HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn (WDEF) – The Parent Teacher Association has seen a dramatic decline in memberships throughout the state of Tennessee as a result to the pandemic.
With most schools staying virtual throughout the year, PTA memberships have declined by nearly 50%.
“We are an association made up of members and if we don’t have members we don’t have the ability to stand up and speak for the kids,” says Christy Carroll Highfill, Vice President of Hamilton County PTA.
To tackle funding, the association is promoting a capital campaign to make up for a $35,000 deficit intended to save local chapters in cities like Hamilton County.
“Now we have to find other ways of making that up. Whether that be applying for more grants, collaborating with other organizations that are doing the same type of work & figuring out where we cut cost. It’s one thing when you are fat and trying to cut costs but when you’re lean and trying to cut cost those are some really tough decisions that have to be made,” says Wayne Brown, Tennessee PTA Board Member.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted how the PTA normally operates, with volunteers not being allowed inside most schools and the cancellation of fundraisers.
“There are a lot of missing pieces this year just because of Covid and what it has taken away from us. PTA a lot of the time will fill in those gaps. We try to put in programs where a lot of the time the school is overtaxed and they can’t do it. We try to provide help wherever we can. Those are things that haven’t been able to happen this year,” says Carroll Highfill.
The non profit organization says although they have been faced with challenges this past year, they will continue to be an advocate for children and parents.
“We’re not going to fade away. That 52% that we still have can make some great strides in helping our children and parents get what they need. That’s what we are focusing on. We would love to have the 48% back however we understand that we really need to make sure the 52% stay strong,” says Brown.
The cost to join PTA is determined by local chapters and is rather inexpensive-generally less than $10 per school year. You can learn more here.