HSA Co-President Ashley Webb called the meeting to order at 7:10 pm on October 1, 2019 in Room B112 of Murch Elementary School.
- Executive Board Members present: Ashley Webb (Co-President), Julie Lobb (Co-President), Heather Williams (Vice President), Amy Turner (Vice President), Meghan Duffy (Assistant Treasurer), Jason Veny (Secretary), Maurice Werner (Treasurer), Paula Cuevas (Assistant Treasurer), Chris Cebrzynski (Principal), Heather Barlow (Communications), Justin Connor (Fundraising/Community Engagement), Wendy Cresswell (Teacher Representative), Elisa O’Keefe (Past President).
Other Members in Attendance:, Tim Connor (parent), Nicole Anzia (parent), Katie Brin (parent), Lauren Sion (SOS), Abby Epstein (SOS), Bob Harscheid (parent).
- Approval of prior minutes – Jason Veny
Jason noted that the minutes for the September 10, 2019 meeting were posted to BaseCamp for review on September 26 and sought the Board’s approval of the minutes.
Jason Veny made a motion that the Board ratify the previously posted minutes for the September 10 meeting as the official record of those meetings. Elisa seconded the motion, there was no objection, and the motion passed by unanimous vote.
- President’s Report – Ashley Webb
a. SOS Update. Lauren Sion and Abby Epstein reported that the SOS campaign kicked off with stickers, emails, and flyers. So far SOS has raised $25,000 which is far ahead from last year. SOS had a table at movie night and there will be a table at Fall Fair and a drawing for tickets. There will be magnets sent home and more drawings throughout the year. Abby wanted to propose having a class competition and they are open to suggestions. The giveaway this year is a Murch car magnet.
b. Low Income Grant. Elisa O’Keefe informed the Board that last year a law firm had a program to disperse funds to low income schools focused on empowering schools to have more PTAs and other education related initiatives. Last year HSA donated 1% of its budget to the program. The program has since transformed to try to address the bigger needs of the community beyond education. A short discussion took place over whether or not the HSA should continue with the program or look for a similar type program.
It was raised that there has been a lot of news in the last few years about inequality, and the optics of withdrawing from the program would not be good.
Elisa raised two other suggestions instead of the law firm’s program: Kindred Communities and DC Appleseed – groups striving for the same thing—education related initiatives. Someone also suggested adopting a sister school similar to Lafayette which would include having activities such as coat drives and a day of service.
Elisa is taking suggestions and will come up with some ideas in November.
c. Murch Musical. The 5th Grade Parents presented a proposal to the HSA
Katie Brin, representing parents who have kids Pre-K through 5th grade walked through the 5th Grade proposal. They spoke to several parents representing the community and whether or not the musical was important to continue. Katie reported that the musical is important because it can be a transforming experience. Several kids want to participate after seeing the musical. It is also great for the community and it contributes to the overall experience at Murch. The school cannot provide staffing this year as Dr. Branch has provided in the past.
The group spoke to several different theater companies and was able to get bids. The vendors focus on theaters that work on elementary schools and are open to having larger casts. The focus is on inclusivity and having a cast between 30-50. Bid ranges between 12,000 and 16,000. The HSA would not be required to recruit or coordinate any parent volunteers. They are only looking for communication support. The request for funding — $15,000 would be recouped by the end of the school year. Most of the companies get paid in installments.
Katie stated the group contacted about 13 different vendors. The 5 top vendors are: the Educational Theater Company, Levine, Roundhouse, the Traveling Players, and Encore. Levine would offer a tuition discount for Murch students.
It was suggested that there should be an HSA liaison and the parent group was ok with that.
Mr. C wanted to take this year as a planning year to figure out how, with the help of all stakeholders, to create a sustainable model. Ideally, Dr. Branch would be involved. He goes above and beyond his responsibilities with the production.
The HSA deliberated and voted on whether to fund $15,000 to the group for the musical. A motion was made by Amy Turner and seconded by Julie Lobb. The motion was approved with 10 people in favor and 2 people opposed. The HSA will provide the funds; provide the group with its priorities; and assign a liaison from the Board.
- Treasurer’s Report – Maurice Werner
a. Review of Financials. Maurice explained that we are running into a credit card spending issue where we have a monthly cap of $20,000, even if we pay the full balance every month, and a yearly limit of $240,000. There are requests for electronic learning licenses, teacher grants, and other items that require a card. The only way to get around the cap is to apply to the bank to get the credit limit raised. We are currently maxed out until October 3 (when $20,000 cap resets). Maurice suggested trying to prioritize what needs to be bought with a credit card and noted that it was ok to pay invoices with a check. Maurice noted that we can always pay for other items with a check but we would not get the benefits of Amazon Smile.
b. Paula Cuevas stated that she needs 3 shifts to count cash at the Fall Fair. Several people from the Board volunteered. There will be three, 2-person shifts counting cash.
- Fundraising/Community Engagement Update – Justin Connor
Justin Connor reported that 111 tickets to the game were sold and that netted a profit of $333 to the HSA. He also noted that there is an upcoming event at Silver restaurant on October 25th. There was a Safeway donation of $2955 in August but we have not yet received the funds. Childs Play reached out for a fundraiser for holiday gifts and they rebate to HSA for that night. Most of the December nights are already taken but November 13 and November 25 are open. A decision was made to go with November 25 and switch the Potomac Pizza from November 25. Justin also encouraged everyone to sign up for Amazon Smile (Smile.amazon.com) ½ of 1% of purchases goes to HSA.
- New Business
a. Fall Movie at Murch (Amy Turner). Amy reported that Murch Movie night was a huge success and we almost broke even on spending losing only about $500.
b. Teacher Grants (Amy Turner). Amy reported that the HSA received requests for items totaling a little over $18,000, which is included a large request for a math program. All of the requests have been approved and purchases will happen soon. The budget of $15,000 will be supplemented by Mr. C’s discretionary budget, and we may need to make an additional request of the board for additional funds to cover shipping costs.
c. Flyers – Fall Fair flyers can be translated in Spanish and other languages. There is a bilingual office at DCPS that does it. The HSA will utilize this service in the future.
Next HSA Meeting, Wednesday, November 6, 2019. Ashley adjourned the meeting at 8:45PM.