PTO Meeting Minutes for March 6, 2018

President: Terry Holt
Treasurers: Kate Leary and Andrew Malone along with Aletta Tibbetts (end of year tax review)
Secretary: Roslyn Fitzgerald
VP of Fundraising: Patsy O’Brien
VP of Committees: Stewart Ikeda

Update from Arlington School Committee – Len Kardon (liaison to SEPAC and Hardy):

Arlington schools will see a budget increase for next year of 8.5%, which is something not seen in many other school districts at this time. Arlington is starting to see enrollments level off at the Kindergarten level (after a huge increase in enrollment in past years) which means we’ll hopefully catch up with the growth in years to come. Overall, it’s an extremely busy time with so many projects/renovations and school constructions happening. Some points of note below:

  • An extra $1.3 million allocation has been made for Gibbs operating budget. Cluster numbers will be reduced – can be up to 150 students; now about 80 students. Adding staff at the high school, adding a half cluster at the Ottoson.
  • Full time Kindergarten teaching assistants: that was funded, so all elementary schools will have full time TAs moving forward.
  • High school – submission to the State targeted for April, which includes both suggestions for renovation/demolition/new construction. Per law, all options must be considered. Getting other options from architects/designers. April 4th forum where the architect is going to present ideas. Once funding approved, projected start date is Fall 2020, with a finish date of around 2023. $250 million expense, with the town planning to borrow $150 million.
  • Debt exclusion/override to fund the construction project:
    Arlington town funding comes mostly from property taxes. In MA, there is a law which limits the amount of increases in property taxes each year, even if there are more needs within the community. The cap is 2.5% increase per year unless the voters authorize an additional tax increase to pay for what we need. The current yearly tax increase only covers existing staff wage/inflation increases. Given that we have large building expenses and a need for more staff, an override must happen at some point in the near future. The Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen are in the process of working out how much extra to ask for and for how long (typically, an increase lasts 3-5 years).
  • Question about pool at High school? Len stated that it must be built in a separate building and can’t be contained within the high school main building due to MSBA budget/payment regulations. The town is funding a study addressing this for Capital planning, but either way it won’t be part of the building, if it is built at all.
  • Gibbs – moving along well. Mostly on schedule and budget.
  • Thompson and Stratton finished. Ottoson potential reconfiguration once 6th grade moves out.
  • Minuteman project – on schedule and budget. Open in fall of 2019.
  • A director of social/emotional learning was recently hired. Goal is to train all staff in mental health aid; safe and supportive schools plan. Even though there is one full-time social worker in every school, people have identified the need for additional support. She is looking at that and is trying to incorporate into the long range plan but focusing on professional training right now.

Principal’s report – Kristin De Francisco:
A huge thank you to all involved for an awesome silent auction (which raised nearly $13 000).
The biggest news is that the Principal candidates have or will be visiting the building. So far, Kristin has met with 2 candidates. She discussed the unique community of Hardy, and initiatives that can be built upon. They toured the building, during which many kids communicated the three C’s: Caring, Conscientious and Confident, which was impressive to see. On Tuesday 3/13 at 6:30pm, there is a parent question evening, where each candidate will give a short presentation followed by a time for questions. Please promote this event as it’s important to participate as a community, and Dr. Bodie will be reading feedback from parents after the event.

Playground update: bids came in from a couple of companies for the Lake Street side playground. There is a new facilities director who was recently hired, so they will be updated accordingly.
Question from parent to Kristin: can we consider a storage pod (with equipment that can be pulled out for play?). Kristin explained that last year the graduating 5th graders gave a gift which was a shed with equipment, but it was broken into one weekend and everything was stolen. Kristen is still open to the general idea but we need to think of something more secure.
Follow up question from parent to Kristin: will air quality be tested by a 3rd party during construction? We don’t want our kids exposed to construction dust, etc. Kristin will follow up on this.

Teacher Representatives’ Report – Heather Smith (ELL, teacher representative):
Thank you on behalf of the teachers for all the work the PTO does for the school.
A very helpful mindfulness training was conducted by the social/emotional learning director.
Friends of Spy Pond newsletter: Hardy is featured due to their role/interest in the Spy Pond cleanup, so look out for the newsletter.  

Fundraising Report – Patsy O’Brien:
Thank you to everyone for donations, time, and money. Last year 80 parents attended and this year it was closer to 130. Raised about $13 000.
Walkathon – April 20th:  Terry to head up email list/committee to discuss with Kate and Patsy regarding the ongoing planning of this event. 20% of the Walkathon profits will be donated to Arlington EATS/Hardy snack distribution.
Arlington EATS/Hardy snacks (Ann Chhabra) – Sarah Evans suggested that we make a paypal link on the Hardy website to make it easier for parents to donate to this cause.

Treasurer’s report  – Kate Leary:

Payments made since 2/9 report:

2/6/18 – $371.40, parent, International Festival
2/8/18 – $338.00, Docuprint Express Hardy Directory
2/8/18 – $783.00, The Discovery Museums, Grade 1 Enrichment (Science)
2/14/18 –  $ 88.67, Kate Leary, admin expenses (stamps, office supplies, PictoChart)
2/28/18 – bank for silent auction, $300 cash         
2/28/18 – $52.15, parent, admin expense from 2016-17 (shredding, etc)
3/1/18 – $3094, BROADLink Technology Solutions             
3/1/18 – $90, Paula O’Sullivan, Teacher Reimbursement
3/1/18 – $279,    Histrionic Academy LLC, fifth grade freedom trail field trip           
3/1/18 – $5.83, parent, IF supply reimbursement              
3/1/18 – $123.77, Kathryn Feinmann, Teacher Reimbursement                  

Deposits made since 2/9 report:              

2/8/18 – $250, John’s Landscape Service, Inc, SA sponsorship
2/14/18 – $1,100, transfer from Paypal, mostly SA tickets, but it’s not all figured out yet.
2/22/18 – $ 200.00, SA sponsorship, community member
2/28/18 – $905, transfer from Paypal, mostly SA tickets
2/28/18 – $400.00, Bright Funds, DDD matching donation              
2/28/18 – $260, Another Chapter (Ms. Muirhead’s library fund) 
3/6/18 – $300 SA bank returned (cash)
3/6/18 – $2204.00 SA cash earnings (raffles, wine pull)
3/6/18 – $470 SA checks (mix of night-of tickets and payment for items won)

$1503.17 balance – all paying for auction items from invoices sent yesterday

Spirit Wear:
$435 profit so far this year. Bonnie will do another push soon. Lots of stock left because she did a big order earlier in the year.

Silent Auction:
Approximate profit is $12,000-13,000! All will go toward the new playground. We will work with the Town Manager’s Office to figure out the best way to handle our contribution administratively.  

BUDGET for rest of 2017-18
balance as of 3/6/18
$ 37,750.00

Projected expenditures

outstanding checks
$ (550.75)

transfer to savings
$ (8,000.00)

Silent Auction Sponsorships (playground)
$ (700.00)

Silent Auction ticket sales (playground)
$ (1,839.88)

website fees
$ (100.00)

EATS snacks (fresh fruit)
$ (100.00)

Field trips
$ (9,500.00)

remaining IF budget
$ (1,292.40)

remaining library budget
$ (1,734.07)

By the Book (Ms. Muirhead’s fund)
$ (260.00)

Fifth grade graduation
$ (1,900.00)

literacy night
$ (300.00)

Colonial Day materials
$ (500.00)

Colonial Day enrichment assembly
$ (450.00)

outstanding teacher reimbursements
$ (1,000.00)

Field Day
$ (400.00)

Teacher Appreciation Week
$ (900.00)

Tax Preparation
$ (400.00)

AHS Graduation Party
$ (100.00)

Science Camp Fund
$ (2,700.00)

MCBA Books
$ (1,200.00)

Art Teacher Supplies
$ (850.00)

Holiday help 2018-19 (earmarked from 2017)
$ (90.00)

possible expenses

Mini Grants
$ (500.00)

EATS snacks line item for 2018-19
$ (1,000.00)

Projected income

$ 2,500.00

matching Walkathon donation, Matt Urcioli
$ 2,500.00

box tops (April)
$ 237.00

Cause and Event race
$ 400.00

supplies drive
$ 2,500.00

Projected uncommitted funds 8/18
$ 9,719.90

Question regarding the budget: Is saving 1/3 of our operating expenses (per the bylaws) necessary?
– Need reserves in case of fiscal downturn/lesser fundraising
– Unanticipated expenses coming up with the new build.
– Transparency/fiscal responsibility
– Hard to reconcile having money set aside when we aren’t funding things that are promised (eg. overhead projectors)
– Too high a %; consider reducing?
– Parents concerned that money they donated isn’t used for their child that year. A motion was passed to approve the budget for the rest of the school year. Motion seconded. Motion passes unanimously to approve the budget, including the 1/3 savings requirement.

Communications update – Sarah Evans and Aimee Miller:
This is Sarah and Aimee’s last year at Hardy and they need to transition their role of managing the Hardy website. There are questions about whether to continue with the same host site, Weebly. There’s not much continuity among Arlington schools’ host websites. The district should own the school websites, but we also need access and flexibility. WordPress recommended over Weebly. Need a committee to help with the transition.

Electronic newsletter update – Holly Rossi.
Each month after the Tuesday PTO meeting, Holly sends out the electronic version by that Friday. The paper
backpack letter goes out on the last day of the month. If anyone wants to participate in the process, contact Holly at

Committee updates:
Enrichment committee – an anti-bullying program taking place on 3/23.
Books and Arts – Literacy night will most likely be on 5/10 but still TBD.
Sports Committee – Walkathon on April 20th. Terry to head up email list/committee to discuss with Kate and Patsy about coordinating the event.
Field Day – need new leadership. May 1st, raindate May 8th. If interested, contact Terry at

Old Business:
Overheads project: 8 classrooms have been installed with HDMI cables (K &1st). IT guy came in and gave teachers instructions for how to use them and the feedback has been great. That is 1/3 of the project completed. Cost $3094, a little less than expected.

New Business:
Cause and event – Kate Leary:
This is a 5K event on May 13th where 50% of the registration fee goes to a charity of your choice. ( That could mean $15 donation to the Hardy PTO. If anyone wants to have a family meetup for the race on Mother’s Day May 13th, please contact Kate at Aimee will put on the Hardy calendar.

April teacher appreciation week – Patsy O’Brien:
Last week in April. Still need volunteers. Contact Patsy at

Snow Day Traffic volunteers – Terry Holt:
There continue to be areas of congestion during drop-off and many places where kids aren’t safe. This includes the circular driveway in front of the office and the teacher carpark, where parents are NOT allowed to enter. Terry seeking volunteers to stand out there, (especially on snow days) to help with the safe flow of traffic. Contact Terry at

Bike Safety – Terry Holt:
Terry trying to schedule a Mass D.O.T (Department of Transportation) free bike program. They come to the school to teach kids about bike/road safety. Terry is thinking we’ll focus on the 5th graders, as they are the ones likely to be riding to Gibbs next year.

NEXT PTO meeting will be April 10 at 6:30pm in the library