BTPTA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the BTPTA?
The Bethlehem Township Parent Teachers Association (BTPTA) is a very active organization of volunteer parents and staff who work together to provide enrichment for our children. The BTPTA is a local chapter of both the NJPTA and National PTA. The BTPTA is a nonprofit, charitable, tax-exempt organization, and its bylaws are based on those of the NJPTA and National PTA. Because the BTPTA is a nonprofit organization, it must be nonpartisan in local politics, but can support school issues such as the budget and school referenda.
Why should I join the BTPTA and if I do join am I required to volunteer for something?
The most important reason for joining the BTPTA is to show your support of the organization and the events and services that are offered. The Kindergarten Orientation that you may have attended last fall, the balloons on your mailbox and the “WELCOME TO SCHOOL” pictures your child received were all events and services sponsored by the BTPTA and its volunteers. As a newcomer it can be difficult to know what you may want to become involved in. We’ve all been there. You should not hesitate to call any officer with any questions or concerns. Membership does not require that you volunteer, however, you must be a member in order to be a volunteer, chair a committee, make a motion, vote at a meeting or run for a BTPTA office.Joining the PTA is also the only way to obtain a copy of the school directory. Each family will receive one free copy with a paid membership fee. A membership is also required to attend the Welcome Back Fall Picnic! That’s something you don’t want to miss!
What does the BTPTA actually DO?
The BTPTA provides services to the schools and the parents. Money is raised through fundraising activities to support our many functions and services. Some programs produce minimal revenue but benefit our school community.
· Sponsors programs such as Kindergarten Orientation and Cultural Arts events
· School directory and weekly eblasts
· Book fairs
· Social events
· Meet the Candidates nights
· Information dissemination about the school budget
· Voter registration drives
· Homeroom parents for each class
· Graduation committees the 8th grade
· Guest speakers relevant to our children’s education or our education as parents
· Runs different fundraisers (all voluntary) to fund these programs throughout the year:
· Used Clothing Drives
· Contributes to scholarships and funds awards at the local and regional school levels
· Ensures that our children’s talents are showcased through the local media
· Recognizes important events in the lives of our staff
· Honors and recognizes our staff with a special thank you gift, and a yearly luncheon
· Supports many programs at both schools through cash contributions (school trips, Grandparent’s Day, Earth Day, scout projects, school beautification)
I can’t volunteer for anything, but how can I help?
Although we would love for everyone to volunteer for a committee, we know that is not always possible. There are lots of ways to be involved, from simply joining the BTPTA, to supporting the fundraisers, making monetary donations (tax-deductible). More detailed information is available on the Volunteer! page of our website or you may conctact any officer!
Who can join the BTPTA?
Membership is open to all Bethlehem Township residents at a nominal cost for any person over the age of eighteen who wishes to join.
When does the BTPTA meet?
The BTPTA will meet 5 times throughout the school year. Additional meetings will be scheduled if needed. We will be scheduling both daytime and evening meetings. Occasionally it is necessary to alter the schedule due to holidays and school closings.
What happens at a BTPTA meeting?
At the first meeting of the year in October, members will vote on the proposed budget that will be sent home to all families on the first day of school. All committees will receive their budgets and guidelines. At all subsequent meetings, timely issues will be reviewed, and any item requiring the vote of the members will be addressed, such as the spending of funds not in the budget approved in October.
Can I bring my kids to a BTPTA meeting?
Absolutely! Babysitting is provided by the Girl Scouts for all evening meetings. You are welcome to bring children to the morning meetings.
How long do the BTPTA meetings last?
Meetings are scheduled for 60 minutes or less, unless there is a special speaker on the agenda.
What is the difference between a PTA and a PTO?
A PTA follows state and national bylaws, and must pay membership dues to each organization out of the dues charged for each local membership. A PTO can draft their own bylaws and keep all their membership dues money. A PTA cannot purchase capital equipment or any item that should be funded by a school budget; a PTO can choose to do so if it’s in keeping with its bylaws.
Where does the membership money go?
For every membership we are required to send $2.00 to the national PTA and $2.00 to the local PTA. The remaining amount is used to offset the costs of publishing the materials and hosting our web site and email and other administrative costs incurred by any organization such as insurance, licenses and taxes. We do not receive any funding from local taxes or from the school.