With a 19-1 vote for JTHS PTSA and a 17-2 vote for JTMS PTA, both groups voted at their general membership meeting on July 15 to withdraw their charter from the NJ PTA. The groups will now reorganize and merge with the Jefferson Township Education Foundation to consolidate their efforts to provide their children with the best education possible.

The new foundation will continue to provide the same fundraisers and programs as in the past, including the carnival, the staff vs. student basketball game, the JTHS graduation reception, and the JTMS dances. In addition, the foundation will give the district grants to support technology needs, before- and after-school activities, and co-curricular programs.

JTHS PTSA president Dina Troha said that this change was needed to better support the district’s needs. The PTAs at the higher grade levels tend to have lower participation than at the elementary school level due to other extracurricular obligations. Even though a charter with the NJ PTA provides them with organizational resources and guidance, both PTAs paid over $2,000 in dues to the NJ PTA, money that could have gone to other district programs.

“Our role in our schools must evolve,” Troha said in a press release. “We believe that by joining efforts with the Education Foundation, we will be opening up our volunteer base and giving us new and innovative ways to fundraise.”

Given the state aid cuts to Jefferson Township school district, Troha said that consolidating efforts would help the organization focus on saving the most important programs.

Lisa Falco, the region VI director for NJ PTA, which covers Morris, Sussex, and Warren County said that she understood these financial constraints. However, she said the NJ PTA provides resources “to make every child’s potential a reality,” according to the organization’s mission statement. Money collected from these dues go to statewide and national programs that help improve the quality of the students’ education.

In the end, both PTAs’ members voted in favor of the withdrawal. The group will now work on reorganizing and preparing for the upcoming school year.

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