The Black Parent Advisory Committee (BPAC) met on Jan. 23 via Zoom to discuss plans for Black History Month and for an update on the BPAC bylaws. Also on the agenda was an update on the MPS budget process - focusing on District 1 - and the achievement and integration plan. Additionally, the Equity and Diversity Impact Assessment and a discussion on Site Councils was on the agenda.
According to Tiki Blackmore, the African American Family Engagement Specialist with the district, BPAC is currently looking at a restructuring of bylaws, facilitation, and PAC roles, and plans to present these updates at the February meeting.
There are several plans in place for Black History Month. Most activities will be at the Davis Center, though some schools will likely also be participating.
All events are open to the public and will be held at the Davis Center. Activities include:
- An art gallery with participating schools (still being finalized), focused on African Americans who have contributed to American history: Jan. 30 - Feb. 28
- Cooking with Soul. This demonstration will have students participating as sous chefs. Food samples will be offered. Three different events will be held, Feb. 1, Feb, 8, and Feb, 9, each from 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
- “Our Students, Our Voices” - African American authors and students will be on a panel discussing writing as a career path. Feb. 9, 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
- “Us Teaching Us” - Black Teachers will talk to students about education as a career. Feb. 15, 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
- “Why College, Why HBCU” - A panel focused on why MPS students should pursue college, and pursue an HBCU. Also discussed will be PSEO and how to transfer from a Minnesota school to an HBCU. This event will be Feb. 21 from 2pm - 3pm and will hopefully be a hybrid event.
Additionally, MPS Director of Budget Planning and Analysis Thom Roethke visited BPAC to discuss the ways in which public school districts are funded, as well as the MPS budget process. Roethke noted that it has become standard practice to visit the parent advisory committees before the Budget Tie-Out process begins. A final vote on the budget will occur June 13.
“In Minnesota, school districts receive funding from all levels of government. Our largest form of income is state aid, then property taxes, and then federal aid. In the past few years we’ve had some extra money from the federal government that we’ve been able to leverage,” said Roethke.
Roethke commented that the district’s pro-forma projection, shared in December, was “not great.” Roethke also noted that Minnesota has three different operating funds: a general fund, a food service fund, and a community service fund.
One parent said that “school budget education needs to happen so that parents can participate authentically” and another noted that they wished that parents and PACs were approached about the MPS budget, more directly, and earlier in the process.
Community members were also concerned that the budget and budget changes might lead to closed schools and that the site councils might not have enough time to respond to budget allocations for each school - that “budget allocation” process runs from Feb. 13 to March 3.
Folks with questions should contact: Tikonwaun.Blackamore@mpls.k12.mn.us
The next BPAC meeting will be held Feb. 27, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m., via Zoom. To request the meeting link, community members can reach out to Blackamore via her email.