Monday, September 15, 2008

I Could be V.P. Part 2

Or, how being PTO President makes you crazy, NOT qualified to be Vice President of the United States of America.

I went to my first PTO meeting when my oldest was in Kindergarten. There were two Presidents because, I guess, it was too big a job for just one woman. Either that or the gals were BFFs and did everything together.

As Mr. Rix and I watched them give their speech, he looked over at me and whispered in my ear "Don't even THINK about it." He knew just by the way these two ladies spoke that trouble was afoot. They laughed and giggled and made their little inside jokes while the rest of the parents looked on...looked at each other...and lost interest.

I spent the year attending meetings and was appalled at the statements the "Executive Board" made about teachers, parents and anyone else who wasn't in their circle of friends.

I asked for a treasurer's report as well as minutes from the previous meeting one time and was told "Oh, we don't do that."

That was #1's kindergarten first year as part of the school.

During that year the PTO was working hard to raise money for a new playground that was desperately needed as the old playground had become a hazard.

When #1 was in 1st grade, I decided to TRY and become more involved with the PTO. I went to more meetings; my ideas, involvement and interest were met with blank stares and "oh, we don't do that" or "oh, that won't work".

What the current Executive Board of the PTO didn't know was that over the summer another Mom called me and directed me to a state website. The Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website allows folks to enter names into the database and see what sorts of criminal/civil/ordinance violations a person has been charged with.

What we learned was that the current Treasurer of the school PTO had used the money in the PTO checkbook to make several mortgage payments on a home they had vacated in South the tune of $20,000. Many of us tried to guide the PTO in the right direction without "outing" the offenders.

The PTO tried to keep things quiet but that was not to be. Duh. Granted, she did pay the money back quickly, and although that's all the Principal of the school wanted - to have the money back - the Vice President of the PTO wanted to make a pariah out of this woman. The Vice President was OUT FOR BLOOD!

Which was REALLY funny considering that the Vice President HERSELF had been convicted of theft, forgery, identity theft, and fraud!

Let's regroup.

When #1 started 1st grade we had a PTO whose Treasurer had absconded with $20K and whose Vice President was also a whack job. But no one knew about the Vice President because no one wanted to hurt her feelings or call her out. We thought we'd keep an eye on her and all would be well.

As the year went on it became clear that a change needed to be made. But, alas, there were NO by-laws in place that would provide for the removal of the officers.

At the end of the year, I decided to run for President of this ridiculous mess. I won...after a cluster of an election which was a direct result of the lack of by-laws! and got exactly what I deserved.

A year of torture.

I spent the entire summer compiling a set of by-laws. The crazy whack job Vice President was still my Vice President so I had to make immediate changes to the bank account making 2 signatures on any activity mandatory (duh).

I ran the Book Fair, Fall Family Night, The Giving Tree (teachers make a wish list, parents can help), the Mitten Tree, Friday Popcorn sales, meetings, Spring Fundraiser (silent auction baskets, Karaoke, etc...) essentially solo because the rest of the parents had long since given up on the PTO.

In the meantime, the crazy PTO Vice President made a run for the local School Board and was strongly supported by some very fiscally conservative members of the current School Board. When I attempted to warn those members of our V.P.s shady history, my warnings were taken as sour grapes.

The local newspaper was contacted and a story ran in the paper about just exactly what this particular candidate stood for.

There's a litany of offenses in her past (6 months prior to filing her petition and signatures for her school board run) that included an eviction, fraud, etc.

But the best was her theft charge. See, she'd been a "Deli Lady" at a local Piggly Wiggly and absconded with a gross of cheese balls and something like 2 dozen hams. (And I had to have the Spring Family event catered??? WTF??)

Oh. But there's more.

Because the story came to light before her name could be withdrawn from the ballot, she still received more than 1500 votes for School Board.

The moral of the story...

Well, there is none. Except that PTO ladies are bat-shit crazy. And I do include myself in that characterization.

Oh, and this all happened in a town of 60,000 in Wisconsin! A town where there ISN'T a huge Meth problem (like Wasilla, AK). Can you imagine what kinda story I could tell if meth was the drug of choice up there?


Miryam (mama o' the matrices) said...

meth in Wasilla? Hm.

Yep, PTO/PTA is a time sink crafter by a giggling, delighted fiend. And it sucks in the nicest people... And excellent reason to avoid those insidious bagel brunches! First they feed you, and then they get you to sign up for things. Ha.

Of course, I always do. After all, you've got to have one person on the job who believes in by-laws and minutes! (really? paid her mortgage? Damn.)

EMERGE said...

OMG this is ha-larious. I am actually crying from laughter as I read this. Don't get me started on my PTO story. I can so relate to this. Thanks for sharing - now I don't feel so bad.