PTO Meeting Minutes 10.1.2013
In attendance: Andrea O’Carroll, Ryan Landi, Megan McGonigle and Amanda McClafferty
Call to Order: Ryan called the meeting to order.
Minutes from Previous Meeting: Ryan asked is there were any amendments (no). There was a motion to approve, and it was seconded. All in favor.
Treasurer’s Report / Budget Approval: Ryan passed out the budget for approval. Nothing should be overly alarming based on discussions from earlier this year. Discretionary funds are about $3000 less than in the past because of Comfest [the rainy weather decreased our typical profits]. Ryan asks if there are there any questions about the budget. He adds that Sheila Jones had to resign the position of treasurer, and for anyone who wants to volunteer. Courtney Smith verified if the $500 for Columbus Int’l PTO $500 has been paid. Ryan said that yes, we have a cancelled check for $500. Tiffany Hanna added that there were 2 $500 amounts in a previous budget and that one was removed last year. Ryan: This $500 was a check written August 16th. Andrea added that it’s also worth saying that we decided to give 2/9 of our budget to Int’l Middle School.
Tiffany Hanna also asked what [the budget line item] “fundraising event activities” means. Ryan: It’s the costs of school events that we have to pay out before the event. (this amount is $6500). Courtney Smith says it shouldn’t be as much this year because we had to buy extra stuff for fancy fair for 2013. Ryan added that for Hotdog Hoedown, we bought a new tent. Brian Hagemann asks if we could see fundraising event numbers, to see what’s making the most money, what we break even on, etc? Yes, Ryan can do that. Courtney points out that we should remember there are certain events that aren’t fundraisers. They are gatherings and community building, so it’s not all considered fundraising. Lisa Ehleringer says we should do that [break down of how much events cost us] to see where else we can find donations, and there is agreement that this would be a great thing for us to do.
Amy Overmyer asks who else wants to be a treasurer because her husband (co-president Ryan Landi) has been working on this a lot.
Andrea asks if there are any more questions about the budget? Mme.Scoyez asks what discretionary expenses/awards includes. These include the walkathon rewards, end of the quarter rewards, (Mme. Drake bought the dogtags last year) teacher appreciation. Mme. Scoyez says that although we really appreciate the food, don’t spend money on us. Kristin Allison: They’d rather have the money for something else. Mme. Scoyez: Yes, anything else you’d like to buy. Don’t buy anything to appreciate us. I don’t know what the breakdown is for the discretionary account. Andrea adds that we may be spending a large chunk of discretionary funds tonight and that the discretionary funds are mostly things that you vote on, so you can decide how we spend them. Mme. Scoyez also added that while she appreciates the winter craft, she works on things in the classroom for gifts.
Tiffany Hanna: I think what people aren’t getting is that this is the budget for this year, not last year’s. Ryan: yes, last year’s budget looks very different. Tiffany makes a motion to approve the budget; Lisa Ehleringer seconds. Budget approved.
4. Mini-Grant Recommendations / Approval
Andrea reminded folks that we gave the teachers a form to fill out to request money. Ryan listed what we requests have been received. 1.) Mme. Jezerinac requested $141 (Canadian) for books for her room. 2.) Mme. Legrand and Mme. Ruiz have requested $250 for bus rental for the 1st grade field trip to Stratford Ecological Center. It seems that there may be bus money now from the school/district. It’s unclear how much money may be available. 3.) Kindergarten has requested $300 for their trip to Circle S, for buses and to help offset the cost of chaperones. This includes just one bus, the cost for the pumpkin farm has gone up to $7. Their plan is to fit all kids on one bus by having chaperones drive their own child as well as any others they can legally drive. 5.) Mme.Jezerinac has a request for the Camp Willson trip: I had talked at the previous meeting about going got 2 nights instead of 1; this will cost $123 per kid. In the past Mme. Palma has paid for half of this. One night is so short; the kids have a short time after arrival, but then the next morning is mostly about packing up. Mme. Jezerinac is proposing the kids pay $75 for the weekend. For the balance, she hopes PTO would donate some funds, there will be some Kenwood Kash, or maybe some parents could pay $100 instead of $75 to help other kids. Citrus sale could also benefit this trip. (and plants sales would get shifted for this trip as well) [citrus sales and plant sales had previously been a fundraiser for the Canada trip, but we no longer have that trip] A parent asked when the trip will be. (January) The extra night is ok with Camp Willson, and they said they are trying to help children in need, and are giving us last year’s price instead of this year’s. Plant sale will $400 to the camp fund. Tiffany Hanna said she has spoken with M. Toure and he has committed to giving money to this in the future even though he can’t this year. Mme. Jezerinac: If we could allocate this [funds from PTO] to the backup if we need it and if every child can pay $75 we’d only need $2100 total. I think we can probably knock this out on our own, but we would like PTO to say they could help us fund this trip.
[at this point, Andrea moved to the next item on the agenda, the walkathon, because of its relationship to a mini grant request.]
Andrea: Walkathon was arranged [starting last year] to spend the money on something right now. I will be sending home pledge envelopes next week, and the kids will walk during gym class. Before I can finalize the envelopes, we need to decide what we want this money to go towards. Brainpop is one option, and several teachers have requested mini grant money to go toward our subscription to it. Mme. Startz explains a little about how we use brainpop. Mme. Williams asks how much does this cost? ($2100 total). Andrea: M.Toure has agreed to pay for half of it. We essentially need $1000 for this. As officers we propose this is the first thing we use with walkathon money. A parent asked about the recent the magazine sales, pointing out that requests have been made to family members and friends for donations. Courtney: I feel strongly that people who will do walkathon donations will not be the people who are doing magazines. Lisa Ehleringer added that the walkathon is pure profit.
Andrea: The officers had two different ideas for walkathon money, and we didn’t agree on them (books and field trips). She asks Mme. Scoyez to describe the books we need. Mme. Scoyez: The reason I took this [new] job [at Ecole Kenwood] is because we are a French immersion program and we are directing the reading in the lower grades, because it is proven if they are doing better in reading in French, that they will be a better reader in English. She finished K-1st last week, tested all students in English to see their levels and their skills. They don’t know and they don’t have the skills in English. Most of the kids don’t do well, and I’m sure parents can attest to getting letters with the warnings that their children aren’t doing well. When we get the results, we have to intervene. But this isn’t necessary for kids who have French skills. We have a literacy collaborative with OSU, to bring up literacy with lower grades. If we don’t intervene in French, our program is gone. We cannot have all the components of a good immersion program. (All of Mme. Scoyez’s reading intervention is in English) We need the benchmark assessment systems in French, and they exist, we can buy them. They cost about $500 for one kid. We need the leveled readers, going from basic to a higher level of reading. I don’t want to go against the field trip. Lisa Ehleringer asks how much is this? Book series costs $5000. She is looking into other ways to get it. We could keep all these in a book room, so the teachers could share this resource. She is working a lot with first graders right now. These go from K-2. But we could push this to 3rd grade since we are often behind native French speakers. Research based assessments can get district approval; ODE could go along with this. We would like to get a waiver from the third grade guarantee.
Andrea: Plan B for the walkathon: some of this money goes toward field trips. We have field trips at the end of the school year. So that being said, let’s vote on walkathon first and then go back to mini grants. Scoyez: right now we need these books right now. Brian Hagemann: can you explain the rationale at putting brainpop first? Andrea: PTO has traditionally always paid for some of this. Parent: the older version [higher grades] seems better. K-1 don’t use it because it’s in English. Mme. Startz: 3-6 do use it, I can assure you. Andrea: Because of the way the program is split (K-3; 4-6), we have to buy both. Brian proposes that we buy the older kids brainpop so we have extra money left out for buses. Someone pointed out that Mme. Cadenel was very vocal about needing this program, and if we only buy the 4-6 grades version, we are saying no to her, and leaving her out. Mlle Maerschalck added that it’s nice to have access for this for second grade. A parent asked if parents can have access to the account? Tiffany Hanna: you can log on during school hours using your kid’s login. But the program knows when it’s “after hours” and won’t let you log in at, say, 8:00pm. She thinks we should look at every teacher and see who is really using it. She offers that some kids wouldn’t be at the same grade level (fourth graders maybe using the third or fifth grade social studies,for example).
Amanda McClafferty: K-3 is $1200; it’s $1495 for older grades; $2100 as a package deal for K-6. Courtney: The target money could be part of this. Angie Meeker: the teachers here are split in how they use this. So we are talking about buying software for teachers who may be using it in English. But we need math textbooks in French for first grade. If you can’t say for sure if the teachers are using it, that’s a huge expense. Clarify: we would pay $1050 for brainpop, since M. Toure will cover 50% of cost. Parent: even if a handful of our teachers are using it, for the product we would get for that cost, the benefit you’d get for the teachers using it is pretty good. Robert Meeker: we could allocate all the money for field trips, books and brainpop, and we may get some of that money back (from M. Toure). Courtney: can I motion to spend $1100 for brainpop, Tiffany Hanna seconded. Motion passed, first $1100 of walkathon money will be going to brainpop.
Parent: can I ask about the importance of the pumpkin patch trip? Courtney Smith pointed out how many kids in our school will not have another opportunity to go to places like this. Amanda McClafferty said that last year, the first grade used that trip for many classroom exercises throughout the year. M.Scott added that the pumpkin patch matches exactly what we want to do.
Kristin Allison: we have spent $2050 of discretionary. We will have $1000 left in discretionary, but may get some of that back. Just trying to get a feel for what we are going to look to fund.
Ryan: part of the point of the walkathon is that we can use this money for X. so we need to decide. Mlle. Maerschalck: I don’t understand why each grade level has to ask for money for the bus. Usually we are allowed to have one bus for field trip and spring trip. Amanda McClafferty: the current superintendent has decided no buses for field trips. This has gone back and forth. Andrea: we may be asking some parents for extra money. There is a motion and it is seconded that walkathon money will be used for french assessment materials (and Brainpop).
At this time, we jumped back to approving mini grants. Mme. Jezerinac takes hers off the table because she has received an anonymous donation that will cover the costs of the books she needs.
First grade buses: motion and seconded. All in favor. Motion approved.
K bus: motion and seconded. All in favor. Motion approved.
Camp Willson: up to $1500. motion and seconded. All in favor. Motion approved.
We are officially over on time, and childcare is no longer being provided.
Tiffany Hanna: really fast, let’s do giant eagle numbers! She will do the work and passes out forms to get Giant Eagle numbers that she will add to help benefit Kenwood. Also, over at International, we are fighting for your kids coming up. [In the past] we formed a group called Kenwood Advocates. We are all gone now, so I implore you to start this again and get this advocacy group going. There’s no reason we should be paying for this kind of stuff. We need people to go to board meetings, to get board members into our school. We got more teachers hired, etc. we did it in a way that we were feared not hated.
Amanda McClafferty thanks everyone for their help with Hotdog Hoedown.
6.) Winter Bazaar
Megan McGonigle gave a shout out for the upcoming Winter Bazaar. It’s 11/23. We rent tables to folks (this year for $30) and this is all profit for us. Last year we raised about $1000 from this, so please tell friends and family and see who may be interested in being a vendor. People need not be affiliated with Kenwood to be part of this. Thank you!
We did not have time to discuss these agenda points and they are tabled currently.
7.) Room Parents
8.) Hotdog Hoedown Review