Minutes of the Monthly Meeting of the Honey Creek Community School PTO

Date: September 11, 2015

Location: The PIT

Elka Francisco acted as chairperson and Ann Kovacs acted as the secretary of the meeting.

The meeting was called to order at at 8:31 am

Present in person :

Elka Fransisco

Ann Kovacs

Sue Kirkup

Mary Edlund

Tim Carpenter

Tahnee Prokopow

Karen Larsen

Janet Nichols

Karen Andrews

Lara Thomas

Marolyn Valenzuela

Archer Neal

Christine Kelley

Deb Lentz

Jennifer Alexander

Al Waters

Tammy Hall

Abby Adams

Lindsey McKennett

Illia Mantle

Catie Wells

Sherri Borer


This being the first meeting of the school year introductions of all in attendance was made.

The June 2015 minutes were distributed at the meeting and are on the PTO website. A motion was made by Elka to approve the minutes and seconded by Mary. Motion approved.

Directors report: Al Waters

  • There were some last minute changes in enrollment at the end of the summer. We are full with 250 students. The online system of paperwork is improving
  • Vaccination requirements: we are at 100 % compliance for waivers and immunizations to start the school year.
  • The school had heavy cleaning over the summer (walls, ceilings, lighting units, floors) Ongoing updates in bathrooms throughout the school continue. The air quality measurements last year at the end of the school year were in the fair-good range on average. After the cleaning, Al returned to classrooms before school started and areas tested were in the excellent range. Once the school year gets going with students in classes Al will retest the same areas. The tests and air quality is different when kids and activity is going on in the classrooms.
  • Negotiations with WISD on the schools lease continue. Quote by WISD was 90,000/yr higher per year than we were paying.  Currently, the school board is negotiating terms of a lease. Last info from WISD was a $ 9,000 increase this year, and then $30,000 increases the following 2 years for the remainder of lease.  Several members of the board are meeting with the WISD later today to discuss the new lease and further negotiate terms.
  • Last Spring year M-Step testing was completed for 3-8 grades. Honey Creek shared concerns with the Michigan Education board over the length of last year’s test in several areas and grades. At this time we still don’t have results (projection for results are late fall or early winter). This year we will give the electronic version of the M-Step test in the spring for grades 3-8, which should be shorter. In the past we used MEEP (now discontinued) and Terra Nova. We used both tests because the MEEP was changing frequently and didn’t give us the consistency of results to reflect learning. The Terra Nova was more consistent and flexible for administrating. Terra Nova will be given in grades 3-8 in October.
  • Funding: Honey Creek is its own school district. Our small classes and smaller dollar per pupil state funding leads to less money for teacher salaries. We do not get any money from tax millages (property taxes). Last year the legislature tried to initiate a reduction of the funding gap between school districts and adjusted the lowest funded schools, we are up to $7200 per pupil but still lower than we were several years ago. (Ann Arbor Schools gets about $9000 per pupil).
  • Al suggested parents should talk to their state representatives about school funding equality. Al hopes to work with communications  group with in the Honey Creek Foundation to look at creating a school funding chart of local districts to help the Honey Creek  community understand better the differences between Honey Creek and other nearby districts.

School board report: Christine Kelley

  • Meeting in the PIT usually the 3rd Wednesday at  5:30pm, all dates are on the school calendar.  You can send emails for the board to address at their meeting if you are unable to attend.  Linda Shirato, Sarah Hoffman (Bank of Ann Arbor), Andrew Banas, Megan Minook are newer members this year.  Any community member (parent, grandparent, etc) can be involved in meeting or board committees.
  • The school board has several different committees that you can be a part of: Outreach (communication , governance ( policies and procedures),  and finance committee. The meeting minutes are posted on the school website.
  • Questions from the PTO were asked about parent help during library time at the Media Center. This is an ongoing process and continuing to evolve. The teachers will give feedback as the month goes on and they bring the classes to the media center.
  • School is operating with a $50,000 deficit as of right now (we have reserves to cover in the fund balance, but the preference is to not have to dip into the fund). Goals to put together a 5 year plan: High on the list is to address: possibility of teacher raises; feasibility of hiring of a principal to add support to the teachers; have him/her learn the school to free up some of Al’s time for administrative duties; making sure the budget projection over the next few years is sustainable; and working on a lease with the WISD.
  • Important note ~$10,000 was saved by the school with the community providing requested school supplies this year.

Foundation: Christine Kelley and Karen Andrews

  • Foundation gave the school $60,000 in 2014-5.
  • Goal is a need to continue to find external sources of funding. Community members are welcome to share their expertise or networks for grant-writing or external funding sources that can be utilized. Sean Reed is Foundation President and teacher Liz Scott is Vice-president.

Teacher Liaison: Tammy Hall

  • Tammy reports the teachers were very excited and thankful for the back to school supplies provided by the community this year.
  • Elka asked for Tammy to ask teachers to discuss plans for WNRAT funds for this year to benefit the outdoor classroom supplies, green house supplies, and the possibility of a Gaga Pit.  Information to be shared via email and at the next PTO meeting.
  • Honey Creek’s 21st anniversary celebration meeting on Sept 22nd at 3:30pm in Tammy’s classroom.   

New business:  Jennifer Alexander

  • The PTO spends money on the paper products for potlucks and Teacher appreciation luncheons. Request to obtain reusable materials (plates, bowls, cups and silverware) for potlucks and teacher appreciation meals instead of paper. Discussion was had on cleaning and storage.  Goals make these supplies more sustainable. Start with donations before purchase. PTO agreed to help if items need to be purchased.

PTO Treasurer report: Mary Edlund

  • 2015-2016 Budget was presented.  Several minor corrections/adjustments were made.  Sue Kirkup motioned to start the 30 day period for budget review for the Honey Creek community with the corrections, Elka seconded motion, motion carried.  Catie Wells is to put the 2015-2016 budget on PTO Website for 30 day review period between now and the next PTO meeting.
  • Voting on 2015-2016 PTO budget will occur at the October PTO meeting after the 30 day review and comment period. A copy of the PTO Budget has been placed on the PTO website,
  • Tahnee Prokopow volunteered to help Mary Edlund with treasurer position this school year. Thank you Tahnee.

Committee reports

  • STEM: A STEM Chair is needed. We discussed needs with the PTO. Ilia Mantle and Tim Carpenter would like to be involved with Stem committee in some capacity. Karen Andrews is the outgoing chairperson.
  • Wellness:  (Deb Lentz) reports the wellness committee is continuing to promote bringing healthy food into the school, having an edible garden, preparing for the Harvest Dinner, and mental wellness activities are in the planning stages. Sept 24th is the first farm to school day, menu is pending.  Christine Billick will help get the samples set up in the cafeteria on farm to school day. Deb has information on a spreadsheet for past farm to school vendors and activities for the future.
  • Arts:  No report.
  • Literacy: No report.
  • Room parents:  (Lara Thomas) A room parent is needed for Jessica, technology teacher and for Margaret in the media center. Teachers were thankful for the supplies. Discussion of additional need for another school supplies later in the year. Welcome back class level picnics will be coordinated by room parents. Lara is working with Jessica on classroom email lists. Make sure you add yourself to your child’s class list to get on the email group (Jessica sent out email earlier this week.


  • Any info to put on PTO website give to Catie Wells
  • Co-Chair needed for the PTO, this person is the PTO chair next year. Duties are listed on the PTO website ( look under bylaws articles IV and V)
  • STEM chair needed as discussed above

Upcoming events:

9/17/15- 2/3 Welcome Back Potluck

9/24/15- 5-7:30pm Curriculum Night

9/25/15- 5-8 pm Middle school potluck/ dance

10/3/15- 9am-4 pm Walk-and-run- a-thon

Completed event: Welcome Picnic

There being no further business to come before the PTO, a motion was made to adjourn by Elka Francisco and seconded by Mary Edlund. The motion was approved and the meeting was adjourned at 10:16 am.

Next PTO meeting will be October 9th at 8:30 am room TBD.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann Kovacs –PTO Secretary


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