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May 6, 2008 - Parent Council Meeting

Albemarle County Public Schools Parent Council

Update – May 6, 2008 Meeting

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



Parent Council Meetings


7-9pm, Room 320

County Office Building

September 9

October 7

November 11

December 2

January 6

February 3

March 3

April 14

May 5


-   Request your PTO/PTA to include Parent Council dues in their budget for coming year

-     Send name & email address of incoming PTO President for 2008-09 to &

-     Send name, email address, telephone # of incoming Parent Council rep to &

-  Share dates listed at left with your PTO/PTA officers & principals now, rather than waiting until school year begins & encourage their attendance at Round Tables and Workshops

Superintendent’s Round

Table Discussions  2008-09

Room 241  County Office Building

September 16, 8:30 am

September 23, 11:30 am

September 30, 6:30 pm


Workshops: Financial Dos & Don’ts for PTO/PTAs

Jackson Zimmerman, Dir. Fiscal Services

September 16. 6:30 pm

Room 241 County Office Building


Financial Dos & Don’ts for High School Booster Clubs

Jackson Zimmerman, Dir. Fiscal Services

September 15, 6:30 pm

Monticello High School



Members Present

Tara Mincer, Burley Middle; Amy Gore, Crozet Elementary; John Lewis, Greer Elementary; Lynn McDaniel, Hollymead Elementary; Meredith Noble, Jack Jouett Middle; Mary Huffard Kegley Scott, Linda Hahn & Randy Switz, Meriwether Lewis Elementary; Stacy Walker, Monticello High; Carmen Garcia & Jane Kulow, Murray Elementary; Pattie Hellmann, Murray High; Ashby Kindler, Angie Boyd & Rhonda Angel, Stone-Robinson Elementary; Lisa Koolman, Western Albemarle High;  Caroline  ?, Woodbrook Elementary; Patrice Simpson, Yancey Elementary; Jim Stern, Walton Middle.

Staff & Guests

Diantha McKeel, School Board Member; Dr. Bruce Benson, Assistant Superintendent; Ashby Kindler, Principal, Stone-Robinson; Steve Gissendanner, AEA; June Jenkins, Community Engagement; Kathy Halvorsen, Community Engagement.


7:00pm Meeting called to order by Mary Huffard Kegley Scott.  Motion by Amy Gore, second by Jim Stern to approve minutes of April 1, 2008 meeting.  Minutes approved unanimously.


Mary Huffard welcomed special guests as listed above and thanked PC members for successful efforts this school year.  PC members/guests introduced themselves and identified their schools.  Review of PC mission to share/spread message signified by PC’s new logo “Strong Public Schools = Strong Communities.”  PC members have been active and responded to PC requests for action.  Special thanks for great PC turnout at April 2nd public hearing before Board of Supervisors regarding advertised tax rate.  And recognition of successful partnership with AEA and the Principal's Association.


Bob Bressan of CATEC provided meal for PC meeting.  Special recognition of Bob and his team’s delicious contribution to PC.


PC members reminded to request PC dues to be included in PTO/PTA  budgets for next year.  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.


Meeting included raffle drawings for special school theme items.

Decision Making Model for ACPS, committee led by Carole Hastings

PC representative Stacy Walker updated the group on the committee’s most recent discussion.  The advisory group will provide recommendations to Dr. Moran regarding the appropriate decisions, decision process and the recommended level for decisions.  This committee’s work is a result of the Resource Utilization Study of last December to enhance and clarify the structure of the decision-making process.  Stacy distributed the committee’s most recent draft document and requests PC members share this with their PTO/PTAs to request input from parents, teachers, and students.  Comments should be emailed asap to Stacy , as the committee should conclude its work prior to this coming school year.

Budget  Update/Discussion

Bruce Benson and Mary Huffard thanked PC members for their support and action during the entire budget process.  Dr. Benson provided a budget update following the Board of Supervisors increase in the real estate tax to $0.71.  It is misleading to think the increase provided great benefit to the schools budget, most importantly due to the State’s reduction in funding as well as the severe fuel cost increases.

School Board Member Diantha McKeel joined Dr. Benson with her thanks for PC support, and she shared a story that Supervisor Anne Mallek shared with her.  Mallek indicated several parents shared with her following an event at Brownsville Elementary, that more “pieces of the pie” were simply not available.  The opportunity to talk with parents one on one, gave Mallek the important details she needed to support a tax rate increase in support of schools.


The extra revenue had a significant impact on the schools’ budget but at the time the School Board had not voted on the budget.  Cutting guidance, professional development and learning resources would have negative impact across the division and the Board was able to take all that off the table, with one caveat. 


Benson explained there is funding to investigate the specialty model at Albemarle High School and the IB program.  The Piedmont Futures program was taken out of the budget, as it has $90,000 to continue its operation in a smaller way, it involves 4 other school divisions and operates from PVCC.   The subsidy for under enrolled electives has generated a large amount of emails.  Regarding the Strings Program, the goal is for it to be a self sustaining program through student/parent/teacher support.  There are some enrollment numbers that the schools system will continue to monitor and recognize that there are some larger numbers at some schools that will create challenges.  If one elective is not offered at one feeder pattern school, there may be the opportunity for the student to travel to another school for the program with their own transportation.  McKeel pointed out the schools system currently provides opportunities for students to attend programs at other schools, if the parent can deliver the student to a current bus stop.  This option has been available for several years, however, many are not aware of it.   As the specialty model (school within a school) is explored, students at other schools might want to attend those classes, and consideration will be given at that time. McKeel encourages parents and students to definitely register for classes of their interest, the School Board needs to hear of all interest in classes.


It seems there should be additional revenue available considering the tax rate increase of .03 cents with .02 cents available.  However, as the tax rate increased, the State of Virginia reduced its local government funding by $600,000 and increased fuel prices used the remainder of the increase.  Benson and McKeel thanked PC members for their lobbying efforts to inform Board of Supervisor members of the potential reductions to the schools system if the tax rate had not increased.  McKeel thanked PC members for their efforts to develop car magnets with the Strong Public Schools = Strong Communities message, she indicated it is critical the message continues.


Benson reviewed the consideration to charge building usage fees for groups that use schools after hours, especially heavy users such as PVCC.  It is not an effort to generate revenue, rather an effort to recoup cost.  Benson plans to investigate what groups would be charged user fees, as well as prepare a final budget update to share with PC.


Benson reviewed the pending boundary adjustment process for the Crozet area regarding moves to Brownsville Elementary.  Several community meetings have been scheduled, and the schools system plans to develop a website to collect comments/input.  Approximately 90 students will be moved from Crozet to Brownsville.  The schools system is anxious to involve the community in the discussions.

PC Website Update

There is ongoing appreciation for the Parent Council website.  It is acknowledged as a valuable resource that will continue to evolve.  John Lewis indicated website has been down for a few days due to a glitch that he will address.  He plans to incorporate PTO links during this coming summer, and he will incorporate the PC logo onto the website.


McKeel and Mary Huffard distributed Certificates of Appreciation and Service Awards to Executive Committee members and PC members who attended all PC meetings this year.

PC Leadership team for 2008-09 presented:

President - Mary Huffard Kegley Scott

Executive Committee – John Lewis, Amy Gore, Tara Mincer, Stacy Walker

Motion by Jane Kulow, second by Lisa Koolman to accept this leadership team, unanimous support of motion.


Plans for Lisa Koolman and Barbara Higgins to develop and work with communication efforts on PC behalf were shared.


Review of PC Successes this year:  PC website development, consistent communication with parents/students/teachers, attendance at School Board & Board of Supervisors public hearings, development of Strong Public Schools = Strong Communities logo and car magnets, special thanks to the Mincers and John Lewis for this development, partnerships with AEA & Principals Association, Dr. Moran’s Round Table discussion/forums in Fall 07, Grassroots Advocacy Workshop in Fall 07, Workshops with Jackson Zimmerman re: finances for PTOs, dues collection (critical to PC opportunity to share the message).


Tara Mincer suggested a workshop or seminar regarding non-profit status.  June Jenkins indicated she will follow up with Jackson Zimmerman


Lisa Koolman suggested a debate/forum with candidates during local election cycle.


McKeel reviewed the budget cycle process, which will begin in October when the School Board meets with the Board of Supervisors and critical issues are often discussed, i.e. classified and teacher salaries.  PC members commented that the budget dominated PC meetings from December through March, and agreed it is a critical issue and responsibility of PC to get the message out about the schools budget.  Suggested efforts to share budget information through variety of venues, since monthly meetings do not allow enough time to fully learn about the budget


Jane Kulow suggested attention to State legislative issues and bills.  Lisa Koolman agreed and suggested a possible schedule to include PC members for a “Legislative Day” at the State Capitol to visit with local State legislators.  Suggested PC host another Grassroots Advocacy Workshop in Fall 08.  McKeel indicated the School Board may be interested in obtaining the services in partnership with City schools to track legislation at the State level in the General Assembly.  She reported Jackson Zimmerman has indicated concern regarding lottery revenue being diverted from schools.


Lisa Koolman suggested PC attempt to itemize unfunded mandates with the School Board’s assistance.  This would provide valuable information during upcoming budget cycles.


Appropriate motion and second to adjourn, meeting adjourned  8:45pm 

PC Update

MHKS 5/13/08

Kathy Halvorsen, OCE

Lisa Medders,
Oct 8, 2008, 9:48 AM
Lisa Medders,
Oct 8, 2008, 9:48 AM