Answer: Shared Decision Making teams became a state mandate in 1994 to ensure that school decisions are made community-wide. According to state education regulations, every school district that receives state funds must have a decision-making structure that includes parents, and Shared Decision Making teams are funded from the district's general budget.
There are a few very clear differences between PTOs and Shared Decision Making teams. In general, I think of Shared Decision Making teams as looking from the school out into the community, and PTOs are looking from the community into the school. Here are more specifics:
- A PTO is technically an outside organization separate from the school district.
- There is no state mandate that a school has to have a PTO, even though they're wonderful support organizations.
- PTOs are parent-driven groups, while Shared Decision Making teams are school-driven. O
- One of the main purposes of PTOs is to raise money; Shared Decision Making teams cannot raise money.
Shared Decision Making teams make decisions that have to do with a variety of topics, including enhanced education and co-curricular programs, communications, school climate, and short- and long-term district planning.
- answered by Stephen Tomlinson, District Superintendent