October 21 Meeting Recap – What you need to know

Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to Friday’s meeting.  We were very lucky to have our two new teacher representatives, Mrs. Buckley (3rd grade) and Mrs. Sherwin (Reading) in attendance. Mrs. Fornari (Librarian) also stopped by to thank the PTO for our support at the Scholastic Book Fair and for providing new ink/toner for the large format printer.

A recap of what you need to know follows (full minutes available here):

Hot Topic Alert: PTO Financials

Treasurer Tonja Condron shared some exciting new:  the PTO has over $130,000 in the bank!

Tonja reviewed the 2015-2016 income and expenses, which showed $24,000 in net income. For the past several years, the PTO has accumulated a substantial amount of money, some of which is earmarked for specific departments (e.g. Scholastic Book Fair revenue for the past 4 years is being held for the school library). The bulk of the reserve funds were originally being saved for upgrades to the auditorium lighting and potential playground improvements. O’Hara received new auditorium lighting last year in conjunction with the high school renovation, leaving PTO members (that’s you!) with the opportunity to determine how the reserve funds should be spent.

If the news that the PTO has such a large amount of money in bank is new to you, you’re not alone. This information raised several questions from attendees, including how we determine where money should be allocated, how much (if any) should be saved for future projects, and how we communicate and share information with our whole membership.  These are all issues the PTO Board plans to tackle in the coming months with the input of parents, teachers and administration. We will also be developing a budget outlining planned spending for the 2016-2017 school year, and will keep parents apprised of planned v. actual spending throughout the year.

The board welcomes your comments and questions regarding the reserve funds and PTO budget.  You’ll be hearing a lot more from us on these topics throughout the year.  We would also welcome accounting-savvy volunteers (any CPAs out there?) to help us get our books in order. Email Tonja if interested!

Great News

  • Lunch/Recess – Many of you know that lunch and recess is frequently a topic of discussion at PTO meetings.  Thanks in large part to the efforts of our interim principals, progress is being made on the playground! The two principals have truly provided hands on support: Mr. Winkler was seen painting new football field lines and leading groups out to play, and Dr. McNamara was spotted providing jump rope lessons. We also learned that lunch monitors have completed their second training session, which corresponds with a new training manual introduced at the beginning of the year.  Expect to hear more on lunch and recess throughout the year as our new principals take over and we continue to advocate for improvements that get our students outside and playing in the space available.
  • Fundraiser Success! – The PTO Directory raised nearly $5,000 in ad sales, and revenue from the Scholastic Book Fair was around $3,000.  Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time!
  • New Principals – Our new Principal, Mrs. Batis starts 10/31! Vice Principal Edwards will begin working in the District on October 24th, but he won’t be full-time at O’Hara immediately.  You can expect some “guest appearances” from Mr. Edwards in the coming weeks. While we look forward to welcoming Mrs. Batis and Mr. Edwards, we’re very appreciative of all Dr. McNamara and Mr. Winkler have done in their short time with us.  Please join us in thanking them for taking a break from their retirement to help O’Hara – we wish them both the very best!

Help Needed

  • Student/Parent Lunchesvolunteers are needed to quickly check parents in as they arrive.  Sign up for a shift before or after the time slot scheduled for your child’s lunch.
  • Library Assistance – there are several time slots available in November and December and throughout next year (search by “therehakfamily@gmail.com” to find available volunteer spots by month on Sign Up Genius).
  • Make Art Happen at O’Hara – the art department is seeking material donations.
  • Scholastic Book Fair – New committee chair needed for 2017-2018 school year.  Email Maggie Mulhern if interested.
  • SMART Flu Study – Stay tuned for information on signing up for a family SMART Flu study. Participants will be eligible to receive up to four $20 Giant Eagle gift cards, and will be entered in a weekly drawing to win a $300 gift card!
  • Calling all Writers! – Want to help share school and PTO news with parents? If you’d like to contribute a blog post, email Sarah Shaffer.  No clearances required and you can do it whenever is convenient to you!

Dates to Note

  • October 26, PALS meeting, 6:30pm, Sharpsburg Library
  • October 28, Halloween Parade, 2pm
  • November 1 – 11, Thanksgiving Basket Collection Period
  • November 11 – 18, Parent / Student Lunches
  • November 15, District Forum Meeting, 9am


The next PTO meeting will be held on Friday, November 18.  Comment below with topics you’d like to see addressed!


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