October 1, 2009 -Liberty PTO Meeting Minutes

Attendees: Marcello Romero, Cori Delvecchio, Linda Wells, Heather Welch, Jui Kelly, Tanya Iannelli, Edna Tan, Helen Coakley, Kerry Barrett, Maryanne G., Mark Troy, Beth & Brian Snyder, Ruth & Sean McDevitt, Maureen Gerety, john dennehy, Ka Yam Ng, Elissa Simon-Morrissey, Gina Doherty, Robin Noonan, Toni Kanes, Jean McDonald, Karen Bernard, Marci McDonough, Angela Carnes, Branagh Fay, Karen Akins, Debra Larson, Nancy Correria, Dave Storlazzi, Ellen Lewis, Dr. Joyce Radiches

  1. At 7:04pm, C-Pres. Storlazzi called the meeting to order, welcomed all parents and guests, introduced to the new PTO board for 2009-2010, reviewed Robert Rules, and the evening’s agenda.
  2. Mayor Sullivan was introduced as a guest speaker. Mayor Sullivan wants to ensure that there is an open dialogue especially as we face difficult times. In the coming year, the issue of education must remain in his eyes in the forefront of planning even with the difficult economic times given that state aid has been reduced. He recognized that parents, teachers are concerned about classroom size – at Liberty we hover at approximately 24-25 students per teachers and he noted that other schools have higher class size. He feels that we are being aggressive in our review of students who do not live in the community and noted that this past year there were approximately 120 new students and typically that number is 60 annually. He noted that Braintree dose have an attractive quality of life. From a capital perspective, he is expecting bids to be returned on the rehab for South Middle. This is the first time since 1973, that Braintree has received funds from the state. The work effort is projected to start in the spring of 2010 and be completed by September 2010. Overall, this year there were 44 capital improvement projects costing about $1.7 million. In Braintree, our revenue line dropped and he is looking to be more efficient such as previously there were 27 department heads which have been reduced to 11. At the School Committee meeting scheduled for 10/5 at BHS, MCAS will be discussed – while Braintree did well overall, there are pockets with issues for review an improvement. He encouraged parents to contact him and his office. The Mayor opened the floor to questions:
  3. Parent noted that in an article, Braintree was ranked 99th in school systems. Mayor Sullivan noted that given there are 351 cities and towns being in the top 100 sounded good. He indicated he would research this article to understand what the ranking was based on e.g. Classroom size or possibly how much we spent per student. He noted that Braintree spends ~$9500 per student per year.
  4. MCAS scores -especially those in Liberty 3rd grade – what will be done to address this. Mayor Sullivan noted that meetings were being held at each school (Liberty on 10/8) and he invited parents to attend the school committee meeting on Monday.
  5. Concern raised about continued development in town which directly leads to an increase in classroom size. He agreed that we need to be mindful and that there were no new plans for development.
  6. Concern over continued reductions in science, math, music technology – he noted that some of the stimulus money has been held back for future planning but that the monies spent were used to sustain 17 teaching jobs in 2010.
  7. Separate note - that Flood Zoning Plan is being revamped and that everyone should check there current insurance policy and coverage regarding flood zones in Braintree.
  8. Treasurer’s Report
  9. Jamie Fitzgerald presented her findings on audit. She reviewed 5 basic procedures and found no issues and complimented the Treasurers on the accuracy and detailed nature of the documentation. She reviewed two recommendations to strengthen controls. First, when possible to prepare in advance a receipt when one is not provided. Second, to prevent unauthorized expenditures from checks that did not clear, all voided checks should be kept by the co-treasurers vs. destroyed. Motion was made to accept the report, seconded and all approved.
  10. 2009-2010 Budget was presented by Sean McDevitt with a minor change reducing the BFFE allocation from $1000 to $300 per request of Pam Kiley. The $700 was moved to miscellaneous. Motion was made to accept the report, seconded, no questions were asked and all approved.
  11. Financial procedures from 2009-2010 by Sean McDevitt updated only to reflect the change in calendar year were presented for approval. Motion was made to accept the report, seconded, no questions were asked and all approved.
  12. Treasurer’s Report presented by Nancy Corrieri. Motion was made to accept the report, seconded, no questions were asked and all approved. Nancy also noted that the Scholastic Book fair did very well.
  13. Committee Reports
  14. Back 2 School Night – Dave Storlazzi thanked all those who attended.
  15. Family Picnic – Weather was great, Red Sox won but our Patriots did not. Feedback was positive and we would look to repeat again next year. Dr Joyce noted from feedback she received, that next year we should look at activities as well that might be more girl-centric. Thanks to all those that helped to make it possible!
  16. Scholastic Book Fair – thanks to Nancy Corrieri and Kelly Storlazzi who worked from 8am-8pm to make this event a success. We sold $7000, of which Liberty will net ~$1000-1500 which can be turned into Scholastic dollars which can be used to pay for the Scholastic news ordered each year for our classes.
  17. PTO Membership – Helen Coakley noted that as of 9/30 that $1365 had been collected – with 182 children responding. There are approximately 470 children at Liberty presenting 250 families. Yes, Mrs. Sheehan is one of the classes in the lead for the classroom prize/treat. A follow-up reminder will be sent via email.
  18. Coffee Pond - Marci McDonough noted that picture day went well. Family Picture will likely be rescheduled as other schools have dropped out. She is looking to reschedule to the end of October – possibly 10/25 or 10/26. This is likely to be better as the original date was the Columbus Day holiday weekend. Currently, we have 5 -6 families scheduled for Family picture – anyone interested should contact Marci.
  19. Candy Drive–Angela Barnes noted that the quantity and cost have changed from last. This year the box contains 30 candy bars (not 52) and will be $2.00 per bar (not $1.00). She still recommends using Hershey. The letter was reviewed and noted that this fundraiser as with others is strictly voluntary and that some families have opted in prior years to provide a monetary donation. Last year, there were 160 boxes with 45 families donating money. Motion made to move forward with the Candy Drive, seconded and all approved.
  20. Haunted House – Dave Storlazzi noted that the location had been secured - same area (old Armstrong) but different building. The theme will be a Haunter Hotel with 7 rooms. There was a General Meeting for volunteers last night 9/30 and they are asking for more actors and setup volunteers --- even an hour would be super helpful! This is one of the largest fundraisers (1 of 2) for the year.
  21. Girls Night Out – Ellen Lewis noted this event will be held Nails and Spa for Friday, Nov. 20th at 6pm. Nails & Spa will donate 15% back to the school. Great for just before T-day manicures!
  22. Elmers Glue Drive- this is an on-going/through-out the year fundraiser being organized by Laura Burton. The collection will include both glue stick containers and bottles. No money is required, classrooms will collect the used containers and return for $$$.
  23. Used Books Fundraiser – there will be bin a Liberty - the company will come and pick-up and Liberty will received money based on books donated. Dr Joyce will decide upon a safe location for the bin.
  24. Question regarding Used Book Swap – noted that the children enjoyed and maybe this could be repeated.
  25. Bags2School – just in time for fall/summer clean-up – save your bags and bring them to school on Tuesday, Nov. 3rd. We will be able to use our own green trash bags – “special” bags will not be required. Noted that stuffed animals are also included. LibertySchool receives money from your donations.
  26. Coats 4 Kids – Karen Bernard noted that this year it will be winter coats only. There will be a bin in front of the office for donations that will start in October and run through the beginning January.
  27. Shelter Alliance – Ruth McDevitt – noted this is a super-easy fundraiser not requiring any money but your old cell phones and cell phone attachments. For every phone donated, LibertySchool receives between .50 cents to $5.00. Shelter Alliance safely recycled phones and has re-programmed phones for use by residents at battered women shelters (dialing 911). Projected to be in conjunction with Parent Teacher conferences for easy drop-off.
  28. 5th Grade Celebration – Ruth McDevitt and Lynn Vaillancourt noted that they had their first meeting with the 5th grade teachers. Work on the yearbook as already begun and the committee will be meeting mid-October. Of note is that this class is very large – 95 students so location for an event will be discussion point.
  29. New Business
  30. Braintree Rotary: On October 24th, the Rotary will be sponsoring a Spelling Bee for teams of 4 to be held at the SouthShorePlaza from 11am-3pm. All proceeds will be returned to the schools/community. Pres Storlazzi requesting volunteers to form one team and requested the Liberty PTO sponsor this team for $300. A motion was made, seconded and approved by the assembly.
  31. Dr Joyce’s Update: Dr Joyce thanked everyone for attending and wanted to remind everyone that the MCAS Meeting would be held on Thursday, October 8th, 2009 at Liberty.

The meeting adjourned at 8:23pm.