MINUTES OF THE MCCPTA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

Thursday, February 2, 2006 at the Carver Educational Services Center

 

ATTENDANCE:

Officers: Cindy Kerr, Victor Salazar, Juan Johnson, Shirley Brandman, Liz Wheeler, Sharon St. Pierre, April Keyes, Jinhee Wilde

 

Area Vice Presidents and Cluster Coordinators: Ellen Paul, Ted Willard, Phil Kaufman, Jane deWinter, Lilo Mitz, Lori Merrill, Deborah DeMille-Wagman, Carroll Lovelace, Rosanne Hurwitz, Janis Sartucci, Susie Scofield, Victoria Campbell Carter, Patrick Herendeen, Linda Kuserk, Sally Taber, Allyson Morrison, Kristin Trible, Susan J. Thomas, Geri Ginsberg, Steve Crowley

 

Committee Chairs: Kay Romero, Marney Jacobs, Diane McHale, Meredith Walters, Patti Twigg, Tom Murphy, Anne Turner, Suzanne Weiss, Tracy Fox, Vicki Rafel

 

Visitors: Donna Pfeiffer, Rocky Hill PTA President, Andrea Bernardo, Fallsmead Elementary School and Thomas Hearn, Wood Acres Elementary, Doug Meineke

 

OPENNING BUSINESS:

Call to Order: MCCPTA President Cindy Kerr called the meeting to order at 7:41PM.

 

Agenda: The agenda should read MCCPTA Board of Directors Meeting. Meetings are always open. Cindy Kerr acknowledged our guests this evening. The curriculum committee report will include media advisory workgroup information in addition to the resolution proposed to support science and social studies in the elementary schools. The safety committee will present a resolution by the Rocky Hill Middle School PTA. The bylaws committee has some new business. Diane McHale requested a committee update if there is sufficient time. Cindy stated that the 10 minute time limits used at the delegate assembly worked well, so we’ll use time limits tonight to stay on schedule. She acknowledged a Robert’s Rules faux pas regarding the two thirds count to pass the time limits.

 

Meeting Minutes: The January 5, 2006 executive board meeting minutes were distributed. No corrections were made. The minutes stand approved as written.

 

Treasurer’s Report:

Juan Johnson distributed the MCCPTA’s, Inc. Profit & Loss Budget vs. Actual report for July 1, 2005 through February 1, 2006, Balance Sheet as of February 1, 2006, and the MCCPTA Proposed 2005-2006 Budget. In addition, he distributed Dues Receipts by Local Unit (July 1, 2005 through June 2006) and

Insurance Premiums Due by Local Unit as of February 1, 2006. The insurance is about two thirds complete.

The bill for insurance payments went out the second week of December. If your school has not paid it is on the insurance list. If your school has paid dues it is listed on the dues receipt list. There is no bill for membership. Membership information is in the president’s packet that is distributed at training. Monthly actions are included, too. If your school is on the MD PTA list it means that it has not paid MD PTA. This is not a good list to be on at all. This list has ramifications for the Reflections program. (See President’s report.) The dues list is on the website. Patti will send it out on the bulletin, too. The 2004 draft audit needs one more entry discussed. The 2005 draft should be done in two weeks. The treasurer’s report will be filed for audit.

 

OFFICERS’ REPORTS:

President:

Cindy Kerr addressed the issue recently raised on the list serv of whether or not she and Juan Johnson would be allowed to participate in tonight’s meeting because one of the locals that they belong to had not paid their insurance payment. It is acceptable for them to participate because Juan said that both schools have paid their fees. Juan and Cindy both belong to more than one local PTA. The new bylaws address dues and assessments, but they don’t give specific time lines for compliance and participation. Bylaws chair, Vicki Rafel commented that in the past we waited until the following fiscal year. Because MCCPTA is responsible for our locals and wants to be in compliance with one of the standards for being considered in good standing by MD PTA we pre-pay our locals insurance and then bill our locals. The list of good standing guidelines includes, dues paid to MD PTA, up to date bylaws, audit, signatures on file among others on the long list. MD PTA won’t forward Reflections entries to National PTA if the local submitting it is not current with bylaws. MD PTA has not figured out how to enforce their other regulations, including the pulling of charters for PTAs for not having current bylaws or dues paid. Cindy gave background information on how MD PTA’s new administration and new bylaws committee chair is handling the auditing of bylaws county by county to get a new listing for schools. Cindy anticipates that there will still be mistakes on this list.

Diane McHale made a motion that until we have a list from the MD PTA to know who’s in good standing that we assume that all local PTAs are in good standing, so that their executive board members (should read Board of Directors) can vote. It was seconded. Jinhee Wilde made a motion to table the discussion. The motion to table was seconded and carried on a voice vote.

Discussion included comments against the motion regarding a per capita representation, voting to keep your school in compliance and actions taken against locals. Until we know a unit is not in good standing we will go forward.

Cindy reminded us of MD PTA night in Annapolis on February 13. It will be a different format. Please attend if possible.

 

Vice President – Programs:

The March program will begin at 6:30 PM followed by the business meeting at 7:30 PM. The discussion of MCCPTA participation in the month of the young child will be tabled until the next meeting.

 

AGENDA ITEMS:

Discuss and develop guidelines for PTA leaders seeking elected office:

Two of our Board of Directors members, Susie Scofield and Shirley Brandman, are seeking election to the Board of Education. At the January Delegate Assembly the delegates voted to allow Shirley Brandman to continue in her positions for that meeting and offer her resignation as Vice President - Educational Issues at the February Board of Directors meeting where a vote would be taken to determine permission for her continuing as the chair of the Grading and Reporting Committee for the remainder of the ’05-’06 term. The delegates also voted to allow Susie Scofield to offer to resign her positions if it is the will of the body, and asked that she be allowed to discuss that position tonight. Shirley has offered her resignation as Vice President – Educational Issues to Cindy. Cindy read Shirley’s resignation statement. Cindy is responsible for appointing someone to fill the vacancy for VP for Educational Issues until the nominating committee acts to fill the position.  Cindy asked that we hear from Susie before considering the actions needed for committees and replacement for Shirley.

Susie Scofield gave her statement. She is currently the Magruder cluster coordinator and co-chair of the Gifted and Talented committee. She had not planned on resigning her positions since she could not find anything in bylaws and state election laws requiring her to do so. She was unaware of MCCPTA precedents of candidates resigning. She stated that these precedents are important to consider in our discussion tonight. The Operating Budget testimony events that happened were unintended by her, but triggered positive discussion, resolutions and the opportunity to set guidelines for running for office. She is open to the idea of a candidate not giving testimony. She will resign if she thinks there’s any conflict of interest between her candidacy and being a PTA leader, or too much diversion. She wants to continue as a cluster coordinator, but has offered her resignation to Ted Willard. She will abide by the decision of this body out of respect for the integrity of MCCPTA.

(Susie and Shirley left the room while discussion and motions took place.)

 

Ted Willard made a motion to regretfully accept Shirley Brandman’s resignation as Vice President – Educational Issues, and thank her for all of her contributions. It was seconded and passed on a voice vote.

A handout from National PTA on items to consider when a PTA leader contemplates becoming a member of a school board or holding other public office were distributed. Sharon St. Pierre also contacted National PTA today. This document gave the most detail. She tried to get more clarification during a phone call, but they are purposefully vague. Sharon cited the fourth bullet on the handout. It is National PTA’s position that it is up to the body to decide on conflict of interest. Cindy reported on the bylaws of the MD PTA that call for removal from office. Cindy also talked to the MD PTA chair for rules and procedures who said it’s a matter of looking at what’s best for our organization.  Now officers in MD PTA sign a contract stating that if elected they will leave PTA. However, Cindy noted that at the summer convention training of National PTA she found school board members who are elected officials.  Historically MCCPTA leaders have resigned in March or April of an election year.  The discussion covered Susie Scofield, asking for decision on cluster coordinators (or extend to all officers) and committee positions. It was to be finished in 10 minutes.

The discussion included Magruder cluster comments from Ted Willard stating that Susie had notified him within 24 hours of her filing her candidacy, that they’d had a cluster meeting to inform all the PTA presidents, and to review the upcoming operating budget testimony to be given by Susie. Cindy reminded us of Rosanne Hurwitz’s resolution from the delegate assembly that we should not be focusing only on an individual, but the future of the organization. Board of Directors members spoke for and against resignation as a cluster coordinator by citing: conflict of interest; campaigning; turning away volunteers; misbehavior by Board of Education members; impact on the organization; the mandatory section of our bylaws (Article III g. “The organization or members in their official capacities shall not, directly or indirectly, participate or intervene  (in any way, including the publishing or distributing of statements) in any  political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office; or devote more than an insubstantial part of its activities to attempting to influence legislation by propaganda or otherwise.”); history of MCCPTA officers, cluster coordinators, area vice president and committee chairs resigning to run for public office; (executive board standing rules of 1999 [no longer in effect] state if you file for public office you resign); number of cluster coordinators and committee chairs; checks and balances for cluster coordinators; executive board members must resign versus other officers not resigning but not giving public testimony; other potential conflicts of interest since we don’t investigate; and public testimony reactions by Board of  Education members being out of our control.

Juan Johnson made a motion that the Board of Directors members who file as a certificate of candidacy for countywide office be removed from office as of the date of filing. It was seconded. Lori Merrill called the question. A standing vote for calling the question failed. Steve Crowley offered an amendment that the motion should be changed from countywide to any elected public office in the state of Maryland. It was seconded. The amendment failed on a standing vote. Diane McHale called the question and it passed on a standing vote. The motion failed on a standing vote.

The motion discussion included: forced resignation and trust; controlling responses; the opportunity to continue jobs; keeping our organization and its mission foremost; local autonomy of the cluster; people with a good understanding of MCCPTA on the Board serve us well; general public understanding of our organization endorsing candidates; clarification of positions;  and city, county and state wide elections.

Ted Willard made a motion that the Board of Directors decline Susie Scofield’s offer of resignation as a Magruder cluster coordinator. It was seconded. A standing vote resulted in a tie. A paper ballot was taken. The motion failed.

Discussion during the paper balloting included: having respect for and trust of our members and getting back to our mission of serving children; notification if you’re a campaign manager or treasurer and bringing this a motion to the delegates on this in the interest of time.  Also discussed, guide books for board members and previous standing rules that have not been codified and distributed. The Board of Directors can still vote to suspend standing rules, too.

Diane McHale made a motion that executive officers of the Board of Directors shall resign within a week of filing for candidacy for public office and that all members of the Board of Directors shall refrain from public speaking on behalf of MCCPTA within a week of filing for candidacy for public office. It was seconded. Jane de Winter made an amendment to the motion that instead of a week that they no longer speak on behalf of MCCPTA effective immediately upon filing for office. It was seconded. It passed by a voice vote. The question was called and passed on a standing vote. The motion passed on a standing vote. This will be passed on to the bylaws committee.

Discussion included: clarification on speaking for the organization and the cluster as part of the organization and how broadly do we interpret public speaking (local meetings, testimony, talking to the press, etc.); and our authority of removal from office. The vocal consensus was to trust our members rather than make another amendment. This motion passing means that we will have to send this to the bylaws committee and to make a change to the bylaws.  The delegates had originally sent this issue to the Board of Directors.

Jane de Winter moved to drop the topic and conduct business. It was seconded. The

question was called by a show of hands. The motion passed by a voice vote.

Based on the motion by Dianne McHale, Shirley Brandman continues as Committee Chair of Grading and Reporting and Susie Scofield remains cluster coordinator and a committee co- chair for Gifted Child Committee. Susie had given Ted had a resignation letter as cluster coordinator if that was the will of the body. Our vote said that no resignation is required. So, Susie is still the cluster coordinator, but she cannot speak of behalf of the MCCPTA organization.

As a result of Shirley Brandman’s resignation as Vice President – Educational Issues Cindy must appoint someone to replace Shirley. Her recommendation is to appoint Sharon St. Pierre to replace Shirley and Ted Willard to fulfill the rest of Sharon’s term. According to the bylaws the nominating committee will come back with nominations to offer to fill these positions.

Juan Johnson made a motion to appointment Sharon St. Pierre Vice President - Educational Issues, and Ted Willard Vice President – Programs. It was seconded and passed on a voice vote.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

CIP: Marney Jacobs referred to the latest information that she has been sharing on the list serv. She recommended that we encourage the county council to increase the Spending Affordability Guidelines (SAG) on February 7 as our best bet to getting more money put back into the CIP. A 10% increase could yield $24 million. The county council will be discussing bond limits at this meeting, too, so please attend if you can to listen. This vote takes a simple majority to pass. The council should also be encouraged to use current revenue surplus, or PAYGO, to provide funds for capital projects. This year the operating budget funding looks good, so we may be able to use PAYGO. The county executive’s proposed budget frontloads the county projects and backloads MCPS projects meaning delays again. It was noted that at the delegate assembly we got a unanimous vote to fully fund the CIP with no delay. Marney will provide a project chart

of cluster delays. Usually we get 44% of the county budget available funding. In FY 07 we get 36% and 38.5% out of bonding. In the future CIP years MCPS gets more and the county projects get less. Include a cluster history in your CIP testimony- talk about overcrowded conditions and dilapidated buildings, etc. The council was committed to this budget two years ago and there are very few new projects that they didn’t already vote to approve. New additions were on feasibility studies. Note that not all the previous projects were fully funded in the past budget. Please encourage every cluster to get people there. Signs for “Keep the CIP on Track” will be provided, or you can request a specific school sign. Remember don’t say what you can’t back up.  Send the county council letters to fully fund the capital budget because they are looking for political cover. George Leventhal will meet with Marney and others on Monday. Victor has put out the tentative schedule for testimony (three minute limit; bring 15 copies, plus courtesy copies for MCCPTA)). Testimony is in the third floor hearing room. Please use 8 ½” x 11” signs, school shirts and carpool. Cindy noted that Sara Lee Todd (Duncan’s assistant) said that if the county council puts the money there then they will want it to happen. FAA-RA workgroup is finished and the report is in the mail and on the website. The superintendent will come out with his recommendations at the February 27 meeting. Marney will mention policy DNA and surplussing land. In addition, if full day kindergarten ever becomes an issue, it would be about $900,000 CIP and use 12 additional portables. The operating budget cost for full day kindergarten is a little under $1.2 million. If Cindy is asked about full day kindergarten, she’ll reply that we do not have a position on it now, and that individual clusters should be contacted. The operating budget has a $38 million shortfall without the GCEI.  

 

Community Outreach:

Michelle Yu reported on the January 16 Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast. Thanks to Sharon St. Pierre for designing the MCCPTA page for the program. MCCPTA affirmed our commitment to diversity and inclusion by participating. The keynote speaker was inspirational.

 

Curriculum: Ted Willard distributed a resolution proposed by the MCCPTA curriculum committee to support science and social studies in MCPS elementary schools. Ted noted that the MD voluntary state curriculum for social studies and science is a list of learning goals, not instructions to be handed to teachers. On Tuesday, January 31 Ted attended a workgroup to evaluate the policy for evaluation and selection of instructional materials and library books. Some issues came up last fall about the use of R rated films in high school classrooms, and PG films in middle schools. The charge of the workgroup is to develop and recommend guidelines for implementing this policy as approved regarding instructional use of film. The steps for the selection process may include the following process: parental consent should be used for certain motion media; approve and identify film clips of certain motion media; approve and identify alternative motion media titles. Ted will be attending more meetings until the end of February. This policy may not take effect this school year. Send feedback to Ted. He’s one of three parents on a committee of twenty. There have been problems with high school courses designed around films. Rosanne Hurwitz said that this issue had come up in a level six language class at Richard Montgomery. Parental permission had been given for students to watch the films that they now can’t watch. This affects registration for classes for next year, too. Ted said that the policy on curriculum calls for a review curricula every 5 years. MCPS will review the K – 12 mathematics curriculum. Shirley and Ted met with Jody Leleck. Jody wants to get input into the process. At end of last month’s executive board meeting, at the delegate assembly, and tonight, Ted handed out the start of a motion by curriculum committee for science and social studies in elementary schools. Basically this comes from the desire of the delegates for MCPS to pay more attention to science and social studies.  Does the board want to take any action or make recommendations to the delegate assembly or remain silent on it? The question of how members were selected for this media committee was raised. Ted got notice for it perhaps through Betsy Brown. We need to find out who the media workgroup chair is and how to get MCCPTA representation. The issue was raised that MCPS may target their committee representation to get the results that they want since a parent who had expressed interest last year was not contacted. Cindy will follow through with this concern.

 

Health: Traci Fox distributed the MCPS wellness policy and the memo she wrote about it. The wellness policy committee (of which Traci is a member), MCPS and the department of health representatives, and other community members are seeking to develop a wellness policy that will comply with the federal legislation on nutrition and physical activity that was passed last summer. The policy language is vague, general and broad. The wellness policy is out for public comment to gather input from parents and other concerned community members to respond back to MCPS. The challenge is in the regulations and trying to insert specifics into this broad vision outlined in the policy. Traci’s memo tries to outline general areas:

  1. Physical education – MCCPTA passed two resolutions last spring including physical education  especially a the elementary school level
  2. snacks in the classroom -  a recent Board of Education discussion stated opposition to the over abundant use of unhealthy snacks in the classroom as a reward
  3. nutrition standards – language as drafted in the wellness policy is vague

The Board of Education will review this on March 3. Traci would like to weave input from parents into her comments. She wants to draft a letter to send back to the Board of Directors with these points. She is urging

parents and PTAs to write letters to the Board of Education. Marney Jacobs reminded us that parents should be included in the regulation writing as with FAA-RA. In response to a comment, Traci said that all of this policy is technically on the books now (vending machines, bake sales, etc. if conducted during school hours), but that MCPS needs to address it and make the regulations more specific.

Traci Fox made a motion that the Board of Directors ask the health committee to draft a letter on our position on the wellness policy to be presented to the February delegate assembly. It was passed on a voice vote.

Discussion included: standards and healthy choices; better health statistics; random survey of Montgomery County high school students like the state survey on high risk behaviors done last year; Traci working with MCPS office of shared accountability on the letter to parents re: this survey and need for it; PTA representative needed to sign on to this letter to parents; Cindy needs to be given permission on behalf of our organization to sign the letter to parents; and the question of implied endorsement of the survey. The purpose of this anonymous survey is only to collect data. A copy of survey is available on line. Traci Fox asked

Traci Fox made a motion to ask Cindy Kerr to request a voice vote from the Board of Directors to support allowing Cindy, on behalf of the MCCPTA, to ask parents to sign permission for their students to participate in a random survey to collect anonymous data on teen risk behaviors. It was passed by a voice vote.  

 

Safety: Suzanne Weiss spoke for the committee in Pam Moomau’s absence. Pam has been setting up meetings with key people at MCPS for the subcommittees of the safety committee. There was a safety committee handout at the delegate assembly. Safety committee concerns include pedestrian and bus safety, and safe access planning. Pedestrian safety falls under transportation, but none of their documents reference pedestrian safety at all. We’ve asked them to firm up systems for bus drivers and route concerns, so that everything is documented according to their driver code of conduct. Currently transportation depots are too busy to write incidents up for bus drivers. There is a new system of security cameras on buses. They are rotating them around so that all middle schools are covered. We asked to find out who’s watching what’s filmed. The answer is that they will review if there’s an incident. So far this year there’s not been a review.

Our concern is that they have tightened up bus driver to student incidents but, not student to student problems. There are questions about whose realm of responsibility this is and is it an all or none situation.

Questions about fighting at the bus stop before school being were answered no. The only time it is a school discipline issue is if it impacts something in the school. It’s a gray area. The suggestion was made to talk to principals, and to clarify “door to door” and parental responsibility. We’ll focus on safety and security issues with Ed Clarke and Don Kress to try to find out a school policy list. Additional areas of concern are code red and code blue parental notification and multiple definitions for bullying causing enforcement problems. The focus on building safety and security issues was discussed in regard to screening of employees and not holding contractors to any standards. MCPS’s responsibility in informing the community was raised by Andrea Bernardo representing the Rocky Hill Middle School PTA resolution that was a result of a parent finding out that a registered sex offender was working at more than one MCPS school site. The discussion included authorization of principals to inform the community; the practice of principals only informing the PTA president in confidence; confidentiality versus public risk; parents need to know (e.g. knives, drugs, etc.); students illegal activities, such as weapons, on Ride On Buses; lack of background checks policy for contractors; and drafting legislation.

Diane McHale made a motion to endorse the resolution brought by Rocky Hill Middle School PTA (see below). It was seconded. The question was called after discussion and passed. The resolution was endorsed by the Board of Directors by a voice vote and will be presented to the Delegate Assembly this February.

               

Whereas, MCPS is continually building, maintaining, modernizing, and expanding school facilities,

Whereas, such construction requires MCPS to use contractors and subcontractors not affiliated with MCPS,

Whereas, the above said contractors and subcontractors employ personnel at MCPS facilities that come in direct or indirect contact with administrators, staff, teachers, students, and community members,

Whereas, MCPS requires criminal background checks to be performed for all individuals employed by the school system so as to protect its personnel and children from a variety of risks, including threat of physical harm,

Whereas, MCPS is risking the safety of its students and employees y allowing potential convicted

Felons, including sex offenders, to work as employees of contractors performing services at the schools,

Be it Resolved that all contractors, and their subcontractors, who engage in contracts with MCPS must provide proof of state and criminal background checks for any and all employees who work for them at MCPS facilities;

Be it Further Resolved, that individuals found to have been convicted of sex offenses and other violent offenses be prohibited from working in any capacity at MCPS facilities; and

Be it Further Resolved, that MCPS impose sanctions on any contractors who fail to abide by any policies prohibiting the employment of sex offenders and other violent offenders at MCPS  facilities.

 

Discussion included: MCPS reluctance to deal with the issue; the push for legislation; MD PTA contact with Nancy King re: legislation; and state and national implications.

 

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 10:06 PM.