About

Newton PTO Council

The Newton PTO Council is an umbrella organization composed of all 21 PTOs in the city. Its members are the current and past presidents of each PTO. The Council’s ultimate purpose is to support all Newton parents in the quest for the highest quality of education in the city.

2016-2017 Documents

2015-2016 Documents

2014-2015 Documents

2013-2014 Documents

2012-2013 Documents

2011-2012 Documents

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Purpose

The Newton PTO Council (offically known as the “Newton Council of  PTOs”) is an umbrella organization composed of all 21 PTOs in the city. Its members are the current and past presidents of each PTO. The  Council’s ultimate purpose is to support all Newton parents in the quest for the highest quality of education in the city, which it does primarily through the individual PTOs. The Council’s bylaws state:

The purpose of this PTO Council shall be as follows:

  • To serve as a fact-finding and discussion body to clarify issues related to the Newton Public Schools and to recommend or take appropriate action on such issues where advisable;
  • To act as a clearinghouse for information from members of the school administration and community leaders to the member Parent-Teacher Organizations and Parent-Teacher-Student Organizations (collectively referred to herein as the “PTOs”), to provide communication among the member PTOs, and to provide communication from the member PTOs to the community and to the members of the school administration; and
  • To act as an advocate for public education in Newton and in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

History

In the 1970s, a group of concerned parents recognized the need for an organization that would promote more communication with the city and be an active advocate for children in the school system and in city and state government. Up to that time, parents’ voices were heard only at the individual school level and dealt with individual school interests. Once the Council was formed, it became the parent voice in the school system. The Council developed a new approach that dealt at the system level with system-level issues.   One of the most important issues that mobilized the Council was Proposition 2 ½, which the Council worked to block, but failed. Other issues that brought parents together and in which the Council was actively engaged have included:

  • kindergarten starting and ending times
  • placing copy machines in elementary schools
  • protecting arts education and creating and supporting the Creative Arts and Sciences program
  • equity of funding between schools
  • ensuring the continuated success of the METCO program in Newton
  • identifying the need for the Newton Schools Foundation
  • dealing with enrollment declines and budget shortfalls in the late 70s and early 80s
  • solving space problems in elementary schools by developing the middle school model we use now (mid-80s)
  • development of a city-wide Crisis Team in conjunction with the city (2001)
  • working to pass an $11.5 million Prop. 2 ½ tax override (2002)
  • establishing a citywide crafts fair that raises money for all Newton schools (2003)
  • advocating for smaller class sizes
  • organizing Newton’s part in the Fund the Future Campaign and rally to pressure the State Government for additional school funding

Today, the Council continues to advocate on behalf of our schools and children.

Organization & Membership

All current PTO presidents or co-presidents are members of the PTO Council.   The Council is governed by an executive board which is elected each spring.   In addition to the typical officers (co-presidents, vice-presidents, treasurer and secretary), the board includes the chairs of the Council’s various committees as well as representatives for METCO; Early Childhood; Special Education; Elementary School PTOs; Secondary School PTOs; and Principals/Teachers.

Committees

Equity Committee: Coordinates with School Committee and School Administration regarding PTO compliance with equity policy. Reviews Elementary PTO spending based on annual data gathering including equity rates. Provides training to PTOs on administration of equity policy. Reviews equity policy with School Committee and School Administration on occasion. Technology: Facilitates communications between the Newton Public School System’s IT department, the PTOs and the Newton Schools Foundation. Goals are to help determine needs in grade specific classrooms and to drive a consistent approach for fund raising and needs assessment. Another goal is to work towards equity across the individual schools and grades.
All School Green Team Committee: An ever-growing, self-appointed open group of parents and school staff who are part of their school’s Green Team or are interested in starting Green activities in their schools. Meets during the school year in members’ homes to share successful green projects and best practice ideas. The group supports one another in person and online to create change in our school communities by leading and through student empowerment. Treasurer: Maintains accounts of all funds of PTO Council, provides regular reports of its finances, prepares the annual budget, prepares filings  for federal and state agencies, and assists other Committees as needed relating to financial activity and information. Oversees data gathering for PTO spending for all schools and prepares related analyses
Health & Safety: Coordinates with city staff regarding health and safety issues in the schools. Assures that Crisis Team members are identified and trained annually.  Assures that PTOs are trained in the city’s public health policies. SPED: Advises Council on current activities in Special Education.  Also, provides information regarding legislative initiatives.
METCO: Coordinates Newton parents with METCO parents regarding advocacy, outreach, and relationship building. Website Manager: Oversees the operation of the web site and email distribution lists.
Political Action: Tracks and publicizes the activities of the school system, the School Committee, city government, and state and federal initiatives that affect the quality and functioning of our schools. Speakers/Programs: Develops ideas from PTO Council members for programs that are provided for Council members at the monthly meetings. Also, coordinates citywide events that Council co-sponsors.
Technology Task Force:  Pursues sustainable municipal funding for technology necessary to deliver core curriculum as determined by the NPS technology plan.

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Finances

The PTO Council is a state-registered 501c3 non-profit organization. As an umbrella organization, the Council has a minimal budget and engages in very little fundraising. The one significant fundraiser is annual crafts sale; net proceeds are donated to the Newton Schools Foundation to benefit all Newton schools. As a registered 501c3 non-profit, the Council can support legislative initiatives but may not endorse candidates for political office. The current budget can be downloaded by clicking here: 2013-2014 Budget

PTO Council Dues

In June 2005, the PTO Council voted to change the method for assessing dues from a per-student based calculation to a flat fee. Each fall, PTOs will receive a request to send a check, payable to “Newton Council of PTO’s, Inc.” to the PTO Council Treasurer. In June 2013, the PTO Council voted to set a new flat fee of $125 per school. In addition, the preschool was exempted from the payment of dues.