PTSA Members OK New Leaders, Budget Hike

PTSA logo with BulldogPTSA members on Oct. 17 elected Jennifer Marquardt and Alicia Spanswick as 2023-24 Co-Presidents and approved $78,000 in new outlays to help GHS coordinate volunteers and assist students in danger of not graduating.

The total 2023-24 Budget is now at $367,550, and forecasts a deficit (planned spend-down of cash reserves) of about $123,000. Key expenses include $45,000 for a half-time staff member to assist students not on track to graduate, $22,500 for a part-time volunteer coordinator, more than $88,000 in direct support for teachers and staff ($350 stipends, project grants, appreciation events and professional development) and a $50,000 subsidy for the annual Grad Night Party to ensure seniors end their big day in June safe and sober.

Also at the first General Membership Meeting of the school year (held via Zoom):

  • Assistant Principal Mary Hopkins answered attendee questions about support for students who may have concerns about safety in the wake of two incidents of shots fired near the Garfield campus. Ms. Hopkins noted the availability of counselors and mental health professionals, and added that three students connected to an incident have been transferred out of Garfield.

  • Garfield Teen Health Center staff members Dr. Terri Ameri and Michelle Reese presented information about its wide range of mental health, contraception, sports physical and other services. Vaccinations for COVID and flu are available, but students need to obtain consent and enrollment forms before making appointments at the center, which is in Room 102.

  • GHS Athletic/Activities Director Tiffany Bigham (tlbigham@seattleschools.org) announced a Teen Health Center Clinic / Winter Sports Clinic/Event 6-8:30 pm Oct. 24 for families and student-athletes. It will feature info sessions with coaches as well as the opportunity for on-the-spot sports physicals.Ms. Bigham also noted she is seeking a Bowling coach (stipend included); is working on creating an NCAA/NIAA information session for athletes who are seeking college-sports opportunities; and will organize a clubs fair to help expose students to the full range of extra-curricular activities.

  • On Oct. 20, Garfield students will elect school-wide student government leaders as well as grade-level class officers, Ms. Bigham said. The campaigns have been underway, featuring posters and 2-minute candidate videos, and results will be announced on Oct. 24.

Additional PTSA General Meeting Business:

  • In electing Jennifer Marquardt and Alicia Spanswick as Board Co-Presidents, the PTSA membership was finally allowing the departure of outgoing President Kayla Epting, who served for nearly 15 months after her term normally would have ended in June 2022. The PTSA Board will be thanking Kayla in multiple ways!

  • PTSA members also unanimously elected as Co-Treasurers Kate Ross and Parry Schmeichel, and as Co-Secretaries Puneet Dewan and Michael Pickett. The Vice President role remains unfilled, and the PTSA continues to seek Board members and key volunteers.

  • Co-Treasurer Parry Schmeichel presented the revised budget’s ¬†added spending, which had been discussed by the Board for several months, in consultation with Principal Tarance Hart. The revised and increased budget was approved unanimously by the membership.


At the end of the General Meeting, the PTSA Board convened its own meeting, discussing issues including Garfield’s need for a gender-neutral multi-stall bathroom.

The Board heard from Building Leadership Team representatives Bill Brewster and Trinia Washington that BLT on Oct. 24 will be considering the first round of applications for PTSA-funded Small Grants. Also, the 2023-26 Continuous School Improvement Plan has been finalized by a BLT subgroup and submitted to SPS administration.