Meeting Minutes – Mar. 13, 2019

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WENA Meeting Minutes,
Wednesday, 3-13-19,
Reiche Community Room

Board members present (7): Barb DeSerres, Ian Jacob, Steve Mortimer, Liz Parsons, Pamela Shaw, Kim Sutton, Bryan Van Dussen

Board members absent (3): Christian Bisimwa, Leana Good-Simpson, Gwynne Williams

Others present (12): Sarah Colton, Emily Figdor. Peter Hall, Erica Lovejoy, Christine McHale, Janet Mishoe, Lori Moses, Reggie Osborn, Alice Ruvane, Clifford Tremblay, Judy Watson, Barb Wood.


Welcome and introductions.  President Pamela Shaw called the meeting to order at 6:30.

Secretary’s Report. The February minutes are on the website and were also circulated. Minutes accepted.

Treasurer’s Report: We have 3 affiliate (businesses, etc.), 20 household (=40 members), and 19 individual members, a total of approximately 62 people

WENA Treasurer’s Report       MARCH 2019
Norway Savings$7,001.00
Paypal$133.00
Subtotal$7,134.00
             Earmarks (allocated funds including Paypal $$):
WECANAIP$104.00
Swim for Life$3,177.00
Harbor View$284.00
General$3,569.00
Subtotal$7,134.00
Petty Cash$30.00
Total Funds$7,164.00

Police report. Sarah Colton reported that things have been pretty quiet, though the warmer weather has resulted in more transients and related issues, particularly on Pine St. behind LFK. Sarah asked that we contact her regarding any issues. Clean up day is in the process of being scheduled.

Community Announcements:

  • Erica Lovejoy: spoke regarding volunteer opportunities through Opportunity Alliance. OA is looking for volunteers who are 55+ to be (a) Foster Grandparents in the schools, helping kids with literacy – there are 4 Foster Grandparents at Reiche; and/or (b) involved in the Senior Companion program, helping seniors to live independently by providing companionship, support for such things as helping seniors run errands and get to appointments; OA is looking for volunteers as well as seniors who might benefit from the program; they do extensive background checks of volunteers.  See https://www.opportunityalliance.org/programs/community-initiatives/senior-volunteer-programs/
  • or contact Erica.Lovejoy@opportunityalliance.org
  • Judy Watson: the upcoming Andrews Square Project’s goal is to make the intersection safer for pedestrians and drivers. (see link) The city has budgeted $100,000, most of which will be spent “under the blacktop.”  It will start this summer and take 4-6 months. Neighbors would like to improve the aesthetics of this “gateway to the West End.” by including bollards, historic streetlamps (3 at $6,000 each), pavers for crosswalks and larger trees. The hope is to raise $20,000 in donations to support the beautification project. Contact: judywatson5@gmail.com
  • Barb DeSerres: Monthly workshops are being offered by the City of Portland’s Disability Advisory Committee and Age Friendly Portland Steering Committee:

For details see https://www.portlandmaine.gov/1547/Portland-Disability-Advisory-Committee  or email Mandy Levine at alevine@portlandmaine.gov to register

  • Pamela Shaw: The  AAA Road Wise Driving Program for drivers 55+ is being offered at AAA in Portland  on 3/20 and 4/17. Contact AAA at link for information.
  • Peter Hall has replaced Ian on the MMC Campus Replacement & Modernization Project committee. He gave a brief update regarding work to be completed in June and beyond (e.g. 2nd helipad and underground wiring). See the above link for more information.

Speakers

Lori Moses, Catherine Morrill Day Nursery Executive Director, spoke about CMDN, its long history in our neighborhood, the children it now serves (78 children, 42% on scholarship), and the importance of early childhood education.  For more information see above link and https://www.naeyc.org  , https://www.zerotothree.org ,  and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

CMDN will hold a 100th anniversary celebration June 1, from 10am-2pm at CMDN and Victoria Mansion, 96 and 109 Danforth St.

Emily Figdor, District 2 School Board Representative, provided an update on the school budget currently under development. Emily’s handouts with full details are available at   http://wenamaine.org/portland-public-schools-budget-priorities-investing-in-the-portland-promise/     A few highlights:

  • This year’s school budget is focused on (a) pre-K: adding 2 classrooms + core staff; (b) core curriculum alignment across schools; (c) collective efficacy: professional development for teachers; (d) behavioral health (“Breathe”): moving the Bayside program into the HS.
    • Regarding pre-K, a top priority is expanding access, including nine school classrooms and partnering with high quality community-based programs.  Before and after care is provided, while transportation requires a solution.
  • The school budget equates to about 50% of Portland’s total budget.
  • Demographics: 6,784 pre-k-12 students, 4,000 in adult ed classes; 56% qualify for free/reduced meals, 22% are English Language Learners (ELL), 67 world languages are spoken across the system, by 34% of the students. 56% White, 25% Black, 7% Hispanic, 5% Asian, 6% two or more.
  • Portland’s middle-class kids perform on a par with other districts, but there’s an achievement/opportunity gap, with students of color and/or living in poverty performing 40% worse on math, 20% worse on English, and only 30% at grade level.
  • Portland spends the 2nd least per student compared to area towns, and is losing ground. Because State valuations are based on property values, and ours are going up, we receive less money. Over the next two years, we will face cuts of $3.5m/yr.

The public vote on the budget will be on 6/11. There are many meetings on the budget coming up. See https://www.portlandschools.org/district_home/school_budget

The meeting adjourned at 8:05.

Steve Mortimer, WENA Secretary