PTA Meeting Wrap Up

Thank you to everyone who attended last night’s PTA meeting. I’m pleased to report we approved a budget for the 2011-2012 school year. The budget includes more than $160,000 in direct support for school programs and instruction. A big increase from previous years due to extra expenses that the PTA hasn’t covered in the past, such as 6th grade science camp.

Included in the budget is $22 per student for all teachers for both classroom supplies and field trips ($44 total). The budget also includes funding for cultural arts (school-wide assemblies), continued funding for music education; including instrumental music for 3rd – 6th grades, computer instruction, library books, the Madera garden, and disaster preparedness.  We will also continue funding popular activities like the Reading Clubs, International Night, the Winter Sing-Along, and Art and Science Fairs.
We have exciting new events to look forward to this year. Every third Thursday of the month we’ll have a fundraiser at a local restaurant. The first Friday of every month send your kids to the Madera Market, right after school. In January, Madera will have a Spelling Bee. The winner will advance to a regional spelling competition! And as mentioned above, the PTA is proud to support our 6th graders and send them off on a week long science enrichment camp in the Spring.

We have also approved additional funding to make up for programs and supplies that have been cut from the district. Unfortunately we have been forced to pay for these expenses ourselves, which means that this year we will be running into our reserve a bit. As always, we will maintain a reasonable reserve fund to begin the following school year. We are counting on strong fundraising this year. I’m certain that families will work hard to make sure that Madera maintains the quality of programs we have come to enjoy. Our children all benefit when we give what we can, both time and money.

Last night we also discussed the new requirements for volunteering in WCCUSD schools, and the different levels of screening.  You might have heard the buzz around school that all volunteers are now required to get district badges. Last night Susana Coracero from the Community Engagement Department (scoracero@wccusd.net or 307-4596) came out and confirmed that YES, all volunteers are now required to get TB tested and fingerprinted prior to working with children. I know this comes as a major inconvenience, both financially and with the time involved to apply for a badge. Don’t let this deter you from volunteering! Please continue to volunteer and get involved, and at your convenience during the year, please apply to get a district ID badge. I want you to know, members of the Madera PTA executive board have already written to the school board and request that they reduce the $47 fingerprint fee, and make the application process simpler. More information on the WCCUSD volunteer procedures and link to the application are on the district’s website.

We will report on fundraising and program expenditures at every PTA meeting during the coming year. I encourage you to come to the meetings. Many thanks to treasurer Aaron Lewis for keeping track of all of the numbers, and to PTA executive board for the thoughtful input into developing this year’s budget.

Questions and suggestions are welcome. Thanks to all of the Madera community for making this such a great school!

I’ll see you all this Thursday at Back to School Night. (DON’T FORGET it’s a minimum day!)

~Linda Geiser