Dear Editor; 

I am writing in response to a recent article that was posted on a number of media outlets regarding the MMS FSA and presumptions alleged by a parent, (identified as Therese Cordaro) at the May 16th Board of Education Meeting.

A number of statements were concerning, not to mention incorrect, and I appreciate the opportunity to address them here:

Sign Up for E-News

First, as the MMS FSA Treasurer, I would like to address the financial component. At every meeting, I give our current balance and list what funds have been made through any applicable fundraisers since the previous meeting. I have the Treasury checkbook/ register available at every meeting and also have a Treasurer's report available upon request. Each year, we formally present our budget at the September FSA meeting for all FSA members to review and ask any associated questions. In addition, we annually provide all information to an independent CPA in order to review and prepare our taxes. This information has always been available and the associated processes, transparent. Following my report at all FSA meetings, I ask those present if there are any questions with regard to our finances. 

Our meeting minutes, detailing that information, are also emailed to all members and posted for review in the weeklyFriday Folder.  We encourage everyone (at any time) to come forward with questions that may arise.  To my knowledge, none of the FSA groups at the various schools post financial statements or the bylaws online - we can certainly look at adding that process moving forward though if all CG schools are aligned in doing so.

Next, I would like to address the issue that was raised around term limits.  On March 7th, Mrs. Cordaro asked (via email) to see our bylaws and received a response that same day stating that they are available at every meeting for review as required in our bylaws. Mrs. Cordaro was then offered a copy of the bylaws at our April meeting and chose not to read them. Please note that there was no one "hovering over her shoulder" at the time, as she has stated. There was a concurrent conversation advising her that she was not eligible to be considered for an Officer position, due to the participation guideline around committee work/chair and her lack in that area to date. At that point, things took a turn, in which Mrs. Cordaro became angry and defensive and the conversation was no longer productive. 

For Mrs. Cordaro to make such negative statements towards the FSA officers as a group without reading the bylaws is not only unfounded, but irresponsible and negligent. According to the bylaws, the Treasurer role can be a 2 or 3-year term. The other positions are typically 2-year terms; however, if there is no qualified candidate who meets the criteria, the officer in the role may stay on an additional term. Please note that no one on this Board has exceeded their term limit nor skirted any guidelines for personal gain/agenda. Eligible members were approached and asked if they were interested in any Officer position; they were unable to commit and therefore declined, which is something that has happened in the past.

The trend seem to be that while parents are more eager to volunteer at the elementary school it drops off in middle school. With regards to committee volunteers and chairs, we welcome anyone that is willing to sign up and offer their time; too often, we have to search out volunteers for open positions. We would just like to confirm that in the past two years, Mrs. Cordaro has never asked to Chair or volunteer on a committee.  The committee list is available at 4thgrade orientation, end of year FSA meetings and sent out through our email blasts. She has stated numerous times that she works and is therefore not available. I estimate that at least 75% of our committee Chairs and members are working parents. Our current Officers include four members that work, three of which do so full time and one on a part time basis.

Mrs. Cordaro also claimed in her statement that we vote ourselves into the roles, which is simply not true. People often misconstrue that the Executive Committee is the same as the Board of Officers, it is not.  The Executive Board is comprised of Officers, the immediate past president and current Committee Chairs. 

Lastly, I wanted to address what seemed to be an accusation that it was somehow an issue for our MMS Officers to have served on other FSA boards. I would invite Mrs. Cordaro to look around the town and notice that the parent volunteers to tend to be the same in most scenarios. These are the same parents who generously offer their time again and again for all things associated with the schools, big or small. And this is not the only area in which these parents are involved either; we serve in different facets and organizations throughout our town and are often approached because we are present and show up time and time again to work together in order to accomplish things as a much larger team. I would venture to guess that sometimes we're asked for help simply because no one else has come forward. We didn’t nominate ourselves, we were asked to serve and we graciously accepted. We accepted that there would be time away from our families, events we would miss due to our duties and frankly a lot of work. These are not glorious positions they are work!

We continue to be nothing but professional and courteous to Mrs. Cordaro, and encourage her to bring her ideas, chair a committee or at minimum, volunteer for one. We have answered her questions to the best of our ability and with no predetermined agenda. 

Respectfully,

Stefanie Muszynski

MMS FSA Treasurer