Home & School vs. School Council

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*Published in Spring 2019

A school council can fundraise, but it must spend all of the funds in the year in which they were raised. In other words, we would project a budget early in the school year, set out on planning the year’s fundraising events and spend the money as it comes in, wrapping it all up in June. It would be complicated for us to fundraise for the current school yard redevelopments under this model, so we’re proposing that we continue to fundraise under the current Home and School model.

Council Members
A school council has more seats to fill than our current H&S executive (which admittedly is bare-bones even by H&S standards). A school council must consist of 2 co-chairs and at least 13 other parent representatives, as well as the principal or vice principal of the school, one teacher, one non-teaching member of staff, and one or more community members appointed by the elected council. For a primary school it is optional to have student members, but we actually think it would be a good idea to have a couple of students from grade 5/6 sit at the table too. Aside from the elected/appointed members, the meetings are open to everyone!

This seems like a lot of volunteers, but we have a plan! Remember how we asked this year that class reps commit themselves to coming to the H&S meetings? Well, there are your parent representatives right there! The treasurer, secretary and advisory chair of the H&S will also stand, and the two H&S co-chairs will serve as co-chairs of both. We will consult with administration on the teaching and non-teaching staff members, and that leaves the community members, which will be discussed at the first meeting in the fall. If you are not currently a class rep but like the idea of staying in the loop and offering your input, please consider volunteering for this position next year. It is better for everyone to have as many voices at the table as possible to make sure the directions we take truly represent all Withrow families.

Rest assured, we are not proposing that we will hold double the number of meetings because there will be two parent bodies! We will run both of these bodies together, some parts of the agenda will be school council stuff and some parts will be H&S stuff. Simply put, because of the particular regulations pertaining to fundraising for school councils we propose that all fundraising and decisions on spending be kept with the Home & Schoool. All administrative, advisory and other non-monetary business will be minuted as School Council business. That includes the Safe & Caring School Committee, participation the classroom organization model discussions, the movie nights and other such business. By keeping all financial elements on the H&S side we only have to keep one set of books. The treasurer will be thankful for this!

Even though this may sound complicated, for all intents and purposes most of us will never really know that anything changed. But because there’s a greater degree of oversight with the School Councils from the Ministry it is important that we have a plan and stick to it. These and other details will be discussed at the first meeting in September, but we also appreciate that most people’s eyes started to glaze over about 5 minutes ago so we will try and keep it brief.