PTA Membership Can't Keep Up With School Enrollment

Denise Simpson
Denise Simpson

Some local schools are having trouble recruiting parent volunteers, and that could have a great impact on your child's education.

On average, area PTA membership is down. More children than ever are enrolling in Texas schools... One million of them since 1994. But, as more kids enroll, fewer parents are signing up for the PTA...200,000 fewer state wide over the past few years, including parents right here in Amarillo.

At Thursday's PTA meeting at de Zavala Middle School in Amarillo, a group of hard working parents hammer out details for the school's next big event. The school's principal says, "It's probably one of the most integral parts that we have here on campus." de Zavala PTA President and former AISD PTA Council President Denise Simpson says, "We are just like the support team for our school." A support team many area schools are lacking. Simpson says, "We've definitely seen a decline in membership for PTAs."

That decline in membership has caused seven area elementary and middle schools to dissolve PTA operations all together... And that's something that is not going unnoticed. "A decline in membership means there are less people to volunteer in the schools, less funds are being raised for the schools."

As for why parents are not spending more time at their child's school... The AISD PTA Council says it's not because they don't want to, but simply because they no longer have the time. "Lives have changed. There are lots of people who work full time, both husband and wife and probably have to take on second jobs at this time in this economy."

One of the biggest challenges local PTAs face is letting parents know that even the smallest, least time consuming effort on their part can make all the difference in the world to their child's school.