156 community members representing every grade level responded to the 2014 BSCO Survey. 75% of the respondents were frequent volunteers (at least 1x per month) and 80% feel moderately to well informed of what the BSCO does at Bonny Slope.
All of the BSCO programs were rated at least moderately to very valuable with Science Lessons, Technology for Students, Art Literacy and Outdoor School respectively topping the list. Several people left comments, but there were no reoccurring suggestions for new programs.
98% of respondents prefer e-mail communications, followed by 86% preferring the BSCO website. Please note that the new BSCO website (to be released this spring) permits users to subscribe via e-mail. 50% of respondents also prefer to get their information at BSCO meetings. The numbers don’t add up to 100% because this question allowed multiple responses.
71% of respondents have not attended a BSCO meeting this school year and 57% cite conflict with family activities as the reason why, followed by 40% citing a conflict with work.
60% of respondents prefer monthly meetings that alternate between business meetings and parent education or social events. There were several positive comments left regarding the BSCO sponsoring parent education. Only 37% of respondents prefer monthly business meetings.
59% of respondents prefer evening meetings, followed by 41% preferring a mix of evenings and daytime. Only 21% of respondents prefer solely daytime meetings. Please note that attendance has been equal at daytime and evening BSCO meetings this school year. Multiple responses were allowed on this question.
67% of respondents feel the BSCO spends money effectively with only 3% feeling spending has not been effective. The remaining 30% were not sure. 14% of respondents left comments about spending, many of which are addressed in the following FAQ.
BSCO Frequently Asked Questions
Why doesn’t the BSCO hire additional teachers and school staff?
Unlike PPS, the Beaverton School District does not allow PTOs to hire staff members or give money to the local school for staff salaries. This includes specials teachers, classroom teachers and aids. For more information on this decision please contact BSD directly.
However, the BSCO can bring in partners to supplement the curriculum and we do just that with Science Classes, Visiting Authors, Artist in Residence and other programs.
Why do we keep having fundraisers if the BSCO has such a large rainy day fund?
Before we added the new auction fundraiser, the BSCO was spending more money than we earned though fundraising. This was possible because we accumulated a rather large rainy day fund the first few years the school opened. At that time, the economy was great, the BSCO had successful fundraisers and Bonny Slope was brand new and extremely well equipped by the district. Fast forward six years and the picture is changing. BSE now has 200 more students and less staff. School equipment is aging and requiring repair or replacement. Hundreds of new books have been released that the students want to read. iPads and tablets have changed the face of learning. The time has come to invest in the school again.
The BSCO has been able to keep up with budget requests the past couple years because we have been utilizing our rainy day fund (which is what it was there for after all). But looking forward, without an auction, the rainy day fund would only last into next year. The addition of the auction fundraiser will rebuild our rainy day fund, ensuring the BSCO is able to meet demands next year and beyond. While it is true that the auction profits are not needed for this year’s budget, the BSCO would like to continue to be in a strong financial position in future years.
How are budget requests reviewed and why does most everything get approved at the BSCO Meetings? Why don’t we do more research?
Demand for a new budget item generally starts with a BSE staff member coming to the principal with a request. The principal will discuss the idea, request more research if needed and decide if the budget item is worthwhile. If it is, then she sends the request to the BSCO board who reviews it and gathers more research if needed. Alternatively, a parent may bring a request directly to the BSCO board. If the board deems a request valuable, they will vote approve it internally (if $250 or under) or present it at a community meeting to be publically approved. All budget items that make it to a community meeting have already been vetted and are expected to receive community approval.
Why do we spend money on Family Events?
BSCO social events such as the Back to School Picnic, Monster Mash and Carnival are budgeted to break even or have little cost to the organization. Some years the events even make a small profit! The student directory and yearbook also are breakeven items, while the auction will generate a profit.
How do we decide what and how much technology to purchase for students?
All technology that is purchased by the BSCO is gifted to Bonny Slope Elementary. Therefore, the technology we purchase for our students must comply with the Beaverton School District technology standards in order to be supported. The Bonny Slope staff has been trained on these products, so they are able to immediately integrate the technology into their lessons and put it into the hands of their students in a learning environment. The BSCO is able to use the district’s educational discounts with Apple which are significant.
In September 2013, the BSCO purchased a new cart with 30 MacBook Airs upon request from our principal. The 90 existing 2008 MacBooks continue to be refurbished as needed and are used by students. There are two reasons for purchasing the new cart of MacBooks:
1) Demand from teachers. Bonny Slopes student enrollment is up 45% since opening. With 200 additional students, more laptops (Note: the district standard is Apple MacBook) were needed.
2) The 2008 MacBooks are 5-6 years old and continue to age. While students continue to use these machines, we know their lifespan is limited and we need to plan accordingly. Beginning in 2014, the BSCO hopes to begin replacing a portion of the 2008 MacBooks each year.
In September 2013, the BSCO published the following technology statement and will continue to use and revise this strategy as necessary:
September 2013 BSCO Technology Statement: At the request of our principal and teachers, BSCO would like to work toward equipping five laptops carts for a total of approximately 125 laptops dedicated to student use. BSE currently has four carts that are holding 90 2008 MacBooks. We propose purchasing 30 new 11” MacBook Airs at a cost of $900-1,000 each (with an educational discount). Kim Haskins/BSE will purchase a new cart for storing the laptops. This expenditure requires increasing our Technology budget. Additionally we would like to add a new line item for Technology Maintenance. Maintenance includes things like new batteries, extra RAM or other parts for existing machines, replacement power cords, etc. Technology and school budgets are continually changing, but we anticipate the need to spend at least $20,000-25,000 per year to work toward our technology goals, which include a combination of laptops, tablets and other potential technologies. It is possible BSD will fund some student technology over the next few years as budget conditions improve and our goal is to monitor their plans and fill in the gaps.
Why are we spending a large percentage of the budget on technology?
The BSCO believes that there are many other programs as important as technology, but realizes that it can appear otherwise when you review the budget and see that 35% of our dollars go to technology.
Technology spending is high relative to most other BSCO programs, but this has more to do with the low cost of the other programs versus technology. The cost of the majority of BSCO programs is very low for what we get because they are 100% volunteer run, eliminating all labor expense, and most goods are generously donated or subsidized by area businesses. The exceptions to this are our larger budget items; technology, PYP, artist in residence, science classes and teacher classroom supply funds. In contrast, Art Literacy does a lot for very little money because that program relies on over 50 volunteers that have already donated over 300 hours of time this year.
What can we do to improve school safety & security?
School safety and security is the domain of the Beaverton School District but, as parents there are a few things we can do:
1) Always wear your badge and sign-in in the BSE office.
2) Use the car line safely – have children exit out the curbside door in the designated drop off zone only.
3) Drive safely in the school zone and parking lot. Dangerous drivers may be reported directly to the Beaverton Police Department.
4) Provide direct supervision of your children at evening events.
NOTE: Quite a bit of interest was expressed regarding school safety and security so we hope to have this as an interest topic at an upcoming BSCO meeting.