BEN W. MURCH HOME & SCHOOL ASSOCIATION/PTA, INC.
Meeting Minutes May 10, 2017
HSA President Sue Guzman called the meeting to order at 7:14 PM on May 10, 2017 in the media center of Murch Elementary School at Murch UDC.
Executive Board Members present: Sue Guzman (President), Meredith Grindrod (Teacher Representative), Chris Cebrzynski (Principal), Brendan Holland (Secretary), Sharon Bennett (Treasurer), Joanna Brown (VP), Maurice Werner (Budget and Planning), Nisa Gosselink-Ulep (asst-Treasurer), Maggie Gumbinner (past president), Frances Wu (Ways and Means), Ron Eckstein (Vice President), Amy Mack (Communications), Maura Healy (asst-Treasurer), and Stephanie Owens.
Other Members in Attendance:
Approval of prior minutes – Brendan Holland
Brendan presented the minutes for the April meeting, which had been posted previously on BaseCamp for review, and sought the board’s approval of the minutes.
Brendan made a motion that the Board ratify the previously posted minutes for the April 12th meeting as the official record of that meeting. Sharon seconded the motion, there was no objection, and the motion passed by unanimous voice vote.
Principal’s Report – Mr. Cebrzynski
- Mr. C. reported on various current events, including a recent trip to the Supreme Court with a fifth grade student who won a civics essay contest. The trip included meeting Supreme Court Justice Sotomayer, and essays/speeches by the students addressing the personal impact of the Constitution and amendments. Event also highlighted and honored the power of individuals and civic participation.
PARCC testing going well; limited tech disruptions. The new DCPS Chancellor is coming to visit on May 24th in the morning; will visit the school and meet with Mr. C. Chancellor Wilson’s top priority is social and emotional learning, which is also a focus at Murch including through responsive classroom.
Final staffing pieces for next year. Three special education openings for next year, two replacements, and one new position. Personnel committee has received and is reviewing resumes. Hope to fill positions quickly. Slightly reduced staff overall due to next year’s budget. Faculty will be reduced by one ELA teacher, one math teacher, and social worker/psychologist to half time (but retaining full time counselor), and a special ed coordinator position. In the future, Mr. C. is projecting additional teachers in K, 1, and 2 and reading specialists, anticipating that the enrollment and budget will increase as we return to the new school. DCPS will not adjust budget for this year if the actual student enrollment is significantly higher.
Mr. C. also noted that the faculty will be applying a model called Academic Leadership Team (ALT); new model and initiatives to lead groups of colleagues and form committees.
President’s Report – Sue Guzman
- Odyssey of the Mind student Travel Stipend. Sue provided an update on the Odyssey of the Mind trip to the national competition in Michigan in May. Sue sent an email to the families involved offering HSA’s support and addressing needs that arise. Also have reimbursed Ms. Bentley for her registration and travel expenses so that she can chaperone the trip and participate in the competition with Murch students.
Treasurer’s Report – Sharon Bennett.
- Monthly Financial Report. Sharon provided the Treasurer’s report and copies of financials for the month, and highlighted a couple of items.
- Auction revenue is almost on target with what was budgeted, which is great. Quite impressive that the auction generated revenue consistent with the targeted budget.
- SOS is now over $100k, but still short of the $130k target. Still hoping to do a final push for the campaign. Sue mentioned she’s talking with Elizabeth Mettler about options.
- Revenues will probably go up a bit, particularly with work to generate revenue from the Musical. But some end of year expenses as well that will hit in the next couple of months.
- Nothing to highlight from the balance sheet.
Budget and Planning Committee Update – Maurice Werner
- Maurice reported on the work of the Budget and Planning Committee, and presented the proposed budget and memo. Thanked the committee members for all their work and contributions. Handouts: two spreadsheets, and a budget memo. See materials.
Maurice recapped the budget process: First step is to present the budget tonight for the Board’s consideration, and if this Board approves and recommends it, it will be presented to the full membership for consideration at the full June meeting.
First spreadsheet shows the budget line items being proposed for next year.
Second spreadsheet is comparison to prior years (but note that some earlier years were on a different fiscal year cycle). Also shows reserves.
And third is a Memo summarizing the proposed budget and any notable changes/highlights.
The budget proposes a conservative income of approximately $300K. Budgeting for same amount of expenses as this year; effectively keeping expenses flat at $313k. So on paper this means the budget would result in a projected shortfall of approximately $13k. The goal would be to generate additional income or else pull from reserves to make up the short fall.
Discussion ensued about the proposed budget, as well as the budgets and revenue for prior years. In sum, the budget being proposed would be very conservative on revenue projections while maintaining the current expenses (i.e., staying flat).
A few components to note on the expenses side. First, yellow boxes with stars were already funded for next year by Mr. C. using Murch’s DCPS budget. So that has allowed HSA some additional flexibility with the budget.
Second, two new expense items: First is a general scholarship fund, not to be administered by the board, but rather the school. Assistance available generally that would not require an appeal to the board for each event ($5k). Second, the budget proposes to contribute 1% of the HSA revenue to organization that provides funding to low income schools. Wilson and Deal do this currently. Budget committee and board members are researching potential options, including a fund run by a non-profit organized by Washington lawyers, which has a grant program for which low income school PTAs can apply to obtain funds for activities at their own schools. That is one possible outlet. Budget memo does not select a particular way to support, but just the concept for future budget and a defined line item, not ad hoc. Discussion ensued.
A few things to note/highlight in the budget that are different from previous years:
- Took out line item for funding for afterschool programs; would be in part converted to scholarships for next year.
- Paddles up reserve took out as a separate expense. It had been listed previously as an expense, but there were never actual expenses related to that line item. And the revenue collected is included as part of auction revenue.
- Two changes to the Resource expense lines: 1.) added the Enrichment line back in and 2.) doubled the amount of the pre-K line and changing it to line item to Reggio.
- Increased community events line by $1k.
- Increased hospitality budget by $1k.
- Added expense lines for the Lipsync and Talent shows.
- Increased funding for magazines subscriptions. Discussion ensued about having faculty member coordinate across the faculty to ensure that all expenses are captured and communicated to the Board and purchaser the same time and not trickled in gradually, which can lead to overages.
Discussion ensued about the proposed budget and these various changes.
Maurice made a motion that the Board approve the budget as proposed and outlined in the materials, and that the Board present the budget to the full membership at the June meeting. Ron seconded the motion. There was no objection, and the motion passed unanimously.
- Employee Salary Overpayment Issue. Stephanie Owens. In preparing cost of living increases for the staff, Stephanie noted a slight over payment of one of the employees for the year thus far. So there’s been a slight overage in payment this year, and need to adjust going forward. Sue suggested that the cost of living increase would be based on the correct income level, but that we not try to correct or recapture the small amount of overage in the past. Brief discussion ensued.
- Pre-K/K Outdoor Mulch Space Revamp Proposal—Sue Guzman. Teachers submitted proposal to the Board regarding Reggio revamp of the mulch out front. So far they’ve added the music wall, and the pre-K and K team have additional ideas for ways to make the play space more interesting and interactive. Collectively, the teachers have estimated a budget of approximately $1,700 dollars to implement things now and over the summer. They will handle installation, and it will be designed to be weather proof. Built on ideas from other schools and materials, and also drawing ideas from the students. The pre-K and K space is used in the afternoon for their recess, but also for the rest of the school as well. Originally submitted as experiential learning under paddles up spending. Also proposing an outdoor performance stage.
Discussion ensued. Mr. C. noted that there will be some changes next year to the recess schedule and play spaces for different ages and classes, and management of movement. But that doesn’t preclude the ideas that the teachers are proposing for the pre-K and K students.
Sue made a motion that the Board approve the expenditure of up to $1,800 for the Reggio revamp of the playspace in front of the school. Maura seconded the motion. There was no objection and the motion passed unanimously.
- Proposal for potential partial funding of end-of-year teacher team building activity—Sue Guzman. Sue discussed potentially funding a team building activity at the end of the year. The faculty plans to go on a cruise on the Potomac for lunch on the last day of school. They have money set aside for the actual cruise, but Sue has proposed funding their transportation to the event. Expense for a charter bus is approximately $500, which Sue intends to pay for out of the president’s fund.
- SIT Update—Christine LoCascio. May 5th was the most recent update. Construction is proceeding; concrete is being poured for the cafeteria and parking garage; have received permit for cafeteria section. Public space committee provided an update on the Davenport and 36th Street issue; there still are some concerns, but they seem to have reached a solution that DCPS is happy with and should not require a major change. Working on renderings now. There will be another SIT meeting before the end of the year.
Brief question/discussion about the need for a tower crane. A tower crane has not yet been installed, and they are going to try to do as much as the can without one. But will install one if the need arises.
Related issue: Plastic sheeting in the bubble, worked this past weekend to remediate some of the odor issues this weekend. Confirmed it’s not toxic, just new material smell. The sheeting helped to shield insulation and mechanics.
Mr. C. also noted that we have use of the full field for field fest at the end of the school year.
- Teacher and Staff Appreciation week re-cap—Joanna Brown. Sue thanked Joanna for doing this year, it was great and very well received by the staff. Staff was very appreciative; many thanked Sue and Joanna by email and also presented the HSA with a thank you card.
- Update on Lion King fundraising—Maggie Gumbinner. Maggie reported on the fundraising efforts and will post the robust fundraising plan on basecamp. Selling t-shirts, posters, copy of the performance, flowers, pizza sales, ads in the program, and tickets. Already raised $2,300 from student participation fees. Maggie thinks we’ll raise approximately $6,000 in total. But there are upfront costs for most of these activities, and require an outlay of money for pizza, purchase of flowers, t-shirts, etc.
Sue adjourned the meeting at 9:35 PM.