Student Banking 101

Starting a first bank account is an important part of growing up. Whether it is to handle money from a summer job or to have local banking when going away to college, such accounts often last longer than originally anticipated. The US Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has some tips for setting up that first bank account.

The article has three key points for those students setting up a bank account for college:

  • Choose an account as soon as possible.
  • Avoid paying unexpected fees, as “free” or “easy” accounts often are neither when looking at the fine print.
  • Sign up for direct deposits as soon as possible, as this can speed up financial aid money coming to you.

The article also covers the key factors to compare when choosing a bank account, explains overdraft fees and how to avoid them, and accessing financial aid with a bank account. Check out the full article for additional information on setting up that first bank account.

Photo is copyright 2003 by Jacob Edward under Creative Commons license.

Planning and Running Your First PTA Meeting

Photo © 2015 by Costa Constantinides under Creative Commons license.

If you’re a new PTA president, you probably have your first meeting of the year coming up soon. Here are some tips to get you ready to run that first meeting.

Planning the Meeting

  • Make sure your meeting date doesn’t conflict with other events.
  • Get announcements of the meeting out early. Remember that not everyone communicates in the same ways, so use multiple ways to get your message out.
  • Consult with your principal and teacher representative to find out if they have anything to share.
  • Contact your board members to see if they have agenda items.
  • Make sure any extra arrangements (e.g., babysitting, outside speaker, refreshments, etc.) are confirmed in advance.
  • Create your agenda. Make sure you have copies of the agenda and any information or action item handouts ready before the meeting.
  • For your first meeting, your audit report for last year and budget for this year need to be adopted in that order. You will also need to approve the minutes from the last meeting of last year.

Before the Meeting Starts

  • Have all your tools (e.g., gavel, Robert’s Rules of Order, bylaws, policy and procedure, etc.) readily at hand.
  • If you’re using any equipment (e.g., projector, microphone, SmartBoard, etc.), be sure it’s working properly.
  • Have someone welcome people as they come in the door.
  • Have some drinking water with you.
  • Take a deep breath and relax.

Running the Meeting

  • Start on time.
  • Stick to your agenda.
  • Be sure to have people wait to be recognized by you before speaking, and have them speak to the chair, not each other.
  • Remember to conduct a vote on motions. It’s easy to forget to do that when the discussion seems to come to a consensus.
  • Make sure everyone knows when the next meeting will be.
  • Thank everyone for attending before adjourning.

After the Meeting

  • Take another deep breath and relax.
  • Have a quick conversation with your board members about how the meeting went. Focus on three things: what worked, what didn’t work, and what sort of worked and needs improving.
  • Make a note of all the actions that were decided and who will be doing them. Follow up with those people to make sure they are on the same page.

Questions?

Do you have a leadership question? Looking for training for your PTA officers? If so, contact Illinois PTA Leadership Development Director Brenda Diehl at bdiehl@illinoispta.org.

 

 

Illinois PTA Statement on SB1947

Today, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 1947 (SB1947), the negotiated agreement of Senate Bill 1 (SB1), into law. While Illinois PTA supported SB1, we called for an override of the governor’s amendatory veto of SB1 and did not support SB1947.

Illinois PTA has long supported adequate, equitable, and sustainable funding of public schools, and SB1 was an important first step in improving the most inadequate and inequitable state education funding in the country. The process that resulted in SB1 took several years of research, negotiations, and public hearings. The result was a school funding formula that would put Illinois on a path towards guaranteeing every child in Illinois a high quality education regardless of their zip code.

After the Senate overrode the governor’s amendatory veto, the House was unable to do so, and a new agreement was negotiated over the weekend. This agreement was amended into SB1947, the details of which were not made public until Monday, just hours before the vote was taken. The Senate passed the new SB1947 on Tuesday.

While Illinois PTA applauds the new funding formula included in SB1947, which was essentially that of SB1, and believes it will begin the process of improving education funding in Illinois, there are items included in the agreement that Illinois PTA could not support:

  • The creation of a $75 million scholarship tax credit for private schools, which diverts public funds for non-public schools (see Illinois PTA Legislative Platform 3.a.). With Illinois schools receiving the worst level of state funding in the country and the state of Illinois having $15 billion in unpaid bills (a significant fraction of which are due public schools), Illinois PTA believes that any “extra” funding for education that the state “finds” should go to public schools.
  • Mandate relief that allows school districts to reduce the required number of days for physical education from five days per week to three. With childhood obesity continuing to grow, Illinois PTA believes that schools should be instrumental in helping children develop healthy habits such as daily exercise. In addition, as schools cut recess time, PE increasingly becomes the only time children have during the school day to be active, which is critical not only for their health but helps improve student achievement.
  • The creation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Reform Task Force, while an important first step in discussing the effect TIF districts have on school funding, will not be subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information or Open Meetings requirements. Illinois PTA believes that this discussion deserves to be visible to the public and not hidden behind closed doors.

The new education funding formula is a significant victory for the children of Illinois, and Illinois PTA is proud to have been a leading advocate on their behalf. We are, however, disappointed that a crisis manufactured by the governor’s amendatory veto was used to create a scholarship/voucher program with no public hearings or debate, and we strongly encourage the General Assembly to not renew the program when it sunsets in five years.

Aligning National PTA and Illinois PTA Legislative Priorities: School Funding

Primary goals of both the National PTA and Illinois PTA are the adequate funding of education programs.

The National PTA puts funding front and center in the 2017-18 Federal Public Policy Agenda Checklist with a call for a regular appropriations process replacing the current practice of sequestration “with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not further cut education funding and invests in key programs.” One current initiative is the Stop Cuts to Classrooms campaign.

The Illinois PTA Legislation Platform addresses education funding that is “adequate, equitable and sustainable.” Item 2 of the Platform addresses tax considerations by calling for revision of the revenue article of the state constitution, legislative revision of the taxation processes, new sources of revenue which might expand the sales tax base, modifications of the existing taxation processes, appropriation of taxes to best meet the needs of Illinois citizens, removal of unjust tax limitations on unit districts, and removal of the limitations on bonding power of school districts.

Why? To provide the best possible education for every child in every public school in Illinois. Without adequate, equitable and sustainable funding, Illinois will continue to lag behind much of the nation in providing the kind of education our children deserve. Currently, one of the hottest topics in the Illinois legislature is the revision of the school funding formula, Senate Bill 1 (SB1), which was passed by both chambers of the Illinois legislature. The Governor issued an amendatory veto to the bill, which the Senate has overridden, and now the fate of SB1 is in the House as of this writing. Our Legislation Platform allows us to take a position to support SB1.

The National PTA provides its most current legislative priorities in its Federal Public Policy Agenda found at www.pta.org under the Advocacy menu. The Illinois PTA Legislation Platform is on our website in both full and brief form at www.illinoispta.org under Advocacy.

Want to know more? Go to the Illinois PTA website advocacy page. Be a champion for children, join the Illinois PTA Takes Action Network, and join us in Springfield to be a part of “advocacy in action” on November 14, 2017.