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Meeting Minutes December 8, 2008

* Welcome & Introductions

In attendance: Jenni Roy Hallock, Kim Houston, Chris Shelton, Tom Sirois, Corey Sprague, & Susan Higa

* Approve Meeting Minutes

Minutes from the November PTA meeting were unanimously approved.

* BookLoft Coupon

Jenni reported that Tara Kimberly did a great job with the November coupon. The PTA raised $175, which is more than any other coupon event. They are already talking about doing a spring coupon that can be combined with the summer reading list.

* Holiday Workshops

Jenni reported that this year’s two holiday workshops run by Julie Duffin and Audrey Raifstanger were a success and generated a profit, which was a nice surprise as the workshops are not intended fundraising event.

* Directory Update

Jenni reported that she had received a complaint from a parent whose contact information was not included in the directory. There was talk among the group that a few other parents had indicated that their information was missing or printed incorrectly and whether an addendum should be provided. The group agreed that an addendum was not necessary given the many methods the forms were made available to families (e.g. sent home, available at the ice cream social and open houses, etc.).

* Treasurer’s Report

Tom distributed a snapshot the transactions that have gone through the PTA account since July. The snapshot identified each fundraising event and the corresponding expenses and net gains. The intent of the snapshot is to show how much is raised with each fundraiser and whether it is worthwhile. The group was very pleased with the presentation. A suggestion was made that the information be presented in landscape format so that expenses and net gains for each event can be compared.

Tom also informed the group that the winner of the 50-50 raffle for one of the winter concerts donated the money back to the PTA. This is technically a donation and Tom will send an acknowledgement letter, which the PTA is required to do.

* Stipends

The group discussed a stipend amount to $200 for teachers and $100 for specialists and discussed whether receipts should be required. It was decided that teachers and specialists should be accountable for all items and that the stipend letter should include instructions on supplying receipts quarterly on annually. Discussion included eligible items, which historically have included books, washers, markers, classroom items, etc.

Additionally, the group discussed the using excess PTA money at the end of the year to create a fund or grant for programs that foster a positive relationship between Muddy Brook Elementary, parents, and the Berkshire Hills community. This idea was well received, as programs are being scaled back due to the current economic conditions.

Update: Tom distributed the stipend letter for review, which included a stipend expenditure sheet prepared by Corey. The letter also included a statement announcing the fund and stated that more information would be forthcoming in the New Year. The letters were signed by the officers and were ready for distribution for December 18th (a snow day). As a result the distribution of the letters was delayed until after the winter break. Additionally, Denise sent email stating that she would run the fund/grant idea by the Central Office.


Jenni asked for ideas about how we can educate parents about the MCAS. Denise said she would be willing to contribute to this effort. Jenni asked whether such an event would come under the Parent Education Committee. Jenni is still looking for someone to lead this Committee. If anyone knows of anyone who would be interested, please let Jenni know.

* $800 for 3rd Grade Field Trip to Sturbridge Village

The group unanimously approved the $800 requested by the 3rd grade teachers for the Sturbridge Village field trip. The money will not be needed until the spring and the trip will be classified under ‘Enrichment’. There was discussion on whether these requests should be accountable to some criteria (e.g. education focused).

Chris also handed out the Enrichment mission statement, which was well received by the group.

* Bulducs Order

Chris reported that the order form was the same as in the past. The group discussed whether ties should be cut, but no outcome was decided. Corey reported that she has a rough draft of the t-shirt logo that she wants to send out. Additionally, she has found a company for sampling and we could possibly link that site to the PTA web site. The company is not local. Tom suggested that local companies be investigated as well.

* Arrangement of the Month

Chris reported that she knew of one order from Liz Rockefeller. She suggested putting something in the newsletter to solicit orders for Valentine’s Day. Everyone agreed that this was a good idea.

* Teachers Wish Lists

Chris has posted the teachers’ wish lists. The $50 limit a family can contribute was discussed. Discussion also included asking families to donate their old electronics to the classrooms.

* 50/50 & Cookbooks at Winter Concerts

Discussion centered on the bad weather predicted for the following Friday, December 12th, the date of the 2nd grade winter concert. Denise asked whether the following Monday was too soon to reschedule, in the event school is closed. The group said yes and discussed other possible dates.

* Silent Auction

Kim reported that the Silent Auction will be held March 20 – April 3. Chris will help with setting-up the site. She has approval on the donor letter and will use the previous donor list, as well as contact teachers and parents, for solicitations. She is in the process of coordinating volunteers.

Update: Kim sent email to all auction volunteers, along with the list of businesses that the volunteers offered to solicit, asking for a status.

*Catherine’s Chocolates Fundraiser

Jenni reported that she has only one sign-up for running this event and is looking for more volunteers. Chris volunteered.

* Muddy Brook Web Site & Privacy Issue

Jenni asked whether anyone had info related to releasing pictures and names of the children on the Muddy Brook web site. Kim said she would check with her husband, who is a professional photographer.

Update: Kim sent email indicating that we should have a release form for children whose pictures appear on the site for the PTA’s own protection and forwarded the forms for posting. Corey also sent a link from ‘Teaching Experience’ with information about protecting students on school web sites:

* Fundraising Poster

Jenni thanked Gina Shultis (not present) for her effort on creating the fundraising poster. The poster is approved and ready to post.

* Other Business

Jenni reminded everyone about the PTA closet and to check out the bulletin board.

Additionally, she thanked Corey for the great job that she has done with the green initiative and selling light bulbs at the high school. Mike Powell is heading up this effort and has come up with categories to tackle, including information about idling outside during pick-up. The group discussed including a ‘green tip of the month’ in the newsletter, which was well received.

Meeting Adjourned