Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Teach Boosters Board Meeting Minutes - August 2012

Meeting Minutes - August 2012
Teach Boosters Board Meeting
French Hospital Conference Room

August 8, 2012
Attendance: Lori Shields, Chantal Blanchard, Marie Newmann, Summer Kabaker, Erin Clausen, and Dan Block.

Meeting was called to order at 12:34 p.m.
Mr. Block spoke briefly about his interest in keeping this gathering an informal discussion to clarify some issues, mentioning that he prefers to keep meetings open and inclusive whenever possible. The group agreed. Lori noted that she invited Mr. Block and those people "elected" to the board at the June Boosters meeting, for the purpose of clarifying whether the elections were official based on current bylaws.

The group agreed to table approval of the minutes from the June meeting until the next official Boosters meeting.
Lori described the structure of the Teach Boosters board as outlined in the bylaws, noting that officers needed to be board members (not vice versa). She questioned whether June's election of officers for 2012-13 was official, given the current bylaws of the organization. The group discussed the fact that the bylaws seem in need of updating and that perhaps the organizational structure could be flattened.

The group then discussed the scope of responsibilities handled by the Teach Boosters and the tendency for the bulk of the work to fall on the elected president and vice president, in particular. Summer and Chantal both expressed concern that serving in those positions would require more of their time and energy than they were able to give.
Chantal described a brainstorming session that she attended late last spring with a representative of Pacheco's parent boosters/PTA. At that meeting, the representative highlighted Pacheco's fundraising efforts and described the frustrations associated with them.

The discussion then turned to the Boosters budget and the difficulty the board runs into trying to collect contributions from families each year. Hand-in-hand with that seems to be an interest in empowering parents to take on volunteer responsibilities. Chantal mentioned the web site she has created and will describe later in the meeting.
Marie suggested laying out budget details to all parents in an effort to educate them about what the Boosters organization is asked to provide each year. Mr. Block mentioned that in the past, a committee of three people reviewed and approved all scholarship applications.

The group discussed the fact that emphasis needs to be placed on providing detailed budget information to parents, including the significant cost of the three major field trips. Along with that, the Boosters needs a better system for keeping on top of parent payments/contributions.
The discussion circled back to the board elections and commitments for the coming year. Chantal suggested that we start over with board building once the school year starts. Lori said that her question was with regard to officer titles and that she considered those "elected," even if it wasn't official, to remain as board members.

Mr. Block raised the question of what we need to do to make it easier to be a Booster parent.
Marie asked if we want to give every parent the budget details and advocate students doing personal fundraising projects. Mr. Block gave historical perspective on parental involvement several years ago and noted that it has changed fundamentally over the years. Marie suggested that there are too many activities and financial requirements.

At this point, Chantal presented the Ning website that she has created to consolidate info and prompt action by Teach parents. The focus is on community-building and empowering people to take on a volunteer job and run with it.
Mr. Block asked how much additional electronic communication (e.g., emails) the site will generate, and Chantal described it as an opt-in tool. The group discussed the need for a balance between electronic and personal appeals for assistance with Booster efforts. All agreed that the website is a valuable tool that could be quite useful to parents.

The group then returned to the topic of disseminating financial details and Marie proposed distributing copies of the budget at the Ice Cream Social, along with a cover letter that details the new website and info regarding paying into family accounts.  Mr. Block suggested putting a target timeframe on family payments, perhaps offering a free school t-shirt to students whose families pay by a certain date early in the fall.
Mr. Block further proposed that the group assembled start the year as is (after being officially elected per bylaws) and agree to focus on the big picture without getting caught up in minutiae. He suggested the group personally recruit additional parents to attend Booster meetings and become a part of the working organization.

The group briefly discussed Booster meeting times and agreed to keep the time as the first Friday of the month at 8:30 a.m., with the possibility of further discussion on the matter.
Chantal reiterated her decision to step away from the board completely and said that she would focus her volunteer efforts on the new website and other projects.

Summer said that while she did not want to officially hold an elected office, she would continue to serve as a board member. Erin and Marie agreed to serve as secretary and treasurer, respectively. As such, they may be signatories on the Teach Boosters checking account.
The next Boosters meeting is scheduled for Friday, September 7 at 8:30 a.m.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:05 p.m.