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Mar. 04, 2008 - Parent Council Meeting

Albemarle County Public Schools Parent Council

Update – March 4, 2008 Meeting

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


NOTEWORTHY DATES


PTO/PTA TO DO ITEMS

Wed., March 5, 6:00 p.m.

Brd. of Sup. Public hearing #1 Lane Auditorium COB – RE: County Executive’s rec. budget


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Encourage education supporters to communicate message to Bd. Of Sup. : bos@albemarle.org

Tues., April 1, 7-9pm

Parent Council Mtg.

Parent Council Mtg., Room 320,

County Ofc. Building


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Encourage education supporters to attend BOS public hearing #2, Wed., April 2nd, 6pm

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

Bd. of Sup. Public Hearing #2

’08 calendar year tax rate, ’08-‘09

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Encourage PTO/PTA to support PC through voluntary dues

Members Present

Liz Sutphen, Albemarle; Sally Cushing, Brownsville; Paul Hutchins, Cale; 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; Tara Mincer, Burley Middle; Rhonda Angel, Stone-Robinson; Barbara Higgins, Stony Point; Jim Stern, Walton; Sarah Lloyd, Woodbrook Elementary ;Patrice Simpson, Yancey; Pat Seversen, Member-at-Large.

Staff

Dr. Pam Moran, Superintendant; June Jenkins, Community Engagement

Guests

Elly Tucker, President, Board of Directors and Cheryl Hale, Camp Albemarle

Minutes

Motion by John Lewis to approve minutes of February 5, 2008 meeting, second provided by Pat Seversen. Minutes approved.

Appreciation

  • Reminder for $50 voluntary dues requested of PTO’s/PTA’s
  • Thank you for dues received to date: Henley, Western Albemarle, Woodbrook, Burley, Stone Robinson, Cale, Murray Elementary, Meriwether Lewis, Crozet, Brownsville, Yancey, and Scottsville.
  • A special thank you to all supporters at Feb 20th BOS public hearing. There was great PC turnout at that meeting and effective remarks to BOS in support of education.
  • Acknowledge John Lewis and his sister-in-law for design of logo “Strong Public Schools=Strong Communities.” Thank you to Tara and Mark Mincer for help with adapting the design and ordering car magnets.
  • Car magnets “Strong Public Schools = Strong Communities” have been received. See separate PC email of 3/7/08 from Mary Huffard Kegley Scott, regarding distribution, or contact her maryhuffard@yahoo.com

Camp Albemarle Challenge

Camp Albemarle is a unique community resource that is rural rustic and restful and a place for our youth to learn and to grow. The presentation tonight is to ask for thoughts about supporting the fund raiser for building a new caretaker’s cottage the camp that is necessary to ensure this resource remains available to the community. Vandalism is an ongoing problem because of the visibility and accessibility of the camp location. Years ago the main lodge was burnt down by vandalism. There are ongoing problems including broken windows and other damage.

When the Parent Council group was asked how many of their children had been the camp, many hands went up. A presentation summarized mission and goals of Camp Albemarle. This Camp experience provides an opportunity for students to experience nature, to learn about ecology, water systems, and earth science.

The beautiful rural country atmosphere, labeled “rural, rustic, and restful”, allows for a positive, safe learning experience in a beautiful natural environment. The mission of Camp Albemarle is to focus on the following:

  • Creating opportunities for youth to be involved in learning and growth activities and projects.
  • Inviting programs that attract youth from a variety of backgrounds and cultures to provide educational service opportunities.
  • Supporting the 4H principle of “learn by doing” and developing leadership among youth.
  • Recognizing youth and community leaders for their positive accomplishments and contributions to their communities.
  • Encouraging and providing opportunities for intergenerational mentoring that allows youth and adults to learn from one another.

Fundraising is necessary to build a caretaker’s cottage to remedy the security problem with vandalism. Total funding needed for this cottage is $160,000. The Camp has secured a significant grant for $74,000 from the Perry Foundation plus additional contributions and the additional funding needed is estimated at $50,000.

The Parent Council was asked if their schools would endorse fundraising for Camp Albemarle and if the concept of “buy a brick to save a camp” would be an effective fundraising concept. The Parent Council agreed that this is an excellent resource and should be supported by the students and schools who have benefitted from the camp. There were many ideas for how to support fundraising and a discussion of the concept of acknowledging contributors.

The Council agreed that the most powerful approach would be a grass roots approach to encourage kids who have been to the camp to support the need for contributions. The message should go out to PTO’s and the “Make a Difference Day” might provide an excellent opportunity. This spring is a critical time but early into the fall would be useful also.

Additional information will be forthcoming. Contact info:

Budget update and discussion

Mary Huffard Kegley Scott opened the discussion asking that all members attend the Supervisors meeting Wednesday, March 5th. A strong presence is again needed especially due to the interest generated by recent articles in the Daily Progress. Turnout is expected to be strong so please encourage your PTO and parents to attend.

Dr. Pam Moran updated the group on the discussions with the School Board and the BOS and the impact on the budget discussions. She noted that it would be a balanced budget if our revenue projections had stayed consistent. But because of the downward slide of revenue on the state and local levels, the budget challenges for the schools are real and immediate. Planning has focused on managing expenses but with this slide there is no place to go. We are not rehiring for positions such as janitors and keeping kids focused on even the smallest use of resources. Can we maintain our standard levels of service that we are used to? We are now actually at the level where these are the critical questions as we cut further into the budget. The human element is the most important part and our teachers continue to be the primary focus. This is a priceless educational resource. We have come so far in our commitment to education but our community in Albemarle County is not financially supporting that goal. Compare tuition at local private schools such as Covenant and Saint Anne’s and look at the major cost of education. We are no longer talking about efficient cost management, we are now cutting into the real bone and muscle supporting our schools.

Additional cuts have been made by the School Board and major cuts are under consideration by the BOS. These cuts are in addition to a very lean budget initially submitted by the administration in anticipation of this lean budget year. Not only were no enhancements submitted, the initial draft already included efficiencies, and significant cuts wherever possible (such as additional technology staff and bus replacement). The goal was to be as frugal as possible without impacting our focus on well-qualified teachers and their ability to make direct connections with students.

Information was provided on three scenarios that detail the current budget reduction options. Only one of the scenarios would provide what is needed to fund the budget at a level that even minimally supports achieving the goals and values set for our schools. This scenario would necessitate that the schools receive more funding and probably necessitate that the county receive additional revenue. The other scenarios detail deep and significant cuts that will negatively impact each and every school in our County. With these more dramatic cuts, teachers and classrooms can no longer be protected at current levels. Specifically, class size will increase and will increase dramatically for certain classes in middle and high school.

Dr. Moran detailed the current request to ask BOS to transfer funds from the Capital Improvement Program fund (CIP) to the schools system in order to address the immediate need for teacher contracts. Dr. Moran and the School Board must begin issuing RIF notices to teachers beginning next week regarding contracts for 2008-09. The last teachers hired will be the first teachers let go, and this is a huge loss for the school system. It requires a large investment to recruit, hire, train, and mentor a new teacher. The BOS is to review this situation within the next week. Although the transfer from CIP is not the most desirable option, it will at least provide immediate short-term relief to the teacher RIF situation for the schools system.

There was a brief discussion about the history and complexity of Albemarle and Charlottesville revenue sharing agreement and this major drain on the County’s resources. The payment to Charlottesville for the next fiscal year is currently projected to be 17 million dollars. It was noted that this was a poorly negotiated agreement to the detriment of Albemarle County but it is nonetheless valid and binding. It is unknown whether there will ever be a future opportunity to change this agreement.

Information about the budget cuts and the proposed scenarios and related statistics were provided for the group and are available on the Parent Council website. Please use this information to craft messages that will resonate with your local school. All are encouraged to proactively share this information with PTO’s, teachers, students, and parents to understand the impact of potential budget cuts. Please encourage parents to exercise the opportunity to be heard in this budget process at the meetings or by communicating directly with the Supervisors via email.

Parent Council member needed for Decision Making Model for ACPS meetings

Stacy Walker (Monticello) indicated her interest in serving on the committee for the Decision Making Model led by Carole Hastings.

2008-2009 School Calendar

The new calendar has been approved. There is a link on the Albemarle County school website for the new calendar.

PC Website Update

John Lewis updated the group on the ACPS website. Additional listings have been added on recent articles about the Albemarle County budget process. Please take the time to login to the site. Note that you when you register for the site, you can specify if you would like to get an automatic update each time content is added to the site. The Council thanked John for his hard work on this great resource and noted that this is a big step forward.

Legislative Update/Discussion

The State budget is the main focus at this point. Rhonda Angel (PC rep for Stone Robinson) indicated there is pending legislation regarding special education issues which may be of interest, regarding filing a special education plan by parents. Contact Rhonda Angel for additional information: rhonda.angel@co.dmhmrsas .

United Way Youth Service Award

June Jenkins encouraged PC to solicit nominations. The deadline for nominations March 19th

www.unitedwaytja.org/serviceawards

Discussion

  • A recommendation for Kid Pan Alley from the discussion at the prior Parent Council meeting discussion.
  • Meredith Noble (PC rep for Jack Jouett, Meredith@datamininglab.com) provided a reference for School Sculptures with Kevin Reese. He will work with a class to develop and build a permanent large sculpture that the school can keep. Contact him if interested at School Sculptures with Kevin Reese www.Schoolsculptures.com. Schoolsculptures@aol.com. Phone 202 232 5397

Adjournment

Motion to adjourn by Pat Seversen, second by Rhonda Angel adjourned the meeting at 8:57 p.m.
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Lisa Medders,
Oct 8, 2008, 9:55 AM
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Lisa Medders,
Oct 8, 2008, 9:55 AM
ĉ
Lisa Medders,
Oct 8, 2008, 9:55 AM
ĉ
Lisa Medders,
Oct 8, 2008, 9:55 AM
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