PTO Meeting Minutes – October 27, 2016

Amy calls meeting to order. We go around the table and introduce ourselves.

In attendance: Elizabeth Koehler, Nicole Benjamin, Amy Chan, Amy Shoffner, Sue Gehlert, Tina Hirshland, Julie Frieder, Robin Keys, Kristy Westnedge, Erin Vito, Sam Fuqua, Michelle Christenson, Dana Ellis, Mo Breed, Liza Weems, Sarah Schulte, Diane Harpold Student Council report: Lauren: We are trying to come up with ideas to support EFAA. Amy Shoffner says she has a business card of a contact person there too. EFAA is excited to work with Centennial.

Susan Gehlert says that at Lucky’s when you buy something and bring your own bags, you get a bag credit to donate. Casey PTO has a box for those chips. Maybe we could get Centennial PTO represented there? Tas from student council may follow up on this as she is the one who noticed it.

Amy Chan talked about all the kids who shopped at Lucky’s and that they might want to have Lucky’s grocery cards to benefit our PTO. Sherrill Hanson is handling the card program so we should talk to her about this. PTO has its own tax id number.

Student rep says her friend has a neat idea — students request late start to move to Tuesday this coming week to allow for kids to sleep in after Halloween. Dana explains that is not possible.

Sign up Genius v. Google Docs: Amy Carpenter put together a calendar of PTO events. We are trying to capture what we do each month. Amy Carpenter wants to know thoughts about signup genius or google docs and if people have preferences. Tina signed up for something with signup genius and it goes right to your calendar. What about privacy concerns? Michelle Christenson used signup genius and it is nice because you can sign in and see everything you’ve signed up for under your account. Also, signup genius makes it easy to sign up with your phone!

Approval of Minutes: Nicole asks if there are any additions or corrections to the minutes. No additions or corrections are proposed. Nicole moves to approve the minutes. Amy Chan seconds. All are in favor. The minutes are approved.

Presentation on Ballot Meausure 3A: Sam Fuqua Ballot Measure 3A. Sam is president of the BVSD board this year. Boulder Valley Board of Education put this on ballot as result of new state law passed by CO General Assembly earlier this year allowing districts to ask their voters for a specific mill levy increase to fund operational costs. A mill levy increase is an increase in the amount of property taxes you pay. This would be permanent and capped at a certain amount. Legislature said school districts can ask their voters to fund capital construction costs, maintenance costs and technology costs. 3A would specifically fund those aspects of the budget. We are asking for initially $10 million. $70 extra in property taxes a year on a $500,000 property. With board approval we could increase that to about $26 million a year. We are currently underfunding maintenance in our school district. We don’t have enough janitorial services. We have outdated technology. This measure would also free up some money in the budget to spend on other areas. We are not in as good shape as we should be because state of CO consistently underfunds K-12 education. CO is in the bottom 10 states nationally in spending on K-12. “Negative factor” is the gap between where CO should be funding K-12 education under amendment 23 (which guaranteed annual increase to funding) and where they are now. The gap is close to $30 million for Boulder Valley! All school districts depend on the state for at least some of their funding. In Boulder Valley about 30% of our funding comes from the state. An additional $10 million will help us a great deal on the operations side. Sam doesn’t want to over promise. 3A may just help keep us even depending on what the state legislature does. In a $300 million budget, it is significant funds. Most of our costs are labor. We pay our teachers well in this district and he is proud of that. We get 300 applications for each elementary teacher job opening. We want to continue to pay well and we want to be able to continue to pay our support staff well. Questions?

Sarah S asks how it is looking now? Will it pass? Sam says that the Board polls before anything goes on the ballot. We’ve used the same polling firm since the 80’s. They polled this summer and the district’s overall approval ratings are the highest they’ve been since we’ve been polling. The relatively modest ask had strong favorability in the poll. Polling looked good. Voters have been generous in past requests. Amy Chan asks does this potentially take the fight out of the state funding battle? Sam says his first job is to take care of our own. If local revenue is the only way we can do it, then we must. On the other hand, he believes in common good of public education state wide and it is pretty inequitable state wide. It is a balance. We should be directing more money to high poverty districts but also to all districts. Our superintendent has not stopped advocating for more funding at state level. Margot Brown asks if school testing that happens is part of this. Sam says our legislature is hearing the message that testing is a bit much and they pulled it back last session and may pull it back a bit more. District is developing its own district wide assessments to inform our own instructional practices. This mill levy doesn’t affect that at all. Julie Frieder says more is not necessary better. There will be a lot of interest in how funds will be used after this ballot initiative wins. Sam says he’d be happy to come back.

President’s Report: Amy Shoffner says we have some exciting additions to our PTO. We are incorporating teachers into our PTO. We have our first teacher appearance today by Mo Breed. (Quinn Daly, Michelle Meers, Katie Hines and Mo Breed will rotate through). Thanks teachers! As a PTO, we want to know how we can support teachers, what we are doing that works and what doesn’t. Mo Breed says it is great to see so many familiar faces. She is glad to be here. She teachers 6th grade reading and LA. Teachers were on their last night of conferences tonight. We’ve had wonderful participation from families and students in conferences. Our systems and structures are in place in classrooms and flow is happening and it is really a fun time for teachers. We are diving into meaty stuff of learning. It was really helpful for her to see the agenda and just knowing what PTO is working on is so helpful. She really didn’t know what PTO was working on. She appreciates all our time. Sarah S says it would be exciting to have teachers involved if we have money to spend at end of year. It would be great to have input from teachers on how to spend money. Mo says online surveys have been working really well for staff. Amy Chan says that as a PTO we do a lot of community building events for students. Amy would love to get from teachers a sense of the social side of the kids and how we could support the kids more socially. If there are issues that are coming up, please tell us.

Welcome New Chairs: Amy Shoffner says we have some other new chairs to introduce. Michelle Christenson as 8th grade honor roll rep! And, we have a 6th (Ginger Barnes) and 7th (Tina Hirshland) rep too! Sue G is newly in a role of “Events Chair”. Events section of our budget was really large and we didn’t have representation on our exec board so we created this position.

Amy says that Sarah S is leading us on a bylaws revision.

Amy mentions that we have grown a lot because Dana is supporting us and we are now a more integrated part of the school. We are trying to figure out how to organize ourselves with all this rapid growth. We will be putting job descriptions together for all our positions. We will also talk about organizing ourselves more in committee style so that actual work happens outside of this meeting in committees.

Open PTO Position: We do have an open transportation coordinator position. If you know of anyone who might be a good fit please let us know. The main thing we need is someone to organize the 3 events per year where we recognize kids for coming to school in alternative ways, and to coordinate with the administration at school to work on whatever transportation initiatives are coming up on safety, sidewalks, etc.

Julie has heard of 2 incidents of skateboard injuries. Dana says she doesn’t know about it. Julie says we should look into this. Kids are getting hit by other kids’ runaway skateboards.

Sarah S feels like we are missing the parents of 6th graders primarily. Michelle C. has reached out to some of her friends. They have said this is so new and they feel like they are not quite into the rhythm yet and don’t want to take on anything else yet. Michelle will follow up. Amy Chan says we had talked about bring a buddy day.

Should we get PTO agendas out to the whole school community?

Margot asks if we’ve made any decisions about Facebook and Twitter. Amy says we would need someone to step up and do it. We will write a job description.

Do you open up the eblast?: Another question Amy Carpenter raised is how many people actually open the eblasts? Signups for volunteer stuff has dropped off. Signups are buried in the e-blast. E-blasts are on the website. Does anyone have insights into why people aren’t signing up. Can we put the signups on the front page with the dates? Put event, date and signup for volunteers all in one line!

Treasurer’s Report: Diane – Fundraising is coming up soon. If we don’t get the fundraising numbers we are looking for, we’ll have less for capital improvements but we should be ok for our operating expenses.

Principal’s report: Dana – changed dates on honor roll breakfasts. 8th has been least attended and will be in old gym and at same time 7th grade will be in auditorium. The day before 6th grade is by itself (it has historically been the most attended). We changed open enrollment information. For middle level, there is less we can do than other levels. We can have a night event which will be December 1st at 5:30-7:15. This will operate more like a learning fair and tours. Fairview has now added that night too. Our day event is November 30th running 9-11. That will be an opportunity for class visits. We are looking for volunteers. You will be paired with another parent if you’d like. It would be nice to have a PTO presence at a table at the fair. Let Colleen know when you can help. Diane says it was so helpful for the parent volunteers to have a student volunteer with them. Boulder High’s evening event is on the night of November 30th. CMS is only permitted to give out the details specifically for Boulder High and can include the link to the district’s website for all the other dates of the other schools. Amy says we have a December 1st PTO meeting and we could put out an invitation to families that are coming to our school to come to this meeting. Dana suggests PTO provide a slide for the open enrollment presentation.

Dana says we are also working on registering kids. We will probably be registering 7th and 8th graders end of February and March. Current 5th graders will go a bit earlier for registration.

Dana mentions that Sam was talking about innovative part of 3A. One of the things the district is working on is career technical education (CTE). There is a push to align electives with the real needs of the kids. We are able to request money for grants for big ticket items and there is CTE money. We have CTE certified teachers in our building right now.

Fundraising is wrapping up. Teachers will then submit proposals on what they want to buy and how it impacts instruction for all kids. A committee will review and prioritize the requests. We will be going through this process in December.

Julie asks for update on ALA. Dana says there is a group of parents who represent a group of parents. One of the questions elevated in that meeting is how will we know if you’ve answered all of our questions. Dana says we’ve used questions from the survey. We very quickly set up that meeting this past Tuesday with Andy Tucker to make sure those questions are included in the school’s presentation on the 17th. Michelle asks if there will be a recap of that 17th meeting for those who can’t attend. Dana says they are looking into whether or not the meeting will be taped.

PEN report: Elizabeth K. We will be hosting a showing of Screenagers. Andy Tucker showed it to the counselors and they are all onboard. We will show it to parents December 13th. Kids will see it too the next day on December 14th. There will be a lot of showings at other schools if that date doesn’t work for people. There will be an online signup. There are discussion sheets and moderator discussion notes. Would be nice to have a Q&A after the showing. Counselors won’t be there on the parent night. Can Google it and see the trailer.

Fundraising report: Kristy W. People had asked for pie chart from last year and where things landed. We are behind in fundraising. The total amount raised so far is $11,513.94. We did have envelopes at the PTO table during conferences. We did get the credit card swiper this week too. We did a couple of transactions during conferences with it.

Green Star Schools report: Julie F. Tina is helping with this too. We are looking at $1000 budget item for compostables. We are trying to see how to do it cheaper and ultimately to move to durable goods. It is tied to events. We are in touch with Nutrition services. We can lease CMS kitchen space. It is $36 per event which is nothing. It is just a matter of someone being willing to load the dishwasher. For the time being we will order and use compostables for upcoming events. Kids are coming home with reusable sandwich bags that we’ve been making. Summit and Casey have contacted us and want to follow suit!

There is no PTO meeting in November The next PTO meeting is December 1st.