PTSA General Meeting: Student safety, new Officers

The November 15 PTSA General Meeting focused on student safety and wellness, as well as votes to approve the 2022-23 Budget and several new Officers. And, for the first time, the meeting was conducted both in-person at the GHS Library and via Zoom.

The following PTSA membership actions were taken by votes of acclamation:

  • Approval of what had been the provision 2022-23 Budget, which features a $55,000 investment in supplemental staffing for the GHS administration (primarily for communications and volunteer coordination).
  • Election to fill Officer vacancies:
    • Co-President – Kendra Sims
    • Co-Treasurer – Kate Ross
    • Co-Secretaries – Smita Apte and Puneet Dewan

The newly chosen Officers join previously elected 2022-23 Co-Treasurer Mary Murray, and 2021-22 Co-President Kayla Epting and Vice President Sara Dickerman, who have continued in their positions pending replacement. Kayla and Sara plan to transition out of Officer positions in January. Huge thanks to both of them, and congratulations to all!

Also during the meeting:

  • Principal Hart fielded questions from the audience. In the wake of the gunshot murder of a student at Ingraham High School, safety at Garfield has been on many people’s minds. Dr. Hart, who started at Garfield in 2021, noted that the openness of the campus was unlike the facilities in Jackson, Mississippi, where he had spent most of his career in education.Dr. Hart urged families to advocate to the District for funding of strategies such as increased security staffing. The PTSA leadership plans to help with advocacy options.
  • Stephanie Tschida, Executive Director of Healthy Youth Central Area Network, presented an overview of substance abuse by teenagers, as revealed in the 2021 “Healthy Youth” survey conducted throughout King County. Among the data for Garfield, when asked about behaviors in the past 30 days: 11% of seniors self-reported e-cigarette use or vaping; 27% reported having an alcoholic beverage; and 21% said they had used marijuana. Stephanie emphasized that it’s critical for parents and caregivers to discuss possible substance use with their children. See the presentation slides.
  • The PTSA Budget is expected to dip into reserves by $50,000. Some discussion focused on large expenses, such as the Grad Night Party subsidy, and the need for the PTSA to address what would eventually be an unsustainable yearly deficit.