Thursday, March 2, 2006 at the Carver Educational Services Center



Officers: Cindy Kerr, Victor Salazar, Juan Johnson, Liz Wheeler, Sharon St. Pierre, Ted Willard (acting VP for programs)

Area Vice Presidents and Cluster Coordinators: Phil Kaufman, Jane deWinter, Steve Crowley, Jim Keenan, Marney Jacobs, Deborah Stevens-Panzer, Pam Moomau, Susan Joyce Thomas, Kate Savage, Rosanne Hurwitz, Linda Kuserk

Committee Chairs: Neal Myerson, Kay Romero, Anne Turner, Diane McHale, Patti Twigg, Suzanne Weiss

Visitors: Andrea Bernardo, Fallsmead Elementary School, Fred Stiknott, White Oak Middle School  


Call to Order: MCCPTA President Cindy Kerr called the meeting to order at 7:47PM.

Agenda: Cindy added: the Family Community Partnership policy (ABA); the presidents and principals dinner; Diane McHale and her guest’s resolution from the Gifted Child committee; Youth and Family Fair; month of the young child and Champions for Children update to the agenda.   

Meeting Minutes: The February 2, 2006 Board of Directors meeting minutes were distributed. No corrections were made. The minutes stand approved as written.

Treasurer’s Report:

Juan Johnson distributed the treasurer’s report for January 24, 2006 through February 28, 2006, the profit and loss budget vs. actual report for July 2005 through February 2006, and the balance Sheet as of February 28, 2006. In addition, he distributed a list of schools remaining outstanding in dues and/or insurance payments as of March 2, 2006. The audit for 2004 has been completed and will be filed. The audits hopefully will be complete by the next meeting. The treasurer’s report will be filed for audit.

Juan Johnson made a motion that since we have a change in officers that we change the two extra signees on the checking account (Cindy Kerr and Juan Johnson remain as signees per the bylaws) from Jane de Winter and Shirley Brandman to Sharon St. Pierre and Victor Salazar. The motion was seconded and passed on a voice vote.

Discussion included that this action is needed because Shirley Brandman resigned and we had never removed Jane’s name following her interim treasurer service.

The operating budget forum breakfast was $25 over budget, so action is needed.

Juan Johnson made a motion that we increase the operating budget forum breakfast budget from $100 to $125. It was seconded and passed by a voice vote.  



The nominating committee has been working diligently. According to the bylaws the committee has until March 15 to hear from the clusters. They will bring nominations to the March delegate assembly. Cindy would like to send out the nominations for the officers to the executive board as soon as they are complete. At the Tuesday night delegate assembly the nominating committee presented two names for the remainder of the year - Sharon St. Pierre, for Vice President of Educational Issues and Ted Willard for Vice President of Programs. This will be voted on at the March meeting. Victor Salazar read the bylaws with regard to officers and their election (Article VI, section 5 nominating committee paragraph e): “The nominating committee shall send the list of nominees and their qualifications to the members of the Board of Directors and to the local PTA presidents and delegates at least thirty (30) days before the annual meeting. The consent of each candidate must be obtained before his/her name is placed in nomination. Additional nominations may be made from the floor, provided the consent of each candidate has been obtained before his/her name is placed in nomination.” There is nothing else in this section about the promulgation of the slate. If the officer slate is ready before the March delegate assembly then, it could be sent to the Board of Directors if you make a motion to do that.

            Ted Willard made a motion to send the slate of officers to the Board of Directors as soon as it is ready. It was seconded.

                It passed by a voice vote.

Discussion included: A request was made for a report from the nomination committee. Cindy said that as of Tuesday the committee was not ready to present. They were not ready tonight either, but they are close. Cluster coordinator nominations can be decided between March 15 and the April election if the names are not submitted as part of the slate by March 15. Nominations can be made from the floor by the nominating committee, too. The ballots are usually printed the day before the election. Cindy will ask a member of MD PTA to oversee and run the election according to the bylaws.   

Cindy, and other MCCPTA officers and members attended PTA night in Annapolis on February 13. The Montgomery County delegation and PTA had a large group compared to other areas. MD PTA’s legislative committee will make changes to the format for next year. Delegate Peter Franchot expected that we would get up to $350 million from the state for statewide school construction. The MCCPTA legislative dinner let us meet with the delegation locally. At our last Board of Directors meeting we approved, and then the delegates approved, the Rocky Hill Middle School resolution that Nancy King’s house bill is addressing. Our letter reached Nancy King and she is asking for us to go to Annapolis. Cindy noted that in the Anne Arundel school budget calls for $337,000 to check school visitors against sex offender registries. MCPS policy holds principals responsible for checking names of volunteers, chaperones and visitors. The safety committee has been told that principals are given a list. The Board of Education backed the sex offender legislation with some amendments. One Board member wants to expand it to all people doing business with MCPS.

Cindy has also been serving on an evening high school work group. Three new programs will be piloted. Cindy will bring back the report.

Executive Committee Report: Under the new bylaws the executive committee must report on their meetings. Historically our monthly officer meetings prepare the agenda.  At our last executive committee meeting officers took no actions or votes. If voting is done at the executive committee meeting, which the bylaws allow, then we’ll bring it to you in writing, but no action was taken except to plan the agenda.

Request to Appoint a Non-voting Parliamentarian:

A request from the Churchill cluster, signed by Janis Sartucci, requested that Cindy appoint a non-voting parliamentarian to oversee all of our Board of Directors meetings. Officers discussed the request. Cindy, as president, hasn’t been successful in picking someone, even from the state. Cindy questioned the Board of Directors about their opinions of noncompliance with parliamentary procedure. Rosanne Hurwitz noted that there have been parliamentarians at the elementary and middle school PTAs. Cindy said that according to National PTA, the president is allowed to pick someone that they feel comfortable working with as parliamentarian. George Margolies is the parliamentarian for the Board of Education and PTA background experience. Prince George’s County, Baltimore County and MD PTA have had problems with parliamentarians. Cindy’s happy to work with the attorneys at meetings and others who have experience with parliamentary procedure, since she’s not an expert, but bring questions at the meetings, not afterwards on the list serv. We have Robert’s Rules with us at meetings. We don’t have non-voting parliamentarian now. Cindy will bring one to oversee the April elections meeting. Cindy decided to not put out a request to the delegates. Suzanne Weiss commented that she’s never comfortable with parliamentary procedure even though she has studied it. Cindy stated that parliamentary procedure is designed for equal access. At our last meeting when Kay Romero called the question and someone said there should be discussion. Cindy got three different interpretations from three different parliamentarians for this situation. Cindy asked Kay tonight if she believed that allowing discussion changed the outcome of the vote, or would like it to be readdressed. Kay responded that she didn’t feel slighted. Further discussion by Board members included: the problem comes if someone uses rules to cut off discussion and participation; bylaws state that the president appoints the parliamentarian, so in a few more months the new president may;  a parliamentarian isn’t required for every meeting; if you notice a mistake, bring it up then; minutes can use the phrase “by unanimous consent” to show the spirit of everyone taking part in the process; bigger problem is using rules to not start a new topic at closing time;  and passing motions and resolutions at the end of meetings in order to go home and calling the question is part of that.

Cindy asked Board of Directors members if they feel that any of the decisions that have been made by the Board of Directors this year have hurt any children as a result of not following parliamentary procedure or if any of our votes adversely impacted the work that we do on behalf of children. Responses to this question included, Rosanne Hurwitz saying that this was a loaded question. In addition, Rosanne did not remember taking a vote on the Champions for Children award, which she said was going to be awarded to Farmland Elementary School because of their relationship with the Double Tree Hotel. Cindy replied that did not know what she was talking about. Rosanne stated that sometimes you can’t follow what we’ve done because it’s not in the minutes. Cindy stated that we discussed Champions for Children this summer as part of committee work and voted last year that we’d participate in Champions for Children. Rosanne said that she didn’t have confidence and looking back at the minutes she couldn’t find it. Cindy put the topic on the agenda tonight and offered that Rosanne could make a motion to send a letter not do to it. How do we address these issues now? If the rest of the Board is comfortable with it then it is okay. Rosanne continued that it is a series of things. She can’t follow the minutes and doesn’t remember the discussion the same way. Options available to you if you believe that we have not followed parliamentary procedure, and if it has adversely affected our advocacy include, asking the Board to sanction or remove the president from office. If you take the issue to the state level, then the state will come to you and ask if you feel comfortable with decisions that were made. You have a right to bring a motion if you think something is incorrect, and you want it undone. Cindy noted that based on her experience with National and MD PTA, that we follow stronger rules. At National PTA there’s limited discussion or no discussion, and no talking. You can ask for a seat, but meetings are not open. MCCPTA is open and inclusive compared to them. There is no attempt to do anything that is not up front. As president, Cindy is responsible to come to this organization and answer questions, and that’s what was decided at the executive committee meeting. Suzanne Weiss requested to be on the record saying that we have been presented with some misinformation on parliamentary procedure that has impacted certain decisions made by this body. She stated that it’s indisputable. In her response to why it’s not brought up at the time, she stated that some of us have not been treated humanely in public and would never consider doing that so that’s not a solution. She added that saying that there are lots of attorneys in room does not have anything to do with parliamentary procedure. Another Board member responded that she doesn’t know the basis of a lot of procedures, but does attend the Board of Directors meeting and delegate assembly. Members and delegates will say point of personal privilege and ask about procedure or substance. She’s never heard anyone who said this turned down, dissed or stigmatized. She’s not aware of the undercurrent of people thinking that if they spoke up they wouldn’t be recognized.

Diane McHale asked for clarification and Cindy responded that the letter (which will be sent to Board members) was sent by Janis Sartucci on behalf of the Churchill cluster questioning the way that our bylaws were done and the way are meetings are run. The letter made a statement that Cindy Kerr personally has rendered our organization impotent and we are no longer a useful organization within the county. Therefore, Cindy is required to report back. This will be referred to the relations board because of Cindy’s position as Vice President of Councils for MD PTA. At the National level there is an overseer representative that works with the state PTA. National and state PTA rarely overturn actions that have been done in councils. If they believe that you’ve done something wrong, they will talk with you about whether it has functionally hurt children or functionally hurt the organization. They will talk to you about how to rectify it. It’s surprising to Cindy to be given a letters and e-mails and have to go to the state from people who question you when they’re not at the meeting. Minutes are difficult. PTA training recommends that you do not take copious minutes, but if that’s required for people to feel comfortable for them to know what’s going on then that’s what we’ll do. Cindy stated that she has two months left and hopefully next the president can clean up. Diane McHale wanted to be on record that at the meetings she attended it seemed to her that the majority opinion had prevailed, it was appropriate and there were chances to discuss. Kay Romero asked if the Sartucci letter’s a public document. Yes, it will be shared with the Board of Directors, so we can respond as an organization. Cindy acknowledged that she’s passionate about and believes in PTA. A mistake Cindy acknowledged she’s made is that when people are using rules and wanting to talk about bylaws and then not abiding by rules and other actions, then I apologize to you if I have overlooked them. We’ll take care of this with the state and ask them to facilitate some of these issues. In answer to Rosanne’s question about the parliamentarian, Cindy replied that she’s not bringing a nonvoting parliamentarian according to the bylaws, and the state and national PTA. Pam Moomau wanted to clarify and go on record with her comments as being a way to get through that process, so that maybe a parliamentarian would be a way to smooth out the process and not a reflection the way meetings are run. We don’t have that rule yet, so we’re at the mercy of a more general statement now.


Vice President – Educational Issues: Champions for Children and Presidents and Principals Dinner (ticket motion see Agenda items)

Sharon St. Pierre has been working with Paula Robinson, Special Events chair, on Champions for Children.

The gala will be on April 19. MCCPTA does not pay for a table. We earn a table by helping with registration and centerpieces. MCCPTA has worked on the $1,000 awards for the PTA programs, and will invite the winning PTA program to sit at our table. Cindy said that we voted last year to accept this option to not pay for it, so this year we did the same based on the precedent. Last year MCCPTA got the award. This year they asked that MCCPTA come up with the process for the award. Sharon reported that we have about 30 applications for this year’s award from elementary, middle and high school levels.  A booklet will be prepared to highlight these inspiring programs so they can be shared and implemented. Pricing on the booklet is being worked on now. The committee will announce the winner and runners up will be listed in the program. Champions for Children originally started out as the way to announce the Montgomery County teacher of the year, who then goes on to the state and then the national. The county teacher of the year last year, Kimberly Oliver, is one of the three finalists for the national award this year. Other groups (e.g. MCASP) wanted their awards announced, too, such as administrator of the year (Shirley award). Only the winner from these groups is allowed to attend, not the nominees. The PTA president of our winner will select the person from that program to sit at the table.  MCBRE (Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education) was started and funded in seed money from MCPS. Ed Shirley brought in business partners and money. MCBRE still has an office site courtesy of MCPS. The auto tech foundation leases a car for the teacher of the year. The principals would like a car. The services of a tax lawyer are given to the teacher, too. MCBRE offered the $1,000 award for our PTA program, and it comes from credible sources, so MCCPTA accepted the money. The runners up will be acknowledged at the presidents and principals dinner. Paula and Sharon have been working on the presidents and principals dinner that will be held on May 24 at the Indian Springs Country Club for the last year. Paula will be reporting on different sites for the dinner at the May Board of Directors meeting. A motion will be made later regarding tickets. Invitations will be out mid to late March. Applications for the life time award will be going out soon. Volunteers interested in early childhood are needed for the Early Childhood work group. MCCPTA missed the first meeting. The next meeting is March 27. Information will be sent out to Kate Savage and Diane McHale and others interested.

Vice President – Administration:

Victor Salazar and Sharon attended the county council hearing in which spending affordability guidelines (SAG) were discussed. The council raised the SAG, so there was a $23 million infusion into the CIP that could be used to offset the delays in projects. Mike Knapp talked with Sharon and Victor about a procedural vote of seven votes versus a majority to adopt a budget. The county executive sends his budget to the council on March 15. The council argued about the infusion of current revenues into the budget. PAYGO (pay as you go) funds normally account for 10% of current revenues in the CIP. They argued about putting in more current revenues to increase the CIP. Tom Perez said that current revenues exceeded projections and Marilyn Praisner argued for a fiscally responsible budget. On March 15 the line by line process begins and there may not be public notice on this, so we need to be watching until the end of May when the CIP it is finally adopted.

Victor helped to kick off two steering committees for new PTAs in Clarksburg at the elementary and high school. The high school and cluster coordinators should be on line by the May delegate assembly. At Tuesday’s delegate assembly Victor asked locals to look at current bylaws and revise them if necessary. Victor will publish a list for cluster coordinators to use to help locals. MCCPTA asked the state for a bylaws report, but they haven’t given us one. Tell Victor what PTAs have sent bylaws to the state, so we can have an unofficial report. MCCPTA has been sending bylaws by certified mail to protect our locals, so please send your bylaws to Cathy Lilja. A system has been in place in the MCCPTA office to maintain these records, so information could be produced at any time.

Cindy reported on a state PTA conference last night that each county’s files are being checked and an updated list will be sent. The suggestion was made that Cathy Lilja could use an excel spreadsheet to keep track of our locals. Victor reminded us for Juan that dues payments must be sent. Speaking for Meredith Walters, Victor said that a meeting to plan the spring training will be held on March 16. Cluster coordinator training will be held then, too.  

Vice President – Programs:

Ted Willard asked for help with connections and negotiations for a venue for the presidents and principals dinner for next year. There will be a program at the May delegate assembly. Ted is trying to find out about sharing middle school reform updates. The March delegate assembly program “Parent and Family Involvement in Our Schools” is from 6:30 to 7:30 PM. Suggestions were made on driving programs and the websites My Space and Face Book. Cindy added that she’s been contacted by reporters this week about this. The delegates do not want programs so Cindy asked that we continue the May program the same way the past program was done.

Ted Willard made a motion to do the program for the May delegate assembly at 6:30 PM and the meeting will start at 7:30 PM. It was seconded and passed on a voice vote.


Champions for Children and Presidents and Principals Dinner (see Vice President – Educational Issues)

Community Involvement:

Cindy started as a co-chair for this committee, but stepped down after three meetings. Cindy was contacted to sit at the table for the action on this policy on March 14. The PTA is no longer mentioned in the policy. Cindy asked about preparing testimony. She referred to the language in f. on page 3 (line 79 – 83):       

Seek to engage members of our diverse community, particularly organizations representing new or traditionally underrepresented communities, in a committed, productive partnership to support the MCPS strategic plan.

This is like the first draft of the middle school curriculum using the word “particularly”. National PTA training on diversity and inclusion says that when this word is used you diminish all groups and make them unequal. Cindy would like to embrace the idea, but the language needs to be changed. Cindy would also like to emphasize that our elections bring credibility to our organization.

Pam Moomau made a motion that MCCPTA present testimony in response to the Board of Education on policy ABA draft 11. It was seconded and passed on a voice vote. 

Discussion: Discussion included that PTA must be mentioned; members versus organizations; 2 c. (local organizations) may encourage more fringe groups; page 2 - 1 a. advocacy doesn’t belong in the community involvement partnership policy because we have no public comment on their legislative platform; page 4 3. should be changed to “each school principal will”; using the word “including” instead of  “particularly” in f. on page 3;one of the desired outcomes should be to involve parents and using the definition of community from the FAA-RA work group.   

Jane de Winter made a motion to have Cindy Kerr sit at the table at the invitation of the work group as part of the presentation and if that precludes you from giving testimony that day that we give testimony a minority report. It was seconded. It was passed by a voice vote.

Cluster Coordinator Updates:

Churchill Cluster – Suzanne Weiss reported that she attended today’s two hour county council meeting addressing the inspector general’s (IG) report on the Kendale site, and there was more posturing than action. Dr. Weast was quiet. Please follow this issue (including Board of Education procedures, inspector general, and site selection) because it affects more than just our cluster. Andrea Bernardo and Suzanne will give the legislative committee update, for Jinhee Wilde too. Rosanne Hurwitz (Area Vice President) spoke regarding Bells Mill Elementary School and the current media coverage of two their portables being condemned because of mold. The question is why we aren’t getting new portables before July. The community superintendent’s response was that they are not really condemned. We decided to move everyone into the building because people were getting sick. This results in overcrowding. The CIP process    

needs to get buildings going. MCPS is busy watching the fireworks with Kendale, Potomac and Seven Locks. Is the solution always portables? High school students spend less time in portables than elementary students. We’re concerned that they will be moved someplace else at the end of the year. Marney Jacobs added that there is a list of portables that MCPS will get rid of and out of the county. Rosanne wants a quicker relief than July. Cindy added that this situation has implications for portables across the county. Pam Moomau added that she entered PTA because of the mold issue. Portables in general will be moldier, so there are probably others in the same shape. Parents need to be more strident about portables. Pam’s been long frustrated by portables not being a priority because it does take money. Pam hopes that MCCPTA will take a position and people will talk about this in budget testimony. Division of maintenance has cut twelve positions in the recommended budget.  Bells Mill did testify before the county council, but the focus is on Kendale. Cindy noted that at the county council CIP testimony the Gaithersburg cluster brought up the ongoing mold issue at Washington Grove Elementary School and that caught Mike Subin’s attention. Subin was heatedly involved with MCPS about mold and he doesn’t want it to come up again.

Walter Johnson Cluster:

Jane de Winter reminded us of the recent ranking of Walter Johnson High School as best in the world for AP world history. County council members acknowledge that Walter Johnson needs a new auditorium.

Kennedy Cluster:

Kennedy cluster coordinators participated with other Down County Consortium (DCC) cluster coordinators in a meeting discussing academic ineligibility and the decrease in reading levels (to fourth grade or below) of the entering ninth graders. MCPS tends to widely publicize AP outcomes, but doesn’t always share information that reflects the challenges that it is facing. There is a disconnect between scores on countywide tests and grades that students are getting in courses. This could reflect a difference between the courses and the curriculum. As a point of personal privilege Susan Joyce Thomas said that at the Board of Directors meetings and the delegate meetings I hear a lot of intelligent comments and at a high level of strategic thinking. I learn something every time I attend. Cindy referred her to Jay Mathew’s recent “Homeroom” column on reading levels of incoming freshmen.

Magruder Cluster:

Ted Willard reported that there are problems with the new systems in place for professional counseling established for teachers and principals. Principals having problems have a peer assisted review. There should be more of a probationary period for principals. In our community it was obvious from early on that there was not a good match. If there’s a problem from the start with a principal then you’re stuck with this process.

Richard Montgomery Cluster:

Liz Wheeler reported that the Richard Montgomery cluster is getting ready for the Board of Education visit in May. We’re in the process of having a dialog to select the principal of College Gardens Elementary School. The College Gardens community is very upset about the potential delay of the modernization of their school and they have become very active. The positive result of this is that parents of young children are becoming aware of the system. We have to constantly look for our replacements, and there are a lot of potential volunteers in this community. We continue to monitor Richard Montgomery’s construction schedule.

Sherwood Cluster:

Deborah Stevens-Panzer reported that they are working on next week’s Board of Education visit. They are working with the North East Consortium on an April forum on teen violence and gang activity.   

North East Consortium (NEC):

Phil Kaufman reported that Valerie Ervin has introduced another resolution for a boundary study for moving the Hampshire Green community from Key Middle School to Farquhar Middle School and changing the base areas of the NEC to move them from Springbrook to Blake. The vote will be taken at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting. The NEC choice process is the worst in its history this year. Many students are not getting their first school choice. One of our schools had very few students choose. MCPS assigned about fifty students to their third choice instead of their base area schools. That was corrected, but the issue is the disconnect between the demand for seats and where the seats are.

Presidents and Principals Dinner (tickets):

Cindy stated that we need to look at the cost for the presidents and principals dinner. Thirty different groups have applied for the Champions for Children award. We’d like to honor them in a booklet that will be handed out at the dinner. The booklet cost along with the preparation of a new venue for the dinner next year may mean an increase in the cost of a ticket.

            Sharon St. Pierre made a motion to increase the price of a ticket to the presidents and principals dinner from $36 to


Discussion included: the cost increase is needed because of the booklet and the cost increase of changing venues next year; sponsorship of the booklet through a grant could offset that cost, but he change of site remains a cost factor; keeping the ticket price the same this year would mean a big jump in cost next year, so an incremental raise of $4 was suggested; surplus would go back into the budget; a delegate opinion that politicians should not attend; politicians in attendance pay; legislative committee supports politicians attending; invitations are open; hold the cost to the current level; $4 should cover the cost of the booklet; booklets will be for the dinner and the delegate assembly; the cost of the booklet hasn’t been determined; costs of the dinner include invitations and decorations, too; not support increase on to defer the “shock” of the increase next year, but would support it if it really costs $4 more this year; separate amount for the booklet could be requested if we don’t get sponsorship; last year we were just about even on the budget for the dinner, so with the booklet we don’t have funding; either raise ticket prices or get a grant; great PTA programs to publicize; suggestion to separate the two items into booklet and ticket prices; the committee running the presidents and principals dinner wants to include the booklet, so we need to instruct them; the program booklets like NAACP and Champions for Children would probably cost $4 each; sponsorship will be sought; cost is printed on invitations; take it out of the budget; and put the current motion aside.

Suzanne Weiss said that if Sharon would put her motion aside that she will make a motion that if we produce such a brochure that we allocate the funds in the budget in the event that we’re not able to find other funds to cover it.


                Sharon St. Pierre made a motion to table her original motion. It was seconded and passed on a voice vote.


Suzanne Weiss made a motion that if the awards committee would like to produce the brochure that we allocate up to $500 in our budget for it.


Sharon St. Pierre said that if Suzanne would table her motion that she would table the whole booklet discussion and come back in April with the cost of the booklets. We can decide at that time if we want to approve them, and leave the ticket price at $36.


Suzanne withdrew her motion.

If you have an increase in expenses you still might need an increase in ticket prices. MCCPTA’s overall

budget is tight, so it’s important that we not go over budget.

            Ted Willard made a motion to increase the ticket price to $38. It was seconded. It passed on a voice vote.

Discussion included: tight budget means deficit spending, so prefer to raise the ticket; length of time ticket price has remained the same; cost raised just last year; negotiated price up until the last minute last year; some PTAs have difficulty sending anyone, but we want as many to come as can; higher attendance in an election year may cover the cost increase; it’s part of our responsibility to cover a little bit; and that it’s the same people’s money because it all comes from the locals.

Youth and Family Fair:

Victor Salazar reported that at the beginning of the year we had co-sponsored a youth forum on gangs. The organizations putting on this forum (see handout distributed tonight, “Youth and Family Fair”) asked if MCCPTA would like to co-sponsor this event. No children or politicians will be involved.  

Victor Salazar made a motion that MCCPTA sponsor this event only to publicize it. It was seconded. It by passed by a show of hands.

Discussion included: when the original $150 was given in the fall it was given with the understanding that that would be the model and it would be given across the county, yet this is in the same area; yes, the area is the same and Victor has had limited involvement; sponsorship needs to be controlled, so we need to know exactly who’s doing what since it has our name on it, so until we know that we shouldn’t sponsor it;  

Their agenda is on the list. Diane says that MCPS needs to talk about these issues. Pam said that Victor presented this agenda to the safety committee. Should this be brought to the delegates? Ted’s opinion that it

falls under our duties and responsibilities to sponsor such events. For the Martin Luther King breakfast we were sponsors. We will report to the delegates. Jim thinks it’s in isolation, so he’d rather sponsor something of a broader nature and it’s not expanding at all. Lending our name says that MCCPTA is concerned about this issue, so how can it not be a good thing. Endorsing those speakers could have limitless repercussions.

            Kay Romero called the question. It was passed on a voice vote.



Grading and Reporting:

Sharon St. Pierre gave a committee update for Shirley Brandman. Sharon reported to the delegates
Tuesday night for Shirley on 10 % homework for completion. Suzanne Weiss had found an error on the FAQs from MCPS regarding homework and partial credit. The clarification is that students should receive full credit for homework if the teachers see that students have made a good faith attempt regardless of accuracy, quality or completeness. Teachers can use professional judgment to give partial credit if homework wasn’t done with effort. The FAQ has been changed to reflect this.   

Operating Budget:

Jane de Winter reported that the county executive’s operating budget will be released on March 15. Updated revenues are released at the same time. Revenues have been above projections for the last several years. There was a $73 million surplus this year, so they’ll be some new money. Currently it’s about $40 million in the hole. It had been $38 million, but with the Board’s amendment after testimony, noted by Jane, they are $17 million short. SAG will raise $23 million. Jane’s been told that the county executive will include all of the money for the MCPS operating budget except the state GCEI (geographic cost of education index) funds, so that leaves $70 million. A county council member has said that they would scramble to find the $70 million. Steve Silverman said it’s too early to talk about the possibility of an override of the property tax charter limits. He’ll send a signal to the community. As for the capital budget, in his opinion the capital delays were the most significant that he has seen in his eight years. The total amount of letters and e-mail is “chump change”, so not impressive. They need political coverage. Officers will be meeting with Marilyn Praisner next week, so hopefully we’ll get more information. Marshall Spatz said that they won’t think about non-recommended cuts until after March 15. The county executive is comfortable that they’ll get the money and they’ll avoid the worst case scenario.

Middle School:

Juan Johnson said that not much has changed since his report to the delegates on Tuesday night. The committee received the second set of reports, but not a lot has come out of them, yet. There’s been more research than recommendations. MCPS will compile a few recommendations for the policy for the committee. Three community forums are coming up (listed on the back of tonight’s agenda page) and there will be a joint meeting with Linda Ferrell and the curriculum committee – date TBD. Patti Twigg will put the forums in on the calendar.  

Special Education:

Kay Romero distributed tonight and posted on the list serv the March 22 meeting topic. Instead of IDEA regulations, the meeting will focus on the PBS video, Understanding Learning Disabilities: How Difficult Can this Be? The F.A.T. City Workshop. It will be held at North Lake from 7:30 to 9:30 PM and is open to the public. May 8 is the annual special education recognition ceremony. Deadline for nominations is March 10. Various committee meetings and trainings that we work on are listed on our committee report distributed tonight.


Andrea Bernardo (a non-member of the Board of Directors) was accepted and allowed to speak on behalf of Jinhee and the legislative committee to give an update. Testimony was given yesterday on two pieces of legislation. One was Nancy King’s bill on no sex offenders working as contract employees at schools (almost the same language as Jean Cryor’s Senate version). Donna Pfeiffer and Jamie Jacobson also testified. Andrea testified as an individual.  Donna testified as the PTA president of Rocky Hill Middle School. Andrea also testified on Jean Cryor’s bill on sex offenders not being allowed to live within one mile of a school or park, and not being able to access a school. Nancy King will be coordinating additional testimony next week. Andrea is bothered by the Board of Education meeting where Donna testified because the legislative packet was there and the superintendent had a recommended and took a position. The Board of Education supported us on contractors, but they didn’t adequately describe Jean Cryor’s bill as covering two separate issues. Andrea is concerned that the legislative person for the Board of Education was selectively reporting information and that Senator Garagiola’s bill was never reported. Suzanne added that the process is that pending legislation that may affect children is synthesized, it comes through Dr. Weast with his recommendation for or against, or no position, and then it goes to the Board of Education. At Monday night’s meeting there were twenty pieces of legislation. Suzanne was pleased that the Board members had discussions on many of these issues, but didn’t necessarily support the decision that was presented to them. The Board response to asking contractors to screen for sex offenders, so that they’re not around our children ranged from why would we want to do this because we’d have to pay our contractors more to protecting our children as the primary reason. Suzanne encouraged us to look on line at the Board of Education agendas and the supporting documentation.


Neal Myerson reported that the county Reflections awards ceremony will be held at Mario Loiederman Middle School on Thursday, April 27 at 7 PM for the exhibit and 7:30 PM for the program.

Gifted Child:

Diane McHale reported that the GT liaisons will have a meeting on March 30 from 7:15 PM to 9:15 PM in the Carver cafeteria. The focus will be improving programs in elementary and middle schools. Diane asked for permission to have Fred Stiknott a parent from White Oak Middle School to speak to the resolution that the committee will present tonight. The resolution deals with the middle school reform, and the GT policy which says that a curriculum should be written although it’s never been produced. The middle school GT liaisons say that the program isn’t challenging, science and social studies classes are not differentiated because the teachers don’t have enough materials. Fred worked up the resolution that asks the middle school reform steering committee to include in its plans the recommendation that MCPS develop a GT curriculum. Teachers don’t have anything definite to teach, so it’s difficult for them to differentiate. The resolution cites various sources. The words that the sources use include, scope, sequence, systematic, continuity, cumulative, higher level and acceleration. The words that I use are cohesive, coherent and cumulative. Now we have the regular curriculum with the occasional blip of enrichment that just isn’t

cumulative, coherent and cohesive. Fred would appreciate the resolution being put on the MCCPTA agenda and that it be included in the reform plan. He and Diane request this resolution be presented to the March delegate assembly, taken back to locals and then be voted on at the April meeting. The Board of Directors has the option tonight of voting to endorse or not, or waiting to respond at the April meeting. The consensus of the body was polled because of the lateness of the evening.

            Kay Romero made a motion to consider the Board of Directors recommendation to endorse the GT resolution tonight.

It was seconded. The motion failed by a show of hands. 

Discussion included: a preference to not vote on something that you read for the first time late tonight; voting’s different if you’re already familiar with the issues (like ticket prices); the curriculum committee hasn’t had a chance to discuss the resolution, so their chair’s preference is to wait; favor waiting and suggest getting it out on the list serv. The original motion doesn’t preclude bringing it up again, so Diane can bring it back in April since the motion failed. Cindy will move our business to the beginning of the next meeting. Cindy will include this resolution in our mailing to the delegates.


Marney Jacobs reported that CIP is a long process. The county council recognized the room full of people and our MCCPTA and cluster testimony was well received. Dick Hawes has said nothing more about money. The amendment for $975,000 is needed for full day kindergarten acceleration, which may come out of somebody’s gym. FAA-RA is now a regulation, so we will be sending cluster coordinator comments due in May. It doesn’t specify May 1 or 31. Forums will be held with Bruce Crispell. After March 15 we’ll know more and we may ask for people to do another round of contacts. Victor asked about Mike Knapp’s reference to a straw poll vote on the CIP budget at the end of February. Marney thinks that the county council will adopt the budget as is because they have no reason to reject it at this point. The question was asked if we should be advocating for the county executive to add revenues to CIP through PAYGO. Marney thinks that’s why the county executive is back pedaling. Jim Keenan added that not all of the PAYGO money will go to the schools. Suzanne Weiss raised the CIP issue of tech mod that she had posted on the list serv regarding asking parents to purchase computers for the schools. Suzanne has documentation from MCPS stating that they have not changed the ratio of computers to students. MCPS buys computers for schools before they replace old ones. Suzanne has gotten parent responses from e-mails re: computers. MCCPTA needs to be aware that MCPS goes into a school, and either directly or through the principal, explains to the PTA that the school will be losing computers between ten and forty computers in tech mod.  They explain that the PTA parents have the opportunity to replace those computers at their own expense, if within two weeks the PTA can give MCPS $40,000. Questions raised are why if your enrollment has gone up the ratio remains stagnant. Also, there should be no difference between purchasing text books and computers as elements that need to be provided for our students. Some of the county PTAs have come up with the money by doing fund raisers. Suzanne stated that this situation is occurring across the county, not in her cluster, and it needs to be brought up. Suzanne added that if MCPS feel it’s adequate to have this computer ratio, then they should stand by it instead of asking PTAs to contribute money to buy more computers. Computers bought for tech mod go away when they remodel because they become county property and the PTA has no control over that. Richard Montgomery’s PTSA is discussing letting the school system tell us what they’ll be providing before they supplement. Cindy suggested that we gather this information, and Suzanne will present it as a business item at our next meeting. Marney doesn’t see this as a capital investment.


ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 10:19 PM.