PTSO board meeting minutes: September 12, 2017


Minutes of Board Meeting

September 12, 2017


Sally Brickell, Co-President

Valerie Pontiff, Co-President

Vani Sayeed, Vice President

April Stein, Co-Treasurer

Cathy Lee, Co-Treasurer

Jane Stackpole, Grant & Projects Co-Chair

Joel Bloom, Grants & Projects Co-Chair, Secretary Pro Tempore

Divya Gadodia and Lexi Turner, Recording Secretaries

Henry Turner, Principal

  1. Treasurer’s Report and Budget Update

The PTSO ended the year as planned with a small net operating balance ($4,425).

Revenue was primarily from the Membership Drive (Membership/Directory and Ed Ex). Northside Dining and Celebration are essentially breakeven PTSO sponsored events.

There are no significant changes to the budget for this school year (2017-18), and the PTSO is on target thus far with fundraising having collected $42,000 out of a budgeted $51,500 for the Membership Drive.

With cash on hand, planned contributions can be made to the Principal's Student Assistance fund, Library, Nurse, and Small Schools programs.

An additional expense was proposed for the PTSO to cover the cost of food for two scheduled College Nights (10/3 and 4). The expense is estimated to be $800-900. There was unanimous agreement to commit this funding.

  1. Family Need Policy

The board revisited the question of PTSO policy regarding particular family need/emergencies and agreed that officers will try to refer families to community resources if/when circumstances arise, but that the PTSO will continue its long-standing practice of not publicizing individual requests/appeals in the newsletter to the school community.

  1. Assignment Books

There was significant difficulty with the assignment book vendor this fall resulting in the books arriving late, available to students the second week, rather than first week of school. The vendor has agreed to refund the shipping fee ($383) for the mistake. This year ends the PTSO’s three-year contract with this vendor. The PTSO will be looking for a new vendor and is exploring the possibility of contracting with Newton North’s Graphics department. Assignment books are provided free of charge to all freshman and other grades pay $5.

  1. Programming/Fall Calendar

The PTSO has several scheduled events this fall.

9/27 - Back to School Night during which dues are solicited and directories distributed. Parents whose children have graduated are needed to staff the tables during the period 7-9 p.m., when parents of current students are attending classes;

10/11 – Raising a Resilient Teen. This event is open to the broader parent community, such as parents of middle schoolers;

10/27 – Northside Dining Adventure annual social and community-building event

As a reminder, Just Think Expo is scheduled for 1/18, and given the success of the Spotlight on Library Learning last spring, the PTSO may try to schedule another library coffee this fall.

  1. Fundraising/Ed Ex

There was discussion about ways that the PTSO can simplify fundraising appeals and clarify what the Membership Drive money funds. Even though there are only three significant fundraising appeals (Membership/directory, Ed Ex, and Celebration) it can feel like more and/or confusing to parents.

It was agreed, as a start, that a simple visual or two would be useful, which will be piloted at the 9th grade parents’ night. ]

Other ideas will continue to be discussed with an eye to honoring the culture of Newton North school and PTSO.

There was discussion of possibly soliciting sponsors for the new directory phone app (like sponsors who appear in the physical directory). No decision was made.

An ongoing challenge is the inability to exclude families who have already paid their membership/directory dues from the email reminders sent through the summer and fall.

  1. Educational Excellence

Principal Turner asked for the PTSO’s approval to reprogram some of the Ed Ex funding raised several years ago. Rather than create an outdoor classroom as originally planned, there is a need to create seating in common areas in the school for students to use (socialize, study) during free blocks. With the increase in student population this has become a significant problem. The PTSO unanimously agreed to this change in use.

This year Ed Ex fundraising is for CCES and a brochure will be created this fall.

  1. Traffic

There was a discussion about whether the PTSO should get more involved in advocating traffic safety and mitigating measures. Principal Turner is in fairly in regular discussions with the police and abutters about some of the issues. One challenge is that the school opening time is during a period of shift changes for the police, which creates manpower constraints.

It was agreed that a place to start would be researching the traffic analysis and plan that was done in anticipation of the new building being built to assess how the current dynamics and flow compare to what was anticipated. A second step might be to invite the police to talk with the PTSO.

  1. Nominations/elections on 10/11

PTSO officer elections will take place via paper ballot on 10/11.