Policies

These are policies agreed on by Council in addition to those in TALC’s bylaws.

Annual meeting: Council voted to reinstitute TALC’s annual meeting for all members, in which elections of officers will take place, to be held in the spring, with $30 allotted for the events. (Passed by consensus February 2007)

Class fees: Class fees and costs of the list of class materials are to be included in the registration form. If they are not known specifically at the time of registration form, then instructors should indicate a maximum estimate of costs. (Passed by consensus April 2007)

Consensus in Council decisions: Council will work toward full consensus in a first meeting about a particular agenda item. If consensus is not achieved, Council will consider the agenda item again at another meeting. At that second meeting, the goal will be to strive for full consensus, but if it is not achieved, the agenda item/issue can still be passed by Council at “Consensus Minus Two,” provided that there are at least 9 members. Dissenters can either disagree or state that they are unsure. (Passed by consensus October 2005)

Council meeting Ground Rules (Passed by consensus October 2005):
Meeting will start on time, so long as there is a quorum.
Raise hands and wait to be called on when round robin is not active.
Come to meetings prepared.
Come to meetings with proposals.
Criticize ideas, not people.
Recognize our different abilities to contribute.
Brevity is expected.
Think of the greater good of the group.
No sidebar conversations.
Be courteous.
Be open.
Participate.
Accept constructive criticism.
Minutes will be distributed within one week of meeting.
Council meetings should not be held unless there is a quorum present, and votes should not be taken by proxy, email, or phone during or before a meeting. (Passed by consensus March 2008)

Council membership: TALC members are invited to join Council at the beginning of each semester rather than at the beginning of each year. A 2-semester commitment for all council members, no matter when they begin their terms, remains. (Passed by consensus March 2007)

Council quorum: To better reflect our membership, the TALC Council quorum size of 3 as listed in the bylaws has been changed to a quorum of one half plus one, rounded down. (Passed by consensus February 2006)

E-mail group: Members will not be removed from the Yahoo groups list when they leave TALC. They can choose to remove themselves at any time or request the List Moderator do so. (Passed by consensus February 2007)

Field trip policy: TALC has two categories of field trips: 1) members-only and 2) TALC-sponsored (all those participating may invite anyone they wish to). The organizers of each trip decide which category works best for them and for the particular trip, depending on destination, planning involved, etc. (Passed by consensus September 2008)

Fiscal year: In order to submit our annual charitable organization filing to the Attorney General’s office, we need to determine the beginning and end of our fiscal year. According to Article VII in the TALC bylaws, “the fiscal year of the Corporation
(TALC) shall be determined by Council,” thus TALC’s fiscal year will be in accordance with the calendar year, i.e., January 1 to December 31. (Passed by consensus October 2008)

Funding for classes/events: Special funding requests that are made to TALC Council should, when possible, be made as far in advance as possible, preferably by the end of the previous semester. Funding requests will be considered only if funds are available and the expenditure will not cause the organization to have less than one semester’s costs in our treasury; the funds are used to purchase non-consumable assets (i.e., equipment, lab sets, kits, gym items); storage space is available for said item(s); and the purchase will benefit all, or many, TALC members, or have long-range use by a specific TALC population. Funding requests for special events will be considered when the number of participants is unknown prior to booking an event. Council may require a participant fee which would in effect “pay back” the treasury after the event takes place. This would ensure events could be arranged prior to a sign-up process. (Passed by consensus with one abstention November 2005)

New members joining after Opening Day: New members who wish to join after the semester has started or after registration forms have been processed will be required to pay the full fee and sign up for cleaning slots before their families can be registered for classes. (Passed by consensus May 2007)

Offering requirement: Council agrees to stay with the current system—an offering required every semester, with no specific number of hours required—and to be very inclusive in considering what counts as an offering. Organizing Stone Soup or Pizza Day, monitoring the playground, organizing activities during Council meetings, other people offering for you, etc., can all count as fulfilling the requirement. Anything less typical—such as needing to take a semester off, or wanting to give more one semester and not donate the next—should be brought to the attention of the Review Board. (Passed by consensus November 2006)

Paid classes: Once the schedule has been set for a semester and all members have taken the class slots they want, paid classes (classes for which participants share the cost of a paid instructor) for ages 13 and up may be arranged for TALC members during TALC time. Paid classes will be open to all over 13 and participants will be chosen by a lottery system. Paid teachers must carry their own insurance. (Passed by consensus November 2005)

Parent presence on-site: As TALC is a family-based cooperative in which members’ contributions and presence are vital, it is expected that parents attend on a regular basis. Should circumstances prevent parents from attending regularly and children are sent to TALC with a guardian, parents 1) must submit an explanation of their situation to the Review Board, 2) are strongly encouraged to make the time to attend Opening Day, Display Day, and/or evening community gatherings or camping trips, 3) may delegate cleaning duties to guardians if necessary, and 4) must fulfill the educational-offering requirement themselves at a time that works for them. (Passed by consensus November 2009)

Petty cash: Combined allowance for Supplies Coordinator, Coordinator, and Special Events Coordinator is $150 per semester. (Passed by consensus March 2008)

Registration fees: Registration fees and 5 available cleaning dates are due with registration forms unless a previous arrangement has been made with the Review Board. If no communication with the Review Board has occurred and no payment or cleaning date preferences are received, the family’s registration form will not be processed until the situation is resolved. Returning members must also submit an offering in order for their registration to be processed. (Passed by consensus May 2007)

Registration fees refunds: Registration fees are non-refundable. (Passed by consensus May 2007)

Returning members: Returning members who wish to enroll after the deadline for offering forms has passed will be responsible for fitting their class offering into the existing schedule and their family may register for available classes that have not yet started. (Passed by consensus May 2007)

Review Board: A Review Board of 3 to 5 members is established to consult with members who fail to pay their registration fee, fail to sign up to clean, or fail to provide sufficient educational offerings to the cooperative; also to be convened when children’s behavior at TALC is inappropriate (or any other reason). Members can request to meet privately with the Review Board to discuss situations that may inhibit them from fulfilling member commitments. (Passed by consensus with one abstention October 2006)

Review Board guidelines (Passed by consensus November 2006):
a. Members will be chosen by lottery (among those who have volunteered) with a minimum of 3 members and a maximum of 5.
b. Membership will be open to all TALC members, with at least once Council member on the Review Board at all times.
c. Any TALC member can convene the RB.
d. At least 3 RB members must be present at each meeting
e. The RB will report briefly to Council after each meeting, keeping details of the discussion private and names anonymous at their discretion.

Spending allotments: Coordinator and Housing Coordinator are each permitted to spend up to $75 per semester from the TALC fund without prior Council approval (with all spending to be reported to Council). (Passed by consensus March 2007)

Supervision: In accordance with our insurance policy, children under the age of 5 must have adult supervision at all times. (Passed by consensus May 2005)

Teenagers: Teenagers (13 and up) re permitted to move through the joint spaces, including outdoors, freely as long as an on-site adult guardian knows their whereabouts and is available should a problem arise (health, discipline, etc). This constitutes adequate adult supervision as phrased in TALC’s lease with the town. (Passed by consensus September 2006)

Teenagers as caregivers: Teenagers (13 and up) are permitted to act as caregivers to children ages 5-12 at TALC as long as the child’s and teen’s on-site adult guardians know their whereabouts and one or the other are available should a problem arise (health, discipline, etc.). Teens can mind up to 3 children and can only watch other people’s children if the teen and both on-site adult guardians have agreed. Teens must be supervised in the gym, however. (Passed by consensus October 2006)

Website: Council agrees to fund up to $100 per year for A TALC website for the public with general information about TALC. (Proposal passed by consensus April 2006)