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Proposed Changes to the TSPRA Bylaws and Standing Rules 2019

Proposed Changes to the TSPRA Bylaws and Standing Rules 2019

In accordance with the Bylaws and Standing Rules, TSPRA professional members are being asked to vote on an amendment that would eliminate the associate membership level mentioned in Bylaws Article IV.2, Articles IV.6 and Standing Rules Article I.2.

This amendment will also include renumbering Bylaws Article IV and Standing Rules I and the removal of the word “primary” in the description of the professional membership level in Bylaws Article IV so that professional membership will be more inclusive.

1. Professional Membership – open to any person who has primary responsibilities in the field of public school education communication and public relations and is employed by a public school district, public school education association or an education foundation whose primary purpose is to support a Texas public school district or an individual public school.

TSPRA Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of professional members voting by electronic ballot provided at least 30 days notice has been given. The link to the amendment ballot will be emailed to professional members on May 1, 2019, with the last day to vote being May 10, 2019.

Background

In 2012-2013, the state office began examining associate memberships. In most instances associate memberships belonged to those working full-time in school communications, a violation of the standing rules definition of associate membership. Consultations with the associate members resulted in two responses:

  1. Members were forced this level of membership because of the structure of the institutional membership determined by district supervisors.
  2. Members were making an attempt to save $25 in membership dues.

Executive Committee discussion related to the different levels of TSPRA membership began during the 2015-2016 school year. The data collected from the previous three years was shared. Initially, the discussion revolved around the Institutional level of membership that provided for one professional and two associate members with the membership being “owned” by the district. Members required to join as institutional members and labeled as associate members were not able to serve on committees, vote or hold office due to the standing rules definition of associate membership. This was becoming problematic in the presidents’ attempts to make committee appointments. In 2016-2017, the membership voted to make institutional membership three professional members in order to allow more to serve in leadership positions and to hold true to the standing rules definitions of professional/associate memberships.

In 2017-2018, the Executive Committee reviewed associate memberships and realized that 100 percent of those joining at this level were full-time communications professionals, a violation of the standing rules definition of associate memberships. The EC raised dues for the 2017-2018 school year to the same amount as professional level members (a $25 difference) and made no recommended changes in the definition of associate membership.

Associate-level memberships were tracked during both the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.  With fewer than 12 associate memberships in 2018-2019 and most working full-time communications positions, the EC decided to recommend a vote of the membership to eliminate the associate level of membership all together. This information was shared during the 2019 General Membership Meeting held on February 21, 2019. The reduction of a level of membership will simplify the membership process and streamline the work required of the state office.

The 2018-2019 Executive Committee passed a motion on February 18, 2019, to eliminate the associate level of membership, pending approval by 2/3 vote of the membership through an electronic vote prior to the  2019-2020 membership renewal period. 

Dues at the professional level of TSPRA membership remain among the lowest of professional associations of comparable central office positions. A dues level continues to exist for all interested in TSPRA membership.

Professional Membership-open to any person who has primary responsibilities in the field of public school education, communication and public relations and is employed by a public school district, public education association/agency or an education foundation whose primary purpose is to support a Texas public school district or an individual public school.

Honorary Membership-shall be bestowed by the Executive Committee upon all recipients of the annual “Key Communicator Award” and upon TSPRA Chapter Presidents at the conclusion of their term. It may also be bestowed upon others at the discretion of the Executive Committee.

Institutional Membershipopen to a public school district or public school education association or agency or education foundation whose primary purpose is to support a Texas public school district or an individual public school and allowing up to three professional level members. The membership shall remain with the school district/association/agency/foundation upon resignation or termination of members associated with the membership.

Affiliate Membership-open to private sector schools, businesses and individuals

Retiree Membership-open to any TSPRA member who has retired from public education, a foundation, association, or other educational organization and who is not working full-time in public relations. This membership level is reserved for individuals who are interested in continuing to interact and network with TSPRA members in a non-business relationship.