It has been one heck of a busy week. For a couple of days, I was in PTA (well, there's no other way to say it) hell. This year, I am co-chair of the Book Fair. Hopefully, I will learn all I need to know for next year, when I chair the committee. (Oh, joy!)
However, most of the angst I felt this week was due to the Cultural Arts committee (also known as Arts-in-Education) of which I'm the chair. Essentially, Cultural Arts helps facilitate the students' educational enrichment. Mrs. W (who happens to be the Mayor's second grade teacher from last year) always brings in this program on dinosaurs to culminate the unit. Since it happens so early in the school year, it can be tricky to coordinate the vendor and Boces approval. If you're not familiar with Boces--they (in this case) are the overseers of the various enrichment programs. It just so happens that Dinosaurs Rock! was not included in the Boces list of programs last year. So, my predecessor asked the PTA if we would agree to fund it. Of course, the members approved to do so. (I'm glad too, my daughter LOVED it.) This year, Mrs. W asked if we could once again fund the program if Dinosaurs Rock! was not one of the approved vendors. I called a Boces representative who told me that they once were on the list but weren't currently. Then, I decided to take the proverbial "bull by the horns" and call the people at Dinosaurs Rock! Once again I spoke to a lovely and helpful woman who indicated to me, she was mailing off the form within a couple of days. In the meantime, we had a PTA meeting pending, so at that point, I decided I would ask the Executive Board if Boces wouldn't pay for it, if our funds could do so. I shared the total cost and reminded them that we did this last year. Unfortunately, for me, the school principal spoke up and didn't know why we should pay for it. I tried to speak, however I couldn't find my voice. This happens to me when I am scared or shocked. I saw the writing on the wall-this teacher was NOT going to get her program and the principal didn't care. As luck would have it, we have some out-spoken members (and in this case-it worked out for me), the past treasurer added that it doesn't make a difference. She said that we either pay now or we pay later. This is a correct statement, because if we go over budget we have to pay Boces back. However, it's good, because they increase our budget for the next school year. But, back to my problem and the meeting, the principal said he would take care of it (meaning he'd talk to the teacher), but we didn't vote on it. So, in my mind, the principal was cancelling her program.
I barely slept that night, thinking that I failed the teacher, the second graders and my job to make enrichment programs happen for all of the students. Ready to quit, I finally called the PTA president who said she'd check into it. When I saw her later in the day, she told me that she'd speak to the principal after the dust settles and if we had to do a vote by telephone we could do it. A phone vote means that I would call all the members (with a witness present) and ask them to approve paying for the program. Fast forward 24 hours, when I called Boces and was told that Dinosaurs Rock! is an approved program. Quickly, I fill out the paperwork online and email it to the appropriate people. Hooray! Hooray!
Not for nothing, I hope this gets easier. I will keep you posted.