15th District PTA Parliamentary Procedure

Parliamentary Procedure

Conducting a meeting | Sample Agenda | Making a motion | Simple steps

So You're Having A Meeting

The correct procedure used in running a meeting is called parliamentary procedure. In order to do things fairly for everyone, Robertxs Rules of Order should be used when conducting a meeting of your PTA. It allows for order and organization and makes meetings go smoothly, in the least amount of time. It is recommended that a president become familiar with Robert's Rules of Order, and have a copy of the book handy when presiding at a meeting.

Principles of parliamentary law are:

  • Fairness and courtesy to all;
  • Rights of the minority protected;
  • Rule of the majority reflected;
  • Partiality to none; and
  • Consideration of one subject at a time.

Many PTAs know that parliamentary procedure should be used, but use the incorrect procedure for conducting a meeting. Below is an example of how parliamentary procedure should be used in a general PTA meeting.

Conducting A Meeting

Call to order

Remember that business can only be conducted at a meeting if a quorum is present. (Check your bylaws for your PTA's specific quorum.) The minutes should reflect that a quorum was present.

To begin a meeting, the president should stand at the podium and say, "The meeting will come to order."

Pledge of Allegiance

If you are having an opening ceremony, or saying of the Pledge of Allegiance, the chair should ask the 1st vice-president to lead in the pledge of allegiance. If you have a group that will lead the pledge, the 1st vice-president should introduce them and ask the audience to stand, saying, "Please stand while Boy Scout troop 314 leads us in the Pledge of Allegiance."

Minutes

A copy of the minutes from the last meeting should be distributed to each member prior to the meeting, so that the secretary does not have to read the minutes at the meeting.

The president should say, "The minutes of the previous meeting have been distributed. Are there any corrections to the minutes?"

If time has already been given for members to read the minutes, after a very short pause, the president should say, "The minutes are approved as written." If corrections are made, the president should say, "The minutes are approved as corrected." (Normally, there are no objections to corrections of the minutes, but if this should happen, there can be discussion and a vote taken on the correction. Otherwise, the minutes do not need a vote or motion for approval.)

Note: the correct terminology is corrections, not additions.

Treasurer's report

At the first meeting of the year, the president should ask the treasurer to present the proposed budget. A copy of the proposed budget should be given out as the parents arrive. The budget should show last year's budget and financial statement, and this year's proposed income and expenditures, with line items listed.

The treasurer should announce the results of the audit. (An audit should have been done before the new treasurer takes the books.) Reporting the finding of the audit committee will let your members know that you are following correct procedures and that their money is being handled correctly.

After a brief explanation of how the PTA is planning on spending the money of the organization, the treasurer should say, "I make a motion to approve the budget for the year, 2005-2006."
The president then should say, "Since the motion comes from committee, it does not need a second. All in favor of accepting the proposed budget for the year, please say aye, all opposed please say no."
"The ayes have it and the budget is adopted."

For other meetings during the year, a copy of an up to date financial report should be distributed to the members prior to the meeting showing the actual compared to the budget. The treasurer should briefly go over the total expenses to date, the total income, and the balance of the PTA account. (He/she may want to point out some line items for clarification.) The membership should be given an opportunity to ask questions.

The president should then say, "The financial statement will be filed for audit."

Announcements and Other Reports

Often, only information is given here. The president should announce upcoming events. A request for new members and/or volunteers should be given at every meeting. Officer reports are given here; the membership chairman could give a report, the programs chairman could report on upcoming programs or activities, or the ways & means chairman could talk about the fundraiser.

Unfinished Business

Following any reports, any business carried over from a previous meeting should be conducted here.
The president should say, "The first item of business, under unfinished business, is the motion to..." and include anything that was pending from the previous meeting or carried over due to time constraints.

New Business

Any other business, which requires a vote of the membership, should be conducted here.
Any awards or recognition should be given here.
The president asks, "Is there any new business?"
A member can then bring up new business and make a motion, using proper procedure. A motion to amend the budget or bylaws could be made here.

Adjournment

The president should say, "Since there is no further business, the meeting is adjourned" or simply, "The meeting is adjourned."

The president should adjourn the meeting before giving the floor to the principal, or anyone else wishing to speak on non-PTA events. The principal should not call the meeting to order or adjourn the meeting.

Sample Agenda

Sample Elementary PTA General Meeting
September 8, 2005
7:00 P.M.

Call to order, President Sara Lee

Pledge of Allegiance, Boy Scout troop 314

Approval of Minutes

Treasurer's report, Laura Petry

Officer's reports

Unfinished Business

New Business

Making a Motion

The main function of a board of managers is to make decisions. According to Robert's Rules of Order, "To begin the process of making any decision, a member offers a proposal by making a motion. A motion is a formal proposal by a member, in a meeting, that the group take certain action."

To make a motion, obtain the floor by having the chair recognize you, then simply say, "I move that..." and clearly state your proposal. For example, "I move that the Ways & Means committee use the ACME company for the main fundraiser of the year 2005-2006." The group will vote on the exact wording of the motion, not the idea, so it is very important  to state exactly what the words of the motion are to be. It's a good idea to write down beforehand the exact wording of the motion, and read the motion at the meeting. You can also give the secretary the exact wording in writing to make his/her job easier and to make sure the wording is correctly recorded in the minutes. Always write out a long or complex motion for the secretary and president.

Be seated after making a motion. Wait until discussion on the motion takes place to explain your position on the motion.

A motion must be seconded in order to be considered by the group. This shows that at least two people want the proposal to be considered--it does not necessarily mean that the seconder agrees with the motion. To second a motion, a person does not need to stand, but simply calls out, "Second!"

Note: If a motion is a proposal that comes from a committee, it does not need to be seconded, because the fact that it comes from a committee shows that more than one person wants the proposal to be heard. In this case, the person making the motion would say, "The Ways & Means Committee moves that...", followed by the chair saying, "Since the motion comes from committee, it does not need to be seconded."

Once a motion has been made and seconded, the chair should repeat the exact wording of the motion, or the question at hand.

Once a motion has been restated by the chair, it is "on the floor", meaning that it is open for discussion. The chair usually recognizes the person who made the motion, to give his/her reasons why the motion should be passed. Other members may then be given the floor by the chair to discuss the motion. Discussion or debate must be related to the motion, and not about personalities. If the chair wishes, a time limit may be given to each speaker at the beginning of the debate.

When no one else wishes to speak to the motion, the chair may call for the question by saying, "Are you ready for the question?" This is simply asking if everyone in the group is ready to vote on the motion. The chair should then repeat the exact wording of the motion, followed by, "Those in favor of the motion, say aye." And then, "Those opposed to the motion, say no." (If a voice vote is to be taken.) Most motions take a majority to pass.

The chair then judges whether the majority voted aye or no, and announces the result of the vote by saying, "The ayes have it, the motion is adopted." Or, "The noes have it, the motion is lost."

Put simply, the steps to making a motion are:

Member A: "I move that we use the ACME company for the main fundraiser of the year 2005-2006."

Another member: "Second!"

Chair: "It is moved and seconded that we use the ACME company for the main fundraiser of the year 2005-2006." The chair recognizes member A.

Member A: Member A must give reasons that will convince the group that passing the motion is in the best interest of the group.

Other members may now speak in support or against the motion, after being recognized by the chair.

Chair: "Are you ready for the question?"

Chair: "The question is on the adoption of the motion that we use the ACME company for the main fundraiser of the year 2005-2006."

Chair: "All in favor of the motion, say aye." "All opposed to the motion, say no."

Chair: "The ayes have it, the motion is adopted."

Resource: Robert's Rules of Order

Please refer to Robert's Rules of Order for more in-depth information on Parliamentary Procedure.