Balloting, Bonds, and Overrides

As an advocacy association,  PTAs  should  be involved with ballot issues pertaining to children.   It is very appropriate for PTAs to support their school’s bond or override election,  if the membership votes to do so.  

 There are 2 rules of thumb to keep in mind:

 #1- No candidates!    

  • As a 501(c ) (3)  organization, a PTA is not allowed to endorse and is not allowed to donate money to a candidate’s campaign.  
  • A PTA is not allowed to donate money to a “527”  organization either.   (527s are also known as  “Super-PACs”  or  “IEs”  because they make “independent expenditures”  for or against a candidate but independent of the candidate’s campaign.) 
  • A PTA is not allowed to donate to  or be involved with a political party in any way.  
  • A PTA must remain non-partisan. 
    • 5% maximum donation to a PAC (Political Action Committee) – but only if that PAC is organized to support or oppose a “Ballot Question”  and does no activity for candidates or parties. 
      (It’s 5% of gross income.  If a PTA  has total revenue of $10,000 for the full fiscal year,   it may donate no more than $500 to a PAC.)  according to Money Matters,  especially P.52 & P.53.   
    • Supporting a ballot issue is considered “direct lobbying.”  PTAs are allowed to  lobby.   (The voters act as legislators in a ballot measure.  The PTA members are lobbying the voters directly.) 
    • Voter and member outreach is better than a donation.    The main efforts of any 501(c) (3)  organization  in political activity should be on educating voters about the organization’s issues,  and even that must be done in an “insubstantial” way.  
    • IRS  website:    

 #2 –  Lobbying must be an insubstantial part of a PTA’s activities.

For PTAs,  it’s better to focus on educating members about  the specific issue that pertains to children,  and encouraging parents to vote,  than it is to make donations to PACs. 

Great things for PTAs to do:

1.    Host a meeting  (not on school grounds,  or have the PAC pay the school rent for the space)  about the election,  and work hard to get many people to attend.

a.    At that meeting,  encourage  EVERYBODY  to  register to vote, or to take home a paper voter-registration.  (If you can set up for online-registrations, even better)  Often,  people are embarrassed that they are not already registered.  Encourage them, “Even if you’re already registered to vote,  fill out a form today to be sure you’re on the PEVL – Permanent Early Voter List.”  (Register to vote at    )  

b.    Have the  School CFO  (or principal)  explain Facts-Only  about the election and answer questions,  and  the PAC members explain why to vote Yes. 

c.    Offer the attendees  the opportunity to sign up to volunteer or donate to the PAC.   *****  This is a much better way to fund the PAC,  than with  PTA donations.  Let your members make the decision as individuals.  

d.    Offer yard signs for attendees to take home and post in their yards,  or other appropriate areas.

2.    Encourage all your members to write letters to the editor of your local newspapers.   The PAC  probably can give you specific tips.  

3.    Host  House-Parties  for  a speaker from the PAC or the school to  come and talk with your friends and neighbors about the school election.   

4.    Help the PAC  by  getting PTA volunteers to participate in   phone banks and  walks. 

5.    See NPTA’s  page on “Ballot Measures”:    

6.    The organization,  NonProfit Vote  also has a good 1-page list:  

Arizona School Board Association gave a great webinar on the Do’s and Don’ts of Bonds and Overrides:

Have questions, please email

© Arizona PTA 2016