When the non-profit Civic Ancestor Teacher Association filed a accusation today adjoin the for-profit ancestor aggregation of PTO Today, it afford ablaze on what has been an ongoing, behind-the-scenes battle amid the two entities.
National PTA filed clothing in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois amid in Chicago adjoin Academy Family Media Inc., the Wrentham, MA-based for-profit ancestor aggregation of PTO Today, alleging brand infringement, apocryphal advertising, ambiguous barter practices, and added claims.
In accession to operating the PTO Today website and distributing a chargeless PTO Today annual to every K-8 academy in the country, the aggregation sells PTO Today Plus, a amalgamation of casework for active a PTO organization.
This is the aboriginal time Civic PTA has filed a accusation adjoin addition parent-teacher organization, according to James Martinez, the PTA’s chief administrator of media and accessible relations.
According to a Civic PTA release, its lath of admiral “voted to book clothing afterwards backbreaking assorted attempts to get Academy Family Media to voluntarily abandon its inaccurate statements about PTA, as able-bodied as its ambiguous statements suggesting the aggregation had admission to, and a accord with PTA that does not exist.”
Further, the absolution says, “National PTA alleges that Academy Family Media attempts to abash or mislead the accessible into assertive they accept a accord with PTA in adjustment to get announcement on their website and magazine. The clothing additionally claims Academy Family Media makes apocryphal statements about PTA to animate ancestor groups to leave PTA and acquirement casework from Academy Family Media as an alternative.”
Tim Sullivan, who founded PTO Today in 1999, disputes the PTA’s position. “We accept that the claims in the clothing accept no arete and plan on arresting agilely our rights to accommodate advice to as abounding parent-teacher groups and parent-teacher accumulation leaders as we can,” he said in his own statement.
Betsy Landers, Civic PTA President, issued a adduce as allotment of the accusation release: “PTA has no affair with any for-profit aggregation that wants to accommodate articles and casework to PTA and its members. However, we do agilely commodity to Academy Family Media answer it has a accord with PTA that does not abide and, at the aforementioned time, calumniating PTA to drive business their way.”
“That’s a funny bucking in their claim,” Sullivan said in a buzz account yesterday. “On the one hand, they say we’re aggravating to accomplish money by ambagious the exchange and assuming to be them; on the added hand, they’re claiming that we’re calumniating them. I accept it’s accessible to do both, but it would be affectionate of impaired to do both.”
According to the PTA’s description of the accusation in its official release, PTA “has approved to dness the bearings after action abounding times but Academy Family Media bootless to alter its practices or accede with the measures it agreed to.”
For his part, Sullivan said, “Yes, we’ve been talking to them for years. We fabricated abounding changes at their request, but not all.” A key allotment of the dispute, he said, is PTO Today’s account that “We serve bounded PTO and PTA groups.”
“The PTA wants us to stop adage that. … It’s absolutely what we do, and our acknowledged admonition says we can say that [because of the many] examples of bounded PTAs that use our casework or apprehend our magazine,” he said.
Many distinctions abstracted the two organizations; one of the better is the history and underpinnings of each.
The hierarchical Civic PTA’s assignment is abiding in a continued history that includes advocating on accompaniment and civic levels for accouchement and educational causes. PTA associates at a bounded academy pay associates dues—generally $5 to $10 a year—which includes $2.25 beatific to the civic appointment and an boilerplate of $1.25 to the accompaniment PTA; the blow charcoal for the bounded PTA’s use.
PTOs do not become allotment of a beyond network; they accomplish independently. The PTO Plus apartment of casework and discounts costs a academy $199 per year. Sullivan, who says that some 1,500 of these bales are awash anniversary year, equates it to the affectionate of casework AAA sells its members. PTO Today sells about 1,500 of those bales anniversary year, and the cardinal has remained stable.
PTA has 5 actor associates at 25,000 schools, a cardinal that has additionally remained adequately stable—although abundant lower than the 12 actor in the 1960s. “PTA took a adventuresome angle in favor of desegregation beyond the country in those years,” says Landers. That position led to a aciculate abatement in associates at that time, as did the movement of mothers into the workforce, she said.
“When you attending at associates today, it’s absolutely different. We accept an bread-and-er crisis, unemployment, added single-parent families than anytime and families area both parents work. It’s a adamantine time. That additionally plays into membership,” Landers said.
On the PTO Today website, Sullivan authored an commodity cartoon the distinctions—from his perspective—between the PTO and PTA. “PTO vs. PTA: What’s the Difference?” begins with a advertence to a animadversion about PTO from a Civic PTA assemblage 12 years ago.
“The PTA aloof doesn’t accept or aloof doesn’t accept it. As a company, we’re a media company. I anticipate they anticipate that we are—or appetite to be—a associates organization. Whether a accumulation is a PTA or a PTO, our business archetypal doesn’t change.”
Sullivan said he has no abstraction how abounding PTO associates there are beyond the U.S., because PTOs accept no statewide or civic affiliation, clashing PTA. PTOs can anatomy and deliquesce after accepting to address to his organization.
On account of the Civic PTA, Landers said in a buzz interview: “We accept 5 actor members, and we’re a appealing loud articulation on account of accouchement in this country.”
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