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    Whittier PTA General Membership 

    November 9, 2017  Meeting Minutes 

    Meeting was called to order at 6:59 p.m. Proper notice given to all members, with quorum present. See sign-in sheet for list of attendees. 

    1. Welcome  

    Co-President James Goldsmith welcomed everyone and asked attendees to pair share. 

    2. Approval of Meeting Minutes

    Co-Secretary Cherise Gaffney explained that the minutes from the last meeting were stuck on a server that is being updated, so she will post them to the PTA web site as soon as possible, and the membership we need to approve them at the next meeting. 

    3. SPS Board Director Jill Geary

    Hospitality Co-Chair Kristin Wiggins introduced SPS Board Director Jill Geary. Director Geary made a point to say that our Legislative Representative, Amy Bryan, comes to all of her coffee meetings, school board meetings, etc., and she has never seen Whittier so well represented. Dir. Geary was an administrative law judge and worked on school-related issues in that role. She has five children from fifth grade to post-college, all were or are in Seattle public schools. 

    The biggest changes at the District level include going through a superintendent search and heading into collective bargaining negotiations (which will be difficult given McCleary/budget issues and the fact that competing school districts have just given big raises). The Board’s biggest priorities are providing multi-tiered systems of support, eliminating the achievement gap, and public involvement.  

    The floor was opened to questions from PTA members. A member asked about the Board’s position on PTAs using PTA dollars to fund staffing positions? Dir. Geary said that the Board’s official position is that PTAs may not fund basic education costs, including teachers, because it is not considered equitable. There is no enforcement; however, she encouraged PTAs to consider how to create more equity (e.g., pooling all or portions of PTA dollars).  

    A member asked about how to take advantage of the upcoming shift in the legislature, and Dir. Geary said that the Board is still trying to figure out what the legislature will do next. The Board’s legislative goals are to fund basic education, fund capital and close the achievement gap. Kristin Wiggins explained that, while democrats have a majority now, a supermajority is required for passing budgets so republicans still have leverage.  

    A member asked Dir. Geary to talk about what principles drive the Board’s boundary changes. Dir. Geary said that boundaries and student assignment are separate decisions, which makes it very confusing. The growth committees are trying to plan so that projected growth can be accommodated. She explained how the upper Whittier area was supposed to go to Viewlands, but because of changes in the northeast, there was a domino effect and they could not move that area to Viewlands after all.  It was an unintended consequence of changes that the Board made to an otherwise solid plan. So then they had to consider where there is room close by, and that is how that area was changed to Loyal Heights.  

    4. Introduction of 2017-18 Board members 

    Co-Secretary Kelsey Toppenberg introduced the 2017-18 board members who were in attendance. 

    5. Treasurer Report 

    Assistant Treasurer Andy Liese reported on highlights in income and spending since the last Community Meeting (see handouts). 

    6. Financial Review Committee 

    Financial Review Committee chair Don Simpson described the committee’s report including strengths (tracking and budgeting) and work to be done (reconciling monthly statement). See attached handout.  

    7. Annual Give Recap 

    Fundraising Co-Chair Mark Butler reported on the Annual Give, which surpassed our $60,000 goal and raised approximately $68,000. He emphasized the significant benefits that our dollars provide in making the school safer and better. He reminded members of opportunities to give passively (e.g., Fred Meyer, Box Tops, Amazon Smile).  

    8. Auction Update  

    Auction Co-Chairs Karen Gustufson and Sandra Klay reported on the auction planning. Karen reported that we have several sponsors and are just shy of $10,000 in fair market value donations. The committee has already gone to businesses, so now they will be reaching out to Whittier families. Sandra said that they’ll be in the school regularly to answer questions. A member asked about ticket pricing and Karen responded that they are still deciding on price, but it will not change much (last time was about $65 per person). They will do an on-line auction first to ensure we reach those who may not be able to or want to go to the event, or to reach those outside of our immediate community, like grandparents. Their biggest need right now is for donations and a photography lead. 

    9. Playground Update 

    Demian Minjarez reported that we just today received a grant for $87,000 for our playground (see attached memo awarding grant).  James Goldsmith explained that the grant is contingent on the Whitter General Membership approve restricting $15,000 until the project is complete in the event of any cost overruns, and then will be released after the project is complete. We don’t anticipate using it, but need to restrict it to get the grant. Jennifer Mannheim moved to approve restricting $15,000 for this purpose until the project is complete. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved. 

    10. Events 

    Outreach Co-Chair Tracy Yetter reported on the food drive and upcoming Helping Hands gift drive. On behalf of the Events Co-Chairs, James Goldsmith reported on upcoming ice skating, UW volleyball game, and book fair events. 

    11. Principal Report

    Principal Schweitzer reported on the staff's recent incident training.  In the event of an incident in the neighborhood, parents would have to show their ID even if staff knows the parent. They would move kids to the gym to help with reunification with families and to keep siblings together.  The staff put a lot of effort into thinking of general scenario planning. She also described the Wednesday collaboration and planning that staff members have the opportunity to engage in because of the early release time. She talked in particular about kids struggling with lunch/recess and how the staff is stretched and doesn't have the resources to help through lunch bunch every day. She is open to all ideas about how to support kids in this capacity.  

    BLT Update 

    BLT Parent Representative Kathleen Durham reported on the BLT training and work on the CSIP and its implementation. In addition, they’ve looked at parent surveys from last year and she encouraged members to submit surveys when they come out. 

    13.  Standing Rules 

    Cherise Gaffney explained that the board is only suggesting one change to the Standing Rules, to section 2.7, to reflect that WSPTA no longer wants PTAs to submit a Standards of Affiliation Agreement. Kellie Pecoraro moved to approve the Standing Rules as revised. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved. 

    Nominating Committee 

    Vice President Kellie Pecoraro explained the nominating committee process and job of the committee. She proposed the following slate to the membership: Ann Ilgen, Cherise Gaffney, Beth Goldsmith, Kate Mathews, Erin Liancione and herself. James Goldsmith asked if anyone would like to nominate from the floor as well, and there were no nominations. Karen Gustafson moved to approve the slate as proposed by Kellie The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.  

    Meeting was adjourned at 8:51 p.m. Minutes submitted by Co-Secretary Cherise Gaffney.