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Virginia PTA
May 2008

First, let me welcome you to your new position. Whether serving as a recording or
corresponding secretary, you are responsible for maintaining historical records of your PTA unit
for the length of your elected term. You are an elected officer of your local unit. As such, you
hold an important position. Along with the other officers you are the leadership of your PTA.
You will assist in establishing goals and objectives for members to consider and will be
responsible to the members in all matters related to unit leadership.

As part of the leadership team, you will assist the other officers whenever help is needed.
Attendance at all executive board meetings and general membership meetings is of utmost
importance. Decisions that are being made need to have input from everyone - especially that of
the elected officers. Remember that you serve as a link between your community and the school.
Others have elected you to represent them. Serve them well.

If you have not received a procedure book and/or materials from your predecessor, please
contact him/her and arrange to get the materials. If for some reason there are no materials
available, start a procedure book and begin a correspondence and/or minutes notebook.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need any help.

Phyllis Ayers, VA PTA Secretary


A procedure book for a corresponding secretary should contain at least the following:

a.     Names, addresses, telephone numbers and email
       addresses of the executive committee of your local

b.     Names, addresses, telephone numbers and email
       addresses of the standing committee chairmen.

c.     Names of administrators, teachers and other staff
       members and the classes they teach or the jobs they

d.     Names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses of council officers and
       committee chairmen.

e.     Names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses of district officers and
       committee chairmen.

f.     Names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses of state officers and
       committee chairmen (available on web page and in Bulletin).

g.     Names, telephone numbers and addresses of local school board members.

h.     Names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses of division superintendent and
       other school system personnel whom you may wish to correspond with during the year.

Add to your individual procedure book those materials that are important and useful for you
locally. Obviously if there is one secretary doing both jobs the procedure book would include all
of the information for both Recording and Corresponding Secretaries.

A separate notebook should be maintained for all correspondence. Copies of incoming and out
going correspondence should be placed in this notebook (or folder) to be shared at executive
committee meetings and general membership meetings.


1.     Be sure that the former secretary has sent the new officers' names to state office and the
       local council. If there is no council, send names to the district director. If it has not been
       done, DO IT.
2.     Notify committee chairmen and council delegates of their election or appointment.
3.     Send names and addresses of council delegates to the local council. (This could have
       been done in the spring if the council delegate was elected/appointed at that time.)

4.    Prepare an up-to-date list of officers and committee chairmen with addresses, telephone
      numbers and email. Provide a copy for all the members of the board.
5.    Prepare letters for officers and committee chairmen,
      particularly requests for participants
      and programs and guest speakers and thank you notes
      after they attend your meetings.
6.    Send greeting, sympathy and get well cards in the name
      of the association.
7.    Issue notices of meetings.
8.    Keep copies of all outgoing and incoming correspondence.
9.    Be prepared to read or report on any communications received not requiring action.
      Lengthy correspondence may be condensed or summarized. (A communication is
      normally addressed to the president or the secretary and is read aloud by the secretary
      unless the presiding officer chooses to read it because of special importance of the
      content or source.)
10.   Provide delegates with credentials when necessary.
11.   Notify officers of their election.
12.   Since a great deal of material is received by the president, your assistance in reviewing
      the material you receive and being prepared to report on it will provide a great service not
      only to the president but also to the members of your executive board by keeping them
      well-informed and up to date.


A procedure book for a recording secretary should contain the following as a minimum:

a.     Copy of local unit bylaws.
b.     Copy of local unit standing rules (if any).
c.     Local unit current membership list.
d.     Local unit's annual budget.
e.     Local unit's program for the year.
f.     List of projects planned for the year.
g.     Copies of the local unit newsletter or bulletin.
h.     Dates and locations of all council, district and state
i.     Reports of all meetings and conferences attended.
j.     The Virginia PTA Local Unit Resource Guide, Robert‟s Rules of Order, and the
       National PTA Resource Guide (current editions).

Add to your individual procedure book those materials that are important and useful for you
locally. Obviously if there is one secretary doing both jobs the procedure book would include all
of the information for both Recording and Corresponding Secretaries.

A separate notebook should be maintained for executive board minutes and one for general
membership minutes. Committee reports and treasurer's reports should be filed with the
executive board minutes.

The recording secretary should make motion blanks. If motion blanks are used at the meetings,
your job as secretary is much easier. Keep the motion blanks in a file or in a notebook numbered
in order that they are made. 3 X 5 note cards may also be used. A sample motion form follows:
                      Motion Form                               Motion #________

              I move___________________________________________________________




              Date: __________________________________________________________

              Maker of motion:    ______________________________________________

              Carried _____                     Defeated _______

              Amendment made to original motion ______


   Record accurately all business transacted at each meeting of the association and of the
    executive board and present the minutes for approval at the next meeting.

   Read executive board minutes at the executive board meeting and regular minutes at the
    regular association meeting. (Your PTA may choose to mail the minutes, in which case
    reading of the minutes can be waived. Often local units use the mailing of the minutes as a
    reminder for the next meeting.)

   Count a rising vote when requested by the presiding officer.

   Determine if a quorum is present. This is one of the reasons for having a copy of the bylaws
    in your procedure book. The quorum for an executive board meeting is one half, plus one, of
    the total number of voting members. The quorum for a general membership meeting is
    stated in the local unit bylaws.

   Call roll or send around attendance sign-in sheet.

   Act as custodian of all records unless specifically assigned to others.

   Call the meeting to order in the absence of the president and vice president(s), unless the
    bylaws specify otherwise, and preside until a chairman pro tem is elected.

   Prepare, for the president, a statement of unfinished business that needs to come before the
    executive board or general membership. This is usually prepared as soon after the meeting as
    possible so that the president can prepare for the next meeting. Sometimes the secretary also
    sends out reminder notices to other officers or committee chairmen of the action that they
    have been requested to take or matters that they need to follow up on.

   Give a report of all action taken by the executive board at the regular association meeting.

   Maintain current membership list.

   As recording secretary you are entrusted with your PTA‟s records. You are also responsible
    for keeping accurate records of the proceedings of your association. The minutes that you
    record are the permanent and legal records of your PTA. They are your PTA’s history.
    They should be recorded in a book if handwritten. If they are
    typed, arrangements should be made to have them bound at
    designated intervals, i.e. once during an administration, once
    every three years, etc.


A.    Materials needed:

       Minutes book                                              them)
       Agenda                                                   Budget
       Membership roll                                          Motion Blanks
       List of current standing and special                     Ballots
        committees                                               Notebook or paper and pen to take
       Bylaws--Local, State and National                         notes for permanent minutes
       Standing Rules (if your unit has

B.    Plan with the President by:

       Preparing a summary of all
        unfinished business                                              Reports of officers and
       Making sure the room is set up                                    committee chairmen
        properly for the meeting                                         Unfinished business
       Assisting the president with the                                 New business
        agenda, to include:


1.    Call to order.
2.    Opening exercise (meditation, etc. if desired)
3.    Reading, correction and approval of minutes.
4.    Communications NOT requiring action.
5.    Report of the treasurer.
6.    Report of auditor (annually or when necessary).
7.    Reports of other officers.
8.    Reports of Executive Committee and Standing Committees.
9.    Reports of Special Committees (committee to revise bylaws, committee to investigate prices
      for copiers, nominating committee, etc.).
10.   Unfinished (not OLD) Business (that is, matters previously introduced which have come over
      from the preceding meeting).
11.   New Business (that is, matters initiated in the present meeting).
12.   Program (if any)
13.   Announcements (may also be scheduled before the program if a large portion of the assembly
      is likely to be lost immediately after the conclusion of the program).
14.   Adjournment.

A.   Take accurate notes of action by the association

B.   Read minutes of the previous meeting and record whether
     approved or corrected with date. If dispensed with, state the

C.   Read executive board report, board recommendations and
     correspondence (if there is no corresponding secretary).

D.    Record:
                                                               and the name of each member who
       name of the association                                introduced a main motion, but not
       date, time, and place of meeting                       the name of the person who
       presence of president and                              seconded the motion.
        secretary, or in their absence the                    program topic, method of
        names of their substitutes                             presentation; name of participant
       treasurer's report                                     and the important points covered
       all motions (except those                             time of adjournment.
        withdrawn); points of order or
        appeals, whether sustained or lost;

E.    The secretary shall:

       request the maker of a motion to                       attention to any business
        put it in writing                                      overlooked
       count the standing vote when                          in the absence of the president and
        requested by the president                             vice presidents call the meeting to
       make a motion or nomination, or                        order, and preside until election of
        enter discussion if he wishes                          a chairman pro tem
       vote like any other member
       quietly call the president's

                             DOs FOR RECORDING MINUTES…

1.   Be sure to record the exact wording of motions or recommendations. ALL motions (except
     those withdrawn), points of order and appeals (whether sustained or lost), and the name of the
     person who introduced a main motion or recommendation must be recorded. You do not state
     the name of the person seconding the motion. Also include the action taken, whether the
     motion carried or failed.
2.   Summarize reports of officers and chairmen. (Their reports should be in writing and attached
     to the minutes for that meeting.)

3.      Include the program, method of presentation, names of participants and important points
4.      Include announcements.
5.      Include the time of adjournment.
6.      The secretary signs the minutes. The word "approved" with the date of approval should be
        written at the end of the minutes beside the secretary's signature.

                                           …and SOME DON’Ts

1.      Don‟t include your opinion.
2.      Don‟t include anyone's opinion or discussion. Include what was done, not what was said.

                                               HELPFUL HINTS

     Recommendations, bylaws, rules, resolutions and budgets are adopted.
     Reports and resignations are accepted.
     Bills and minutes are approved.
     If corrections are made to the minutes, then the minutes are approved as corrected.
     A treasurer's statement is neither approved nor adopted, but after questions are answered regarding any
      item as reported, it is placed on file for audit as stipulated in the bylaws.


     Write the minutes promptly (while they are fresh in your mind!). NOTE: Do your
      standing rules or operating procedures set a deadline for the minutes to be submitted to the
      president/board? If not, consider implementing such a procedure.
     Notify the president of a motion that requires prompt action.
     Give the president a copy of the names of people appointed to special committees. Also,
      give chairman of special committees, the names of committee members.
     Record whether minutes were approved as read or approved as corrected with date.
     Notify officers and committees of their elections or appointments.
     Prepare a summary of all unfinished business for the president.
     Sign the minutes, along with your title, and place in a permanent binder.
     Furnish delegates with credentials when necessary.
     Sign all official papers with the president.


See sample documents in Local Unit Resource Guide.


Minutes (sometimes called a journal) are the records of the proceedings of the association. They should
contain mainly a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said by the members.

When there is a corresponding secretary, the unqualified word „secretary‟ used alone refers to the
recording secretary.

The secretary should be seated next to the chair on the left of the podium, if there is no parliamentarian.
If there is a parliamentarian, the secretary should be seated next to the parliamentarian.

If taking minutes is new to you, you will probably tend to take too many notes. This is certainly a wiser
course than leaving out important items. As you begin transcribing notes, you can delete the parts that are
not necessary. Always transcribe your notes into final form while they are fresh in your mind.

Minutes should be recorded in a permanent record book with consecutively numbered pages. Never
remove a numbered page from the record books. The minutes of executive board meetings and minutes
of general meetings should be recorded in separate record books.

If you are beginning a new record book, leave the first three to four pages blank to use as a quick-
reference index. Use the first page for the name of the association, inclusive dates recorded in the record
book, and the names of the presidents and secretaries on a yearly basis. Use the remaining blank pages to
record the date of meetings, types of meetings, important actions(s) taken and page number where the
minutes are located.

Recorded minutes should be typewritten. Remember, the minutes are the permanent legal record of the

Make the minutes as brief, but as accurate as possible. Personal opinions and discussions are not included
the minutes.

Report business in the order in which it was presented at the meeting.

The body of the minutes should contain a separate paragraph for each subject.

List the names of those present if you do not have a roll call sheet attached to the minutes of the meeting.
(Obviously, for large general meetings this would not apply. The minutes, in this case, would simply
state the presence of the presiding officer and the secretary or their elected substitutes, and the
establishment of a quorum.)

The minutes should reflect only the basic financial status of the association since the last report "as
reported by the treasurer." (If the complete treasurer's report were included in the minutes, upon approval
of the minutes the assembly would, in effect, be approving the treasurer's books without benefit of an

Record the exact wording of all main motions, adopted or otherwise disposed of, the name of the member
who introduced the main motion, and the action taken on the motion. (Minutes should reflect the wording
of the motion exactly as stated by the chair and is the motion before the body on which the body will take
action. It is the responsibility of the maker of the motion to correct the chair if the chair states the motion
incorrectly.) The name of the member who seconds the motion need not be entered unless ordered by the

Facts as to how a motion may have been debated or amended before disposition should be mentioned
only if necessary for the understanding of the motion.

Record in the minutes all points of order and appeals, whether sustained or lost, together with the reasons
given for the chair's ruling.

The secretary may request (through the presiding officer) the maker of a motion to put it in writing if the
motion is long or involved. Written motions should be put in an envelope and affixed to the back of the
minutes of the meeting at which the motions were made.

Highlight in the minutes motions or actions taken for easy reference. This can be done with underlining,
using ALL CAPS, bold font, etc.

On extremely rare occasions, a motion to "rescind and expunge from the minutes" may be adopted. If
such motion is adopted, the secretary, in the presence of the assembly, draws a single line through or
around the item in the minutes and writes across them the words "Rescinded and Ordered Expunged" with
the date and signature. The expunged words must not be blotted or cut out so that they cannot be read.
(If minutes are to be published, the expunged material is omitted.)

When a count is ordered or the vote is by ballot, record the number of votes for each side in the minutes.

Written ballots should be filed in a sealed envelope and attached to the minutes recording the vote. If
there is no possibility that the assembly may order a recount, the ballots can be ordered to be destroyed or
to be filed for a certain length of time with the secretary (such as a month) before being destroyed.

Tellers' reports are entered in full in the minutes, becoming a part of the official records of the
association. (Under no circumstances should this be omitted in an election or in a vote on a critical
motion out of a mistaken deference to the feelings of unsuccessful candidates or members of the losing

In roll call voting, the secretary gives the final number of those voting on each side, (and the number
answering present) to the chair, who announces these figures and declares the result. A record of how
each member voted, as well as the result of the vote, should be entered in full in the minutes. (If those
responding do not total a sufficient number to constitute a quorum, the chair must direct the secretary to
enter the names of enough members as present to reflect the attendance of a quorum during the vote.)

The name of the guest speaker and the subject or the subject of the program may be given in the minutes,
but no effort should be made to summarize the guest speaker's remarks or the program.

Minutes should be signed "Jane Doe, Secretary." They can also be signed, if the assembly wishes, by the
president. (The words "Respectfully Submitted," although occasionally used, represent an older practice
that is not essential in signing the minutes.) Sign the minutes as soon as they are written and before they
are submitted for approval.

In the absence of the secretary, the recorder of the minutes should sign the minutes as "Jane Doe,
Secretary Pro Tem," not "Jane Doe, Acting Secretary." (NOTE: Appointment by the chair of a secretary
pro tem requires the consent of the assembly.)

Prepare a copy of the minutes for the president as soon as possible after the meeting.

Don't discard your handwritten notes even after you have transcribed them into final form. File them
away until you are sure you won't have need to refer to them for any reason.

In organizations that hold regular one-meeting sessions quarterly or more often, the minutes are usually
read or distributed to the members for approval at the opening of the next regular meeting. By a majority
vote without debate, the reading can be dispensed with--that is, not carried out at the regular time. They
can be taken up at the same meeting at any later time while no business is pending; however, if not taken
up before its adjournment, these minutes must be read the following meeting before the reading of the
later minutes.

Except in very rare and extreme cases, the reading of the minutes should not be dispensed with unless
they have been published and/or distributed.

In organizations where regular business sessions are held less often than quarterly and do not last longer
than one day, the executive board or, if there is none, a committee appointed for the purpose, should be
authorized to approve the minutes.

If the minutes being approved were published or distributed, current minutes should reflect same, e.g.,
"The minutes of the executive board meeting held (date), a copy having been mailed to each member of
the board, were approved as mailed."

In the event a quorum cannot be established, the presiding officer calls the meeting to order and
announces the absence of a quorum. Announcements are made and recorded as minutes that should be
read and approved at the next scheduled meeting. Minutes of the past meeting are not read and the only
action that can legally be taken in the absence of a quorum is to fix the time at which to adjourn, recess, or
take measures to obtain a quorum.

If for any reason there are minutes of other meetings in addition to the last meeting that have not been
read previously, they are taken in the order of date.

In all but the smallest meetings, the secretary stands to read the minutes. (The secretary does not address
the chair when asked to read the minutes.)

When committee reports are received, the secretary should record on them the date they were received
and any further action that was taken on them, then file them among the secretary's records. (It is not
necessary for the assembly to vote that the report be "placed on file,” as that should be done without a
vote.) Committee reports do not have to be read or distributed with the minutes since it is the minutes of
the meeting that are being approved/corrected, not the reports of the committees attached. An exception
would be if the assembly ordered it "to be entered in the minutes" in which case the secretary would copy
it in full in the minutes.

Minutes are taken at special meetings, but special meetings do not approve minutes; its minutes should be
approved at the next regular meeting of the association or committee.

Any corrections/additions by the approving assembly should be noted with a different color ink than
originally recorded-preferably red--on the minutes that are corrected. Corrections to minutes should be
initialed and dated in the margin. Extensive corrections can be made on a separate page and attached to
the original minutes. Make a marginal note at the side of the item indicating a correction is attached.
After corrections (if any) are made, the minutes are approved by the assembly.

When the minutes are approved, the words "Approved" or „Approved as corrected" with the secretary's
initials and the date should be written at the end of the minutes which are approved (in essence, the
secretary signs each set of minutes twice).

Do not make any changes, additions, or deletions once the minutes have been approved by the assembly
unless ordered by the assembly.

If the existence of an error or material omission in the minutes becomes reasonably established after their
approval--even many years later--the minutes can then be corrected by means of the motion to "Amend
something previously adopted."

Minutes should be available upon request (though not to the annoyance of the secretary) to any member
of the group for which the minutes were taken, e.g., the executive board minutes to any member of the
executive board.

Dispensing with the reading of the minutes does not mean that you do not have to do them later. You
must read the minutes later in the meeting or at the beginning of the next meeting.

Have a stopwatch for timing debate, etc. if needed. Keep a dictionary and grammar helper with you while
writing out your minutes. Keep a stash of “stuff” that might be needed in the meeting: stapler, staples,
pens, pencils, note cards, paper clips, etc.

Learn as much as you can about parliamentary procedure. It will make your job much easier.

Remember that you can participate fully in discussions, make motions
and vote. Your role as a leader is very important and your opinion will
matter to your fellow members.

Have someone else proofread your minutes if you can. When you
proof your own minutes you sometimes read what you know is
supposed to be there instead of what actually is there.

Congratulations on your new position. Be yourself, enjoy what you are doing and remember you
are recording the history of your local unit.

Thank you for your commitment to PTA.


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