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How to deal with some topics at meetings

re : How to deal with some topics at meetings          
17/11/2010 10:46 - Parents Associations
Maire, I´m a little confused by the figures. Are all the amounts you are quoting per month, as that is how it appears? E10 per month per family for toiletries, up to E50 per month per family for photocopying and E7 per month for insurance? If so, that would certainly be unsustainable for most families in the present times.
Is your school a small school or a large school? If it is a small school, then I can understand that the number of families involved would be smaller and the amount collected will be accordingly much smaller and will go only a short distance towards trying to defray costs.
On the subject of a uniform, it´s a wonderful idea and all children will have to get used to wearing a uniform at second level anyway. Sourcing a uniform as cheaply as possible and wearing trousers/shirts that can be sourced in Dunnes, Tesco etc is very possible. Getting the school crest on the jumper is normally the biggest cost. Mind you, the costs at second level for parents are far far greater than at primary level, from my experience.
Julie, I too must commend for an excellent post- very sincere and from the heart.
Shane, while your post was otherwise informative, I did also think that mentioning kickbacks for school staff was a bit low. You mean free all expenses trips to the Carribbean? The use of a Mercedes for a year? If you´re looking to see who has wasted money in the country and who has been taking brown envelopes, I think we all know it´s not school staffs.

re... : How to deal with some topics at meetings          
16/11/2010 22:28 - Parents Associations
When reading Shane´s reply about ´dodgy deals´ and ´kickbacks to the staff´, I could have been forgiven for thinking I was reading an extract from the planning tribunal or from a banking enquiry.
I am principal of a large primary school for several years and am a teacher for 30 years. The suggestion being made by Shane almost turns my stomach. When I think of the lengths I have gone to, to fight for the very best value I can get for our school, which ultimately saves the parents money (and rightly so). The same can be said for all the principals I know.
I´m certainly NOT looking for any plaudits (and I´m no exception) but I have driven children to matches up and down the country, to ceremonies, competitions, quizzes, meetings and so on, without ever claiming 1 cent for petrol. I have used my private telephone and my private mobile for years on school business (much to my husband´s annoyance). I have NEVER, EVER benefited from, received (nor would I accept) a ´dodgy deal´ or a ´kickback´ from anybody. I certainly HAVE subsidised the school out of my own pocket (and I make no apologies for doing so). I HAVE bought several supplies for school out of my own pocket, forgetting (or not bothering) to claim the expenses back from the school afterwards. To have people like Shane thinking (or even suggesting) that school staffs are rubbing their hands with glee at the latest ´dodgy deal´, is disgusting. Come off it, Shane. I am a parent also, with children in primary and secondary, so I (like so many of my colleagues) am very conscious of the challenging economic times in which we live and the strains that parents are under.
The sad fact is, that we are facing in to a time of savage cuts in education and all other spheres. I am all in favour of accountability but believe me, it costs a hell of a lot to run a school and more and more schools are now running into debt. I don´t mean to sound pessimistic (there´s enough of that all around us) but we also need to be realistic.
On the subject of uniforms, involving parents in decisions about uniforms is usual procedure and the preferred one but be warned, there is rarely a solution where everybody will be happy.
Finally, I don´t want or expect any credit for going the extra mile but nor do I want anybody suggesting that I (or my colleagues) are in any way involved in ´dodgy deals´. It´s banks and building developers who got this country into the mess we´re in, with ´kick backs´ and ´dodgy deals´ (NOT SCHOOLS).

re... : How to deal with some topics at meetings          
18/11/2010 00:40 - Parents Associations
Shane, I´ve just realised that the posts were not actually removed but that my posts were duplicated in another thread! I couldn´t agree with you more about the importance of duties being segregated, which in turn leads to the accountability that protects all school personnel from the kind of pathetic scenario that was being outlined.

You seem to be taking grave exception to being "lectured" by one of the other posters (whom you seem to have jumped to the conclusion is a teacher). It seems that you were the one who was accusing him/her of jumping to conclusions earlier. Forgive me if I say that if there is anybody lecturing around here, it is clearly you, Shane.

I did not dignify the earlier posts with a response and don´t have any hang ups about wanting to have the last say. I only responded here when I realised that posts had been duplicated in two threads, so felt it was better to bring a little balance back to this thread. I hope I have been able to do that.

Now, let´s all move on.

Perhaps the original question asked by the op has now been answered and this thread can be put to rest.

re... : How to deal with some topics at meetings          
17/11/2010 11:56 - Parents Associations
Hi folks

Don´t shoot the messenger. I have huge respect for principals and teachers. I chose my words carefully. I didn´t accuse anyone of taking kickbacks. I simply pointed out that it is important to make sure that there is no possibility this happening.

And if you think it never happens, check this out;



re : How to deal with some topics at meetings          
16/11/2010 21:22 - Parents Associations
Certainly the principal runs the school, under the supervision of the Board of Management. The Parents Association has no formal role in these areas.

However, it would certainly be helpful for the Principal to consult with the PA around these things. At a minimum, the PA should be making sure that the cost of the uniform is minimised, by using commonly available jumpers/trousers etc. Make sure there are no dodgy deals with local specialist uniform suppliers, who end up giving kickbacks to the school (or worse, to the staff). The PA can help the principal by shopping round to get a good value for money supplier.

In relation to running costs, it would not be unreasonable for the PA to ask the principal to produce annual accounts, so that parents can see where the money is spent.

The parent who is putting their foot down should be talking to the parents rep on the Board of Management, as that is where the real power lies.

How to deal with some topics at meetings          
21/09/2010 11:21 - Parents Associations (Locality: Clare)
Hi all, As Chairperson of my school´s parent association, the secretary and I have met with the Principal of the school where she informed us of the plan for the school year where help is needed from us. She told us she would be introducing a new proper uniform from next September 2011 as now the kids wear school tracksuits only. A parent got wind of this already and is of the view Principal cannot make a decision like that without consulting parents or voting. She thinks its putting expense on parents (recession times). At our meeting, should we have a vote on this or is it entirely the decision of the principal no matter what? Secondly, all parents received a letter outlining costs for the year i.e. 10 euro family subscription per months for toiletries, small bills etc. 20 euro per child for photocopying/stationery (max 50 per family). Pupil insurance 7 euro per child. A parent says that no money will be handed over to school until they know exactly where it is going. Is this type of discussion a matter for voting again or should the parent discuss matters personally with Principal. Help please.

re... : How to deal with some topics at meetings          
17/11/2010 12:17 - Parents Associations
Now Shane, I´ve read that weird post you mentioned and it sounds like a bit of a tall story, from ´down the country´, a hell of a long time ago. Mind you, some reverend mothers in the VERY distant past were noted for doing everything to save the convent money and drive a hard bargain.
Having said that, you made a very definite, unqualified allegation which I can only imagine would be extremely offensive to principals and teachers. Your words have a very hollow ring indeed. You have dug a hole, now it´s Juliehogs and people like her you should be addressing, not trying to save face by coming up by a ridiculous post from 2007, obviously about a very very long time ago, that bears no relevance to today. To be honest, it might not look out of place in a novel, set in Ireland in the early 1900s but in Ireland in 2010, you have got to be joking. An apology would be more appropriate, rather than this drivel.

re... : How to deal with some topics at meetings          
17/11/2010 17:51 - Parents Associations
Shane, I´m very happy to stick to the FACTS:

"Make sure there are no dodgy deals with local uniform specialists who end up giving kickbacks to the school (or worse to the staff)."

These are YOUR words, Shane, not mine. If you were choosing these words carefully, I would shudder to think what you would have written if you weren´t.

On the subject of the ridiculous post you cited from from 2007 where somebody claimed a nun did some deal with a local supplier to get ´Free Suits´ for all the staff! That really is laughable and highly unlikely in this day and age. I found myself thinking of a scene from a John B. Keane novel, set many years ago in Ireland. You criticise me for doing so, yet you have swallowed the whole story and prefer to believe that it is factual and current. (In doing so, you are trying to defend your opening quote about dodgy deals and kickbacks to staff).

Shane, you are probably well-intentioned but you didn´t even have the decency to address Juliehogs, who responded to you in the first place. The best response you could come up with was this sad work (probably fictional but most definitely dated) purely to add further fuel to your earlier allegation.

I have been a member of for a long time and occasionally, posters on this and other sites do tend to guild the lily and embellish stories. The example you quoted was extreme and I wonder if other teachers or principals would have views on this?

re... : How to deal with some topics at meetings          
17/11/2010 13:07 - Parents Associations
Can we stick to the facts please;

1) I didn´t make any allegation. I chose my words carefully.
2) That post says nothing about when this incident happened, so any views on how long ago it happened are your own views.

re... : How to deal with some topics at meetings          
17/11/2010 21:02 - Parents Associations
Ah Goldilocks, please don´t damn me with feint praise of being ´well intentioned´. I really don´t need to be patronised. It feels like I´m back in school being lectured and harried because I dare to hold an opinion that flies against conventional thinking. We all know that many teachers can´t handle unconventional thinkers, and will do their very best to rein in those pupils that threaten the stability of the system. Well sorry to bring bad news, but "school´s out". You don´t get to lecture people round to your way of thinking.

Let me just clarify my position again. I did not make any allegation about school principles. If I wanted to make an allegation, I would have said something like ´I think some school principles are on the take´. That´s not what I said.

I am not suggesting that there is widespread corruption amongst school principals. Most principals do a great job under very difficult circumstances. However, like every profession, there are a few bad apples. It is good common sense and sensible risk management to be aware of the possible risks of corruption, and mitigate against those risks.

Every business and organisation puts in place simple anti-fraud measures such as ´segregation of duties´. This does not mean that all those businesses are making allegations that their staff are corrupt. It just means that they are taking sensible steps to reduce or eliminate the risk of corruption.

re... : How to deal with some topics at meetings          
16/11/2010 23:08 - Parents Associations
JulieHogs. Your post is refreshing. Perhaps some of the bankers and speculators should read it and get a dose of reality.

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