Advocacy






   CHCCS PTA District Council News and Important Dates    

A message from Kate Underhill, 2015-16 CHCCS Council President

Hi Folks,
As we are heading into the end of the year, we need you to consider taking a role on the Council Board. All positions are open. Help us keep the Council functioning as an important source of advocacy for our school community. All we need is a little bit of your time and energy! Join the team!

UPCOMING EVENTS:
May 12, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. BoCC Budget Public Hearing at the Whitted Building, Hillsborough.  
 
May 19, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. BoCC Budget Public Hearing at the Southern Human Services Center, Chapel Hill.
 
May 26, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. BoCC meeting is a Budget Work Session at the Southern Human Services Center, Chapel Hill.  

If you are interested in connecting with your legislators and learning more about the legislative process in North Carolina, please mark your calendar for June 14 for the NCPTA Legislative Day in Raleigh.  We will discuss NCPTA’s legislative priorities and advocate in support of excellence in public education.  Please email office@ncpta.org if you are interested in joining us in Raleigh on June 14 at the Legislative Building on Jones Street.

​Thanks for all you do for out kids!
Kate​
President
PTA Council 
Chapel Hill - Carrboro City Schools

Find a list of Advocacy Resources at the Council website:   http://chccsptacouncil.blogspot.com/p/advocacy.html


 

North Carolina General Assembly Approves Budget with Funding for Teacher Assistants and Driver's Education

Thank you to all the parents across the State who reached out to legislators on the importance of continued funding for teacher assistants and driver’s education. Your voices were heard. The budget approved by both the House and Senate last week continues funding for teacher assistants and driver’s education. 

 

The budget also included a $750 bonus for teachers and raised starting teacher pay to $35,000. Funding for textbooks and digital resources increased to $52.4 million in fiscal year 2015-2016 and $62 million in fiscal year 2016-2017.

Expansion of Charter School Funding

House Bill 539 Charter School Funding will be voted on by the Senate on Monday, 9/28/15. This bill greatly expands the type of funding that charter schools will receive from local public schools. The expanded list includes moneys received for indirect costs, reimbursements, fees, sales tax revenues regardless of how they are distributed, federal appropriations and unrestricted grants.
 
We have heard concerns from several members that the language regarding unrestricted grants could impact grant money that PTAs provide to their local schools. While PTA grants to local schools should include language restricting the use of the funds to the specific school, we do have concerns that this language could create confusion if language restricting the use of the grant is not included.


If you have concerns about HB 539, please take the time to contact your Senate and House member. You can find contact information for your House and Senate members by clicking here.




Advocacy Alert: BOCC vote on November Bond issue 
9/14/15   See "Older Facility Recommendations.pdf" attached at the bottom of this page.

Feedback from the BoCC meeting on Thursday has us cautiously optimistic. The commissioners declared their intentions and it looks we can expect a 4-3 vote in October
,
 with the entire 
$125 million going to schools.

However, we still need to attend and speak at the public hearing TOMORROW night--Tuesday at 7 at the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road, because groups that would like to see $ go to other worthy causes as well still intend to speak up then. Remember--a final vote on whether to put the bond on the November 2016 ballot is expected at the board's October 6 meeting in Hillsborough (public comment allowed there as well).  
​ You can also email your comments to the entire board ​
 
at ocbocc@orangecountync.gov

Please note: We take no stand on whether other groups should get money beyond our position that the schools should get at least $125 million. We hate to see the commissioners pitting groups against one another here. We simply know how desperately the schools need this funding and how valuable having schools in good repair is to the overall economic health of the county. Thus the best message to the commissioners may be "we hope that you do indeed vote for $125 million for the schools as suggested on Thursday night and thank you for the support." They need to know we care and are watching. Other suggested talking points are below to accompany that message.

A few tips/suggestions: If you want to show support for a school bond, consider wearing red as has been done in the past ("red for ed") or wear your school T-shirts. Don't tell the board you moved here for the schools (even if you did!) because we know that irritates them. Do share stories about issues at your own kids' schools--make it personal (but keep it short). If you have pictures, bring them. Three themes the district is focused on that the bond money would address: safety, capacity, and compliance. Don't use the word "maintenance" (also irritates them). Think about issues that a newspaper reporter might find worth writing about (such as the example of CH High's front door--when you come in you must either go up or down, not a useful setup for anyone with a permanent or temporary disability). 
Below are a few points to consider in speaking to/writing to the commissioners. We encourage you to add to this list with specific information/ideas about your own school.
  • Many of our facilities are in deep disrepair; this bond funding would be a great start to solving some of the worst problems around access and safety, while extending the life of our schools and increasing capacity.
  • We know great school systems support high property values. Property values are rising faster in some neighboring counties than in Orange--something we must ward against, and schools in good repair matter.
  • Some of our schools have air quality and health issues that would finally be addressed with this funding.
  • Many of us worry about the traffic congestion and safety issues around some of our schools, which we could also begin to address.
  • Increased capacity better uses our existing land than building new schools. And increased capacity means potentially fewer rounds of redistricting--creating a vital sense of stability for children and families. 
  • The commissioners are the only place schools can turn to for this funding. (Advocates for the worthy causes of affordable housing and parks do have more funding sources available to them.) After difficult years of underfunding, we need support now, and believe the community support will be there to back a schools-only bond.
Thank you!

PTA Council 
Chapel Hill - Carrboro City Schools



Please review the CHCCS PTA Council blog for more information about advocacy.

Every PTA® member is asked to step up and become a service leader in their community by identifying unmet needs in their schools, developing their own service projects, and recruiting new PTA and community members who are interested in the same issues.

Volunteerism often stops at the schoolhouse door when volunteers leave the building. However, this effort is designed to encourage people to stay involved and invested over time by building effective relationships with each other through meaningful, outcome-oriented activities.

These opportunities to serve can position PTA to be involved in meaningful, sustainable and effective long-term solutions in communities across the country. These service projects will allow parents and families to collaborate on and commit to solving some of the most important and challenging issues today.

PTAs are encouraged to develop creative partnerships with a broad and diverse group of stakeholders, including nonprofits, faith-based groups, issue groups, labor unions, educational institutions, businesses, corporations, foundations, and all levels of government to expand the impact of their community work.

Involving Youth
PTA leaders and members are encouraged to involve youth as leaders and as participants in planning and implementing their service projects. Young people bring unique perspectives and energy that can be positively contributed to the project. This Toolkit can be used by both youth and adults, and youth-adult partnerships, to lead service projects in their communities.

Connect with Current Projects 
If you do not have the time, energy or resources to start a project, connect with local service projects that are currently at work in your community. Visit the variety of volunteer service websites on the Internet (see a few examples below) to learn more about projects in your area that are making a difference, and connect your PTA as a partner with those projects. Learn about AmeriCorps, Senior Corps or Learn and Serve America programs currently underway in your community as well.
www.nationalservice.gov/ – AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America
www.serve.gov – White House and Corporation for National and Community Service
www.volunteermatch.org/ – VolunteerMatch
www.1-800-volunteer.org/ – 1-800-Volunteer
www.pointsoflight.org/ – Points of Light Institute

Education

PTA® is renowned for supporting educational initiatives across the country. For more than 110 years members have strived to improve early childhood education, teacher quality and other issues that are important to the success of our nation’s schools. During service projects members are encouraged to engage with their schools and communities to actively, meaningfully and effectively build and expand on this legacy.

Health

The most pressing issue facing many Americans today is the health and well-being of their families. Good health is vital to a child’s quality of life and a child’s ability to learn is directly related to his or her state of health. Inadequate health care is a barrier to education. PTA members are encouraged to provide equal access to quality, affordable and basic preventive health care which can prevent chronic disease.

Legislation

State Laws on Family Engagement in Education National PTA Reference Guide
The National Parent Teacher Association developed this publication as a tool for State Parent
Teacher Associations and other family and child advocates to increase systemic, effective
family engagement in all of our nation’s public schools. Family engagement in education is a
critical strategy for ensuring students’ academic achievement, graduation from high school,
and overall success in life. Low levels of family engagement in schools must be addressed
at the federal, state, and local levels through the development of sound public policy and
implementation, evaluation, and replication of best practices.
Implementation of state policies at the local school level is among the most critical components
of achieving greater family engagement in education. To accomplish this, state legislatures
can promote family engagement in education by requiring State Education Agencies
(SEAs) to develop effective policy that, in turn, governs activities of the Local Education
Agencies (LEAs), or school districts.
The purpose of this reference guide is two-fold. First, it provides families and advocates
with information on family engagement provisions within state education laws so that they
can better advocate for their children’s education on the school and district levels. Second, it
guides policymakers’ and advocates’ development of their legislative reform initiatives as well
as their efforts to monitor the implementation of laws already in place. The reference guide
provides key facts, background, analysis, noteworthy statutes, and policy recommendations
for crafting successful family engagement legislation at the state level. Finally, the reference
guide contains a survey of laws including legal citations pertaining to family engagement in
education in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.
This reference guide is structured so that you have information at your fingertips in order
to be an effective advocate with a reputation for being a responsive and a credible resource
to policymakers. The format allows you to quickly and easily navigate the guide to find your
state’s laws on family engagement. The guide is organized into six topics: family engagement
laws and policies; state grant and award programs for family engagement; labor laws
regarding parental participation in school activities; family engagement in early childhood
education and literacy programs; family engagement targeting children and youth in highrisk
situations; and family engagement for families with English Language Learners (ELLs).
State PTA leadership and child advocates can use the report to:
1. Educate PTA leadership, child and family advocates, state and local education leaders,
superintendents, principals, family outreach coordinators, Title I directors, and other
educators on state statutes on family engagement in education.
2. Train families on federal and state laws affecting family engagement so that they can
successfully advocate for their children at the school, district, and school board levels.
3. Monitor Implementation of current state and federal laws on family engagement in
education and partner with State Education Agencies and Local Education Agencies to
ensure that the law is translated into effective policy and practice.
4. Identify gaps and areas within state laws that could be developed and strengthened, using
the Essential Components of Systemic Family Engagement in Education Laws and
the noteworthy statutes identified in the report as a framework.
5. Develop a policy agenda and legislative language to support effective family engagement
in education.
6. Build Coalitions among stakeholders, including school boards, teachers unions, universities,
community and faith-based organizations, and businesses to advance a family engagement
in education agenda.
7. Advocate for state laws that increase family engagement in education and use state-bystate
data in the report to support your policy agenda.
8. Share and Replicate effective state and district level advocacy strategies with other State
and local PTAs and state child advocates.
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Admin EphesusPTA,
Sep 16, 2015, 5:58 PM