Council Re-Visits Budget and Discusses Climate Action Plan – Council Update (5/15/19)

Council opened to a body well adjusted to legislative protocol; the minutes were passed quickly, and reports began. Most committees simply elected chairs and set goals for the upcoming year; however, OEC did begin planning for the upcoming fall elections (which will feature Freshman elections, along with the normal new and tuition student elections, and the JCOMM elections), and Student Life began exploring the results of their most recent survey. CPP Rep Andrew Chen reported that the Music Department is proposing three new course offerings for next year and that the committee approved four (one per quarter) no-school work weekends for the 2019-20 year. Teach Rep Ceplikas noted the change in wording from ‘no homework’ to ‘no schoolwork,’ as the committee will attempt to rid students of the burdens of project work and test studying, as well as homework.

The first major item on Council’s agenda was the revisitation of the Co-Curricular Budget Allocation. Treasurer Tom Lyons asked the body to call a hasty vote, as he was unnerved by the lack of discussion (a sentiment Teacher Rep Bourne also emphasized) at the last meeting, and believes that budget votes should be “almost totally unanimous”. A hasty vote was called, and the body quickly moved into debate, punctuated with questions directed towards Lyons on the motion. The primary issue members had with the motion was with Broadside’s incomplete funding. Some members expressed the view that Broadside should not be given all the money it requested, as it does no fundraising. Teacher Representatives Bourne and Caldwell responded strongly, saying that Broadside is different, as it performs an important function for the school (that of holding Council and the Administration accountable, as well as other news), and that it would be too much to ask the staff of the newspaper to fundraise, along with content gathering and writing. Caldwell went even further and said that Council should be encouraging the Broadside to request more money to do even more, such as holding training sessions for its staff members. Junior Rep. Tessa Stewart reminded the body that the Broadside can request funds midyear if needed. The budget passed resoundingly, with 24 in favor, 2 abstaining (Reps. McCaul and Gantrish), and 4 against (Reps. Phipps, Caldwell, Seigne, and Good).

After the vote, Ms. Kornfeld and members of her Earth Systems and Ecological Design Class presented to the body about their Climate Action Plan (CAP) for HHS. The HHS CAP, if adopted, would be the first high school CAP plan in the nation, written by students. The majority of their presentation laid out the basic ideas of their 54-page report, which can be found on the HHS website under the heading “Sustainability.” The goal of their presentation was to convince Council to consider drafting and passing a resolution in support of the CAP and the creation of a team (made up of Council members, members of the Administration, members of Buildings and Grounds, and community members) to assist with the implementation, with a goal of starting in the fall. The first step in the plan would entail having an energy audit of HHS completed, so as to provide data on the most cost-effective means of reducing HHS’s environmental impact. In the lengthy question session that followed, Council members voiced their support for the CAP and a resolution in favor of it, with Teacher Representative Caldwell asking the body to actually read the plan before creating a resolution. With a positive vibe and a mentality of focused change, Council adjourned.

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