HARPER PARENT TEACHER ORGANIZATION BY-LAWS
The name of this Illinois not-for-profit corporation is the Harper Parent Teacher Organization (the “Harper PTO”).
The objectives of the Harper PTO are:
To enrich our children’s educational environment at Harper School (hereinafter referred to as “Harper,” or the “School”) and offer support to the School, its programs and activities and its personnel.
To provide a communication link for the Harper community, including families with children in the School, the teachers at Harper, and the Wilmette District 39 (“District 39”) staff.
To cooperate with other parents and/or groups to enrich and support the children of District 39.
The objectives of the Harper PTO are promoted through an educational program directed toward students, parents, teachers, and the general public; are developed through conferences, committees, projects and programs; and are governed and qualified by the basic policies set forth in Article III.
The following are the basic policies of the Harper PTO:
The Harper PTO shall be noncommercial, nonsectarian, and nonpartisan.
The name of the Harper PTO or the names of any members in their official capacities shall not be used in connection with a commercial concern or with any partisan interest or for any purpose not appropriately related to promotion of the objectives of the Harper PTO.
The Harper PTO shall not, directly or indirectly, participate or intervene (in any way, including the publishing and distribution of statements) in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office; or devote more than an insubstantial part of its activities to attempting to influence legislation by propaganda or otherwise.
The Harper PTO shall work with the School to provide quality education for all children, and shall seek to participate in decision-making processes establishing school policy, recognizing that the legal responsibility to make school policy decisions has been given to the Board of Education of District 39.
The Harper PTO may cooperate with other organizations and agencies concerned with child welfare, but persons representing the Harper PTO in such matters shall make no commitments that bind the Harper PTO without the prior approval of the Executive Board (as defined in Article V).
No part of the net earnings of the Harper PTO shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, officers or other private persons except that the Harper PTO shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for the services rendered and to make payments in furtherance of the purposes of the Harper PTO.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of these By-Laws, the Harper PTO shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by an organization exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or by organizational contributions which are deductible under Section 170 (c) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code.
In the event of the dissolution of the Harper PTO, the Executive Board shall, after paying all liabilities of the Harper PTO, dispose of all remaining assets of the Harper PTO to another educational organization that qualifies under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or such remaining assets shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose. Such distribution shall be made in accordance with all applicable provisions of the laws of the State of Illinois.
MEMBERSHIP AND DUES
Any individual who subscribes to the objectives and basic policies of the Harper PTO, and is a current parent or guardian of a Harper student, or a teacher or administrator of Harper may become a member of the Harper PTO, subject only to compliance with the provisions of these Bylaws. Membership in the Harper PTO shall be available without regard to gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, color, creed, or national origin.
The Harper PTO shall conduct an annual enrollment of members but any eligible person may join and become a member of the Harper PTO at any time during the year.
The membership year shall be from August 1 to July 31 inclusive. Persons who join during the membership year shall pay dues for that year.
The privilege of holding office, introducing motions, debating and voting shall be limited to members of the Harper PTO whose current dues are paid. Only a dues-paying member of the Harper PTO shall be eligible to serve in any of its elective or appointed positions.
The annual dues shall be determined by the Executive Board of the Harper PTO.
Teachers and administrators of Harper may become members without paying dues at the discretion of the Executive Board.
Any individual who is a member of the Harper PTO is, by virtue of that fact, a member of the Wilmette Village-Wide Parent Teacher Organization, and is entitled to all benefits of such membership.
EXECUTIVE AND GENERAL BOARDS
The Executive Board of the Harper PTO shall consist of the president, the president-elect, all vice presidents, secretary, treasurer and the principal of the School (the “Executive Board”).
The General Board shall consist of all of the Executive Officers (as defined in Article VI), the chairs and co-chairs of all standing committees and all of their assistants and faculty representatives chosen yearly by the School staff and the principal of the School (the “General Board”). The General Board shall transact necessary business between meetings of the general membership of the Harper PTO; approve the plans of work of the standing and special committee chairs; create special committees to carry out approved projects; and do such other business as may be referred to it by the Executive Board.
A majority of the Executive Board and the General Board, as applicable, shall constitute a quorum.
EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES
The Executive Officers of the Harper PTO shall be the president, president-elect, all vice presidents (not to exceed two vice presidents per position), secretary, and treasurer. These officers shall be elected at a meeting of the general membership of the Harper PTO.
These officers shall hold office for a term of (2) years and shall be eligible for only two (2) consecutive terms in the same office. Election to an unexpired term of less than half a year shall not be counted in determining eligibility. After serving on the Executive Board for a period of four (4) consecutive years, a member shall be eligible for another executive office after the lapse of one (1) year. Service in a standing committee may be of unlimited duration.
Any teacher or parent or guardian of a child in Harper, who is a member of the Harper PTO, is eligible to hold an office.
The newly elected executive officers and the appointed chairs of any standing committee shall assume their duties at the regular June Executive Board meeting.
Voting for the election of officers shall be by voice vote, show of hands, or written ballot, whichever shall be determined by the presiding officer(s).
The executive officers shall serve on the corresponding committees of the Wilmette Village-Wide Parent Teacher Organization.
The President shall supervise and control the affairs of the Harper PTO. He or she shall perform all duties incident to his/her office as may be required by these Bylaws. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Harper PTO and of the Executive Board, shall be a member ex-officio of all committees; may sign all checks; shall have authority to sign contracts on behalf of the PTO; shall perform all other duties usually pertaining to the office; and shall attend and report on meetings of the Wilmette Village-Wide Parent Teacher Organization and District 39’s PTA/PTO monthly Presidents’ Council meetings. The President may appoint someone from the Executive Board to attend any meetings in their stead if needed.
The President-Elect (Executive Vice-President) shall serve as a direct aide to the President; be an ex-officio member of all committees and assist in coordinating the work of other officers and committees (including special committees). The President-Elect shall assume the office of the President when said President’s term has expired and shall serve for one (1) year; shall assume the office of President should a vacancy occur during the term of that office; shall represent the President in his/her absence and shall perform such other duties as delegated.
Vice Presidents’ Duties.
The numbered vice presidents shall in their order, in the event of the President and President-Elect’s absence, assume the duties of the President.
The First Vice President(s), chair(s) of Room Parents shall appoint the room parents and call them together to explain their duties. The chair(s) of Room Parents shall assist with Field Day and work with the Room Parents throughout the year.
The Second Vice President(s), chair(s) of iGNITE shall raise funds for the Harper PTO to carry out its goals, and serve as liaison to the designated related standing committees. The chair(s) of iGNITE shall develop an appropriate fundraising strategy for the following calendar year, with the help from the assistant chairs. Each fundraiser shall be planned with specific financial goals and strategies that encourage the participation of all members of the Harper PTO. The chair(s) of iGNITE will manage a master calendar to plan the timing of fundraising events and support all fundraising chairs on the General Board.
The Third Vice President(s), chair(s) of the Student Enrichment Committee shall plan and organize programs designed to supplement or enrich the curriculum and provide cultural art experiences for the students, and serve as liaison to the designated related standing committees. The chair(s) of the Student Enrichment Committee shall supervise the grade assistants, and attend and report upon community-wide meetings related to student enrichment programs.
The Fourth Vice President(s), chair(s) of Communications shall oversee all communications and publicity for the Harper PTO. The chair(s) of Communications shall contribute to articles published in the local newspapers highlighting programs and events at the School and assist with the publication of the weekly publication of Harper Happenings. The chair(s) of Communications will supervise and direct the General Board chairs responsible for the production of the school directory, the maintenance of the electronic bulletin board in the lobby of the School and the management of the Harper PTO website.
The Secretary shall keep a correct record of all meetings of the general membership of the Harper PTO, the General Board and the Executive Board, shall have charge of all official correspondence (including notices of meetings), shall maintain address lists of committee chairs, may sign checks in the absence of the Treasurer and the President, and shall perform such other duties as usually pertain to the office of Secretary.
The Treasurer shall be the principal financial and accounting officer of the Harper PTO. The Treasurer shall have charge of and be responsible for the maintenance of accurate books of account for the Harper PTO, shall cause all funds and securities of the Harper PTO to be receipted, disbursed and accounted for in accordance with policies promulgated by the Executive Board, shall perform all duties as from time to time may be assigned to the Treasurer by the Executive Board, shall pay out funds only upon receipt of requests for reimbursement signed by a member of the Executive Board and shall be responsible for ensuring that the Harper PTO is in compliance with all local, state, and federal audit, registration, and filing requirements. The monthly bank statement, related bank reconciliation reports, Paypal accounts and any other financial records or books maintained by the Treasurer will be reviewed and approved by a member of the Executive Board (other than the President, President-Elect or Treasurer) during or following each Executive Board’s monthly meeting. The Treasurer shall cooperate with the Audit Committee in connection with the Audit Committee’s review of all such financial records and books at any time, including, but not limited to in connection with the Audit Committee’s preparation of its annual report for the Executive Board. All books and accounts shall be turned over to the Treasurer’s successor at the close of the fiscal year. The Treasurer shall be chairman of the Budget Committee, which committee shall include incumbent and newly elected members of the Executive Board. The Budget Committee shall prepare the Harper PTO’s annual budget for the upcoming school year and present it for approval at the final meeting of the general membership of the Harper PTO. The proposed budget shall be distributed at least one (1) week prior to the vote. Treasurer shall facilitate an audit if required by CPA firm. Treasurer shall complete and file State and Federal tax returns in an accurate and timely fashion.
Standing committees shall be created by the Executive Board to promote the objectives and interests of the Harper PTO.
Special committees may be created by the Executive Board for a period not to exceed the current school year. The chair of such committees shall be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Executive Board.
The chairs of these standing committees shall be appointed by the Nominating Committee and confirmed by Executive Board for a term of one (1) year. Their duties shall continue until the close of the school year. A chair shall be eligible for only two (2) consecutive terms as a chair of the same committee, unless the position is not otherwise filled. Serving an unexpired term of less than half a year shall not count against eligibility.
Any committee chair(s) may appoint sub-committee(s), including sub-committee chairs and/or assistants. All chair(s) may appoint a committee and/or assistants. All chairs shall maintain a file of materials pertinent to the work of their committee and shall transmit this and a copy of their annual report to their successor.
Appropriate committee chair(s) shall be members of the corresponding committee of the Wilmette Village-Wide Parent Teacher Organization, as stated in its bylaws.
The following committees and such additional committees as shall be created by the Executive Board shall constitute the standing committees of the Harper PTO:
iGNITE – The chair(s) shall raise funds primarily to enhance our students’ learning experience.
After School Program Liaison – The liaison shall work in conjunction with the Wilmette Park District to ensure consistent policies/practices and act as a conduit for communication between the Wilmette Park District and the Harper PTO.
Assistant Treasurer – The Assistant Treasurer(s) shall deposit all monies and assist the Treasurer with other duties as needed.
Audit – Within sixty (60) days after the end of a membership year, the chair shall examine the financial records and books maintained by the Treasurer, including, but not limited to monthly bank statements, related bank reconciliation reports and Paypal accounts, and prepare a brief summary for review by the Executive Board.
Book Fair – The chair(s) shall organize and run any book fairs held at the School.
Cafeteria – The chair(s) shall be responsible for the Harper PTO lunchroom volunteers.
Chorus – The chair(s) shall organize and implement the extracurricular chorus program.
Civics and Safety – The chair(s) shall be concerned with all matters pertaining to the safety of the children, including but not limited to the Bicycle Safety Day, and the Fourth Grade Bike-to-Highcrest Day in the Spring. The chair(s) shall attend the meetings on this subject sponsored by the Wilmette Village-Wide Parent Teacher Organization.
Community Review Committee – The chair(s) shall represent the Harper PTO on the District 39’s Community Review Committee which studies the needs and problems of the School and the District 39 system. The chair(s) shall promote an understanding of the Community Review Committee’s purposes and achievements, and report pertinent information to the Executive Board and the general membership of the Harper PTO.
Community Service Committee – The chair(s) will focus on making community service part of our students’ educational experience through various opportunities at the School and in the community.
Directory/Membership – The chair(s) shall report to the Communications Chair and handle all facets of the publication of the on-line Harper School Directory in conjunction with District 39. The chair(s) shall have charge of membership enrollment, supervise the collection and transfer of membership dues to the Treasurer, and continue membership activities throughout the year.
District 39 Educational Foundation Liaison – The chair(s) shall attend the District 39 Educational Foundation meetings and report pertinent information to the Harper PTO.
Environmental Awareness – The chair(s) shall initiate projects at the School that promote environmental concerns. The chair(s) shall act as liaison between the School and the Wilmette Village-Wide Parent Teacher Organization Environmental committee.
FAN Liaison – The chair(s) shall be concerned with all matters pertaining to the emotional well-being of children. The chair(s) shall attend and report on the Family Action Network (FAN) meetings.
Fourth Grade End of the Year Party – The chair(s) shall organize year-end celebration activities for the fourth graders and report to the Room Parent Chairs.
Garden – The chair(s) shall organize and facilitate the work of parent garden committee members, work with the Garden Coordinator of the School to determine parent volunteer opportunities and coordinate the after-school Garden Club. Members of the School Garden Team composed of the Principal, teacher liaisons and the Garden Coordinator. The chair(s) shall communicate regularly with the Harper PTO, the Harper community and the District-wide outdoor classroom group. The chair(s) shall facilitate special events that may be held in the garden (e.g. Hoedown activity). The chair(s) shall administer the budget allocated to the Harper Garden.
Great Books – The chair(s) shall organize the great books classes. The chair(s) shall recruit teachers, collect fees, schedule classes and order materials.
Harper Hoedown (Fall Party) – The chair(s) shall plan and organize an annual Fall social event for Harper families.
Historian – The chair(s) shall maintain a record of any historical or noteworthy happenings that occur at the School.
Hospitality – The chair(s) shall act as hostesses at social meetings of the Harper PTO and shall, as needed, have charge of the refreshments and decorations for all Harper PTO meetings and functions. The chair(s) shall coordinate the Opening Day Event and the end-of-year PTO luncheon.
Landscaping – The chair(s) shall design, prepare and maintain the outdoor flower boxes and containers at the School.
Legislation – The chair(s) and the Executive Board shall review the Bylaws at least every two (2) years.
Parent Social – The chair(s) shall plan and organize an annual parent social event for Harper families to be held in the beginning of each school year.
Pass 39 Liaison – The District 39 Parent Association for Student Services (Pass 39) liaison shall provide support and resources to families whose children have learning disabilities and/or special needs.
Presidential Advisor – The immediate past president of the Harper PTO shall be a resource and advisor to the President.
Teacher/Staff Appreciation – The chair(s) shall plan and organize the annual teacher/staff appreciation week in March, and conduct any additional appreciation events throughout the year, as deemed appropriate. The room parents and other interested volunteers shall assist the chair(s).
Webmaster – The chair(s) shall maintain the Harper PTO website.
Welcoming – The chair(s) shall host the Welcoming Night for new families prior to the first day of school, greet new families throughout the year and coordinate tours of the School upon request. The chair(s) shall host the welcome coffee for kindergarten parents at the beginning of the school year.
Yearbook Editor(s) – The Yearbook Editor(s) shall be responsible for the publication and distribution of the Harper yearbook.
NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS
Nominations for all Executive Board offices of the Harper PTO shall be made by a Nominating Committee which shall consist of the following:
One (1) person who served on the Nominating Committee in the prior year, who shall act as chair and vote only in the case of a tie.
Two (2) Executive Board members, plus one alternate, to be selected in January by the Executive Board from volunteers.
Three (3) members-at-large, plus one (1) alternate, to be selected from the volunteers of the general membership of the Harper PTO.
The outgoing President and the President-Elect, who shall act only in an advisory capacity.
If any member of the Nominating Committee seeks a position on the Executive Board, they are to recuse themselves from all matters, including voting, pertaining to the slating of that position by the Nominating Committee.
Alternates shall serve only in the absence of the duly appointed Nominating Committee members.
The Nominating Committee shall present the slate to the membership of the Harper PTO. The proposed slate and election date to be published not less than fifteen (15) days prior to the election by general membership of the Harper PTO.
Upon petition of twenty (20) members of the PTO, which petitions shall be forwarded to the Secretary at least seven (7) days prior to the election, other candidates shall be included on the ballot with the consent of such other candidate. The executive officers shall be elected at a previously publicized meeting of the general membership of the Harper PTO. Nominations may also be made from the floor, provided that the consent of the candidate so nominated has been previously obtained.
The Executive Board shall fill any vacancy on the Executive Board that occurs during its term at its next regular meeting. At its discretion, the Executive Board may waive term limitations to fill a vacancy by temporary appointment until a qualified officer is elected.
By the first week in January, the Executive Board shall appoint one (1) parent of a fourth grader as a representative to serve on the Nominating Committee of the Highcrest Middle School PTO and one (1) delegate to the Nominating Committee of the Wilmette Village-Wide Parent Teacher Organization.
Regular meetings of the Executive Board shall be held monthly during the school year at a time to be fixed by the Executive Board at its first meeting of the year. Special meetings may be called by the President or by five (5) members of the general membership of the Harper PTO. Executive Board members must be given one (1) week prior notice of such special meetings.
The number and type of meetings of the general membership of the Harper PTO shall be determined by the Executive Board. There shall be an annual business meeting to vote upon the proposed Executive Board slate. At least two (2) executive officers must be present at this annual meeting.
The vote of a majority of those in attendance at a meeting shall be required to approve a matter before either the Executive Board or the general membership of the Harper PTO.
FINANCES AND DISSOLUTION
The Harper PTO shall keep such permanent books of account as shall be sufficient to establish the items of gross income, receipts, and disbursements of the Harper PTO.
The Harper PTO may dissolve and terminate its organization in the following manner:
Upon receipt of a petition signed by at least twenty-five (25) members in good standing, the Executive Board shall provide all members with sixty (60) days’ notice and put the question of dissolution to a vote at a regular Harper PTO meeting.
Only those persons who were members in good standing on the date of submission of the question of dissolution and who continue to be members in good standing on the date of the meeting shall be entitled to vote on the question of dissolution.
Approval of dissolution of the Harper PTO shall require the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the membership.
In the event of the dissolution of the Harper PTO, the Executive Board shall, after paying all liabilities of the Harper PTO, dispose of all remaining assets of the Harper PTO to another organization that qualifies as an exempt organization under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding code of any future United States Internal Revenue Law).
There are certain organizations or events that are not sponsored by the Harper PTO, but are so closely connected to the School (collectively, the “Non-PTO Harper Groups”) that such organizations and events may benefit from and desire to use the various methods of electronic, paperless forms of communication available to the Harper PTO (collectively, the “Electronic Communications”). The School, as well as all other schools in District 39, only use Electronic
Communications to correspond with parents. Non-PTO Harper Groups are also encouraged to use Electronic Communications.
To have access to the Electronic Communications, the Non-PTO Harper Groups must be:
organized specifically for Harper (e.g., Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts);
directed toward students at Harper; and
generally open to the entire Harper community.
Notwithstanding the foregoing to the contrary, the Non-PTO Harper Group may be segregated by gender or grade, but such Non-PTO Harper Group or activity must be open to all students within such category.
The Non-PTO Harper Groups that meet the requirements set forth in Section 2 of this Article XI may submit a notice for the “Announcements” section of the Harper Happenings to the Communications Chair using the Communications Request Form located on the Harper PTO website. The notice shall instruct parents to correspond directly with the contact person for the Non-PTO Harper Group for additional information.
CONSTRUCTION AND TERMS
All reference in these Bylaws to a section or sections of the Internal Revenue Code shall be to such sections of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended from time to time, or to corresponding provisions of any future federal tax code.
These Bylaws may be amended at any meeting of the general membership of the Harper PTO by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present and voting.
Any amendments to the Bylaws shall be submitted to the Executive Board for approval by a two-thirds vote, prior to submission to a meeting of the general membership of the Harper PTO.
Approved May 2020.