Home » Vote to Amend PTA Budget-June 2016

We extend our thanks to the hundreds of JES parents, teachers, staff, and students who took the time to respond to the survey regarding what to do with the area that will be available once the trailers are removed in a few weeks. We’ve heard you. The majority of you want a natural outdoor play and learning space. After vigorous research, the committee that was formed of parents and staff has made a unanimous recommendation based on that feedback. The committee’s report is posted here and additional background is also provided below.

We are asking the PTA membership to approve the use of up to $50,000 in available, unbudgeted funds to plan, design and build the outdoor play space so that our kids can enjoy it this September.

With your approval, the PTA will be able to help Jamestown provide a new, innovative, and enjoyable natural play and learning environment for the students.  The project cost investment is estimated to fall in the range of $30,000-$50,000, depending on final design and contributed services. The PTA Board is requesting your approval to allocate an amount up to $50,000.  The funding is available within the current year’s accounts, and can be committed without reducing funding for or otherwise impairing other PTA programs and commitments.  The proposed project reflects the unanimous recommendation of the joint parent-JES staff committee that was charged with identifying the best way to re-use the site. The PTA Board and school leadership enthusiastically support this recommendation to invest PTA funding to improve the JES campus.  If you are a Jamestown PTA member, you may cast your vote below in favor of or against the proposal.  Note: Voting ends on Monday June 20 at midnight.

Cast Your Vote Below:

I agree with the recommendation to allocate an amount up to $50,000 for the proposed outdoor space project.

THE POLL IS NOW CLOSED.  THANK YOU FOR VOTING.

 

Additional Details

When we learned in March that APS plans to remove the trailers this summer, Jamestown’s administration and the PTA formed a committee comprised of Jamestown teacher and parent volunteers to consider the best options for site.

The committee carried out a JES community-wide survey to learn what our teachers, parents, students, and neighbors thought about re-use of the site. The response rate was higher than with any other JES PTA survey in recent memory, with hundreds of thoughtful responses.

The overwhelming message from the survey responses was that the most inclusive, multi-purpose use of the space would be to create a play area emphasizing use of natural materials for climbers, caves, and other play structures and imaginative play areas.

The committee visited a number of play areas around the region, met with experts, interviewed potential consultants and vendors, and consulted with Arlington county and APS officials.  The committee provided an interim report at the PTA’s May membership meeting, and a final, written report at the June membership meeting. The committee’s report is posted here.  We encourage you to read the report. The PTA members present at the June meeting voted unanimously to support the committee’s recommendation and to move forward to implement the committee’s plan.

If we do not move forward with the committee’s plan, APS will spread grass seed and straw on the area from which the trailers will be removed, but will not otherwise invest APS funds to expand the student’s outdoor learning and play resources.

With the approval of the membership, the PTA will work with Jamestown’s administration to retain the committee-recommended contractor for a two-step design and construction process:

  • Step 1: The contractor would work with the committee to design a specific plan for the site, starting with the extensive feedback already gathered from the community.  The committee would submit the plan to the PTA Board. The Board would solicit JES community feedback.
  • Step 2: After a review and incorporation of feedback, the plan would be finalized and construction commenced in time for the play area to be available to the students in September.

Because of the very generous donations received by the PTA over the last two years, we have funds available to support this investment.  The allocation of funding we are requesting for the new playground is an amount not to exceed $50,000.  The design cost is $7500, which would be credited to the total project cost if the PTA chooses to move forward with the project.  The allocation of $50,000 (or less) will not reduce funds needed to support the full suite of other PTA programs, including instructional support and other “core” activities.

The PTA has the funds needed to design and build the new natural outdoor play and learning space, continue our support for all other programs, and retain a prudent budget reserve. The committee has a number of tactics in mind to solicit in-kind donations, sponsorships, and other resources that would reduce the cost of the project to the PTA, which is why we are requesting approval for a not-to-exceed amount.

On behalf of the Board and the members who reviewed and endorsed the committee’s plan, we respectfully request your approval to allocate PTA funds to cover the costs to design and construct a new outdoor play and learning space for Jamestown’s students.  Please scroll up and vote using the ballot above.