October 2018 Meeting Minutes

DATE:  Monday, October 22, 2018

PLACE:  Syphax Room #256

TIME:  7:00 – 9:00 PM

Agenda:

  • Welcome
  • Attendance
  • Brief overview of CCPTA
    • What is CCPTA and what do we do?
      • Countywide council of PTAs, representatives from each individual PTA
      • Facilitate communications between APS staff, PTAs, and Advisory Councils
      • Provide feedback on initiatives
      • Serve as a resource to each PTA for guidance, including new officer training annually
      • Facilitate sharing of best practices
      • Act as a strong voice for all students in Arlington
      • Reflections competition
      • CPCI Fund to address equity
      • Support Arlington Teachers Scholarships
      • Put on Summer Activities Fair, which has been our main source of income
  • Other liaison reports/updates
    • ACI – (Meredith Purple)
      • ACI asks that each school please designate an ACI rep as soon as possible
    • BAC – (Cecilia Ciepiela-Kaelin)
      • BAC is particularly interested in close engagement with PTAs, especially considering the anticipated shortfall in next year’s budget, for which they will provide recommendations
  • Superintendent’s update – Cintia Johnson
      • APCYF “Your Voice Matters” survey results available online here
        • Key findings:
          • Safety is most favorably rated topic among staff, students, and parents
          • Under health, well-being and stress topic, we can see that MS and HS students need to eat more and make healthier choices; younger students reported less stress than older ones
          • Opportunity for people to feel heard can be improved
          • There is a disconnect between students’ families and teachers regarding the level of challenge in curriculum
        • 10/27 is National Drug Take-Back Day, mark your calendars and note locations
        • Flu shot clinics are being held in each school through the week of 11/26, more information can be found here
        • MS information night is being held tonight, 10/22
        • HS information night will be held on 10/29
        • Parent Teacher conferences are coming up
        • Dyslexia Conference was held on 10/13, video is online here
        • Daylight Savings time coming up, reminder to “Fall Back” on 11/4
  • Laura Saul Edwards: School bond
    • Request for school bond endorsement from CCPTA
      • Bond necessary for building schools, adding seats, financing capital projects
      • Bond includes $103 million for: 725 seat school at Reed site, Career Center site renovation to add 600 seats at Arlington Tech and 800 TBD HS seats, and 600 HS seats at the Ed Center site
    • School Bonds haven’t failed in the recent past, but if we value our schools, we can’t take it for granted that the Bond will pass
    • Motion to endorse the School Bond, seconded, approved unanimously

CCPTA Business – Discussion focus: appropriate use of PTA funds

  • Treasurer’s Report (Kendra Anderson)
    • Updated budget provided
    • Total carry-over from last year is $12,985.00; $7,947 is allocated to the CPCI fund and $5,038 is in the general fund
    • Budgeting $17,947 to have available for special projects
    • Reminder: first set of dues to VAPTA are due 11/1, not 12/1 as in past years; if you want to pay your CCPTA dues at the same time, the form and address are on our website here
  • Responses to questions left in the CSQ box last month
    • Q: What are our advocacy methods for the APS budget?
      • A: We will talk more about this next month, hope to have an in-depth discussion about how CCPTA can advocate during the budget process
    • Q: How early can students be dropped off before school by bus ?
      • A: Per John Chadwick, no more than 30 minutes prior to start of school; 15 minutes early is the ideal arrival time to allow time for those who eat breakfast at school.
  • VP and Committee reports
    • CPCI – Emily Vincent
      • Why do we have the CPCI? There is a significant disparity in what school PTAs can fundraise (ranging from approximately $16,000-$200,000, which amount to a per pupil spending range of $42-$304); that is a significant difference and we can be part of the solution, without placing blame
      • Email about the CPCI fund was sent to PTAs on 10/12
      • CPCI Working Group will be trying to schedule meetings with a representative from each PTA Exec Board to discuss their school dynamics and learn from them
      • Total received by CPCI since its inception is $28,000, all money received has been awarded
      • 11/26 is the fall application deadline for grants
      • Information about how grants are considered and awarded can be found on our website here
      • Donations are accepted at any time
      • If we have funds leftover after the fall grants are awarded, we will hold a spring application period in April
      • We are interested in learning more about programs that are in place in some of our schools, like Backpack Buddies and coat drives, and facilitating partnerships between complimentary schools to help bridge the divide
      • We’re happy to work with specific ideas, if you have them, please share
        • Q: What’s an average or appropriate donation amount? A: There is no “right” amount. It depends on what your school is comfortable with. We’ve had some very generous contributions.
        • Q: Can you use CPCI to fund join proposals? A: Yes, we strongly encourage joint proposals.
        • Q: Do you know anything about the program where someone saves the unopened food that kids might otherwise throw away at lunch? A: Yes, that’s the “Food Bus” program. Some schools have this in place, but it requires a lot of volunteer effort. If you’re interested in starting a program at your school or finding out more information, you can visit their website here
  • Special Projects – Don Weinstein
    • For many years now, CCPTA has been supporting the Arlington County Scholarship Fund for Teachers, Inc.
    • CCPTA gives $5,000 per year
    • The fund is also soliciting donations from individual PTAs
    • Last year they approved every applicant; the money goes directly to the schools and not to the students
    • Q: Can we get electronic copies to take back to our PTAs? A: yes, we will provide that.
  • SEPTA – Janna Dressel
    • SEPTA provides mini-grants to qualified applicants
    • Last year we had $12,700 in requests, but only had $7,000 budgeted
    • The first of our two fundraisers is happening now, the Phantom Ball, more information can be found here
    • Our online auction will be held later this year, but we are soliciting donations through 11/15, so please take that request to your PTAs (donation letters will be sent our electronically to share with your PTAs)
  • Potential new standing committees or workgroups:
    • School Safety, Tara Teaford
      • Hopes to have ongoing meetings or forums, contact her if interested in teaming up on this effort
    • PTA/School partnerships, Maura McMahon
      • Interested in starting partnerships and collaborations among school communities, please contact her if interested

DISCUSSION TOPIC: Appropriate use of PTA funds -Leslie Peterson, APS and Debbie Kilpatrick, District PTA 

  • Leslie Peterson, APS:
    • APS does not have a policy about what PTA should or should not fund; we do have guidelines about donations that are available on our website
    • Generally, the big issues that have come up in recent years:
      • Staff positions cannot be funded by PTAs
      • Basic classroom supplies and materials should be provided for within the APS budget (this includes technology)
      • All facility improvements are donations and become the property of APS subsequently
    • Equipment purchases have procedures that must be followed (see website); we have encountered issues with expectations around replacement and maintenance of equipment previously purchased by PTAs
    • Q: Technology purchases are forbidden, correct? Why is that?
      • A: We were trying to prevent the expectation of schools getting things outside of cycle, and the expectation of replacement for equipment that we did not originally purchase
    • Q: Who monitors PTAs in APS, to make sure they are complying?
      • A: We expect PTAs to monitor themselves and adhere to the guidelines and principles established by the VAPTA, by their own bylaws, and by APS policies and procedures. As problematic issues surface, we will address them on a case-by-case basis.
    • Q: What do you consider “basic classroom supplies”?
      • A: Things like textbooks, classroom materials used for instruction.
  • Debbie Kilpatrick, District PTA (What Should PTAs Be Funding – VA District presentation)
    • Ask these questions to determine funding fundamentals:
      • Who does your PTA support?
      • Why does the school need funds?
      • When should PTAs raise funds just for the school?
      • What requests should PTAs fund?
      • How much funding is enough?
    • VAPTA on Fundraising:
      • A PTA or PTSA is not a fundraising organization
      • Purpose is to promote the welfare of children
      • Educate parents, teachers, the community to needs of the school
      • Material aid to the school is not a function of the PTA
      • Funds should be for a definite, pre-determined and budgeted purpose
    • Remember 3:1 rule: for every fundraiser, there should be at least three non-fundraising activities
    • All fundraising activities must be approved by the general membership
    • Under no circumstances should a PTA collect, donate, or raise funds for another organization
    • PTAs MAY donate money to other PTAs
    • Rules for PTA Funding:
      • PTAs can do:
        • Raise funds for programming
        • Raise funds for playground equipment, if not prohibited by school district guidelines (see APS guidelines)
        • Provide gym enhancements, if not prohibited by school district guideline (see APS guidelines)
        • Purchase paper and supplies for classrooms
        • Provide appreciation for staff members
        • Provide free programs for staff/students
        • Provide educational scholarships and grants to students/faculty
      • PTA cannot do:
        • Sign contracts for maintenance of donated equipment
        • Sign contracts for more than one year ahead
        • Provide disposal items such as ink cartridges, paper, pens, pencils for staff members
        • Pay for individual PTA memberships dues, but can sponsor a membership
        • Pay for teacher/administrator salaries
        • Pay for substitute teachers
        • Purchase personal use equipment for staff members
    • How much funding is enough?
      • How much of the budget will go to school-related needs?
      • Towards programs directly benefiting the students?
      • Toward staff/faculty appreciation?
      • How much is needed to meet current year’s goals and to limit fundraisers to only meet these planned goals and limit carryover funds
  • Announcements: Carlin Springs ES has officially formed a PTA. They held their inaugural meeting on 10/9 and have 90 registered members so far. Arlington Montessori has also formed a new PTA (for the program which will be moving to the Henry building in 2019). Congratulations to our two new member PTAs!!

On the horizon:
School bond referendum November 6th ballot
CCPTA meeting November 26th, same time, same place
Budget advocacy
Comments on elementary school boundary proposal