Minutes MCCPTA Delegates Assembly
March 28, 2006
Program Welcome: Vicky Strella, Chair MCCPTA Parent Leadership Committee,
Maryland Parent Leadership Institute
Vicky summarized her work as
a coordinator for the statewide Parent Leadership Institute (PLI) and noted
that fifty-eight parents have been trained across the state to bring back
resources, programs and practices to their local PTAs. Twelve of these parents
Parent and Family Involvement In Our Schools – Rules of Engagement: Giving
Parents Back Their Schools; A Shared Responsibility – Recommendations for
Increasing Family and Community Involvement in Schools; MCPS Family and Community Partnership Goals;
Parent to Parent Outreach – Networks and Empowerment in
Dr. Mike Hickey, Director, Center for Leadership in Education,
Barbara Scherr, Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Family Involvement Specialist
Jane Butler, MCPS Division of Family and Community Partnerships
Susan Fleck, Piney
Dr. Hickey stated that “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) has given parents nearly equal power to that of school officials in making educational decisions about their children, therefore, schools and parents must seek a relationship based on the full engagement of true equals for the benefit of all children. He discussed: the changing engagement paradigm. He commented on Linda Lambert’s eight rules of engagement:
1. state explicitly your schools high expectations of parent participation
2. engage parents in developing a shared vision
3. make language transparent
4. establish relationships that are reciprocal in purpose
5. develop structures and processes for parent leadership and advocacy
6. assume that parents have the right to be responsible for and the ability to struggle with tough issues
7. keep parent participation broad based
8. ask parents to asses their own leadership skills
He reviewed Joyce Epstein’s
1. activities emphasizing reading
2. learning through discussion
3. informal learning activities at home
4. contracts between teacher and parent
5. developing teaching and evaluation skills in parents
He concluded by reviewing Lambert’s eight traditional and reciprocal roles for teachers and parents.
Barbara Scherr, MSDE, gave a history of the Maryland Parent’s Advisory Council (MPAC). She distributed copies of the MPAC summary report and MSDE’s Maryland’s Plan for Family, School and Community Involvement. She described the charge of goal number five, “families will be involved in education” from MSDE’s strategic plan, Achievement Matters Most, adopted in fall 2001, and the structure of MPAC. MPAC’s tour of all twenty-four jurisdictions produced twenty-one recommendations with five themes:
1. communication – MSDE’s website redesigned to be more accessible for parents; inventory parent publications; inventory parent representation on state-wide committees and task forces
2. leadership – development and implementation of MSDE action plan; two staff parent involvement specialists; renamed division of student, family and school services; introduced HB 141; established Superintendent’s Family Involvement Council
3. training – Towson University providing professional development in family studies; accessibility of training modules for parents, educators and community members; working with Parent Information Resource centers (PIRC) to develop and expand training opportunities
4. partnership – inventory of successful partnerships and inclusion of parent/family involvement in all state award applications and recognitions
5. accountability – drafting regulatory language for Family Involvement Policy; developing survey questions for incorporation by local school systems
The Maryland state board of education accepted all twenty-one recommendations.
Jane Butler, MCPS, outlined the guiding policies (NCLB; MSDE Achievement Matters; MCPS “Call to Action”) and goals for the Division of Family and Community Partnerships: provide family and school outreach and involvement, strengthen business and community involvement, and ensure two-way communication among families, businesses, community groups, and MCPS. She discussed outreach for curriculum and instruction, support systems and resources, partnership schools, and the Comer school development program. Communication initiatives include: the MCCPTA delegate packets; a parent newsletter, the MCPS call center and the website. Five different languages and FAQs are available. Direct services to schools and families include school and community presentations, supporting individual family needs, the Parent’s Place, Summer Search and Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) SAIL . She mentioned the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education (MCBRE), Conquista tus Suenos, Saturday School, and mentors. Strengthening collaborative efforts will include: revising the community involvement policy (FAA) and developing a parent resource “tool kit” among others.
Susan Fleck, PTA parent and member of Piney Branch Elementary School outreach committee, described the outreach program at Takoma Park Elementary School for herself and Rosa Sanchez (who could not be here tonight). She shared their PTA vision of and strategies for parent involvement. The vision includes all parents being welcomed and involved, whether at home or at school. Strategies shared: communication; dedication to diversity; recognize cultural differences and adapt; and the role of PTA leaders to mentor and identify new leaders and work with school and community resources. Susan briefly outlined Rosa’s PLI project for Hispanic parent outreach at Takoma Park including her keys to success, parent concerns and the results. She mentioned the improvements that MCPS has made and suggestions to overcome problems. The importance of translation for school communications, including report cards and curriculum, and the need for parent outreach coordinators was noted. She concluded her presentation with the unique obstacles that foreign born parents have, and how to take the initiative for involvement and advocacy.
Call to Order: President Cindy Kerr called the meeting to order at 7:45 PM.
Pledge: Sharon St. Pierre, Vice President Educational Issues
PTA Mission: Victor Salazar, Vice President Administration
Agenda: Cindy noted additions to tonight’s agenda, including a resolution concerning MCPS media regulation from Rosanne Hurwitz, the proposed amendments to the MCCPTA bylaws regarding running for elected office and open meetings, and a report from Ted Willard on the media work group.
Approval of Minutes:
The minutes from the February 28, 2006 Delegate Assembly were reviewed. A revised grading and reporting committee report was shown on the overhead and read. The report was amended to read as follows:
Committee chair Shirley Brandman had to leave early tonight, so Sharon St. Pierre reported for her. A grading and reporting update on new language for grading and reporting is in your packets. Please review the modifications in homework for completion and practice. When a student has turned in “homework for completion” by the deadline, and when it appears to the teacher that the student has made a good faith attempt to perform the assignment, the student should receive full credit, regardless of the accuracy, quality, or even completeness of the homework submitted. Only if, in the teacher’s professional judgment, the student has not attempted in good faith to perform the assignment, the teacher may then give partial credit for the homework. Please review these changes with your schools.
The minutes stand approved as amended.
Treasurer Juan Johnson presented the treasurer’s report of March 1 through March 28, 2006, the profit and loss budget vs. actual for July 1, 2005 through March 28, 2006, and the balance sheet as of March 28, 2006. Report copies were shown on the overhead transparencies and written copies were available for those who wanted them. Juan also distributed copies of insurance premiums due by local units as of March 28 and missing dues payments. There are twelve schools with outstanding insurance payments. Invoices have been sent out four times. Twenty-five schools have not paid their dues. Notices will be sent out to cluster coordinators, so they can help to rectify the situation. Juan has received the 2005 audit draft report. He will be meeting with the committee to review it. It is a long process because it was a two year audit. Juan reported that we currently have about 35,000 members. The balance sheet shows $43,000 in the bank, which includes approximately $25,000 held in reserve for insurance payments for next year. He noted that the spring training workshop line item shows $1,100 that is actually from last year, but the bills didn’t come in until this year. We’ll have to do an adjustment. There is money budgeted for this spring’s training. Any change of dues will be set at the annual meeting in April as required by the bylaws. The treasurer’s report will be filed for audit.
Business Items: Presentations of Pending Resolutions/Motions
Sharon St. Pierre presented the Gifted Child Committee resolution.
Sharon St. Pierre made a motion to set a time limit of five minutes for discussion of the resolution. It was seconded and passed by a show of hands.
Sharon St. Pierre made a motion to allow the Gifted and Talented Committee Chair for White Oak Middle School who helped write the resolution, Fred Stiknott, to speak to the Gifted Child Committee resolution. The motion was seconded and passed by a show of hands.
Sharon and Fred referred to the resolutions distributed on the blue sheet in tonight’s delegate packets. The resolution comes from the committee. It has been approved by White Oak, A. Mario Loiederman and Cabin John Middle Schools. Fred gave background information. The resolution would make a small contribution to the middle school reform project. If it’s adopted MCCPTA would ask the middle school reform committee to ask MCPS to formulate a higher level Gifted and Talented curriculum. Currently the curriculum guides provide items called “extensions” that are available to the GT students, but they are sporadic, largely optional and don’t build upon one another. These extensions can occasionally enrich education, but they don’t build upon one another in a progressive way. Teachers and parents are frustrated by the lack of a guide.
This resolution would have a sequence and systematic higher level curriculum. The idea is to build progressively as with the regular curriculum. Teachers and parents would see a firm curriculum and students would see a progressive curriculum. The resolution began as project at White Oak and was adopted by two other middle schools. While it is aimed primarily at GT students, it should not be seen as limited to those students. Now, the curriculum is “one size fits all” and there are small differentiations off of it. What this does is create a second progressive track of curriculum to help teachers to match all children’s needs by being better guided in differentiating between the two tracks for all children as appropriate. A delegate asked for an example of an extension. Fred answered with the example of a “blip” extension in history of asking students to write a paper on John Adams. If this happens only once a month it’s not progressive enough for students who could handle more. Also, with the English curriculum parents are concerned with books for students who can read at the eleventh and twelfth grade level, but the books are at the fourth grade level, and teachers are frustrated because they can’ vary off the track. Teachers would like to have more options. A delegate asked about the elementary level, and Fred responded that he was focused on middle school, but he’s hoping that if MCCPTA supports a well developed GT curriculum, it will ultimately affect the elementary level, too. Fred responded to a delegate troubled by the GT identification and label, that teachers could apply these two tracks with guidance to whatever student is ready. He wants to preserve GT education, not the name.
Sharon St. Pierre made a motion that the delegates support taking this resolution back to their local PTAs and bringing it back next month for a vote. It was seconded and passed by show of hands.
The resolution as written below will be posted on the list serv.
Resolution proposed by the MCCPTA Gifted Child Committee Recommending Development of a Gifted and Talented Curriculum:
WHEREAS, a Montgomery County Public Schools (“MCPS”) Middle School Reform Steering
Committee (the “Steering Committee”) has been charged to formulate a comprehensive plan (the “Plan”) that will produce a rigorous and challenging middle school education program that improves teaching and learning, promotes continuous improvement in all middle schools, and ensures that all students are prepared for rigorous high school standards; and
WHEREAS, Policy IOA, recognizing that gifted and talented students require instructional and curricular adjustments that can create a better match between their identified needs and the educational services they typically receive, provides that MCPS will prepare a scope and sequence of objectives and activities as well as materials that accelerate and enrich the regular curriculum in Pre-kindergarten-8, in mathematics, reading/language arts, science, and social studies; and
WHEREAS, the National Association for Gifted Children’s Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Program Standards (with which the components of the MCPS gifted and talented program are to be aligned) require as a minimum standard that instruction objectives and strategies provided to gifted learners must be systematically differentiated from those in the regular classroom; and
WHEREAS, Policy IFA requires that curricula promote continuity and cumulative acquisition and application of skills and knowledge and allow teachers and students to understand what is expected and required of them; and
WHEREAS, this Committee finds that the middle school MCPS Curriculum Guides provide extensions and enhancements for optional and periodic use in enriching gifted and talented education, but that such extensions and enhancements neither sequentially and systematically ground the acceleration of gifted and talented education, nor allow teachers and students to understand what is expected and required of them; and
WHEREAS, as a part of a multiyear plan for development of strong local gifted and talented programs, MCPS has determined to strengthen differentiation in the instructional guides;
BE IT RESOLVED, that this Committee recommends to the Steering Committee that there be included in the Plan the recommendation that MCPS add as soon as possible to the middle school Curriculum Guides sequenced and systematic higher level gifted and talented curricula, in mathematics, reading/language arts, science and social studies.
Resolution Concerning MCPS Media Regulation:
A delegate made a motion that we allow a five minute time limit of discussion for this resolution. It was seconded and passed by a show of hands.
Rosanne Hurwitz (AVP for area 4) introduced the resolution developed as a collaborative effort, and adopted by the Richard Montgomery High School (RMHS) PTSA. It’s crafted from a position piece beginning with a parent’s concern and an article written by a student for the school newspaper, “The Tide”. Rosanne explained that because of a snow cancellation of a PTSA meeting that it’s late getting to the delegates. She has circulated it to other high schools through the high school committee, with the result being support from Churchill, Bethesda Chevy Chase, Seneca Valley, and Blake in addition to RMHS. Also, Quince Orchard and Northwood have endorsed the concept without identical language. Rosanne gave background on the cause for the resolution being the new MCPS policy on following age restrictions for film media as used by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for media in whole or in part shown in classrooms. This means that no part of an R-rated film can be shown in a high school classroom. This restriction particularly impacts English, social studies, and higher level foreign language classes (which often use unrated films, e.g. French level 6 class at RMHS). Northwood’s and other county film studies classes are also impacted. The resolution was vetted through the PTSA and staff at RMHS. This resolution gives the discretion back to the staff to review the films, select the appropriate content and inform the parents. Rosanne
apologized if she missed any high schools. Steve Crowley, delegate from Rockville High School, asked for the logic in not going to all locals, but just the high schools. Wendy Williams, delegate from RMHS, replied that it was marketed to high school parents because they were most familiar with the curriculum issues. Rosanne has not restricted support to high schools and regrets this breakdown in communication. The focus was to make sure that this was what the other high schools wanted before we circulated this down to the elementary and middle schools. The Magruder High School delegate stated opposition because his school needs time to study it, so he would offer an opposing resolution if there’s a timeline restriction on action tonight.
Ted Willard made a motion for an additional five minutes of discussion. It was seconded and
passed by a voice vote.
Ted Willard, media work group participant, stated that the last committee meeting was this afternoon. The work group report will go to Dr. Lacey and other senior executives for their reactions. Because of spring break it’s unlikely that action will take place before the April delegate assembly. Parents and PTAs can testify at the Board of Education meeting on April 20. The next delegate assembly is April 25. The Walter Johnson High School PTSA president stated that the motion has merit and it needs to be brought back to the locals.
John Moriarity made a motion that we defer action on this resolution until the April meeting. It
Discussion on this motion included: In response to a concern about time and deferral, Ted stated that it’s a MCPS regulation, not a Board of Education policy, so it falls under Dr. Weast’s control. PTAs can testify to the Board of Education on their own behalf. Ted’s concern is if the MCPS leadership team was taking any action. Ted was told it’s very unlikely that even the report will have been put together to go back to the work group before spring break or before the next delegate assembly. Cindy added that MCCPTA can go to Dr. Lacey’s office and ask that MCPS to allow time for us to comment. This doesn’t stop any high school from commenting. MCCPTA could state how many high schools are commenting. An elementary delegate spoke if favor of deferral to give elementary school PTAs a chance to discuss the resolution.
Rich Edelman made an amendment to the motion to defer action that MCCPTA specifically ask MCPS to delay any action pending our organization’s position. The amendment was seconded and passed by a voice vote.
John Moriarity’s original motion as amended passed by a voice vote.
Resolution Concerning MCPS Media Regulation: As adopted by the Richard Montgomery HS PTSA March 13, 2006
WHEREAS, MCPS recently revised Regulation IIB-RA to ban the showing of R-rated movies as
well as excerpts from these movies in high school classrooms throughout the county, and
WHEREAS, this regulation has the effect of blanket censorship which undermines many high
school subjects, including but not limited to history, English, foreign language and film classes,
without regard to the educational assessment of the usefulness of the motion pictures relative to
the classroom objectives, and
WHEREAS, Regulation IIB-RA adversely impacts the quality of student instruction, therefore,
RESOLVED, that MCCPTA requests that the Board of Education immediately rescind Regulation
IIB-RA, section four, and
RESOLVED, that the replacement regulation incorporate a system for exceptions, whereby
teachers apply or request to have certain films exempted from the policy for educational purposes,
RESOLVED, that teachers who request materials that are R-rated or un-rated for classroom use
should provide information to parents to form their own assessment, and that a system of signed
permissions from parents should constitute sufficient authorization to permit the use of R-rated or
un-rated motion pictures, either as excerpt or in their entirety, in high school classrooms.
Following this media discussion, Ted Willard, MCPS media work group participant, outlined the four points that the work group had agreed to:
1. the goal is to have a waiver process for films that would not normally be allowed by just looking at their rating
2. film clips or segments can be used if the content is not violating the R, PG or PG 13 rating
3. an entire film could be shown if advance notice and parental permission had been given
4. Students 17 years or older can sign a permission form themselves since 17 year olds are allowed to see R rated films
Ted held back from endorsing the last point about the 17 year olds until he knew what the delegates wanted. He needs clarification on this last point. A question about the waiver process was answered that if a film clip if not the reason for the R rating then no permission needs to be granted. Films rated PG-13 for middle school or R for high school would need permission slips. Currently this policy limits films to G rated for elementary school, PG for middle school and PG-13 for high school. This would permit you to make exceptions to that. A question from Chris Barclay about what happens if a parent doesn’t sign the waiver was answered that alternatives are up to the teacher. To clarify, the vote will go out to all locals, not just high school. Unrated foreign films area gray area. Ted’s recollection is that under the existing policy that a judgment of where the film would fall under the categories of appropriate or inappropriate would have to be made. In response to the concern about movies being shown the day before vacation break Ted answered that the guiding principle is that films should be related to the curriculum not shown just for entertainment. These recommendations will be posted on the list serv.
Sharon Schulman made a motion that we direct Ted Willard to endorse the work group recommendations that students who are 17 years old be permitted to sign permission for themselves to see R rated films. It was seconded. It passed by a voice vote.
Sharon Schulman, Walter Johnson High School delegate, stated that the MPAA rating system isn’t appropriate as a guide for what films or parts of films to show. MPAA is a non-school, non-family group. If we are going to use it then we must be consistent. For example, it’s inconsistent to say that a 14 year old doesn’t need permission to see a PG-13 movie, but the 10 year old cannot see it; and then say that a 17 year old can’t see the R rated film without permission. Because the same body says what’s appropriate for a 14 year old if it’s PG-13 and a 17 year old should be consistent, yet 17 year olds can see these films in theaters. She expressed her opinions about protective parents and trusting our children. Cindy reminded that delegates use their best judgment. Please contact Ted and Rosanne for more clarification.
New Business Item:
Juan Johnson stated that in the bylaws our annual meeting is designated as the April meeting. The bylaws state that if we need to raise the membership dues that this should be voted on at the annual meeting. Our budget is running a deficit again this year. About four years ago we had about $50,000 in extra cash and we’ve spent it down. It’s time to do something about that now. Unfortunately with our membership down from about 50,000 to about 35,000 now we’re not in the financial position that we were several years ago.
Juan Johnson made a motion to raise the membership dues to $1.00 per member up from $.75. No second is required. This will be included in the minutes. Please take it back to your locals and it will be voted on at the annual meeting in April.
Cluster coordinators can see the list of schools missing membership dues. Our bylaws state that to vote you must be a member of a PTA in good standing and that requires payment of dues. Invoices are sent out at the beginning of the year. Juan said that the final deadline for dues payment is March 31. We follow state and national PTAs. The dues of $3.25 are asked to be at the state one week before the deadline. If this wasn’t done send it in now anyway. Juan reminded delegates that unused membership cards must be returned to MD PTA in Glen Burnie by March 31 or the local will receive a bill. Every November 1 your first membership is due to us and to MD PTA, but it can continue to be paid until March 31. You’re required to submit membership money when it’s received. Juan answered a request to post this information the website by stating that it is there, but he will post it more prominently. He responded to the question of the increase in dues being made to balance the budget or increase spending by saying that it is a result of a significant decrease in membership since even with 50,000 members we were deficit spending. Cindy noted that there is a discrepancy of 15,000 between MD PTA saying that we have 50,000 members and our records showing 35,000. We’re still the largest PTA council in the state. Invoices were sent out. Juan will send the cluster coordinators a final notice list of schools needing payments. Related questions about bylaws updates were answered by Cindy saying that the state is still updating its records with the new MD PTA bylaws chair. Improvements have been made, but let us know about your bylaws report so we can make corrections at the state if necessary. Jane de Winter thought that the discrepancy in the numbers between the state membership and our membership may be a result of the locals getting their first dues payment in around November 1 and then locals continue to take memberships. As a reminder dues need to be sent in another payment as you get new members. It was suggested by another delegate that an ad hoc committee be formed to pursue this issue. Cindy replied that we have a committee chair that is supposed to be working on this. MD PTA will be focused on membership, too. Cindy also informed us that MD PTA is considering using a state insurance policy with forward funding like MCCPTA. Now MD PTA is required to do this by National PTA to make sure that all PTAs have insurance. MD PTA was trying to put this on the councils, but not all councils can afford to do this. This should save each of our locals about $100 or $120. Montgomery and Howard counties were concerned about riders for some of the activities that we do, so they’re going back to examine that.
We’ll report any of these changes back to you. In answer to a question about increasing membership Juan answered that we still need increase in dues by $.25 each even if we increase membership because of $11,000 deficit spending even with 50,000 members. The budget needs to be changed to reflect membership. Cindy added that we have expenses of an office and one employee. MCCPTA has had rent free office space from MCPS at Connecticut Park and then North Lake. We have advocated for and basically been approved to move to an MCPS office suite building. An office suite from MCPS would save us money by staying in one place, not changing stationery, and sharing their copying machines. We would also be able to have night meetings, use conference rooms and not be restricted on our office hours. The vote on the dues increase will be taken at the April meeting. Budget work will be done this summer and the written budget will be brought for a vote in the fall. In answer to a question about how our dues compare to other PTA jurisdictions, Cindy and Juan answered that they are comparable to other counties our size.
Cindy Kerr reported on policy ABA – the Board of Education policy on community involvement which has been mailed to you for public comment. Cindy encourages locals to look at closely at this policy. When this policy review first started last year, Cindy had been asked to co-chair with Jane Butler. After three meetings Cindy had stepped aside as the co-chair for the committee working on this policy because she didn’t believe it was in the best interest of our organization to co-chair because of the direction that the policy language was taking. Cindy is working with the Vice Presidents and will be coming to you with a resolution and prepared testimony to speak to the parent involvement. It’s her opinion based on her experience that MCPS is trying to sanitize every policy and removing any reference to PTA. The new language of saying that they want to solicit input from groups “particularly those who are under represented” is disturbing. It’s MCCPTA’s duty and responsibility to make sure that we are inclusive because we speak for all children. We must always remind MCPS that we are a group with a structure, that we are elected, that we represent 50,000 members, that we speak all children and that we partner with many groups. Cindy has already spoken with the NAACP. She’ll be speaking with Latino parent groups, Asian parent groups and Special Education parent groups to present a united front for community involvement. The way it is stated now in the policy MCPS can ask for, but is not required to have community involvement. We need a strong statement for community involvement.
Cindy’s grading and reporting comments included her reference to the pioneers and wagon train analogy. If we don’t see some changes in grading and reporting, then we’ve been left in heinous position of being taken from homes, put out on a trail, promised a destination, but now we have nowhere to go – therefore there’s no accountability. We’ll report back on this. There’s a new policy on Board of Education staffing that’s of concern and we’ll report back on this. Cindy added that it’s been her pleasure and honor to work with the delegates and it’s been one of the highlights of her work with MCCPTA. Her best advice is to listen to the delegates. She leave this job knowing that she was one of the luckiest people to be able to speak on behalf of the children of Montgomery County and with parents like you to work with.
Vice President – Educational Issues:
Sharon St. Pierre reminded delegates of the committee updates included in their packets.
The presidents and principals dinner is May 24 at 6 PM at the Indian Spring Country Club. Invitations are coming out soon. Tickets are $38 per person. PTAs typically pay for their principal to attend. The deadline for the life membership and partners in education awards is April 21. The Reflections Awards Ceremony is April 27 at 7 PM at Loiederman Middle School. Flyers (contact information on the back) for Prom season and underage drinking were distributed tonight. There is a community forum for children ages 8 and up on underage drinking Thursday from 7 to 9 PM at Carver.
Vice President – Programs:
Please complete the survey sheet on middle school reform. I t can be given to us tonight or sent to the MCCPTA office. Ted will try to put in on the website, too. Tomorrow night there’s a middle school forum at Montgomery Village Middle School at 7 PM and there’s another one on Monday night at Francis Scott Key Middle School. The next curriculum meeting is April 20. The Associate Superintendent for Organizational Development will discuss how curriculum is set up and implemented.
Vice President – Administration:
Victor Salazar asked that locals let incoming PTA officers know about the June 7 MCCPTA spring training. As he ends his job as Vice President, he enjoyed helping to start new units at Clarksburg High School and Little Bennett Elementary.
Acting officers -
Chris Barclay, nominating committee chair, last month nominated Sharon St. Pierre to finish the term as Vice President, Educational Issues and Ted Willard to finish the term as Vice President, Programs.
Chris Barclay made a motion for the body to vote on these nominations (hearing no other nominations from the floor for either position). No second was needed since it came from committee. A voice vote passed for both nominees to finish their terms.
Presentation of slate of FY ’06-’07 officers -
Cindy reminded delegates that nominations from the floor can always be made. The April election will be overseen by either the president or the president elect from the MD PTA.
Chris recognized and thanked his nominating committee members – Ana Janckson-Curtis, Allyson Morrison, Lori Merrill, Leslie Ridgway, Lauren Haven and Terri Salus. He referred delegates to their packets and the list of officers, Area Vice Presidents (AVPs) and cluster coordinators. The consensus of the delegates was not to go through the cluster coordinators and AVPs. The nominations for officers are:
President Jane de Winter
Vice President: Educational Issues Sharon St. Pierre
Vice President: Administration Cassandra Abdelmeguid
Vice President: Programs April Keyes
Vice President: Legislation Victor Salazar
Recording Secretary Liz Wheeler
Recording Secretary Kay Romero
Treasurer Juan Johnson
The openings for AVPs and cluster coordinators will be announced from the floor at the April 25 meeting. Suzanne Weiss said that the bylaws state that nominee names and qualifications be listed thirty days in advance, too. Cindy and Chris replied that names met this requirement and that qualifications will be sent out, too, but it won’t be thirty days in advance. AVPs qualifications can be sent out, too. Cindy and Chris reminded the delegates of the process for nominating cluster coordinators and AVPs. For AVP a committee of six must be formed from the quad cluster, so that one cluster does not dominate the process. Chris Barclay and Cindy talked about cluster coordinators. Many clusters have monthly meetings to discuss positions on CIP and Operating Budget, etc. these meetings can be a helpful preparation for boundary studies or new schools. The advantage of clusters and councils is a united voice for advocacy. Remember that cluster coordinators, AVPs and the Board of Directors don’t dictate to locals. Information is given to locals to make decisions. If decisions are made because of a time sensitive issue it is done only on behalf of the Board of Directors, not the full MCCPTA.
Because of actions at our last meeting and by the Board of Directors regarding running for elected office, we need to make some changes to our bylaws. Cindy Kerr also thanked delegate Thomas Hearn for pointing out something missing from our bylaws. Cindy, speaking as the MD PTA Vice President for Councils, noted that other councils had noticed this omission, too. The MD PTA template for bylaws was missing the open meeting statement. He brought it to the bylaws committee attention that it did not specifically state that our meetings are open. It’s been our practice to allow anyone to attend our Board of Directors meetings since our bylaws have been passed. The vote on these changes will be at the May meeting. Vicki Rafel, bylaws committee chair, made a point of personal privilege to assure us that as chair she and the bylaws committee members worked diligently to make sure that the bylaws revisions reflected the unique character of MCCPTA and did not in any way damage that. The bylaws the delegates approved in January are good bylaws regardless of what you read anywhere.
By direction of the MCCPTA bylaws committee, Vicki Rafel made a motion that the bylaws amendments as shown on the overhead (see below) now be accepted.
Proposed Amendments to MCCPTA Bylaws:
Vicki Rafel, Bylaws committee chair, explained the distributed proposed amendments.
At the February 28, 2006 Delegate Assembly a motion was adopted directing the bylaws committee to draft the following amendments to the MCCPTA Bylaws:
Article VI Officers and their Election: Insert a new Section 4e which reads, “Any officer of MCCPTA shall resign within a week of filing for candidacy for public office.”
Article VIII Board of Directors: Insert a new Section 5 and renumber the following sections.
“Section 5. If a member of the board of directors (other than an elected officer –See Article VI,
Section 4e) files for candidacy for public office, he/she shall not speak publicly on behalf of
MCCPTA. If elected to public office, a member of the board of directors shall resign immediately.”
The Bylaws committee is proposing as an additional amendment a section that had been left out of our recent revision of the bylaws because it was not included in the Maryland PTA’s bylaws template. The suggestion has been made that without this language, members might be excluded in the future even though this has been our practice for many years.
Article VIII Board of Directors: Insert a new Section 11 to read, “Regular meetings of the board
of directors shall be open to all members of local PTAs.”
Thirty days notice of proposed bylaws amendments is required. These proposed amendments will be voted on at the May Delegate Assembly since the April Delegate Assembly is less than thirty days away.
Vicki noted that the Section 11 piece was in our previous bylaws and we now believe that MD PTA will probably approve this. No questions were asked of Vicki following the showing of the amendments.
Cindy explained that you may have read on the list serv that there was a complaint sent to the MD PTA about our bylaws. Cindy, as MD PTA Vice President for Councils recused herself so there was no conflict of interest. The letter and issue was reviewed by the State and Local Relations committee, of which Cindy is not a member. They returned a decision to the sender of the letter that the allegations were baseless and that our bylaws are in compliance. Cindy added that our bylaws are being overseen by the MD PTA president and president elect along with the state and local relations members, so that Cindy recused herself and is not involved with our bylaws approval. At our next meeting we should hear back about our bylaws approval. Rosanne Hurwitz asked about a waiver of the 30 days notice for the change in bylaws, but Vicki requested that we not do that since we need to follow the bylaws for the 30 day requirement and the April meeting is 28 days. Cindy added that per Robert’s Rules, we have to abide by the 30 day rule.
Jane de Winter, committee chair, said that cluster testimony before the county council is next week on Wednesday, April 5 at 7 PM. The PTA testimony starts at 7:30 PM. There will be a reception for the members of the Board of Directors and the county council members from 6 PM to 7 PM or 7:30 next to the hearing room. The County Executive has recommended fully funding the Board of Education operating budget and the amendments made after our January operating budget testimony. This includes the Poolesville High School magnet program, staffing to bring full day kindergarten for all the remaining elementary schools, four more ESOL parent community outreach coordinators and increase ESOL teacher staffing. Please remember to change your testimony to reflect these developments. The County Executive’s budget does not include the $17 million that the county maintains the state owes them if the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) is passed. The county council members have said that if the GCEI is not in place at the end of the legislative session that money will be put in the budget by the county council. It’s still important for us to show the public the case for our schools. Please come Wednesday or watch it on TV. Victor has put out the list of times to the cluster coordinators. Please send him the speaker names ASAP if you haven’t done so already. Speakers are limited to three minutes, but written comments are unlimited in length. Bring fifteen copies of testimony. Local PTAs can staple their written comments to the cluster comments.
The business meeting was adjourned at 9:15 PM.