Over a month has passed since the of two (MD) Parent Teacher Association (PTA) presidents during one of the most Wilton PTA meetings to date. Recently, perhaps in a nod to transparency and moving forward, the MD PTA released the official minutes from this meeting. Being private organizations, PTAs are under no actual obligation to release its inner workings to the public.
Thirty-seven people—not including three members from the Conn. Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA)—attended the in question, which occurred on Feb. 13 2012 at 9:30 a.m. in the MD cafeteria. Apparently that meeting’s agenda was changed after an apparently unrelated opening statement from MD Principal Sheelah Brown concerning regular PTA concerns.
New additions to the agenda, motioned by Wilton PTA President Heather Wilcaukas and seconded by PTA President Tiffany Tecce, included reviewing of a Feb. 10 2012 letter from then-MD PTA president David Crays, as well as the “removal of PTA officers” and “election of new officers.” The new agenda items were added to the regularly-scheduled agenda; the motion passed with a majority vote, with five dissenters. These five dissenters are not named, and it is not clear how many persons voted.
Since these items were added, they were to be addressed after the initial agenda had been discussed. After what was most likely a tense discussion of business as usual, and as the new agenda items came under review, the minutes indicate that Brown “made a motion” to strike the removal of PTA officers item from the agenda.
The minutes appear to paraphrase Brown: “The administration is shocked and is in full support of the current PTA. The PTA should be unified just the way things are unified at the school,” the minutes state.
The question passed with Wilcaukas’ and Tecce’s support, but the actual motion to remove the agenda item from the record failed. After this, now half an hour into the discussion, “administration and teacher representatives left the meeting.” It is not clear how many persons remained.
Ultimately, both Robert Burkhart, then-vice president, and Crays were removed from their positions on two separate votes. PTA member Anne McCann motioned to removed Crays from his position as president, and the motion was seconded by Tony Tecce. Shortly thereafter, Tony Tecce motioned to remove Burkhart, and Maria Wilcox seconded that motion. Both motions passed with a majority vote, with four dissenters each time.
Abstentions, if there were any, would not count towards the actual vote; the majority ruling is, in absence of technicalities, the majority of those who participated in the vote.
By the book
In attendance during the entire meeting were three members from the Connecticut PTSA, including current Acting President Don Romoser. While not sure exactly who had requested the PTSA’s presence—Romoser spoke on behalf of the PTSA’s president, Jim Accomando, who is recovering from surgery—Romoser said he believed it was the “head of the Wilton council of PTAs and several members” that had “called to consult us.”
The PTSA was there, Romoser said, to guide the MD PTA in proper regulatory procedure, according to their bylaws and the governing principals of Roberts Rules of Order.
So was everything done properly?
"Oh, yes," he said.
According to Romoser, everything was done by the book and the actions of the MD PTA were in line with both the MD PTA’s bylaws and the governing rules of the PTSA. Additionally, the MD PTA asked the PTSA to attend their most recent meeting, held last Monday, Mar. 19, to make sure that the newly elected officials would be ushered in without bylaw conflict.
“We were there to help them interpret their parliamentary procedure,” he said.
While the Feb. meeting “wasn’t pleasant,” Romoser said that the last meeting showed member who were willing to put the conflict in the past and move on to rebuilding relations.
“They’re moving in a very positive direction now,” he said. “They are dedicated to moving past this, and the vast majority of the PA wants to see the school and community mend and heal.”
The executive board is staffed as follows, according to the MD PTA’s website:
- Kimber Felton, President
- Lisa Smith, Vice President
- Clarissa Cannavino, Secretary
- Tara Snow, Treasurer
- Mike Whitman, Assistant Treasurer
- Megan Silvia, Parent-at-Large
- Heather Pettit, Gifts and Grants