September 2018 Booster Club Meeting Minutes


September 28th, 2018

IN ATTENDANCE: Leiauna Anderson, Amanda Rosen-Prinz, Nicole Sheard, Rose Reiss, Chad Billmyer, Lara Hasselhoff, Allison Holdorff, Sherry Ikebe, Mona Huizar, Elissa Phillips, Kerry Kane, Andrew Wolfberg, Lillian Moreira, Kate Churchill, Jonathan Hexner, Maya Forbes, Dave Michels, Eric Andres, Yasmin Yaghmai, Ashley Vilgiate, Mary Nadler, Michael Guttentag, Arpi Ayvazian, Amy Montalba, Delaine Martin, Cyia Batten, Will Grose, Mila Daraz, Martin Daraz, Allie Torgan, Erick Hansen, Christian Monterrosa, Ilene Lisak, Susanne Arvidsson, Samira Danesh, Masae Noble, Viviana Harran, Jade Chatham, Natalia Sullivan, Yvette Carpenter, Ladan Soomekh, Evelyn Rendon

President’s Update - Leiauna Anderson introduced Nick Melvoin

Special Guest Nick Melvoin, LAUSD District 4 Board Member Q&A

Introduction from Nick:

He grew up in the neighborhood and attended Kenter Canyon Elementary School.  He later was a middle school teacher in LAUSD at Markham Middle School.

Nick went on record to say that he “stands with the teachers.”

Nick encourages people to email his office and that they always respond.  His email is

LAUSD is the 2nd largest public school district in the United States and the problems are complex. Within our district, 84% of students live in poverty.

The budget deficit is so severe that forecasts suggest that the district will be insolvent by 2021.

Q&A with Nick Melvoin:

What is the status of the union negotiations?

There are ten different unions within the district and they have been in negotiations for 18 months with UTLA.  They had their first mediation last Wednesday and hope to have another next week on Wednesday. There were further discussions about insolvency.

What raises did the school board members recently get?

An independent commission raised the board salaries by 260%.  Nick acknowledge that this was a large leap but it went from somewhere in the ballpark of $40k to commensurate with other public officials.

What are the options for getting more money from the district?

LAUSD receives about 10% of the budget from the Federal government and 90% from the State of California.  Many of the issues we face come from the state and we should make demands on our state legislature to support education.  Nick feels that 2020 is a hopeful year because it is an election year and it could be an opportunity to make meaningful changes that will help our education.  Some ideas include a parcel tax and reforming Proposition 13 (closing the loophole for businesses via “split roll” proposal).

Is the Parcel tax for homeowners only or for renters?

Only for homeowners.

Someone voiced concern about Canyon's building project and specifically about the methodology of the construction and how it will impact the community.

Nick suggested they talk to Allison Holdorff directly and they can get the conversation going; Allison said that another community meeting will be coming soon.

There was a question about the possibility of modular construction that might save time and the inconvenience of a long-term construction project while the children are in school.

Nick said they were open to hearing ideas about modular construction and encouraged further discussions on the topic. He said that a new bond measure could help to raise additional money to upgrade more schools in the facilities.

Parent wants to know where to get more solid, unbiased information about the negotiations.

Nick suggested:, UTLA website, the independent task force chaired by Wendy Gruehl, Hoolihan Lokey for the financial analysis, and Dr. Candy Clark

If we get 90% of funding from Sacramento, how do we compare with other large states?

Most states take the burden of their funding, e.g. New York  70% state funded / 30% other. The Federal Government gives approx 10% to all states because it is a legal requirement that they fund economically disadvantaged students and to support children with disabilities.  Otherwise, legally it is the state’s responsibility to fund their schools. California is one of the largest states but with the lowest per pupil funding at approximately $13,000 per pupil. (Compared with New York which is about twice that amount).

Who are you and why are you on the board?  Are you a union candidate? Why are you doing this?

Nick explained his history once again.  He grew up locally, and later attended Harvard University.  He became a teacher at an underperforming middle school in LAUSD.  He was given a pink slip on multiple occasions due to budget cuts. He, along with the ACLU, sued the state of CA and the district (Reed v. State of California) on the grounds that the teacher layoffs denied students their right to an equal educational opportunity under the state constitution.  Nick later went to law school to focus on civil rights. Nick explained that the unions were not a fan of his and his candidacy because of his views on seniority. He ran against the incumbent without the union support in an $8million race, which was a record for most expensive local election at this level. Nick is pro charter schools but has approved very few new charters since taking his seat on the board.

Prop 13 as the issue that killed the budget.  What can we do?

Nick emphasized the need to create a coalition leading up to 2020 to reform policy in our state. We need to do community organizing, especially with families in private school who can support our mission to improve the funding of the public schools in California.

----End Melvoin Q&A

Principal’s Report (Nicole Sheard) - Attendance has been a huge issue for our school but we are off to a great start this school year.  Nicole is very proud that we made it into the top ten schools for attendance. We had an excellent week and Nicole wants to reward the students for their excellent attendance to encourage this to continue on.  Our chronic absences are down and we haven’t lost any revenue yet this year, as compared with last year when we had lost over $19k by this time.

Teacher’s Update (Ms. Ikebe) - The teachers want the parents to know that they are very passionate about what is happening and they love our kids and wouldn’t be in this profession otherwise.  They hope that there doesn’t need to be a strike. They urge us to check the facts on this issue. They are very appreciative our all the parent support they have received.

Volunteers Update (Leiauna Anderson) - All the volunteer sheets have been collected and we are set on volunteers but could use an additional co-chair for Fiesta.

Major Fundraising Update: Party Book & Olympics Day  (Susanne Arvidsson) - Party Book has at least 50 parties and the launch event will be on October 6th.  Pre-register and purchase tickets now. This year we are using labels again and parties will go on sale right at 8:30pm.  Olympics Day will have more updates soon. Theme this year is “Stronger Together.”

Community Events Update: Pumpkin Patch (Ashley Vilgiate) - Pumpkin Patch is coming at the end of October.  This year we will offer a pre-sale of pumpkins and the teacher wish lists will be online.  SUGs for volunteering will be sent in the Chronicle on October 7th.

Booster Fund for Faculty and Student Essentials (BFFs: Formerly Annual Giving) Update (Chad Billmyer) -  As of the time of the booster meeting, 49 one time donations and 9 recurring donors. A total of 58 donating families equates to 21% participation as of the end of September. The average one-time donation is $2,074. The total raised year-to-date is $102k. We are at 25% of our $415k goal.

Canyon Community Partners Update (Masae Noble) - We have our banner program and a separate corporate sponsorship program in which for $2000 upfront you will appear as a sponsor at events throughout the year at all our major fundraisers.

Adjourn - 10:09am