May 10, 2016 PTO Meeting
Principal Carter and an Assistant Principal from Clague stopped in to say hello and let us know how excited they are to host the transitioning students on 5/11.
Call to Order:
Motion to approve previous meeting minutes made by Corentin Cras-Meneur, seconded by Anne Traicoff, and passed with no objections and one abstention.
Media Center Presentation:
Library funding has been reduced by 75% by the district in the last five years. Total budget from the district is $1,553.00 which comes to $3.20/student. The average book price in 2016 is $19.19 per hardcover with an additional $2.00 for sturdy library binding for frequent use, and 16,150 books are currently in circulation. The average age of these books is 20 years old and certain subjects are very out of date. This is especially detrimental in the subjects of Math/Natural Sciences (avg age 2000), Technology (Avg age 1998) and Geography/History (Avg age 1995). Motion to use all money raised at the used book sale for the Thurston Media Center made by Margaret Baker, seconded by Amy Sonntag. Motion passes with no objections and one abstention.
Tori Booker stated that the Thurston program is effective and has won awards for its efforts with recycling, composting, and other environmentally friendly acts. They expect to need an extra $180.00 for next year’s budget. They have costs for materials like compost bags, a field trip, and pizza for volunteers. They get some revenue from juice box collection (over $200 this year) but give that money back to the PTO. Motion to increase Green Team budget by $180.00 made by Tori Booker, seconded by Margaret Baker, and passed with no objections or abstentions. The Team is also looking for people to take over the program when the current parent organizers leave. If you are interested email email@example.com
Thurston “Needs” Survey:
Surveys went out to parents and teachers on Thurston issues and needs. Teachers requested a new sound system for the MPR. Questions were raised about whether the system was being used incorrectly and is otherwise functional. Ms. Stewart will contact Principal Collins about having the district check out the MPR sound system to find out if it’s working properly. Teachers also wanted grants increased, field trip funding increased, books, playground equipment, and playground drainage.
Parents wanted outdoor learning spaces and playground equipment; next most important was yearbooks for everyone. The all-school fieldtrip was voted the lowest priority. Turnout was high among teachers but low among parents. It was recommended that the survey be possibly retuned and re-sent through room parents or teachers as well as in Heron Happenings.
People also requested that PTO pay for after-school tutors, but the PTO can’t use funds to pay salaries.
SISS staff took part in the door-decorating contest and didn’t feel recognized. Amy will look into this possible oversight. Did the paper slicer, pencil sharpener and stapler approved on March 8th get ordered for the teachers? The PTO will check in with Dawn Sackman about the status of the purchase. Outgoing 5th graders named the many rain gardens on the Thurston Grounds. Teachers would like some funds to buy signs for the gardens. Thurston Nature Center has a budget for interpretive signs, but those are about a year away. Frank will talk to the sign-maker the Nature Center used previously to see if he can make signs and how much they would cost.
There was some confusion among teachers about field trip funding. The $20/student budgeted for this year is separate from busing costs. The PTO thrift shop is covering the bulk of the busing costs and the PTO will pick up the rest. Though high busing costs might limit PTO discretionary spending, it does not have an impact on field trip costs. To reiterate--teachers do not need to ask parents for donations to cover bus costs. Use the $20 per pupil to pay for programming/admissions costs for each student. Janice Stewart has offered to share this information in the next staff meeting.
District playground funds are available and being distributed by Dawn Linden. Thurston has two members on the advisory committee making recommendations. If you have any suggestions, send them to the PTO who will forward them to the team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Motor Challenge went slightly over budget on their purchase of new equipment and a motion was made by Amy Sonntag for reimbursement for $45.33. Seconded by Janice Stewart. Motion passes with no objections.
Science Olympiad awards went over budget, and may or may not be reimbursed by PTO Thrift Shop. Motion to cover the $200.00 while waiting for Thrift Shop money (a possible $300.00 for advertising the Shop). Motion made by Wanda Brann and seconded by Frank Comiskey. Motion passes with no objections or abstentions.
The PTO is looking for some new Board members. There are part-time and co-leadership positions for those thinking about joining without jumping strait in. If you are interested in splitting time/assisting with the President, Treasurer, or Secretary positions contact the PTO at email@example.com
Janice Stewart offered a suggestion for dealing with the watery ground section by the kindergarten play area. We could get two sets of playground-approved stepping stones for the watery areas if the district signed off. The total cost would be just over $900.00 for eight steps. Motion to purchase playground equipment stumps/steps made by Wanda Brann and seconded by Janice Stewart. Motion passed (pending District approval) with no abstentions or objections.
There will be No Parking in the parking lot on Friday Night because of the Bike Rodeo.
Landscaping has been neglected. Does the PTO want to have someone take care of landscaping (either volunteers or a service). Annual maintenance has to be done by someone and could possibly be added to the budget. Should Frank come to the PTO for items on an as-needed basis or have more of a structured budget? There has been difficulty finding volunteers for the garden and landscaping clubs. Keeping Thurston beautiful helps the school and the neighborhood. Please contact the PTO if you are interested: firstname.lastname@example.org
PTO Meeting Adjourned as the second informal budget meeting commenced. The last dedicated budget discussion meeting will be May 16th from 6:00-7:00. Final voting will take place Tuesday, June 7th during the general PTO Meeting.