January PTO minutes

Please note: The following minutes will be reviewed and approved at the next meeting on February 10,2017.

January Minutes of the Monthly meeting of the Honey Creek Community School PTO

Date January 13, 2017

Location: Pit

Alison acted as chairperson, and Ann acted as secretary of the meeting

The meeting was called to order at 8:35 am

The secretary announced that the meeting was held pursuant to notice properly given and there was a quorum as represented by the following attendees:

Present in person:

Ann Kovacs Christine Kelley    
Al Waters Jeannie Crayne    
Sharon Maccini      
Alison Polidano Online: Janet Nichols    


The minutes were distributed at the meeting, in the meeting announcement and on the PTO website. A motion was made by Alison and seconded by Ann. Motion passed.

Director’s reports- Al Waters

  • Attended a seminar put on the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. State general fund has decreased by 61.5 % lower than 2000 due to economy and state tax cuts. School Aid fund 7 % lower than where it was in 2000. Funding of schools is lower than 2000. State is increasing money, $1.4 billion since 2011 but it has gone to state mandated retirement fund not to school costs. Over all funding going in classes has gone down since 2011 even though there has been a slight increase in fund allowance mostly due to required money to be put in retirement fund. The seminar also looked at Massachusetts ( highest funded schools with highest performance, all schools get the same and those who are in high need areas get more $) vs. Michigan ( one of the lowest funded states and inequitable $ distribution)
  • External review Advanced ED accreditation results:
  1. Findings show Honey Creek is using best practice for individualized learning, project based learning; Parental involvement enriches education and builds a strong sense of community; strong collaboration with staff, students, instructional consultants to positively impact learning.
  2. Improvements recommended: review school improvement process ; regular meeting/information to community to update schools purpose/plans to monitor student achievement, design a formal professional development process for governing body and individuals qualifications, evaluate the use of technology for student learning, facility collaboration to resolve concerns and update plan to solve concerns.
  • Discussion occured about state funding and if there are going to be changes that effect any increase funding for our school.

Budget: Budget review.  Janet was present online. Alison presented YTD budget. Things are going well. Scrip sales are doing well, trying to fill teacher requests from holiday gifts. California Pizza Kitchen made $250; check will be picked up soon.

Teacher Liaison Report– Jeannie Crayne

  • No consensus for the Walk and Run a thon (WNRAT) funds for a particular school need. Each grade level has needs and wants: air purifiers in all rooms, iPad , chrome books , professional development for teachers, outside speakers, library books.
  • Discussion occurred in the meeting Re: Would a new iPad/chrome book cart be useful for WNRAT funds? Al mentioned that more iPad and chrome books would require additional access points for internet for a fee. Al will ask Jessica to assess needs/obtain costs.
  • Teachers also feel the back to school picnic should move closer to school (ie Veterans Park) for a variety of reasons discussed at previous PTO meetings. Ann will email Julie De Jong who has organized the picnic the past few years to make sure a new site can be secured before next year.

School Board Report– Al reported that the school board  voted to decrease schools fund balance from 15 % to 9 % This is to support the goal of giving the teachers a raise and to compensate teachers for extra work days this year. Al and Shellee are working on revised budget for the next school board meeting. Next meeting Jan 25th, 5:30-8:30 in Pit.

HC Foundation Report– Sharon reported that the HC foundation was able to raise $11,000 with the end of year campaign. Thank you to the community! Per email from Sara Brintnall, all money raised through the Foundation goes to Honey Creek to assist with operational costs. There is also an increase in the number of monthly donors to the Foundation which provides the school with both predictable and sustainable funding.  Tax letters for 2016 will be mailed out soon. The next Foundation meeting on February 6th  at 6pm at the meeting room of Sunward Co-housing.

PTO Committee Reports:

  • Wellness: Emails from Julie DeJong and Jane Pacheco. Wellness continued to discuss mental health initiatives at their December meeting. A new parent, Grace Kotre, leads children’s classes in mindfulness and will be starting a pilot program at the end of January (Jan. 30) in the K/1 classes. She is planning to spend 15 minutes in each class, per week. She may be able to expand it next year to other classrooms depending on feedback from the K/1 teachers and interest from other teachers and her availability. Try It Tuesday was potatoes for December. Christine and Eric are working on January Try it day. Wellness also discussed avenues for bringing in other speakers on mental health issues with Al but there are no formal plans as of yet. Next Wellness meeting is 2/17 at 8:15 am.
  • STEM: No official email received. Alison will follow up with Sherry to see how plans for the STEM fair are progressing.
  • Arts : A list of needs/supplies for Christine Bruxvoort are being purchased , discussing purchasing Art books for the media center as a resource for students, and collaborating with STEM committee for “lunch with an expert” series.
  • Literacy: Nicolas book fair raised $539 for the media center. Al discussed having 2 media specialists review collections at the end of the year and inventory. Then maybe they can work to invest the Nicola’s funds. March read-in with High point students is on March 3rd.
  • Room Parents – holiday gift collection went well. Teachers are using spreadsheet for supplies. Parents should check the spreadsheet to see if your teacher has updated needs.
  • Sharon Maccini: Letter writing in the spring to contact legislators in hopes of improving school funding. Considering starting with an information session to families around March/ April.
  • Discussion about communication and filling PTO positions for next year. Difficult to obtain volunteers with numerous other committees (board, foundation, other PTO sub-committees.)

Upcoming Events:

  • Jan 20th Curriculum Celebration
  • Jan 25th Half day
  • Feb 24th STEM fair

No further business was brought forward. The meeting was adjourned at 9:49 am. The next PTO meeting will be held February 10, 2017 at 8:30 am in the Pit.

Respectfully submitted,

Ann Kovacs

PTO Secretary


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