a SEPTA and secure a motion, a second and approval from the group to then create the new SEPTA and to be associated with the State and National PTA.
- He/she will discuss membership dues, letting the group know the amounts for National, State and District dues. He/she will then secure a motion, second and approval from the group for the amount of dues to be charged.
- Take a break to enroll members. At this point you must have 10 members join.
- Pass out and review the local unit bylaws prepared by the bylaws committee.
- Secure a motion, second and approval of the bylaws.
- Conduct the election of officers.
- Sign the SS-4 form to assign the SEPTA an Employer Identification Number.
After the SEPTA is created and the meeting is over, the District PTA President will take a copy of the minutes, a set of completed bylaws, the SS-4, a list of elected officers, a copy of the list of new members and the National/State/District dues to be turned in to the KY PTA. The State PTA will register the new SEPTA and turn in the SS-4 form.