PTSA OKs Budget; Advisory to Return in 2023-24

The homeroom-like “Advisory” period will be back in 2023-24 after a one-year absence, Principal Tarance Hart said Tuesday night at a PTSA General Meeting that also included a membership vote to approve $289,000 in spending for next school year.

Advisory is likely to occupy two weekly periods of about 35 minutes and one of 60. Curriculum and details are yet to be worked out, but students can expect social-emotional learning, announcements, career/college prep activities and other features. Garfield is also hoping to return to having a single daily lunch period next year, which would simplify scheduling of club meetings and food-service operations.

Dr. Hart further noted:

  • Garfield is seeking to restore Calculus BC (one section) and Japanese, two subjects threatened by the 2023-24 budget cut of two teaching positions. Some teaching assignments are being juggled.
  • He is committed to continuing to convene staff, families, PTSA leadership and others to work during the summer on campus safety issues. The District will discontinue after this week the  private security personnel stationed outside (in response to three shooting incidents on and near Garfield in May).
  • A part-time social worker has been added as part of student support services in addition to the existing four counselors and other positions.
  • The new Athletics and Activities Director will be Tiffany Bigham, who has been at Garfield for several years in college- and career-related positions.

Also last night, PTSA members approved unanimously a 2023-24 budget that anticipates income of about $244,000 and a spend-down of reserves in order to support at least $289,000 in expenses. New or significantly increased spending in the plan, which is on the 2022-23 meeting materials page, include:

  • Teacher stipends (bumped to $350 per teacher from $300) for supplies and other educational purposes;
  • Library Assistant hours ($7,500 for a position last filled before the pandemic);
  • Library materials (doubled to $10,000);
  • The Small Grants Fund, administered by the BLT, enlarged to $25,000 (from $18,000 this year);
  • Newly dedicated support of $5,000 for student clubs

As a result of unexpected increases in the reserve fund in recent years, the PTSA Board hopes to help counteract District cuts with further spending to be considered in the fall after discussions with Dr. Hart, Building Leadership Team (BLT) Chair Jamie Rees and others. The PTSA is able to address so many needs thanks to community support of the Spring Gala and the Annual Fund (which has now surpassed the $140,000 goal). The PTSA thanks everyone for their donations of money and time!

In other business:

  • The PTSA hopes to work with the school to set up a scholarship fund that would honor the late Theo Celios, a longtime PTSA volunteer.
  • The Building Leadership Team has approved more Small Grants (up to $300) funded by the PTSA, including a special allocation of $3,000 to purchase copies of a book highlighting Asian American Pacific Islanders.
  • The BLT will this week produce a draft of next Continuous School Improvement Plan (stating goals and strategies to achieve them), but it will not be complete until the fall.
  • PTSA is still seeking to fill some 2023-24 Officer and other roles, and will be contacting the membership during the summer with further information.
  • Members noted the outstanding contributions of Officers stepping down after this school year, including “Class of 2023 graduates” President Kayla Epting and Vice President Sara Dickerman, and Co-Treasurer Mary Murray.