Contact Colorado’s Members of Congress

Every Coloradan has two U.S. Senators and a U.S. Representative (also known as a Congressman or Congresswoman).  Both Senators represent the state as a whole and have district offices throughout the state. Colorado has divided into seven Congressional Districts and each District has a Representative. Representatives have several offices within their districts to serve their constituents. Representative and Senators have offices in Washington DC as well. DC offices are primarily concerned with the legislative business of Congress. District offices focus on constituent services. Contacting a district office is often the best way to identify which staff member can help you with your request whether that person is in the same office or in DC. Methods of Contact In-person meeting or invitation to an event – The legislator’s website typically has an online form to use for scheduling requests.  Making a scheduling request well in advance of a meeting or event date is recommended. Postal Mail – Postal mail can be sent to the member’s office in Washington DC or a district office in Colorado. Be sure to allow a few weeks for screening and delivery of postal mail to Washington DC. Phone calls – Typically, Congressional websites do not include a directory of staff. If you don’t have a contact person for the matter, you can call the general number for the office and the staffer answering the phone will help you identify the right contact person. If you are unsure where to call, it’s best to start with the district office. Emails – Congressional websites typically do not include email addresses for staff either. Use the contact form to lobby on a policy issue or ask a question. Request a response and include your contact information if you would like to hear back from the member of Congress. It may take days or weeks for a response...

Is Your PTA an ATM for Your School?

Have you ever felt that your PTA was an ATM for your school principal and teachers? Have you ever felt like your principal thought your PTA budges was his or her discretionary spending fund? Do you get requests from teachers and school staff to fund certain projects and items that really ought to be part of the school budget? You’re not alone. PTAs frequently turn over their funds to school administration for such basics as books, equipment, and maintenance, not to mention extras, such as playground equipment and vending machines. The customs that have developed between PTAs and schools have blurred the line about what PTAs are; what vision, mission, and purposes we follow; and how our funds should be used. Vision, mission, and purposes PTA’s vision is making every child’s potential a reality. PTA’s mission is to be A powerful voice for all children A relevant resource for families and communities A strong advocate for the education and well-being of every child PTA’s purposes, or historical goals are as follows: To promote the welfare of the children and youth in home, school, community, and place of worship To raise the standards of home life To secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth To bring into closer relation the home and the school, that parents and teachers may cooperate intelligently in the education of children and youth To develop between educators and the general public such united efforts as will secure for all children and youth the highest advantages in physical, mental, social, and spiritual education How PTAs work The national PTA organization is...

PTA Election Do’s & Don’t

With the school board elections and potential ballot initiatives, it’s important you and your members are aware of the laws around what your PTA can and cannot do. 1) PTAs CANNOT support/endorse/oppose candidates. This is IRS law. If your PTA endorses a candidate you not only jeopardize your PTA’s non-profit status but the non-profit status of every PTA in Colorado. 2) PTAs CAN support or oppose ballot issues. If your PTA wishes to take a position to support or oppose a ballot initiative you must have a majority vote of your membership (not just your Board) and you must give your membership fair notice that the vote will take place (7-10 days). 501(c)(3) Status and Law. Because PTA is a 501c3 non-profit corporation, the IRS does not allow PTA to support candidates. It is legal for PTAs to inform voters of an election and list ALL the candidates who are running. PTAs may hold candidate forums, as long as ALL candidates are invited. Advocating for an Initiative. Colorado PTA prefers that local units help ballot issue campaigns by providing volunteer assistance with such things as literature distribution, yard signs, phone calling, etc., rather than making monetary contributions. Voter registration drives are encouraged. Campaign Donations. The IRS does not allow local units to contribute more than “an insubstantial amount” of their gross revenue to ballot issue campaigns or lobbying. This is generally viewed as being between 2% and 5% of gross revenue. (Please note that this refers to the total amount given to all ballot issues and lobbying throughout the year.) Because all local units are part of the Colorado...