How to Handle Bad Checks

It happens to almost every PTA every year. A check for membership, spirit wear, or a fundraiser gets returned. Depending on what the check was for, the PTA can be left responsible for full payment on merchandise already received. Here’s how to handle bad checks.

Your PTA’s check handling policies should go in your PTA’s standing rules. Your policy should cover these key points:

  • All checks should have the name, address, and telephone number of the person signing the check so you can contact them if the PTA receives a bad check.
  • Require the check writer to pay a service charge in addition to any bank charges the PTA receives from a bad check.
  • Only accept checks with the current date. Pre- or post-dated checks often indicate that the check writer does not currently have sufficient funds in their account to cover the check, and different date does not necessarily mean that the funds will be there then.
  • If someone has written a bad check to the PTA, do not accept additional checks from them unless they have made a timely repayment of the check amount, bank charges, and PTA service charge. Everyone can make a mistake, and banks have been known to process checks faster than deposits. However, if someone has written a bad check but resolved the situation promptly, they deserve a little forgiveness from the PTA.

When your PTA receives a check back from the bank, contact the check writer by phone or e-mail, asking them to make good on the check and pay the bank charges and PTA service charge promptly. In many cases, this is sufficient to get the check writer to fix the problem. However, if this does not resolve the issue, your PTA may want to consider legal action, particularly if the check amount was significant.

In Illinois, bad checks are covered under the deceptive practice law. A person commits a deceptive practice in Illinois when they write a check that they know they don’t have enough money in the account to cover. As the party to whom the check was written, your PTA may infer that the person writing the check knew this if you attempt to cash the check on two occasions at least seven days apart. It is also a deceptive practice in Illinois if someone writes a bad check for more than $150 that doesn’t correct the situation within seven days of being informed that their check was declined.

If your PTA must pursue the legal approach, make sure you inform the person who wrote the bad check by certified mail and include the following information:

  • The date the check was written, the bank the check was from, the check number, the amount of the check, and who the check was made out to.
  • A request for repayment and additional charges (bank and PTA) within a set time frame.
  • A citation of the deceptive practice law regarding bad checks.

Keep a copy of the letter you sent as well as information regarding the PTA’s attempt to receive the funds through the bank and the check writer. If the issue remains unresolved, you can file a police report with your local department. The police may also direct you on how to file a case in small claims court.

Image © 2014 by hrp_images under Creative Commons license.

National PTA’s Family Guides

You might be aware of National PTA’s Parents’ Guides to Student Success that help parents understand what their child is learning, how to talk with their child’s teacher, and how to help support their child’s education. National PTA has partnered with the National Education Association to create additional family guides to help parents support their child in critical learning areas.

PTA leaders and teachers can use the guides to engage families in education from Pre-K through high school. The guides are available in both English and Spanish and include:

Share these guides with your membership and all families at your school, whether it is sending out copies or links to your e-mail list, working with your school or district to produce copies for families, or including one in each of your newsletters throughout the year. By providing families with the support and information they need to help their children, you demonstrate the value of joining and supporting your PTA.

 

Rekindling the Flame

Feeling overwhelmed by your PTA responsibilities? Winter’s cold and snow got you feeling down? Use these tips to rekindle the flame of PTA Leadership!

Dare to Try New Things

Try something new to develop a stronger and more vital PTA. Have a brainstorming session with your board or your members to discover new ways of doing things. Develop a list of reasons why these ideas will work. Eliminate negative phrases like “we’ve always done it this way.”

Try Again…and Again

Develop the patience to tell your PTA’s story again, and again. Always consider who you are talking to. How much they already know? What is the message you want to get across? Try limiting your message to twenty words or less to find out what is the most critical part of your message.

Delegate Responsibility

Involve as many people as possible in the work of the PTA. Ask yourself, “What am I doing that someone else can do as well or better than I can?” Be specific about the job to be done. Then trust those to whom you have delegated the responsibility to make good decisions, keeping in mind that their way of doing things might not be your way.

Attract and Retain Active Members

People are motivated to give their time and talents to issues that concern them. Find out what issues are important to your PTA membership. Seek the opinions and advice of the community. Match jobs to people who are motivated to use their knowledge and skills on identified concerns. Share what your PTA has already accomplished this year to recruit new members who can bring in new energy and ideas.

Overcome Procrastination

If you realize that you are procrastinating on a tough job, divide it into a series of small and manageable “instant tasks.” Start each day by doing at least one task you have been putting off.

Work with People Effectively

Chairing a meeting requires more than a knowledge of parliamentary procedure; it requires skill in human relations. Be approachable. Make sure your body language communicates respect. Be a team player; work for consensus. Encourage people to focus on what is best for children and the PTA.

Keep Your Sense of Humor

If the PTA is working for worthwhile goals, expect frustration and problems because change is always hard. But remember that working hard for important goals doesn’t have to be gloomy. Keep your sense of humor in all your PTA work.

Recognize When to Bow Out with Class

Your PTA’s future depends on recruiting new leaders and moving them into increasingly responsible positions. Support the nominating committee in their search and avoid criticizing new people. Be willing to move on in the PTA and give your successor room to do their job.

What Am I?

I am the link which unites and presents a clearly defined image of PTA work to the community.

 

I provide strong, inspiring leadership.

 

I am understanding and compassionate to unit problems.

 

I work with the district board realizing that through cooperation, we may achieve the purposes of the PTA.

 

I refrain from legislating for units.

 

I shall not dictate to units.

 

I interpret the basic PTA policies in a friendly, impersonal manner, noting that units abide by their bylaws.

 

I counsel with courtesy and perception, knowing that each unit is autonomous.

 

I give PTA information in a clear and easily understood manner.

 

I start my meetings on time and use parliamentary procedure to ensure a fair and just meeting.

 

I work within the framework of the PTA purposes, mission, and vision, recognizing that they are the foundation of all PTA work.

 

I keep my units informed concerning deadlines on National PTA and Illinois PTA grants, reports, awards, registration forms, and bylaws.

 

I stay informed on PTA legislation and share my experience and information with the units, realizing that sharing is an important part of leadership and my obligation to the members.

 

I abide by my bylaws and urge local units to do the same.

 

I present programs, demonstrating technique along with information.

 

I plan informative leadership development seminars.

 

I use National PTA and Illinois PTA resources in my work.

 

I try at all times to be big enough to overlook pettiness, small enough to ask for help when needed, and above all, to practice what I preach.

 

I lead by example.

 

I am a PTA Council.