Summary of the 2016 Annual General Assembly of the Parents' Association of the European School Frankfurt (ESF) held on 24 November 2016

1. Welcoming

Tony Obisesan, President of the Parents' Association (PA), welcomed the attending members expressing the PA’s disappointment in the low turnout of members for the meeting. He emphasised that the meeting had been specifically arranged at the ECB to encourage more members to attend directly after work. There were 36 members present and an additional 32 were represented by power of attorney, so 68 members in total were eligible to vote.

2. Activity report

Mr. Endres, Vice-President of the PA, reported on the portfolios under his responsibility in the PA, Childminding, afternoon activities, premises and school expansion. He reminded the members present about the situation 4 years ago (very different than today), issue of capacity, how to cater for all incoming new students following the creation of the SSM and how these have been surmounted and achieved by relentless talks, negotiations. Mr. Endres thanked Tony Obisesan, Andrea Haringová, Gareth Kybett and Sharon Mawdsley, all former Executive Board members, for their hard work and commitment. He extended his thanks to Mrs. Chatzivassiliadou and Mr. Fischböck from the school and Mr. Rennpferdt and Mrs. Pauer from the ECB. Mr. Endres then pointed out that the new modular building gave the school the urgently needed classrooms to enroll over 250 more children on the school grounds (and the PP to leave the PA containers across the road); for the Parents’ Association it means that there is sufficient space to enroll all pupils to Childminding and there is still a buffer to cater for future increase in the number of pupils in the school; it is also possible to extend the offer for afternoon activities. 

Mr. Endres reported that the modular building is very well appreciated by the children and that the problem with overheating was not fully sorted when the modular building first opened, but the PA with the support of the ECB found a solution that in spite of bizarre appearance resembling the Centre Pompidou proved to be very effective for providing Childminding even on the sunny days before the 2016 summer holidays. When the city of Frankfurt presented this building at the architectural day in July, our temporary air-conditioning made a huge impression on the visitors and that speeded up the process of getting a less fancy but nevertheless efficient air-conditioning solution implemented in the building. He noted that there all still things to do but they are ordered and should be in place by April 2017.

Mr Enders then recalled that last summer the secondary canteen was refurbished, with the new seating and the free flow concept, so the waiting time for the pupils is reduced and there is the possibility to prepare one of the 3 choices fresh nearly every day. The numbers of children eating in the canteen has increased by 80 to 100 per day. For Childminding, enrolment has not changed and the service provided by Global Education, Ms. Pfaff, Ms. Tueshaus and their team is appreciated by parents and the PA.

Afternoon activities on the other hand have increased the numbers of courses (8) and participants (about 15 %). Thanks to Mrs. Mager!

Mr. Endres showed pictures of the new playground on the premises of the PA and reported that Germany had agreed to finance some urgently needed interim solutions to accommodate the growing number of Category I children. One of these projects will be a new sports hall on the premises that the PA is renting from the city of Frankfurt. The necessary construction works will mainly be done during the holidays (Easter, May break, summer). Childminding will then take place in the modular building.

Finally, Mr. Endres informed the members that for personal and health reasons he has decided to step down from the PA Board with immediate effect; however, he stands ready to support in case of need. The president thanked Mr. Endres for his time, dedication, commitment and most importantly his ability to get things moving and implemented.

Tony Obisesan presented the overall figures for transport that show that since its introduction there has been a steady growth from 2011 to-date. He thanked Mr. Thomas August (a previous Board member responsible for the introduction of the service). Now about 250 pupils use the school bus. He pointed out that if the number of buses increased beyond the six now running in the morning, it would soon be necessary to adapt the rules for the school parking lot. Mr. Obisesan indicated that issues reported by parents are followed up by Felix Walderdorff who tries to address matters promptly with both the service provider and the concerned parent(s).

Mr Obisesan also informed the members about a new initiative of ESF talks which had been launched earlier this year as a joint initiative with the School, ECB and the PA Board. He thanked the members of the working groups, pointing out that three sessions had been held during the current year (2 for Secondary on Mind Matters and the use of Social Media, while for the Primary School a session on the introduction of KiVa was held the previous week). He informed that the info sessions would be a regular annual event and that material from the various sessions would be published on the PA website. Finally he stated that the next session for Secondary is planned on 23 March 2017 and a date will soon be published for the next Primary session

Barbara Soszyńska presented the activities of Interparents, the umbrella organisation for all PAs of the European Schools. She gave a brief overview of the main areas of focus during the year, including the new marking scheme, the introduction of online correction for the European Baccalaureate, etc.

Catherine Brodie informed parents about the forthcoming finalisation of the proposed guidelines for student exchange that aims at formalizing the arrangements. She drew the members’ attention to the fact that the ESF has already implemented the new deadline that is put forward to the end of January for request for the following school year. Ms. Brodie explained that the ESF PA website will be updated once the final guidelines and annexes are made public. Finally, she informed parents about her intention to organise a Q&A session relatively soon for parents of S2-S4 students.

Jean Dominique Montoisy presented the PA’s finances for the 2015-16 school year providing an overview of expenses and income. Mr. Montoisy re-emphasized the urgent need to establish the Company so that the PA can focus on standard PA activities.

3. Financial audit report

Vlaho Kostov and Bernhard Stricker presented the report for the 2015/16 financial year. Though the books are in order and booking of accounts is in line with the accounting standards, the auditors recommended addressing a number of matters such as a protocol for decision-making on financial issues, competing offers, inventory list, use of surplus finance. The PA Board appreciated the recommendations but explained that these recommendations would be best tackled by the Company once it is in place; hence the proposal to shift the PA present responsibilities to the Company.

The auditors approved the creation of the company for the reason explained.

4. Discharge of the Board

The auditors moved for the discharge of the Board. The request was approved unanimously by show of hands.

5. Designation of next year’s auditors (2016-17)

Bernhard Stricker and Karl-Heinz Endres volunteered to be the auditors for the 2016-17 financial year. They were appointed unanimously.

6. Election of members of the Board

7 candidates stood for the (re)election for which there was ten vacant positions. The following candidates were elected or re-elected (*):

Catherine Brodie (37*), Christine Haralambous (55), Insa Jung (62*), Malgorzata Lewandowska (56*), Samantha Malmberg (59*), Jean-Dominique Montoisy (55*) Barbara Soszyńska (55*). All elected persons individually accepted their election. According to the Statutes, the distribution of responsibilities will be decided at the next Board meeting on 12 December 2016.

7. Approval of the creation of the Limited Liability Company

Jean-Dominique Montoisy presented the current situation of the PA, focusing on the budget which is that of a medium-size company and the (individual and collective) liability of the Board members; he also presented an overview of the activities to be moved to the Company and the need to rethink the PA’s mission statement and the next steps towards establishing the Company.

Following a lengthy discussion in which many questions were raised by the PA members present and answered by the Board as well as by Mr. Knebel (the PA Accountant) and Mr. Rennpferdt (representing the ECB), a vote was called on the creation of the Company (gGmbH). The result of the vote was as follows: 7 abstentions, 10 against and 50 in favour of the creation of the gGmbH.

8. AOB/Questions

One member questioned the status of the outcome of the Canteen Committee on the next step regarding the introduction of organic food in the canteen. Mr. Endres replied that the caterer (Menüpartner) explained that already 80% of their fresh products are organic/bio but they need to be officially bio certified in order to announce it as such; they will look into this matter to find out if they can get the certification for the ESF canteen. They will inform the school directorate on any new developments in this regard and share any new information.

When asked about the ongoing talks and potential news on the location of the new school, Mr. Endres confirmed that there is no change and that two possibilities between Gerbermühle and Offenbach remain the only proposals on the table at present; parents will be kept informed.

As for the question on the enlargement of the school, talks are ongoing, with the same offer. It is confirmed that there is no future for the school at the current location if the numbers are growing as indicated by the ECB and that the Primary and Secondary schools should stay together in one location.

9. Miscellaneous

No other issues were raised.

The President thanked all attending members.

The assembly closed at 22:02.

Catherine Brodie