Friends of LACES – Meeting Minutes – December 14, 2011

Maggie Scott called the meeting to order at approximately 7:05 and noted that we would begin our meeting out of order having the Principal’s report first.

Principal’s report:

Mr. Boger announced a tentative new date for the end of the school year which is Tuesday, June 19.  This shortens the school year by four days.

With respect to the transportation funding issue – it looks like the District is going to sue the State over the transportation funds but in the meantime there will be no changes this year with respect to transportation.

A bit of good news, Measure Q funds has money in it that needs to be spent.  We have commitment that the money will be there to enable us to convert four classrooms into science labs – complete with sinks and tables!

Also, the wireless fiber optic project started today.  It will take approximately eight months to complete but when it is finished the school will have a single wireless network.

Mr. Boger has heard through the grapevine that there have been non-school sanctioned private events, or parties held outside of school where adults were allowing kids to drink alcohol.  Mr. Boger wants to make it clear that if he ever receives any detailed information about such activity it is his legal obligation to turn that information over to the DCFS.

Now for the bad news:  At the School Board meeting last night, the Board announced it has changed is percentage ratio designation for schools who receive Title 1 funding which in effect, takes away Title 1 funds from 23 schools – LACES being one of them.  What does does this mean for LACES?  It means we will loose $460,000 out of next year’s budget.  How can this happen?  The Federal government gives local schools districts the Title 1 funding and they decide how to use the funds.  Currently, the Board has two rankings for schools, one is if your school has 40% or more of its students on free or reduced lunch and the other is 60%.  This year LACES has 46% and thus qualified for Title 1 funding.  The District, however, decided to change the ranking of how they are to distribute the money to 50%, which will take our funding away.  For us, Title 1 funds 2 teachers, 1 counselor, 3½ days of a school nurse, all tutoring, math study groups, math mania, calculus camp, professional development for our teachers, our parent representative and the choir teacher.  If we loose 2 teachers that will translate into 12 less classes – which would give us another increase in class size.  We will have more information in January, but it does not look good.

Finally, please see the website to familiarize yourself with what is an excusable absence.  It is written in law that truant is anyone absent three times without an excusable absence.  What is an excusable absence?  If you are sick or have a doctor’s appointment.  College tours or family trips must have prior approval from the principal to be considered excusable – bad weather is not excusable.

Approval of October Minutes: Elizabeth Dennehy moved to approve the November minutes, Elise Sandiford seconded the motion and the minutes were approved.

Department Presentation:

Music Department by Mr. Monarch:

Mr Monarch introduced himself and gave a brief description of the music department at LACES which includes choir, instrumental music, some theory, beginning strings, winds, junior band, advanced band and jazz band.  There are 200 to 300 kids in the program.  We provide the instruments and the kids do not need prior experience.  Mr. Monarch told us that they are trying to get another piano – which will also need a cover and lock to protect it.

Mr. Monarch also expressed his concern about what he sees as a change in the culture at LACES, especially among the middle school kids.  He says there are discipline issues with the 7th and 8th graders and that the kids do not view school as an academic institution.  There could be many causes to this, including the fact that the district has fewer offenses in the behavior codes that warrant suspension.  Also, problems could be more evident because of staff reductions and the teachers and administrators feel stretched.

Social Studies / History Department by Mr. Robinson:

Mr. Robinson is head of the Social Studies department.  There are 8 sections for grades 6,7 and 8.  Each class has 36 kids in it, he does not know if that number will go up.  Mr. Robinson acknowledged that LACES as a school pushes AP classes and he is not quite sure of the value.  One parent asked how the writing is in this department as past teachers who retired were very strong on writing and he asked if the new teachers were carrying that emphasis forward.

Mr. Robinson is also the teacher overseeing detentions.  He said that many of the kids are repeat offenders and they would like to find a way to make detention more meaningful.  We do not have in-school suspension and if a student is suspended the school does not get money for that student that day.  Thus, we are reluctant to suspend.  Mr. Robinson will ask Mr. Kaslow to come in January and address the issues and changes.

 

Funding Requests: Andy gave a follow up report with respect to the bike racks.  He needs $740.24 in order to get three racks.  In October we agreed there was money available from beautification to fund this.  Parents would like to see a helmets mandatory sign to be placed near the racks.

Financial Report: Our Treasurer, Norman was not at the meeting to provide a report but we have raised over $60,000 in the direct donation drive and are ahead of where we were last year at this time.

BPO: Met on Monday they are sponsoring Friday’s teacher breakfast.

KPO: Funded money for agendas and copy paper.  January 20 there is going to be a Korean cultural assembly in periods 5 and 6 in honor of Korean Cultural Day.

LPO: Met on Saturday. Ms. Carr came and discussed strategies to stay involved in kids education.

 

Fundraising:

Donor’s Choose: There is a matching grant partnership with the Wasserman foundation and DonorsChoose.org which can potentially translate to $24,000 to LACES.  How does this work?  One card can be used per email address.  That means if you have more than one email address at your home, you can use one card per address.  Follow the instructions on the card to select LACES and then to look for the project requests by the teachers.  Remember, this is use it or loose it free money – so lets spread the word and get everyone to participate.

Tech drive will start in February with a drawing to be held in April at the Gala.  There will be 2 prizes, the second will be for the kid who sells the most tickets.

 

Hospitality: Counseling department instituted after school tutoring for middle schoolers on Mondays with our Leadership students being the tutors.  There is no January teacher breakfast from hospitality; Coffee Stop is this Friday.

Student Body Liaison: Leadership had campus beautification.  PJ day is this Friday and in the new year Leadership will start monthly updates on the website.

Good and Welfare: Horray for the Green Team who has raised over $400 for our school with their recycling efforts!

Have a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year to everyone!

 

Meeting was adjourned.

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