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

Date: November 13, 2015

Location: The PIT

Elka Francisco acted as chairperson and Sue Kirkup acted as the secretary of the meeting.

The meeting was called to order at at 8:32 am

Present in person :

Elka Francisco Shellee Almquist Sue Kirkup Mary Edlund Alex Foulis
Jennifer Schank Justin Adams Janet Sherman Jean Steppe Lara Thomas
Mark Klein Jody Klein Christine Kelley Deb Lentz Jennifer Alexander
Al Waters Tammy Hall Abby Adams Sherry MacKay Illia Mantle
Catie Wells Elizabeth Meurer Todd Austin Karen Hockley Brian Wells
Sara Brintnall Jamie Griffith Anne Thomas


The October 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.

Action issues:

  • Discussion of the 21st anniversary budget proposal:
    • Tammy Hall, faculty liaison, shared a comment from Joe Griffith, Middle School teacher.  He supports the lowest budget and getting sponsorships for the anniversary celebration.  He would like the PTO to support the long term goals of the school.
    • Al Waters:  Believes there is value in celebrating Honey Creek.  The school has survived an environment of scarcity  since 2010 through community support.  We cannot depend on State funding, we need to grow our community support through alumni contact, which the celebration would target.  People give to organizations which they have affinity with.  We need to move from survival to state of growth by expanding our donor pool.l
    • Christine Kelley, school board member:  Supports the celebration as launching HC into the future, like a graduation.
    • Todd Austin:  Questions whether construction of a database is an appropriate activity for the 21st anniversary committee.  Are some of the components better addressed by other mechanisms?
    • Jean Steppe, anniversary committee member:  Input from HC Foundation Board  and School Board was that a database for fundraising is needed, that fundraising has been hampered by lack of contact information.  Budget levels  of spending were  based on what is important based on constituents’ input.
    • Justin Adams:  Expressed  uncertainty about ongoing dialogue with alumni and feels it’s unclear  that alumni will return for the celebration.
    • Shellee Almquist:  Word of mouth among staff, families and alumni will be crucial to getting alumni to the celebration.


  • Motion that the PTO  donate up to $10,000 toward the 21st Anniversary Celebration was made by Elka and seconded by Mary.  Voting took place by written ballot.  At 10 am the votes were counted by Janet Sherman and Christine Kelley.  The vote was yes 12 and no 16.  Therefore the motion did not pass.

Directors report: Al Waters

  • A bill to allow concealed weapons to be carried into schools is being discussed in the legislature.  Currently concealed permit holders can open carry weapons into schools.
  • Student impact on Teacher and Administrator evaluations has been reduced but will still be 50% based on student performance on the MSTEP test.
  • MSTEP  performance (from last year spring) went down to below 50% proficiency.
  • A bill that would hold back any student who is not proficient in reading at the 3rd grade level on state test is being considered in the legislature.
  • The legislature is considering a bill that would create school empowerment zones which would bring schools in distress under state control.  If an empowerment zone is created, then all schools within  that zone would be affected, even if they are not distressed. (for example, Honey Creek would be put in an empowerment zone if Ann Arbor Public Schools were in distress).  A Fund Balance of 5% would be considered in distress.  The Michigan Association of Public School Academies will be meeting with Governor Snyder Dec. 3 to discuss their concerns.
  • Honey Creek  got an increase of $32,000 in state funding over last year.

Teacher liaison: Tammy Hall

  • Joe Griffith asked about Walk and Runathon funds.  Per Mary, the final amount isn’t known yet, but it may not be as much as last year.  The Middle School has raised close to their goal of $2500.
  • Elka asked for teacher feedback on how things are going in the Media Center.  Stephanie, Cindy, Teresa, Salli and Johnny responded that things are going ok.  Teresa wants our media specialist back.  Johnny voiced a concern about whether books will be lost.  Tammy is fine with how things are going as long as someone is shelving the books.  Margaret Wessel Walker is leaving in December.

School board report: Christine Kelley

  • Financial audit was completed last week by Yeo and Yeo, CPAs.
  • Now that the audit is done, the Board will be talking about the media specialist opening.
  • The financial picture is looking better.  The Foundation has given the school a $50,000 gift this fall.
  • The Board is continuing with succession planning  with a 5-7 year retirement window for Al and Shelli.
  • There is a need for teacher substitutes as the service currently being used doesn’t work well.
  • The Board and WISD still negotiating on the lease.
  • Questions regarding building, cleaning and parking issues should be brought to the Board’s attention. There is also a place on the WISD website to send concerns.
  • Staff should fill out work orders for maintenance requests.
  • Nov 18 is the next School Board meeting 530PM in the PIT..

Foundation Report: Sara Brintnall

  • There are 5 new members on the Foundation Board.
  • The Foundation gave the School a $50, 000 gift this fall.  Part of this came from the tech campaign from last spring.  This gift helped alleviate a budget deficit, along with the additional state funding.
  • The next meeting of the Foundation is 12/7 6pm at Hathaway’s Hideaway.

PTO Treasurer report: Mary Edlund

No verbal report due to time

Committee reports

  • Script update:  (Elka Francisco)  Inventory of cards purchased before school started is currently $16000.  Online only ordering has started, but it will take time for this shift.  The only cards that will be purchased for inventory will be local, such as Nicola’s.  A suggestion was made that Middle School students could do a slide cast to help with education of parents in how to order scrip online.
  • Wellness:  (Deb Lentz)   Net for harvest dinner was $1500.  120 adults/80 kids.  Farm to School for Nov was squash.  Dec will be apples/pears.  New lunch staff wants to bring in local food. The first Parenting Class was held last Thursday at Sunward Coop.  18 adults, mostly couples attended.  Dinner provided and feedback was positive.  Janet Sherman attended and she said the information provided was very good.  Next Wellness meeting 11/17 at 815am.
  • STEM: (Ilia Mantle)  Plan to revitalize STEM fair and will change it to the spring.  They are working with Shelli to get date, April 15 or 22.  Want to start a STEM club for after school to support  WESO team.  WESO planning has started  and after winter break there will be a parent meeting.  At the end of Jan., they will to go to classrooms to speak to students.  There is also planning for a Middle School Science Olympiad team, a coach is needed.
  • Room parents:  (Lara Thomas) Collection for teacher gifts will take place on 12/4 and 12/11 during the bagel sale.
  • Arts:  No report.
  • Literacy: March is Reading Month planning is underway.

Upcoming events:

11/18 – 11/20 Learning Express Fundraiser

12/3   Parenting Class Session 2

Completed events

Teacher Pot-Lucks

Harvest Dinner

Fall Festival

Parenting Class  Session 1

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

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Kirkup

Next PTO meeting will be December 11, 2015 at 8:30 am in the PIT.


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