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Upset about FPEA going Judeo-Christian ...UPDATE IN POST #73 - Page 3

post #41 of 77
Thread Starter 
And of course, welcome Justwanttoteach!!! I'm very happy to see you here.
post #42 of 77
Okay, I emailed our regional rep (district 9), and he said that FPEA was not becoming exclusive, that that it was going to be held to a higher standard, after all, our country was built on Christian principles, and that service itself is a Christian principle. Blah blah blah. He also said that they were working on improving last year's children's program when I expressed my concern about THIS year's program. He ignored the part of my email where I said that it was sneaky and dishonest to try to slip the changes in without boldly spelling them out. He did say that they were going to be discussing this week the comments that the reps are receiving.

I just don't like the taste this whole situation is leaving in my mouth....
post #43 of 77
Thread Starter 
Yeah, it kinda sucks, doesn't it, beanandpumpkin? It could be handled in a much more ethical, moral and respectful way, but instead it's not. Thank you for calling. I truly believe it benefits all of us to work together to ensure we have the freedom to homeschool as we choose. Or am I just a dreamer?

These are the questions that I just sent to my District Director (11):

Quote:
1) Violating the bylaws. Has the FPEA followed its current bylaws with regards to sending this ballot out to its members and asking for the proposed change? Or has the FPEA violated its own bylaws while asking to change them? What will the Department of State think about this? Could this effect the FPEA's incorporated status? Has the FPEA broken the law?

At this link: http://www.fpea.com/Association/BYLAWS.htm
under IX. MISCELLANEOUS, it says:

"Section 2. Amendments.

These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of all votes cast by mailed-in ballots that will be mailed to all members of the Association as well as at a properly called meeting of the Association, or only through mailed-in ballots if requested by the Board. Any amendment must first be passed by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors and then a description and arguments giving various viewpoints, along with the mailed-in ballot, published in the newsletter or mailed out separately."

The second sentence is very important. I received my ballot packet and it does not contain a description of the proposed amendments and it does not include any arguments giving various viewpoints. There is no mention whatsoever of the proposed changes or upcoming ballot request in the Jan-Feb FPEA Almanac. It seems the FPEA and its Board of Directors has chosen to selectively ignore their current bylaws. With this seemingly being the case, what is the point of having bylaws at all? I'd love to hear what the FPEA and all of its Directors have to say about this. Perhaps ex-Vice Chairman,
John Kernohan, is correct and this was all a mistake and will soon be corrected. As a matter of fact, I expect that the ballot will be retracted as it is in complete violation of FPEA bylaws and an apology will be issued to all FPEA members for this grievous error.

2) Nonprofit Status & Tax Laws. How does the FPEA plan to handle the tax issues associated with the potential bylaw changes? The FPEA currently has a "social" tax exempt status and the fact that they are trying to add "Judeo-Christian principles", as well as the advertised content of the convention being overwhelmingly religious, make it possible that the IRS is going to be very unhappy with the FPEA. If the FPEA changes their nonprofit type to "religious", they will be able to accept more money as donations, but they will be subject to far greater governmental oversight. Does the FPEA have a plan in place for this? And if so, when will it be revealed to its members?

3) Inclusive or exclusive? I thought it was pretty ironic that the letterhead on the letter included with the proposed bylaws and articles of incorporation packet stated, "Florida's largest nonprofit, all-inclusive homeschool family association." If the FPEA does add "Judeo-Christian principles" to the organization, what will the FPEA have to offer to groups like ours (a secular and inclusive group) and other secular and religious groups in Florida who might not practice the exact same sort of Christianity that the FPEA convention seems to promote? With the children and teen programs at the convention both covering "Biblical Worldview"...and only one sort, saying the others are based on lies, is there even any reason for families who don't hold that exact biblical worldview to go to the convention of which their dues have supported the creation of? Is the FPEA going to start offering an alternative convention, something with a wider offering of classes for its diverse membership?

4) Refunds. Should the FPEA continue to move forward with becoming a religious and exclusive organization, I believe that many members of our inclusive homeschool group (Homeschoolers of Collier County - HOCC) will be demanding a refund. They paid their money to an association that bills itself as "inclusive" and does not mention religious or Judeo-Christian principles on their website at all. This could be seen as misrepresentation and I believe that members who are not interested in having their dues going toward a non-inclusive convention and association from all over Florida will be making an issue of this. How does FPEA plan to issue refunds to the possibly thousands of members who demand them?

5) Freedom of modality. Another piece of wording in the proposed Amendment to the Articles of Incorporation bothers me. It says, under, "SECOND",
"A) promoting sound family-based home education programs." That sounds as if the FPEA intends to start dictating "what" forms of homeschooling are superior to others, which are "sound" and which are not . As a proponent of a parents' right to choose (which Chairman Gary Weaver seems to be in favor of in his editorial in the Jan-Feb FPEA Almanac), I feel that the wording in statement "A)" above is not at all favorable to homeschoolers in the State of Florida. I object to it strongly.
I hereby state that anyone who chooses can forward my words on without having to credit me. I don't mind picking and choosing sections, just keep the general meaning intact, please.

Whatever answers I get, I will attempt to relay/paraphrase/vaguely mention, here, just to let everyone know.
post #44 of 77

From the homes of your former FPEA Leaders

Dear FPEA Member:

This letter is written on behalf of previous officers and board members of the FPEA, representing almost 70 years of service and leadership to this organization.

By now, many of you have received a packet of information from the FPEA which included amended Articles of Incorporation, amended Bylaws, a stamped postcard ballot and a letter from the current State Chairman, Gary Weaver. State Chairman Weaver has asked you to review the information and quickly vote YES to the proposed changes.

We urge you – DO NOT VOTE Yes to the proposed changes.

The current language in the FPEA Bylaws in Section IX, Miscellaneous, Section 2 – Amendments states:

These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of all votes cast by mailed-in ballots that will be mailed to all members of the Association as well as at a properly called meeting of the Association, or only through mailed-in ballots if requested by the Board. Any amendment must first be passed by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors and then a description and arguments giving various viewpoints, along with the mailed-in ballot, published in the newsletter or mailed out separately.

A description of the amendments and arguments representing differing viewpoints were not included. The FPEA, as a corporation, is bound by law to comply with its bylaws including how to make amendments to those bylaws.* Failure to comply could result in future litigation. The current board failed to meet the requirement for amending the bylaws in that it did not supply those arguments. This bylaw revision is a direct violation of the Bylaws of the current organization. This action is a clear disregard for the foundation and structure of the FPEA.

Here is a short review of a few proposed changes:

Proposed: An organization based on Judeo-Christian values – Rather, the FPEA, founded in 1984, has grown to the largest and most comprehensive state homeschool organization with one common purpose - to support home education in Florida. Our unity is based on our common purpose, not on modality, religion or method of homeschooling. The FPEA was founded as an inclusive, membership driven organization.

Proposed: A state chairman elected by the Board of Directors – Currently, as a membership driven organization, the members directly elect the State Chairman. The State Chairman can then confidently represent the organization on the local, state and national levels knowing that s/he has been directly elected by the members served.

Proposed: A tiered system of exclusive membership, voting members can only be current homeschooling families – Rather, the FPEA’s membership is enjoyed by all persons who support the Association and all members have the right to vote.

Proposed: Directors serve for 4 years – Current directors are elected every two years thereby enabling short term leadership, change of leadership when disenchanted and diversity on the Board of Directors.

Proposed: Acceptance of donations, government grants and contracts. Currently, the acceptance of donations has historically been practiced. *However, the inclusion of the wording “government grants and contracts” may expose the FPEA to adverse compliance requirements and excessive administrative reporting. *Government grants rarely are issued to recipients without some form of performance modification attached, and all require outside audit review by independent Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, the FPEA has always discouraged the acceptance of any financial type of assistance from public education to home educators. How double-minded to accept it or seek it for the organization!

These proposed changes are not technical in nature, nor will they “ensure more and effective governance and efficient operation” as claimed by Chairman Weaver. These changes don’t just revise, they alter the very fabric and character of an organization that has been successful and nationally recognized as the leader among state homeschool associations. This organization, the FPEA, is the organization you chose to join as a member and it is your voice that must be heard.

By violating the By-laws and proposing the elimination of the participation of its members, the Board of Directors is displaying a clear and blatant disregard for the FPEA membership and the very core mission they swore to uphold.
We urge you again to NOT support these proposed changes. The FPEA is YOUR organization. Take it back – do not relinquish control to directors who believe they are above the statutes that govern the FPEA.

The FPEA is preparing to celebrate its 24th anniversary. The leaders who have signed below represent serving the FPEA for 21 of the 24 years of its existence.*

We urge you to vote NO on the proposed amendments. Let’s remain Florida’s largest, nonprofit, all inclusive homeschool family association.

Sincerely,

Cheryl Boglioli: State Chairman 2004-06, BOD 2000-06
LaWanda Sutherland: Secretary 2003-05, BOD 1999-05
Anne Mejeur: District 10 Director 2000-2004
Marcy Krumbine: State Chairman 1999-04, BOD 1995-04
Muffy Amico: Vice-Chairman 1999-00, BOD 1998-01, Convention 2001-05
Jan Prentice: Sec/Treas/VC & BOD 1990-04
Monte Hancock: State Chairman 1990-95, BOD 1986-95
Bob Hemme: Vice-Chairman 2000-01, BOD 1998-2001
John Kernohan: Vice-Chairman 2003-07, BOD 2000-07
Sandra Smith: Office Manager/Pub lications Editor 1993-2001
post #45 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by steffanie3 View Post
If they sent it out to vote on that seems fair to me.

(Not trying to get flamed.)
Steffanie, and others, here is why is is NOT fair... the way they sent out this packet and ballot is in DIRECT violation to existing bylaws.

Here is an informative letter I am forwarding and encourage you all to read:

From the homes of your former FPEA Leaders

Dear FPEA Member:

This letter is written on behalf of previous officers and board members of the FPEA, representing almost 70 years of service and leadership to this organization.

By now, many of you have received a packet of information from the FPEA which included amended Articles of Incorporation, amended Bylaws, a stamped postcard ballot and a letter from the current State Chairman, Gary Weaver. State Chairman Weaver has asked you to review the information and quickly vote YES to the proposed changes.

We urge you – DO NOT VOTE Yes to the proposed changes.

The current language in the FPEA Bylaws in Section IX, Miscellaneous, Section 2 – Amendments states:
These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of all votes cast by mailed-in ballots that will be mailed to all members of the Association as well as at a properly called meeting of the Association, or only through mailed-in ballots if requested by the Board. Any amendment must first be passed by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors and then a description and arguments giving various viewpoints, along with the mailed-in ballot, published in the newsletter or mailed out separately.
A description of the amendments and arguments representing differing viewpoints were not included. The FPEA, as a corporation, is bound by law to comply with its bylaws including how to make amendments to those bylaws. Failure to comply could result in future litigation. The current board failed to meet the requirement for amending the bylaws in that it did not supply those arguments. This bylaw revision is a direct violation of the Bylaws of the current organization. This action is a clear disregard for the foundation and structure of the FPEA.
Here is a short review of a few proposed changes:
1.Proposed: An organization based on Judeo-Christian values – Rather, the FPEA, founded in 1984, has grown to the largest and most comprehensive state homeschool organization with one common purpose - to support home education in Florida. Our unity is based on our common purpose, not on modality, religion or method of homeschooling. The FPEA was founded as an inclusive, membership driven organization.
2.Proposed: A state chairman elected by the Board of Directors – Currently, as a membership driven organization, the members directly elect the State Chairman. The State Chairman can then confidently represent the organization on the local, state and national levels knowing that s/he has been directly elected by the members served.
3.Proposed: A tiered system of exclusive membership, voting members can only be current homeschooling families – Rather, the FPEA’s membership is enjoyed by all persons who support the Association and all members have the right to vote.
4.Proposed: Directors serve for 4 years – Current directors are elected every two years thereby enabling short term leadership, change of leadership when disenchanted and diversity on the Board of Directors.
5. Proposed: Acceptance of donations, government grants and contracts. Currently, the acceptance of donations has historically been practiced. However, the inclusion of the wording “government grants and contracts” may expose the FPEA to adverse compliance requirements and excessive administrative reporting. Government grants rarely are issued to recipients without some form of performance modification attached, and all require outside audit review by independent Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, the FPEA has always discouraged the acceptance of any financial type of assistance from public education to home educators. How double-minded to accept it or seek it for the organization!
These proposed changes are not technical in nature, nor will they “ensure more and effective governance and efficient operation” as claimed by Chairman Weaver. These changes don’t just revise, they alter the very fabric and character of an organization that has been successful and nationally recognized as the leader among state homeschool associations. This organization, the FPEA, is the organization you chose to join as a member and it is your voice that must be heard.
By violating the By-laws and proposing the elimination of the participation of its members, the Board of Directors is displaying a clear and blatant disregard for the FPEA membership and the very core mission they swore to uphold.
We urge you again to NOT support these proposed changes. The FPEA is YOUR organization. Take it back – do not relinquish control to directors who believe they are above the statutes that govern the FPEA.
The FPEA is preparing to celebrate its 24th anniversary. The leaders who have signed below represent serving the FPEA for 21 of the 24 years of its existence. We urge you to vote NO on the proposed amendments. Let’s remain Florida’s largest, nonprofit, all inclusive homeschool family association.
Sincerely,
Cheryl Boglioli State Chairman 2004-06 BOD 2000-06
John Kernohan Vice-Chairman 2003-07 BOD 2000-07
LaWanda Sutherland Secretary 2003-05 BOD 1999-05
Anne Mejeur District 10 Director 2000-2004
Marcy Krumbine State Chairman 1999-04 BOD 1995-04
Muffy Amico Vice-Chairman 1999-00 BOD 1998-01 Convention 2001-05Jan Prentice Sec/Treas/VC BOD 1990-04
Monte Hancock State Chairman 1990-95 BOD 1986-95
Bob Hemme Vice-Chairman 2000-01 BOD 1998-2001
Sandra Smith Office Manager/Pub.Editor 1993-2001

Please feel free to distribute this letter FAR and WIDE.

With love and appreciation,
Rachell Skerlec, inclusive Florida homeschooler and FPEA member of 10 years; Assistant Group Coordinator of the inclusive Gulfcoast Homeschool Association (gchsa.com) affiliated with FPEA for over 18 years
post #46 of 77
oopsy, new here and thought I was posting at end of thread but guess I missed the last couple posts and now I see another member already posted this letter and I am glad for it! Thank you!
post #47 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aGratefulMama View Post
oopsy, new here and thought I was posting at end of thread but guess I missed the last couple posts and now I see another member already posted this letter and I am glad for it! Thank you!
Thank you anyway, GratefulMama!!
post #48 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwisdomskr View Post
A lot of people think that "Judeo-Christian" means "interfaith" in the U.S.

I don't know if this might have something to do with it?
I think you have a point there. Many think that....of course inclusive should mean that you don't have to adhere to any particular faith. It is so hard being surrounded by this kind of thinking.
post #49 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwisdomskr View Post
A lot of people think that "Judeo-Christian" means "interfaith" in the U.S.
That's a good point! But the FPEA Convention Children's Program has no 'Judeo' component even.

Here's an excerpt from an email I sent to my district 9 rep.

"I read the proposed bylaws as well and it stated "Judeo-Christian" values. Right now I only see one flavor of Christian values being promoted. If the FPEA's definition of being an inclusive group is that I don't have to sign a statement of faith, the FPEA is not a good fit for my family. Allowing us to get a newsletter and then be unable to attend functions is not inclusive. It's taking our money and treating us second-class."

What the FPEA leadership is doing seems, to me at least and this is just my opinion, somewhat dishonest. Not following the bylaws...changing the focus of a group without being VERY upfront on their website and other printed materials. The intentions might be good. But the method leaves much to be desired.

I'm fine with FPEA as a group deciding to be Christian and no longer inclusive. But they need to be upfront with their current members (and follow their wishes) and potential members. It's rude to invite a vegetarian to dinner and try to sneak meat into every dish

Just my .02

Debby
post #50 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlws92 View Post
It's rude to invite a vegetarian to dinner and try to sneak meat into every dish
I LOVE this analogy.
post #51 of 77

New Information From FPEA

This morning I received an email that was forwarded to me from someone over on the Gulf Coast, which was a message originally sent out last night by the FPEA's District 9 Director. This email had 3 attachments to it containing what appears to be the FPEA's explanations of the proposed changes and a letter from FPEA Chairman Gary Weaver. I have not yet fully reviewed these documents, but two things have come to mind.

1). Since this new information is being provided by email a week after the original package was being received by FPEA members, will the FPEA throw out any and all ballots received to date since anyone who has already voted did so without this new information? I have emailed my local Director about this and am awaiting a response.

2). The letter that was included in last night's email states the voting still needs to be completed by February 22nd. It seems to me that since additional information is just now being received by email from the FPEA the deadline should be extended - or this entire vote should be terminated and a new one scheduled for a future date.
post #52 of 77

Alternative to FPEA in FL: LIFE of Florida

[B]Start or take part in growing a state SECULAR organization...

LIFE of Florida (http://LIFEofFlorida.blogspot.com) has offered secular support for home and alternative learners in FL for the last six years. We're part of a larger nonprofit education resource organization called "Learning is for Everyone"

We may not be as well known as FPEA, but we're included right next to them in the FL DOE homeschool resource list, attend the same DOE technical assistance meeting in Orlando each year, and appear in the DOE literature provided to homeschoolers in the state.

We host an inexpensive statewide gathering each year, and provide support to homeschoolers on the the web and off, including the most comprehensive FAQ on homeschooling in FL you'll find anywhere, and legislative and other information, all linked at both sites -- and all for free! There is no cost to join LIFE of FL. We also feature a directory of inclusive homeschool groups throughout the state.

FPEA does a good job doing what it does -- but their move towards clearly identifying themselves as a Judeo-Christian organization comes as no surprise to long time homeschoolers in the state (myself among them, at 14+ years). I applaud their honesty about it, actually -- their convention has always had a strong conservative religious bent, and the majority of their member groups are religious in nature.

I invite all secular, broad based, and all welcoming groups in FL to see what LIFE has to offer, and to bring your energy, enthusiasm and drive for more religiously and socially open homeschooling to our organization, where you're not only welcomed as a member, but will always be treated as an integral part of our homeschooling community.

Terri Willingham
LIFE of FL
post #53 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justwanttoteach View Post
This morning I received an email that was forwarded to me from someone over on the Gulf Coast, which was a message originally sent out last night by the FPEA's District 9 Director. This email had 3 attachments to it containing what appears to be the FPEA's explanations of the proposed changes and a letter from FPEA Chairman Gary Weaver. I have not yet fully reviewed these documents, but two things have come to mind.

1). Since this new information is being provided by email a week after the original package was being received by FPEA members, will the FPEA throw out any and all ballots received to date since anyone who has already voted did so without this new information? I have emailed my local Director about this and am awaiting a response.

2). The letter that was included in last night's email states the voting still needs to be completed by February 22nd. It seems to me that since additional information is just now being received by email from the FPEA the deadline should be extended - or this entire vote should be terminated and a new one scheduled for a future date.
So far, our group has not received this and neither have I, but I look forward to seeing it. If anyone has it and would be willing to forward it to me, please let me know.
post #54 of 77
Thread Starter 
Okay, I have now received the e-mail package directly from the FPEA and though I eagerly await the analysis of the former leaders, I am initially dismayed at the lack of discussion about the item that includes "acceptance of donations, government grants and contracts". Did I miss it? I'm going to send in a query.
post #55 of 77
Thread Starter 
This is what I just wrote to the FPEA, as a member, cc'ing all of the current District Directors and as well as a couple of the former FPEA leaders.
Quote:
Dear FPEA,

Why is there no explanation or description of the problematic "government grants and contracts" clause.
I am dismayed at the lack of discussion about the item that includes "acceptance of donations, government grants and contracts".
Giving the government any amount of sway with the FPEA is not something I am personally interested in supporting. How can
the FPEA remain independent and be trusted to watch over the government and home education related laws for us, if the government
is in FPEA's pockets?

I also feel that the current ballot deadline should be changed or that the entire ballot should be scrapped and
restarted at a later date. Many members may have already cast their votes at the vague urgings of their District Directors, without
having a full understanding of what the changes really were and how they affect the members. Those members should have a chance
to vote again. My District Director told me that there really were no changes, that it was just an UPDATE and that there were "no" pros and cons
regarding the changes. I assume that others have been told similar things and I don't believe that is an upfront way for the FPEA to operate.
I have not received any more personal responses to all of my questions and inquiries from my District Director or anyone else.
post #56 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
I have not received any more personal responses to all of my questions and inquiries from my District Director or anyone else.
The only response I've gotten was almost verbatim to what beanandpumpkin received. We are in the same district.
post #57 of 77
Thread Starter 
Someone else just pointed this out to me, so I wanted to share it here.

In the thirteenth clause of the Proposed Amended & Restated Article of Incorporation document I received in the mail from the FPEA, it says that "Any controversy or claim"..."shall be settled by mandatory, binding arbitration administered by Peacemaker Ministries."

At their website, http://www.peacemaker.net/site/c.aqK....CB70/Home.htm
it says that Peacemaker Ministries is "Equipping and assisting Christians and their churches to respond to conflict biblically."

This would probably put the FPEA's 501(c) status with the IRS in jeopardy.

The newest letter from the Chairman says that though they are going to be operating under Judeo-Chrisitan principles, that they will still be inclusive because they will not require a statement of faith. I certainly don't see how all members could possibly be served by Peacemaker Ministries, though.

So my vote is going to be a "no".
post #58 of 77
I am not an accountant, but I think if a 501(c)4 organization incorporated in the State of Florida, such as the FPEA, makes any change to its Mission Statement, Purpose, or Articles, those changes might have an impact on the organization's tax status.

I believe the procedure is that any changes to a 501(c)4 organization’s Mission Statement, Purposes or Articles need to be presented to the IRS for a ruling (determination of tax status). Since an organization’s tax status is based, in part, on the Mission Statement, Purpose and Articles originally submitted to the IRS - it is possible any changes to any of these documents might motivate the IRS to change the organization’s tax status.

At the same time, I am assuming the FPEA's office, its treasurer and/or its outside accountant looked into this prior to submitting the proposed changes to the membership for a vote.
post #59 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justwanttoteach View Post
I am not an accountant, but I think if a 501(c)4 organization incorporated in the State of Florida, such as the FPEA, makes any change to its Mission Statement, Purpose, or Articles, those changes might have an impact on the organization's tax status.

I believe the procedure is that any changes to a 501(c)4 organization’s Mission Statement, Purposes or Articles need to be presented to the IRS for a ruling (determination of tax status). Since an organization’s tax status is based, in part, on the Mission Statement, Purpose and Articles originally submitted to the IRS - it is possible any changes to any of these documents might motivate the IRS to change the organization’s tax status.

At the same time, I am assuming the FPEA's office, its treasurer and/or its outside accountant looked into this prior to submitting the proposed changes to the membership for a vote.
Thank you for your thoughts, JWTT.
post #60 of 77

Adding My Voice

Just found your sight and wanted to add my voice to those opposed to the FPEA changes. While I am Christian it is not my reason for homeschooling, and I do not share the viewpoints presented at most of the Christian related workshops at FPEA's conference. I was appalled 2 years ago when I attended a workshop led by the Homeschool Legal Defense Fund and discovered their religious viewpoints. I hope that our state legislators are aware that not all homeschoolers share these views! There are over 30,000 denominations of Christians, and one organization can not possibly meet the needs or beliefs of all of them.
It is my hope that the voice of those that wish FPEA to remain inclusive are heard loud and clear, and perhaps those that are uncomfortable with our presence will go and form their own new state group!
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