PTO Today Responds to National PTA Lawsuit

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PTO Today denies all claims of PTA and will continue to serve all parent-teacher groups.

The mission of our company is to help parent group leaders of every stripe (no matter the acronym) do their important work well, so that they can help make their local schools great places for their children to thrive.

School Family Media, Inc. responded strongly today to a lawsuit filed against the firm by the National PTA (Case: 1:12-cv-07690 – Northern District of Illinois). School Family Media strongly denies all claims in the suit and vows to vigorously defend its rights to provide services to all parent-teacher groups and to accurately describe exactly the services it does provide.

“We were deeply disappointed to receive news of this suit yesterday – and only from the media, I might add,” says School Family Media founder & president Tim Sullivan in a prepared statement. “We have occasionally received complaints from the National PTA over a period of nearly four years, and while we don’t agree with the claims, we nonetheless have made significant accommodations to help satisfy the National PTA. We have repeatedly offered to mediate or even arbitrate these differences. Our most recent offer was made months ago, and we heard nothing in return.”

The accusations most specifically surround School Family Media’s PTO Today division, which publishes PTO Today magazine, hosts PTO Expo conferences across the country, and maintains the ptotoday.com website. PTO Today also offers a suite of paid “PTO Today Plus” services to parent-teacher groups, which includes enhanced resources and support, such as access to group-rate insurance. All PTO Today services, including the print magazine, are made available equally to all parent-teacher groups.

“Our mission since 1999 has been to serve the volunteer leaders of school parent-teacher groups as best we can so that those volunteers can do their essential work most effectively at their schools and for their children,” explains Sullivan. “We make our resources – which are almost always completely free to all groups – available to any and every parent-teacher group that can use the help, whether that group is a PTO, a PTA, an HSA (home and school association), a PCC (Parent Communication Council), or any other acronym.”

Sullivan continues: “We are very proud of the fact that all of our services are used without discrimination by all types of parent-teacher group leaders. We’ve received hundreds of thank-you notes and emails from local PTA leaders who’ve appreciated our resources over the years. When we say that we serve local PTA leaders, it’s because we do. And we look forward to helping more in the years to come.”

School Family Media, Inc. – originally named PTO Today, Inc. – was founded by Sullivan in 1999 as a print magazine. Since 2000, the company’s flagship magazine has shipped to virtually every K-8 school in the country seven times per year, without regard to what type of parent-teacher group is in place at those schools. Additional media properties and the company’s parent-group trade shows followed. Roughly 90% of the company’s revenue comes from advertisers and sponsors.

The National PTA has also accused PTO Today of inappropriately interfering with PTA’s relationships with its local units, another charge Sullivan denies: “We receive questions from parent-teacher group leaders on a whole variety of topics every day, and – as a media resource – we do our best to help our readers understand options and best practices. We’ve received hundreds if not thousands of questions from local PTA leaders over the years asking about options and steps around disbanding their PTA units. Like we do on every other question that comes our way, we’ve tried to give sound and honest and factual descriptions of those groups’ options. We will continue to provide the most comprehensive answers we can to all the questions parent-teacher group leaders ask us. It’s our core mission.”

For more information, visit the PTO Today website (http://www.ptotoday.com) or read PTO Today’s complete statement (as well as PTO Today’s legal counsel’s previous response to these PTA claims) here (http://www.schoolfamilymedia.com/pdf/PTA-lawsuit-statement.pdf)

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About School Family Media
School Family Media is a media and marketing firm focused on serving local school PTOs and PTAs and on facilitating parent involvement in schools. Founded in 1999, the company’s PTO Today print magazine is distributed free of charge to virtually every K-8 school in the country seven times per year. Likewise, the company’s ptotoday.com website and series of PTO Expo live events service tens of thousands of local PTO and PTA leaders each year. School Family Media is the parent company of PTO Today and also offers a host of additional parent-focused programs and properties, such as the SchoolFamily.com website, the School Family Nights series of parent involvement events, and our Jump In! back-to-school magazine for school families.

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