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Apr. 1, 2008 - Parent Council Meeting

Albemarle County Public Schools Parent Council

Update -- April 1, 2008 Meeting

“Sharing information and resources in support of better education for our students.”

 

NOTEWORTHY DATES

 

PTO/PTA TO DO ITEMS

Wed., April 2, 6:00 p.m.

Brd. of Sup. Public Hearing #2

’08 calendar year tax rate, ’08-‘09

 

1

Request PC dues of PTO/PTA & include dues in budget for coming school year

 

Tues., May 6, 6:45pm

Rm 320, COB

Final PC mtg of year, buffet dinner provided by CATEC

 

1

Invite 1 PTO rep to attend May 6 dinner mtg with PC rep

 

 

 

 

 

 

Members Present

Tara Mincer, Burley Middle; Dawn Greco, Broadus Wood; Amy Gore, Crozet; John Lewis, Greer; Teresa Hashisaki, Henley; Meredith Noble, Jouett; Mary Huffard Kegley Scott & Randy Switz, Meriwether-Lewis; Stacy Walker, Monticello; Jane Kulow, Murray Elementary; Rhonda Angel, Stone-Robinson; Barbara Higgins, Stony Point; Jim Stern, Walton; Sarah Lloyd, Woodbrook; Jeanette Rush, Yancey;  Patrice Simpson, Yancey; Sally Cushing, Brownsville

Staff

Pam Moran, Superintendent; June Jenkins, Community Engagement

Guests

Laura Taylor, Red Hill

Minutes

Motion by Dawn Greco, second by Stacy Walker to approve minutes of March 4, 2008 meeting.  Minutes approved unanimously.

Appreciation

Reminder for $50 voluntary dues request of PTO’s/PTA’s

Thanks for dues received to date:  Henley, Western Albemarle, Woodbrook, Burley, Stone Robinson, Cale, Murray Elementary, Meriwether Lewis, Crozet, Brownsville, Yancey, Scottsville, and Stony Point

 

Acknowledge “Strong Public Schools=Strong Communities" magnet design assistance from Mincers. Most magnets have been distributed.

Mary Huffard thanked everyone for the great turnout at the March 5th BOS public hearing.  Participation made an impact.  She encouraged all members to keep up the momentum for the April 2nd public hearing.

Decision Making Model for ACPS, committee led by Carole Hastings

PC representative Stacy Walker updated the group on this productive committee discussion.  The advisory group will provide recommendations to Dr. Moran regarding the appropriate decisions, decision process and the recommended level for decisions.  This follows a recommendation developed by the Resource Utilization Study of last December to enhance and clarify the structure of the decision-making process.

 

Stacy reviewed the matrix for decisions provided to the Committee. Parent Council is noted on this grid and its role in the process was discussed.  The main role of Parent Council is to provide input as needed for decisions under consideration or be informed as part of the communications process if the topic is applicable to our focus.  Dr. Moran clarified that this initiative is to determine what decisions are to be made and at what level.  Input into decisions and effective communication is very important.  In the utilization survey it was noted that there is sometimes confusion regarding who addresses specific decisions and who should be included in the communications process. Problems can arise if a new proposal is being considered and there is no common structure for making the decision.    Stacy Walker (walkx4@embarqmail.com) will attend the next meeting and welcomes PC member input.

Budget  Update/Discussion

Mary Huffard encourages everyone to come to the final Board of Supervisors (BOS) public hearing tomorrow, Wednesday, April 2nd.  PC will again partner with AEA to provide pizza/drinks/sides at 5:30pm.

 

Superintendent Pam Moran started the discussion with a focus on the great positive things that are happening in our schools and the positive energy of our students.  She noted that especially with the shooting incident last week, much of the press coverage and public focus goes into the negative detail of an individual event.  This is not the experience of the vast majority of our students. We need to take more time to celebrate the great accomplishments happening this spring. She noted some of the exciting work of students on destination imagination, writer’s eye, National History Day, spelling bee, National Merit Scholars, band, art exhibits, sports, Mustang Mornings (enrichment and intervention), work groups for student engagement, interview teams for Meriwether Lewis to choose a great principal, and all of these show dedication to our schools at every level. 

 

Dr. Moran then turned the focus to the budget discussions.  She reviewed the summary sheet provided to PC and noted that the Supervisors really appreciate the scenario materials that have been provided as they evaluate the tax rate options.  As noted in the press, the Board of Supervisors is considering raising the tax rate from $0.68 per $1000 to $0.71 (a 3 cent increase). In a review of the discussions thus far, the cuts noted on the sheet as Scenario #1, are now off the table.  Dr. Moran noted that the new options of a 1 cent increase would fund a significant amount of Scenario #2 (69 cents). At the proposed increase of $0.71 cents, most of scenario #3 could be funded. 

 

Dr. Moran also focused the group’s attention on the potential impact of the additional funding beyond our schools in support for the community services.  Dr. Moran noted that funding is critical for fire, police, roads, and other areas.  Dr. Moran specifically noted the shortage of police in Albemarle and how important these services are when an incident like last week’s shootings occurs.  The Impact group is also a very vocal part of the discussions to increase affordable housing in order to better address the substantial challenge of homelessness.  The overall good news would be that the increase in taxes will bring back some important shortages in our schools as well as support in the community.

 

Additional funding options are noted in the review materials dated March 27th.  If the Board of Supervisors considers the 70 cents or more, some of the additional cuts that were deleted in the initial discussions may be reintroduced for discussion based on merit. Dr. Moran reviewed these areas as they related to the goals for our school divisions.  The investment areas might include resource investment in areas such as math specialists, eliminating the achievement gap (nurses, literary specialists, intervention and prevention services), recruitment and retaining more highly qualified teachers, staff and administrators, continuous improvement (Baldridge-based), establishing efficient systems such as for technology, building services, and CEPI review of efficiency options, and being ready for maintenance and cost of business such as fuel costs.  These are some of the key areas that could be impacted if the BOS chooses a rate that will allow additional investment in our schools.

 

The group discussed a motion for Parent Council to officially support the tax rate increase of 71 cents.  The support of the schools was discussed as well as the value of the investment in the community.  The need for adequate funding of police, and fire and rescue was noted to be vital for community.  

 

Falling assessments will continue to impact the school budget in the future and the group hopes for the possibility of a longer term fix to the budgeting process.  Because the cycles for taxes and the school year do not match, an increased rate will provide an impact in this year similar to what we lost in last year’s cycle. A critical sensitivity is that there are many in the community that fought to bring the rate down and we need to be aware of the impact on that group.  The right message should incorporate the recommendation on tax rate with the personal message about the specific value for our schools.

 

Parent Council unanimously voted to express appreciation and support for the Supervisors' consideration of their advertised  $0.71 tax rate to provide appropriate funding for continuing the mission and vision for Albemarle County public schools.  Similarly, Parent Council commends this level of funding for core services such as police, fire, safety and rescue which provide invaluable service to our community.  

Motion by Jim Stern, second by John Lewis to approve this concept in support of the BOS advertised $ 0.71 tax rate.  The motion was unanimously approved. Mary Huffard Kegley Scott will develop an appropriate message consistent with this discussion.

Discussion of PTO/PTA Budgets, programs funded and significance to schools

The group discussed the questions sent to PC members to better document the emphasis and contribution of each of the schools PTO’s.  Tracking volunteer hours was discussed as was the significant value of support by volunteers for the school systems.  The hours contributed are significant and we need to better track this valuable support across Albemarle Schools. Aggregating this information provides a valuable reference.

 

Tara Mincer noted that there is a resource available for a computer for schools to use as a sign-in tool.  This system tracks volunteer hours and check in at each school.  This system can also print out name tags.  Principles and office staff need to provide some initial set-up and support.   All of the schools that piloted this program decided to continue this program and noted that this saves some time overall. June Jenkins is the central contact for this program. In order for schools to use this system for next year, time is needed in the summer to bring it up and running.   PC members are encouraged to talk to their schools about this opportunity.  June Jenkins will update the group about the list of those schools participating and requesting this new system after spring break.

PC Website Update

There is ongoing appreciation for the Parent Council website.  This information is acknowledged as a valuable resource that will continue to evolve.

Legislative Update/Discussion

Due to illness, Lisa Koolman was not available to provide a state legislative update.  Dr. Moran noted that at the state level, the standards of quality discussion was tabled by the Senate after approval by the House. Not moving forward with this initiative creates a positive impact for our local schools and means that we are in better shape financially from state funding.  This would have been a costly initiative.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

June Jenkins updated the group on the March 31st forum regarding alcohol awareness.  Kids participating in sports and extracurricular activities was noted to be a very positive factor in discouraging alcohol abuse. Dr. Moran noted that due to graduations, proms, and other spring activities, this is a critical time for reminders about the risk of underage drinking.  Dr. Moran will partner with all high school principals to send a joint message about this issue.

Other Issues

June Jenkins noted her discussions focusing on eliminating the opportunity gap specifically for students who cannot attend summer camps.  These discussions focus on scholarships for disadvantaged kids to attend summer camps. She will forward information about how to recommend eligible children who might benefit.

 

Last day of school is June 4th.

 

The next PC meeting will be Tuesday, May 6th, and will include a buffet dinner catered by CATEC.  PC members should invite one of their school PTO representatives to attend with them, in order to familiarize PTO with work of PC.  Please RSVP for the dinner to maryhuffard@yahoo.com .

 

Mary Huffard encouraged the group to consider leadership for PC for next year, to be voted on during May 6th meeting. Mary Huffard noted the role of the leadership group and volunteer time was estimated at approximately one additional meeting per month depending on the time of year and the cycle of the budget.

Adjournment

Motion to adjourn by Barbara Higgins, second by Tara Mincer. Meeting adjourned 9:00 p.m. 

 

Barbara Higgins; MHKS

PC Update 4/10/08

ĉ
Lisa Medders,
Oct 8, 2008, 9:51 AM
ĉ
Lisa Medders,
Oct 8, 2008, 9:51 AM
ĉ
Lisa Medders,
Oct 8, 2008, 9:51 AM
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