Whittier PTA Board Meeting
November 9, 2021
7:00 pm via ZOOM
|Board Members Tina Lilley Kellie Pecoraro Megan Wildenradt Sara Lukas Kathleen Donahoe Tricia Schalekamp Kristen Ramer Liang Amy Bryan Leah Lansberry-Austin Renee Hartnett Kate Scher Courtney Sievers Kate Mathews||Community Members Representative Noel Frame Representative Liz Berry Cindy Watters An-Lon Chen Katherine Abraham Susan Hernandez Will Kruse Kristin Wiggins|
Meeting Called to Order / Land Acknowledgment at 7:03pm
Special guests: Representatives Liz Berry and Noel Frame
Megan Wildenradt introduced our two guest speakers, Representatives Liz Berry and Noel Frame, both mothers and live in our community. They did a Q&A for us:
Q: How can we best support the lack of funding that goes into the public school system? The lack of funding for staff and general funding, buildings, supplies, etc? How can we best advocate?
A: Rep Frame: this is why I got involved in politics. We have a deeply problematic tax structure, perhaps the worst in the nation. Some steps have been taken recently, but we have a long way to go. Property tax is the funding source, and it’s a tapped out source. We need to reform our tax code. We’re a medium tax state, but most of it falls on middle and low income residents. A wealth tax is needed. Stocks and bonds pay 0% tax.
Berry: Advocate for tax reform! Tell elected leaders that our schools are not fully funded. Tell your stories.
Frame: “Fully” funded education is based on a 2009 definition. We need a new definition, and then to figure out a new price tag.
Q: How is funding in other parts of the state?
A: Frame: There’s sometimes more funding for special education nurses, librarians, etc, it’s more specific outside of the Seattle area.
Berry: WSPTA asked the same question on Friday, and they suggested getting together with school boards, teachers guild, etc, to come up with a number to take to the reps. We need to have a united front.
Q: What can you tell us about funding for dyslexia?
A: Berry: In 2018 a bill was passed that defined it as a specific learning disability, and right now the policy states that kids diagnosed with dyslexia needed to be supported.
Q: But what funding is provided to train people to do that!?
A: Principal Watters: It’s mostly an unfunded mandate. Most funding went to testing for diagnosis, basically none for support.
Q: Not so much a question, but rather a plea for the equity issue. We need the literacy specialist, but we don’t want to be stuck in the inequitable position to fund it.
A: Berry: I’m learning this too as a kinder parent! Librarian? Nurse? We need these things. We hear you, it’s a mess! Covid testing also should be funded! It’s a horrible cycle. Our schools have perpetuated the very inequities we advocate against through this private funding bind.
- Approval of October 2021 Meeting Minutes: Kristen Liang-Ramer motioned to approve, Amy Bryan seconded, and the motion passed.
- Reflections: We had 4 qualifying entries, hoping to put them in the halls and on the PTA website.
- Spring Fling: 5/21/2022 @ Leif Erikson Hall, Ballard
- Outreach update: We discussed the food & toiletry drive, ILS sock drive, Helping Hands. Principal Watters suggested doing the food drive in March, because there’s a surplus during the holidays anway. Sock drive now, food drive later. A lot of the discussion surrounded the need to really include the children in the drives.
- Nominating committee is getting put together, we need 4-6 people.
Principal & Staff Updates
(From Principal Watters:) Thanks for inviting the reps. We are working with a community partner to host a vaccine clinic at Whitttier, still waiting on info about how many doses we’ll have access to. Hoping to get volunteers back in the building in the new year. It will be joyful to have parents around! Nov 20 and Dec 11, are tentatively the dates for the clinic. Parents and students are invited to send their teachers gratitude letters, spread the word! Regarding the Friday absence… the district didn’t have enough subs, and this was actually a problem in schools across the nation. At least we decided before Friday morning. Another reason we need more funding! Working in education is hard, and teachers are a bit burnt out. In good news, SPED is moving people around and we are getting another IA. Lastly, vaccination rates will determine more flexibility for parents/volunteers on campus.
Annual Give Update
- We are at 67% participation!
- Review of Financial Reports (October: Budget vs Actual, Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss)
- 120,000 currently in our bank account
Monthly Staff Appreciation
- Staff lunch is hosted by the 4th grade families this month. In December it will be cookies/goodies from 3rd grade families.
- Total 114 members, that’s an increase of 8 from last month
- 106 Regular PTA, 8 Staff members
We discussed changing the date of the next wild chat. If you have any content ideas, send them in!
9:01 Meeting Adjourned