Thursday, December 22, 2016

Member Connection - Winter Edition

In observance of the holiday season, the WSPTA office will close at noon on Friday, December 23 and will re-open Tuesday, January 3rd.

Thank you to each member, volunteer, leader, and supporter for all of your hard work throughout the PTA year and have a happy holiday season.

As we approach the New Year, there is one big change taking place with the Great Wolf Lodge Discount Program. The change is, the discount code provided allows WSPTA members to book at any Great Wolf Lodge in the US and receive a discount!

January 16 | State Capitol | Registration
Have you registered for 2017 Focus Day? In order to receive your free Top Five Platform t-shirt, you will need to register! Learn more about Focus Day here.

Following the release of Governor Inslee's proposed budget, which includes $3.9B in education funding, WSPTA advocates will hear from the Governor himself.

Ready to Rally? WSPTA advocates will be rallying on the capitol steps to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday by celebrating Education as a Civil Right, alongside many other Washington State advocacy groups.

Meet Your Legislators. The main reason for Focus Day is learning about Washington State PTA (WSPTA), our advocacy an legislative platform, and meeting with your legislators to talk about the importance of our Whole Child advocacy! Don't miss this opportunity for an exclusive audience with your elected officials.

In addition to the Governor, new Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Chris Reykdal will also spend time with us in the rotunda. Chris will talk about his vision for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and his top priorities during the first 100 days of office

Kids are welcome! There will be kids’ activities available in the Columbia Room.

Washington’s ESSA Consolidated Plan represents a serious turning point in our state’s educational system. It continues the path of innovation and excellence in education, and positions 1.1 million students for a more successful future. The Consolidated Plan is being created as part of the requirements of the 2015 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, entitled Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) must submit the ESSA Consolidated Plan to the U.S. Department of Education for approval by the end of December 2016. If you have questions about ESSA, please contact Sherry Krainick, WSPTA Learning Assessment Coordinator.

Submit to Intent Form Due January 9
The WSPTA//Game Development Competition is a new Washington State PTA STEM-based program that supports student success for students in grades 9-12. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for students to use their creative talents by expressing themselves, either individually or in teams, by creating a computer game. 

Got Game? Learn more about the competition here.

Note: The General Rules for Participation have been updated to include information about usage of acceptable game engines. In general, participants may use any game engine that fits their needs or skills but they must read and understand the terms and conditions for use.

We understand that choosing the right fundraiser can feel overwhelming. Over the past 15 years, Boosterthon has developed a proven system that raises schools (on average) 70% more than their previous fundraiser. It's just one of the many reasons why 1,900 elementary schools across America choose Boosterthon's fitness and character-building experience year after year. Learn more.

The slogan for the Listen2YourSelfie youth marijuana prevention campaign is “Remember what’s important. Forget marijuana.” This video contest gives teens 13-18 the chance to shape the campaign, win a GoPro and appear in future campaign ads. We want to make this campaign more youth-led by learning, “What’s important to you?”

For more information, visit or follow #Listen2YourSelfie.

March 1
This statewide essay contest explores the important contributions that men make in the lives and education of children - from our children's perspective. All men involved in a child's life - fathers, uncles, grandpas, brothers, step-fathers, mentors, neighbors, pastors, coaches, and friends - impact the children they care about. Learn more here.

The following is a list of PTAs/PTSAs that have chartered during the 2016-17 PTA year:
  • Risdon Middle PTA 9.11.92 
  • North Elementary PTA 12.2.10 
  • Carbonado Historical School PTA 5.9.22 
  • Gibson PTSA 2.6.60 
  • Blue Ridge PTA 12.6.7 
  • Marysville Middle School PTSA 7.4.45
  • Kalles Jr. High PTSA 5.7.95

Friday, December 16, 2016

WSPTA Leadership Roundup: Week Ending 12/17

In observance of the holiday season, the WSPTA office will close at noon on Friday, December 23 and will re-open Tuesday, January 3rd.
PT Avenue will be down for major maintenance on December 27th and 28th. You will not be able to access PT Avenue during this time.

Contest Extended to December 20th
Thank you to all who joined a PTA this past month, and thank you to the PTAs for entering their new gift memberships. 

A holiday bonus: We are extending the contest entry period 'til December 20th and we will hold the drawing January 13th. Enter gift memberships here.
December 31
The WSPTA Leadership Committee is reaching out to seek external presenters for the 104th Annual WSPTA Convention, April 28-30, 2017. If you are or know a great presenter with an applicable topic, complete the online form. Form includes tips and disclaimer. 
January 16, 2017 | Capitol Building, Olympia
Have you registered yet? Focus Day is fast approaching. The final agenda and plans are being accomplished and this exciting event will be published next week - stay tuned!
This week a PTA president came into the office because he was just informed that their treasurer had wire transferred over $7,000 to another bank account, based on a fraudulent email she received. The treasurer was unaware it was a fraudulent email at the time and by the time she figured it out it was too late, the money had been transferred. Since then, the police have been contacted and a police report has been filed.

Here are steps recommended to avoid or prevent fraud:
  1. Make sure you have well documented procedures and processes for money disbursement.
  2. Establish clear lines of communication between your board members.
  3. Know your budget well. The best indicator of a potential fraudulent activity is a request that is made for something outside of your PTAs member-approved budget.
  4. Make sure your board of directors is well trained.
If they have already wire transferred the money this is what we recommend for the next steps:
  1. File police report keep duplicate copies for your records.
  2. Close bank account.
  3. Call your PTA's insurance provider.
  4. Do a mid-year Financial Review (see the Question of the Week below).
  5. Call a special general membership meeting.

As we head into the home stretch of the holiday shopping season, how worried are you about having your identity stolen? PEMCO Insurance, one of our trusted partners, recently asked Northwest people and you might be surprised by the results. For more information on the poll and tips on how to protect your identity, click here.
Is it necessary for our PTA to conduct a mid-year financial review, even if we have never had a problem with financial reviews in the past?

While a financial review is required immediately following the end of the fiscal year (June 30), when another PTA member assumes the treasurer position, or whenever there is a question about the financial well-being of a PTA, a mid-year financial review is strongly recommended for all PTAs. A mid-year review helps to assure that the funds of the PTA are being administered properly and that good financial practices are being followed.

The mid-year financial review should be conducted in the same manner as the review held at the end of the fiscal year. The financial review committee must consist of no less than three members of the PTA. Members of the review committee must not have signature privileges on PTA documents during the period being reviewed. The treasurer is not to be physically present when the committee meets, but should be available by phone to answer questions.

The treasurer should gather all the financial records for delivery to the financial review committee. A list of financial records for the review can be found in Treasurer's Handbook. For additional resources, visit the Finance Resources page, on the WSPTA website.

After the financial review committee examines the records, the committee is to present a written report of their conclusions to the board of directors. As always, the WSPTA staff is here to help. If you have questions about the review, contact Tatia, Local PTA Support:

Thank you for making sure your officers and members
have what they need; it is appreciated!

Kathryn Hobbs
Executive Director
Email your questions here.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

PRESS RELEASE: State's Largest Parents' Association Applauds Inslee Education Budget

Tacoma, WA (December 15, 2016): After the release of Governor Jay Inslee’s education budget spending plan on Tuesday, Washington State PTA President Barbara Martin issued the following statement:

“Governor Inslee’s investments in K-12 education to support a high-quality teacher in every classroom and a skilled principal in every school are a great step forward in resolving the McCleary lawsuit. Funding to support beginning teachers, training and collaboration time, and market-rate salaries will help Washington attract and retain the professionals our students need to learn and succeed in our schools.”

Washington State PTA is an organization that is focused on the whole child – both the academic and non-academic needs of every student – Martin expressed excitement in some specific funding proposals:

“We are thrilled that this budget proposal recognizes the importance of social and emotional barriers to learning, with investments to support the health and well-being of our students. A crucial priority for Washington State PTA is to ensure adequate staffing of school counselors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and family engagement coordinators. This budget proposal funds these critical staffing positions.”

The Washington State PTA adopts a two-year legislative agenda in the fall, based on positions drafted and voted on by membership at a Legislative Assembly. The legislative agenda includes support for:  social and emotional learning, full funding of basic education, closing the opportunity gap, professional standards for para-educators, and funding for programs to increase breakfast participation in high-poverty schools.

“We applaud Governor Inslee for creating a bold plan to amply and equitably fund basic education for our more than one million students across the state, and are excited to partner with him and others to advance these budget proposals in the upcoming session,” said Martin.

About Washington State PTA: The Washington State PTA was founded in 1905 by Abby Williams Hill of Tacoma, an artist who saw the need for an organization to support Washington's children. Thanks to her leadership and vision—and over 132,000 current members who have carried her vision forward—Washington State PTA has been a leading voice for children in Washington for over 110 years. 

1304 S. Fawcett Avenue, Suite 300| Tacoma, WA 98402 | (253) 214-7410


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Governor Releases Education Budget, Asks for $3.9B in New K-12 Funding

Kicking off the 2017 budget proposals to resolve the “McCleary problem,” Governor Jay Inslee released his education and revenue budgets today, with a request for $3.9 billion in total spending over the two-year budget cycle. In a Monday preview, staff indicated that nearly two-thirds of the funding would boost compensation for all educators and add professional development for teachers and para-educators. 

At the top of the list is shifting the burden for compensation from local levies to the state. Inslee borrowed a page from the Technical Compensation Work Group that completed its recommendations in June 2012. The budget proposals start with increased salaries for beginning teachers, increasing the starting salary from $35,700 to $44,976 in FY18, and $54,587 in FY19. The salary bump would include 30 hours of professional development in the first year, and 80 hours of professional development in year two.
Also in the mix are:
       Teacher and principal mentoring and alternative routes for teacher preparation.
       Funding to close the opportunity gap, including investments in K-3 class size reduction; adding 1.0 FTE per prototypical school to support the addition of school counselors and nurses, social workers, psychologists, and family engagement coordinators; a $50 million increase to the Learning Assistance Program; truancy reduction; funding to support educational outcomes for students in foster care; and mentoring for struggling students.
       Career-connected learning; $12.3 million for CTE MSOC; and additional funding for the highly capable students program. 


The revenue side of the equation

To fund his education budget, Governor Inslee is proposing a tax on professional services, instituting a capital gains tax on high-income gains that is estimated to affect about 30,000 individuals, and a carbon tax. Inslee rejected an increase in property tax, or a property tax “swap” that has been suggested by others. In fact, according to staff, under the proposed levy and local effort assistance reform plan, taxpayers in more than 100 school districts where the levy rate is above 24 percent would see their property taxes reduced.


Take it to the levy

With the significant infusion of state funding for basic education, Governor Inslee has proposed holding local levies for 2018 at current law plans, which would mean allowing the levy lid to roll back to 24 percent, maintain grandfathered districts at their rollback level, and eliminate ghost money in the levy base. In 2019, the proposal would decrease all school district levies to 15 percent, would eliminate grandfathering and would not include ghost money in the base. The annual per pupil inflator would be dramatically increased, to 16.35 in FY18, and 21.4 PPI in FY19, ostensibly to avoid significant impact and the levy cliff. 

Compensation phase-in

The education budget proposal would phase in the increases in compensation, based on the following chart:

In addition, the Salary Allocation Model (SAM) would be collapsed. The result would be:
       Beginning educator: $54,587 with Bachelor’s degree; $58,954 with advanced degree       
       2nd tier certification: $65,504 with Bachelor’s degree; $70,745 with advanced degree
       2nd tier certification and 10 years of experience: $78,605 with Bachelor’s degree; $84,883 with advanced degree

For professional development, the Governor’s budget proposes 30 hours for FY18, and 80 hours for FY19, which are included within the salary amounts in the chart and SAM above. Professional development would be 50/50 self-directed and district-directed. On the self-directed, the training would need to focus on social and emotional learning, cultural competency, and closing the opportunity gap. The district-directed training would not be legislated, but the proposed two-year spending plan would eliminate about $5 million currently appropriated for teacher and principal evaluation training, so any TPEP-related training would come from the district-directed professional development. 


SPI-elect weighs in

In response to the Governor’s spending request, Superintendent of Public Instruction-elect Chris Reykdal, who joined Inslee for the announcement, said, “This is an outstanding budget for public education. It’s great for our kids, and is a solid plan forward. I’m excited to partner with Governor Inslee and the Legislature to fully, amply and equitably fund education.”

Links to budget information:

Marie Sullivan
WSPTA Legislative Consultant

Monday, December 12, 2016

WSPTA Leadership Roundup: Week Ending 12/10

PT Avenue will be down for major maintenance on December 27th and 28th.
You will not be able to access PT Avenue during this time.

December 9
Membership invoices are sent the 2nd Friday each month to presidents, treasurers, and secretaries. Please take time between now and when the invoices are generated by the system to check your membership roster for duplicates and erroneous entries. Once a member has been included on an invoice, staff is unable to delete them from the database. As a result, your PTA will owe payment for that person, regardless whether that person is an active paid member or an erroneous entry.

Interested in saving volunteer hours? 
Consider offering potential and returning members the option to join your PTA online via PT Avenue. PTAs can also save time processing memberships you enter by opting in for monthly direct debit of dues payments to WSPTA.

December 15
Only one week left of the Give the Gift of Membership Contest - how is your PTA doing? To help promote the contest and your members, use the following promotional materials (also listed on the Membership webpage). Items include:

Flier to send home to parents/guardians: color | b & w
Social media posts: content | .png
Gift tags for bulletin board: color | b & w

It has been brought to our attention that there is need of clarification on the student entry form, in regard to the portion about the gender of the student submitter, where only M/F is offered. This question is considered optional and is not a requirement in order for a student's work to be qualified.

From National PTA:
"This year, we’ve advised PTA leaders, in our trainings and support, to use the open space to mark 'not indicated' or write in how the student identifies or simply leave the question blank. By no means should a student be disqualified for writing “other” in this space on the form as Male/Female isn’t a requirement to participate."

Applications due 12/31

When making a reservation with Great Wolf Lodge, via telephone, please be sure to state the promotional code, rather than stating you are with PTA. By stating the code (or reserving online), it is the most foolproof way to avoid any issues.

Additionally, the offer may not be valid during holiday and blackout periods or combined with any other discount or offers. Additional charges may apply for themed and premium suites, weekends, and/or holidays.

Ask your PTA's leadership for promotion code - please do not share code with non-members or on social media.

Click here for more information about the program.

March 1
Local PTA and Council Awards of Excellence
Does your PTA/council follow best practices? Does your PTA/council have a website or newsletter that you are proud of? Does your PTA/council have a program or event that is absolutely awesome? 

If the answer is yes, to any of the above, your PTA/council is encouraged to apply for all applicable Local PTA and Council Awards of Excellence. Learn more here.

Men's Essay Contest - Men Making a Difference 
This statewide essay contest explores the important contributions men make in the lives and education of children - from a children's perspective. Learn more here.

One of our PTA members did not receive their membership card after we manually entered them into PT Avenue database. Can I resend their card?

Thank you for your question! Thank you for making sure that your members are able to take advantage of all the benefits WSPTA has to offer. Yes, whomever is assigned to manage your PT Avenue account (typically membership chairs and presidents) are able to re-send a membership card.

Note: Before re-sending a membership card, please verify that the correct email address of the member is listed in PT Avenue. Also have the member check their spam or junk folders.

From the PT Avenue Guide (page 31): 

How to Re-Send Membership Card (PT Avenue Guide, page 31).

Want to save time from manual entering membership data? Set up the Online Join feature within PT Avenue (page 21 of the PT Avenue Guide).

Thank you for making sure your officers and members
have what they need; it is appreciated!

Kathryn Hobbs
Executive Director
Email your questions here.

Friday, December 2, 2016

WSPTA Leadership Roundup: Week Ending 12/3

December 2 - Deadline Extension
To nominate a qualified individual or to self-nominate, download the nomination form or to learn more about the positions, download the job description booklet.

December 31
The WSPTA Leadership Committee is seeking presenters for the 104th WSPTA Annual Convention. If you are or know a great presenter with an applicable topic, complete the online form here.

Note: The primary audience for this presentation will be parents with children in Washington’s public education system. Presenters will not be compensated for classes or hotel parking. 

January 9 (Intent to Submit form due)
The WSPTA//Game Development Competition is a WSPTA STEM-based program that supports student success for students in grades 9-12. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for students to use their creative talents by expressing themselves, either individually or in teams, by creating a computer game. Learn more here.

Thank you to everyone that sent in Reflections theme entries. There were so many creative theme this year, it was hard to pick just five to send to National PTA!

Reflections entry deadlines are right around the corner. Many PTA/PTSAs have already submitted entries to their council and councils are hard at work prepping the winners to send to state. All entries must be received to the state office by January 20. Check with your council for deadline to submit to council-level. For PTAs not in a council, contact your region director.

January 16 | Capitol Building | Olympia | Registration 

"Advocacy is not a one day event," 
Duncan Taylor, WSPTA Legislative Director

Everyday Advocacy
1. Make an appointment with your legislators.
3. Connect with other parents, teachers, and education advocates.
4. Make sure to leave it in writing.

Learn more about Focus Day 2017 here.

February 13 - Deadline Extended
Shape your public education system for years to come by providing feedback on Washington’s ESSA draft Consolidated Plan, through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). WSPTA was involved in the draft process, and OSPI was one of hundreds of groups to contribute to the ESSA draft Consolidated Plan, alongside districts, legislators, education organizations, tribal leaders, and higher education institutions. Provide feedback here.

All nonprofit corporations have to interact with government agencies, most commonly the Washington Secretary of State's office and the Federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

By designating WSPTA as your agent, your PTA gives those agencies one single point of contact when they need to get information to or from your PTA. It is not a requirement that WSPTA be your registered agent, but it is recommended. You may choose to have an individual named as your registered agent; however, by choosing WSPTA as your PTA's agent, your PTA won't have to worry about that person moving, taking a long vacation, or otherwise being unavailable to respond to a notice from one of the agencies.

For additional questions or clarification, please contact Tatia, Local PTA Support, in the state office.

If your PTA prefers to be its own registered agent, please verify the WSPTA office address is correct on all submission forms:

Washington State PTA
1304 South Fawcett Avenue | Suite 300
Tacoma, WA 98402

Late January is when usually adds new merchandise, as well as discontinue a few items. If you have suggestions for a new product or something you feel would be useful to local PTAs, please share! Many of the best-selling items came to the PTA store as a simple suggestion. Share your idea and will research the feasibility of adding to the store.

This is my first time as a treasurer and am curious if there is anything I need to be doing in the next two months – besides monthly maintenance – now that the 990 form has been submitted and the holidays are here?

Thank you for your question and great job making sure your PTA’s 990 form was submitted by the 11/15 deadline. This is the time of year when it is strongly recommended to conduct a mid-year financial review (December-January). The review involves an examination of the financial transactions of the PTA, and the procedures used to conduct those transactions.

To conduct a seamless mid-year financial review, be sure to have the following materials available:
  • Financial Review Checklist
  • Financial Review Committee (the treasurer, although not a member of the review committee, is merely a resource for the review)
  • All treasurer's reports for current fiscal year
  • All bank statements for current fiscal year (should be signed monthly by non-signer on the account)
  • All checks, deposit slips, receipts, invoices and all other record-keeping materials (checks may be accessed on bank website)
  • Register listing all checks written and all deposits made
  • Minutes of all board and membership meetings for current fiscal year
  • Copies of all contracts and grants made or received

Source: Treasurer’s Handbook