PTO Meeting Minutes for March 12, 2019

Principal’s Report – Kate Peretz:

To coincide with the visiting artist Bren Bataclan, the theme this week is Kindness week. Each class has decided what activity they want to do, eg. kindness bingo, making kindness videos, kindness notes etc around the school.

Update: Two very large portions of the roof have been patched and we continue to address the issues (see February 2019 notes for more info). Air/mold testing revealed no issues.

The spring music concert is 6/5.

AHS Building Committee Update:

See AHSbuilding.org for more info. The AHS committee has been meeting for about 2 years. The high school needs to be rebuilt because enrollment is up and it is a deteriorating building that is on “warning” as inadequate from NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges). Renovating doesn’t address the current issues and wouldn’t be as cost effective.  Teardown is cheaper than an addition and allows us to build a more sustainable building. It’s been 38 years since any renovation has been done. Waiting on MSBA to approve schematic design and then the town needs to vote on debt exclusion on June 11th. Construction could start June 2020 (assuming a favorable vote in June). One of the major benefits of the new design is that we will be building on the front of the school (two front wings) which will be built first. The new design will be more streamlined and functional. There will be a lot more usable open space, improved field space, courtyards, roof deck etc for educational and social purposes. Cost is $291 million, of which some portion will be provided by MSBA. There is a lot of opposition to the high cost, but high schools are a lot more expensive to build than elementary schools because they need more specialized spaces. If we are unable to secure the vote in June, we will lose the 1/3 funding and it will cost us more in the long run.

Questions:

1.       Some of the Town offices that are currently at the high school will be moved offsite as part of saving money, so what happens if we go over capacity and don’t have those extra spaces to reallocate if necessary?

Answer: It’s being built with 1755 capacity, even though we’ll go over that at some point temporarily. All of the common spaces are being built large enough to accommodate a large student body, and there are still some existing offices that could be repurposed where needed. Additionally, there is extra land where a future addition could be built.

2.       Will bikepath access stay? Yes.

3.       We heard there will be skylights plunging into the library, which are expensive to install. Are there lower cost options?

Answer: we are still looking at the design – it is more cost effective in the long run because you can use less electricity.

4.       What will façade look like?

Answer: The community voted for a historical/traditional look that still incorporates some of the original appearance. However, the original structure will not be used.

5.       Is there enough space to accommodate existing students while the build is happening?

Answer: The STEAM wing is being built first because that is the least flexible space, and needed the most desperately. There will be a period of time where there is more space than we need before the old part is demolished so there could be a period of use where there will be some new and old being used.

6.       Will it be air conditioned?

Answer: The air will be “conditioned”, although perhaps not by traditional air conditioning. For example, taking humidity out of the air.

7.       Will the parking structure have electric parking stations?

Answer: 10 electric spots out of 227.

Teacher Representative’s Report – Laura Ribiero:

Game night – 5th graders were delighted to have the leadership opportunity, especially as they missed out on the icecream social (where they typically help out). Visiting artist Bren Bataclan was here this week, which included a day full of assemblies yesterday and all feedback has been positive. The 5th graders were asked to draw something that represented Hardy or the community, which was collected by Ms. Peretz, who met with Bren to make a cohesive mural. The message is kindness, welcoming, a place where you will be cared for. He was hugely complimentary of the kids’ behavior and his interactions with them.

Issue of lack of substitute coverage in Arlington. Teachers often don’t have substitutes when they request them, which means other teachers are covering for classes, or special ed teachers are covering. The subs get paid a lot less than other towns and the superintendent is aware of this. It affects the administration and the kids because the teachers are stretched thin. Asking the PTO to consider if there is any way they can assist financially. Substitutes get paid approx. 125 per day in Lexington, about 80 per day in Arlington. Do not need to be teacher certified.

Upcoming Events:  

Game night debrief:

It was way more popular than we expected. We ordered 40 pizzas and could have used more. The 5th graders were really responsible and helpful in facilitating the event. Next year the minimum budget for pizza should be $600 and we will need to build it into next year’s budget. Consider using the gym next year, although it can end up being unruly. We should anticipate a comparable number of people at Literacy night and plan accordingly.

Silent Auction 3/30 /19:

Patsy O’Brien asked if people can buy tickets now, it would be helpful for planning. We still need parent items, eg. experiences. It would be great to see more teacher participation. Funds raised will go towards giving each classroom an extra spending budget, so it will directly benefit teachers and students. One parent had an idea to make a raffle basket only for teachers who attended to be given as an incentive.

Literacy Night 4/8/19 – Alham Saadat:

We have a few confirmed readers – Ms Peretz, Mr Ham (former music teacher), Ms Muirhead (former librarian). We will need at least 5 rooms allocated, including library, cafeteria, gym, and the new music room. Superhero theme (both fantasy and of this world). Budget: $650 (bumped up from $500) last year.

Field Day 5/31, rain date 6/7 – Lisa Fuller:

Last year they waived the fees for the fields, but this year they want us to pay $175 to hold the first day and $175 for the rain date. Lisa and Terry will talk to the town manager about reducing or removing the fee. The schedule will remain the same or similar to last year. Every child wears their spirit wear shirt, corresponding with their grade level.

Hardy Picnic 6/13, rain date 6/14 – Terry Holt. If interested in helping or being on the planning committee, please contact Terry. We will also ask 5th graders if they are interested in taking a leadership role.

Committee Updates

Green Team:  

Next Monday 3/18 at 7pm they are meeting to plan activities for Earth week.                                                                                                 

PTO Executive Board Reports

President – Terry Holt:

Forming Eboard Election Committee. Terry will lead the election committee and will need a volunteer or two to collect ballots. We are also having a turnover of our school council leaders. Thinking of instituting a proposal that we should run elections for school council and PTO at the same time.

Gym Improvement Proposal – Quote from contractor about installing retractable screen in the gym, the quote is $8500. We will table it until next meeting.

PTO Treasurer – Kate Leary:

Current bank balance is 53, 633.69.

April PTO Meeting date is TBD