Locals will notice the Grangeville PTA is no longer. However, it’s been replaced by the Grangeville PTO.
The Parent Teacher Association, a national organization, has become the Grangeville Elementary Middle School Parent Teacher Organization or GEMS PTO.
“With the national PTA, we had to pay dues to them, and we really did not feel we were getting enough in return for the dues amount,” explained GEMS PTO President Tiffany Forsgren.
Forsgren has five children, three of whom are students at GEMS; her oldest is in high school and her youngest is not yet in school.
“With changing to an organization, we have more say of what we do and can concentrate on the local level,” she said. “We can do what fund-raisers we want to and when we want to, without any stipulations on how many we do. We basically don’t have the limitations and regulations the national organization puts on PTAs.”
The GEMS PTO has an account at Umpqua Bank for anyone who wishes to donate. In the past, fund-raisers have helped with classroom projects and needs as well as bigger-ticket items such as a sound system, books and computers.
The year’s largest fund-raiser, the GEMS PTO Jog-a-thon, is coming up Friday, Sept. 28. Students will be getting pledges through Sept. 21, and will then run laps on the 28th.
Additional PTO officers are vice-president Shelly Andrews; treasurer Jessica Gortsema; and secretary Cami Strausser. The PTA meets the second Thursday of each month, 6:30 p.m., in the GEMS library. All community members are welcome to attend and become involved, whether or not they have children in the schools.
“We also invite everyone to become a member for $10,” Forsgren said. “This will go toward our insurance costs for each of our activities throughout the year.”
GEMS PTO membership forms can be picked up at the GEMS office or mailed to GEMS PTO, 400 South Idaho Street, Grangeville, ID 83530. Membership cost is $10 (no difference for single, family or business).
The PTO collects Box Tops for Education and will also host the second annual dodgeball tournament in the spring. Additional fund-raisers will be planned throughout the year.
Forsgren said she is excited to be part of GEMS and the PTO. She and her family moved to the area last year.
“I’m a 1997 graduate of Grangeville High School,” she said. “I’ve been away 20 years and I lived the past 13 in Cascade.”
Forsgren and her husband, Tracy, felt it was time to move and relished the idea of raising their kids in the small town she grew up in.
“Tracy loves Grangeville – so that was no problem,” she said. He is a deputy with the Idaho County Sheriff Office.
Her parents, Bruce and Edye Chapin, were also among the reasons the family wanted to move to Grangeville.
“They’re getting older, and being here for them is important,” she said.
While much at GEMS has changed – “it’s a lot bigger, more kids,” – Forsgren said some things remain the same.
“The school still smells the same,” she laughed. “When I walked in, that’s the first thing I thought.”
Keep up with GEMS PTO on their Facebook page.