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AIBU to think I'm wasting my time with these people?

(43 Posts)
coproxamol Tue 14-Jun-11 21:36:01

DD and DS2 go to a local preschool.
About 6 months ago about 12 of the parents whose DCs attend were 'persuaded' to form a committee. This effectively removed the responsibilty of running the preschool from the owners and made the committee members responsible for everything from writing cheques, paying wages, invoicing each other to fundraising, etc.
One or two have drifted away and the parent who became the Treasurer actually formally resigned after a month as she felt the owners were taking the piss and handing all the work over to the parents.
Anyway, this led to some bitchy remarks made about her at following meetings which I felt was grossly unfair, especially as her DD is still attending the preschool.
I offered to do the fundraising side along with 3 others. So far they have had zero input, whereas I have had sllepless nights fretting about raising funds for them.
I have offered (good) ideas which have been poo poohed, I have spent hours sourcing grants and fundraising sites on the Net and I have made them some fab posters asking other parents for their input, advertising upcoming events, etc. But the owners just put the posters in the bloody office....not on the wall where they need to be seen.
Feel as though I am wasting my time worrying that I am not doing enough while the other committe members seem to do sod all. Most can't even be arsed to turn up to the meetings, just send their apologies.
Am I wasting my time here or what? I mean, you can lead a horse to water, but the owners just seem so 'not bothered' that I'm starting to think I'm wasting my time too and should resign....but then I will be the one being bitched about, won't I?

Sanesometimes1 Tue 14-Jun-11 22:22:24

probably, that's the way it goes on these sort of committees. the only thing I can suggest is just to back off slowly, do the same as the others miss a few meeting here and there, forget to send the letter etc, just give any old excuse you can, some other "mug" will pick up the pieces and then you can bow out gracefully - been there, done that and got the t-shirt !

Booandpops Tue 14-Jun-11 22:30:21

I'm in a fund raising group and there are always a few that get out of doing stuff. Really annoying!! Back off a little and see what happens. The owners ere ttp IMO.

coproxamol Tue 14-Jun-11 22:51:01

Thing is, when the committee was first formed, I was all fired up because it meant I had something else apart from parenting to focus on.
I really wanted to 'make a difference', as they say, but the owners just seem so just-not-interested anymore. It's like they have handed the running over to the committee and said get on with it.
I remember at the 1st meeting the owner said she felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders. That should have been the warning to us all that she was glad to offload the work.
I am interested in helping as it's my DCs preschool, and I don't mind putting in the time and cost for stamps, etc, but not if the pwners are going to just expect me to do their job for nothing.
I mean, how do other committees work?
Any committee members out there?

Salmotrutta Tue 14-Jun-11 23:05:41

You pay for postage and stuff?? There should be petty cash surely for stuff like that?!
And actually - I know how you feel (toddler group committee member back in the day circa the year dot!) and honestly it's not worth losing sleep over. Really - you won't be appreciated sadly and are more likely to be taken a loan of.

MadamDeathstare Wed 15-Jun-11 03:34:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

coproxamol Wed 15-Jun-11 10:54:16

I really am starting to stress about all this now, and yes, I have paid for postage, paper, etc.
Thing is, I already get the feeling that I'm being talked about by the owners and the staff, IYSWIM. Everytime I drop the DCs off, I just get the feeling there is an atmosphere. I have chatted with the ex treasurer since she resigned, but I didn't tell her about the bitchy remarks at the committee meetings. She says she can definitely feel an atmosphere around her and her DD when she arrives, andshe has even considered putting her DD into a different preschool.
I really don't want to have this hanging over me for the next 2 years, but don't know how to tackle the situation.
All the work seems to have been left to me and one other parent, the other members just seem to do nothing.
Feel stuck now and although I really want to help the preschool as much as possible, there's only so much I can do on my own with 3DCs to look after as well.

faintpositive Wed 15-Jun-11 10:58:48

imho, you could have a job and be payed with employee rights for the same amount of stress.

Not worth it, step away. You do not have to do any of this.

I got involved with playgroup committee once many many years ago with my PFB.

It is not an experience I have chosen to repeat.

I would walk away if I was you, it isn't worth it and they will continue to take the piss.

create Wed 15-Jun-11 11:14:01

Is this a profit making pre-school? i.e do the owners take an income from it?

If so and they (and you) want you to continue what you're doing, then it should be a paid administrative position surely? You might see it as a great opportunity to work child friendly hours and build your CV then, but ATM I'm not surprised you feel like you do.

SenoritaViva Wed 15-Jun-11 11:31:47

A number of preschools are run on a committee - my daughter's is one and I am part of this. However, the preschool should be run with strict guidelines if this is the case - ours is a member of the Preschool Alliance. It shouldn't be like this, parents can be bitchy, there's always an element of politics but the owners should be working with the committee. I'd investigate this further. Or I would step down, citing your reasons and sod the people that bitch about you.

FilthyDirtyHeathen Wed 15-Jun-11 11:32:52

I'm confused. Is this a private pre-school run by a Ltd company? Or is it a state run thing and the committee is a sort of PTA type thing?

If it is a privately run, profit-making business and you are PAYING for your children to attend, why are the owners putting pressure on the parents to raise funds for the place and what are those funds being used for? If it is a private business then you need to stop caring what the people who run it are saying or thinking about you. They sound like arseholes and in fact they should be feeling guilty and stressed about making you personally subsidise their business.

Give us a bit more info on the structure/governance of the pre-school. Is it a Ltd company or what OP.

mossip Wed 15-Jun-11 12:38:51

So many people have said to me they are never volunteering again after the way they were treated. Usually, one or two people in charge, poo poohing others ideas and efforts and bitching about them at meetings.

I was approached recently to help with something for the school. I offered to do quite a large job. But it wasn't enough. One of the organisers kept trying to bully me into doing more jobs, saying surely I could take time off work, and couldn't someone else look after DC. I offered to do another job. She was extremely patronising and rude about my efforts, for no real reason.

As such I will probably never volunteer again. Why can't these people see what they're doing? The reason they struggle to get volunteers is because of the way they treat them. I would back out if I were you. Your efforts are wasted on these people.

TeaAndToast68 Wed 15-Jun-11 13:17:47

Committee work needs committment and proper behaviour from all involved. There is actually a skill to doing it successfully, like most things (and I mean running a committee, not "getting your own way")

Sometimes an experienced chairperson can guide the members to work together (this is the chair's job, it is not to have all the ideas, or do all the work, or get all the credit, or get their own way)

I'd recommend that you look up all your receipts for stationery and stamps, photocopy them, and put in a claim for expenses to whoever controls the cash. If no-one is, or they refuse to refund you, write a short note to the committee, cc the people who own or run the group, saying that regrettfully you don't feel able to continue under such conditions, are are resigning with immediate effect.

Anyway, if you're not happy continuing, write a brief note, and read it out at the next meeting, copying it to the rest of the committee (including those who don't turn up, and whoever is in charge) saying that you do not feel able to contribute further, and will be resigning effective DDMMYY (a month's notice would be polite). Avoid discussing your reasons until after you have left as this will be a ploy to get you to change your mind, or withdraw your resignation, or feel guilty. Don't be persuaded to take on more work. Step back and hold to your decision. If one day you feel like volunteering for something again, then you can if you want to. Next time you will know what to look for before agreeing.

coproxamol Wed 15-Jun-11 13:43:43

Thankyou for the replies ladies.

First off, it was a charity but the committee was implemented in order to allow the owners to turn the preschool into an incorporated organisation. Basically, it is still a charity, but it company status.

The Pre School Alliance are involved heavily with helping to set up the incorporation side, and one of their members actually attends every meeting.

The Chair is the owner's partner so his input does seem a little biased in my opinion.
The role of treasurer has to be filled asap as otherwise the preschool cannot legally continue. They keep dropping hints my way, but I just try to change the subject as there's no way I could take that on.

There does seem to be a lack of interest from the owners since the committee took over as she has hardly been in the preschool since. Apparantly she is doing a Degree at Uni This was one of the reasons the previous Treasurer resigned. She said that the owner was claiming wages for the days she was absent and at uni. Treasurer felt this might not be quite above board.

I have made some posters to put on the noticeboard asking parents to think about joining the committee as more members are needed. But, that has also mysteriously vanished. Apparently, the owner and staff have been overheard trying to 'persuade' one of the parents to take on the Treasurers role as she works in that area in her day job. Talk about putting someone on the spot. I mean, you can't force people to do anything can you?

TeaAndToast68 Wed 15-Jun-11 13:56:14

"I just try to change the subject as there's no way I could take that on."

Far better to say clearly and unambiguously "I'm afraid I can't help you there"

And of course keep repeating it stonily if they start to say how easy it is, how little work, how clever you are, how you could do it with no trouble.

If they are taking recruitment posters down then they have their own agenda and preferred candidates.

I hope someone dibbs in this woman who is claiming wages for days she didn't work. Is this a charity and does it get any public funds?

coproxamol Wed 15-Jun-11 14:36:44

Well it was a charity, but it's going to become incorporated.
They do get some funding but it's obviously not enough as they are desperate for funds, so they say.
They do seem to have a very large wage bill, and they do seem to have a lot of very young girls working there. Nothing wrong with that of course, but there does seem to be a lack of 'who's in charge'.

TeaAndToast68 Wed 15-Jun-11 14:55:32

I am thinking of fraud, you see.

FilthyDirtyHeathen Wed 15-Jun-11 15:00:29

If it is a charity then I don't see how there is an 'owner'. Is there a Chief Exec figure? Who has overal responsibility for the management of the pre-school and signs off the day to day decisions about hiring, firing, purchasing, curriculum etc. Surely this person should have an active interest in what you are doing? To be honest, I am still a little confused as to the governance but that is entirely down to my lack of understanding as to how these things work - nothing to do with your explanation OP.

It does sound like nobody is driving the bus and it is very hard to achieve anything under those circumstances. It sounds like your efforts are being taken for granted/ignored. If all that's stopping you giving it up is the fear of a few bitchy comments PAH! You've done nothing wrong. It sounds like the entire committee should be hanging its head in shame since none of them appear to be doing anything.

coproxamol Wed 15-Jun-11 21:48:41

ROFL at nobody driving the bus.
Think I am going to go with the stand back and let others give more input idea.
I have tried, I can't do anymore.
As for fraud, yes that is what the previous Treasurer was concerned about.
Thing is, all the 'committee members' were sort of coerced into forming .
We were actually asked to attend a fundraising brainstorming ideas meeting. We all went along with a list of ideas, and the owners, along with the rep from Preschool Alliance, informed us that we were needed as committee members. We were all put on the spot.
I was actually amazed that they expected us all to sign up to running a preschool when we had no business experience whatsoever. Surely they would have been better asking if anyone actually had any experience of running a business, charity whatever?
Anyway, am seriously considering telling them I cannot do this anymore...will probably have to make up some reason, but really think I need to get out asap.

mossip Wed 15-Jun-11 22:05:05

I was horrified when are pre-school were asking for volunteer parents to interview the staff. I really feel interviewing is a skill, for which people have extensive training and it's just not right to submit interviewees to anyone off the street.

coproxamol Wed 15-Jun-11 22:10:18

Never mind interviewing the staff, we are expected to write up staff contracts and 'negotiate' their wages!

mossip Wed 15-Jun-11 22:38:25

Which is just not on really - unfair on you and the staff.

coproxamol Wed 15-Jun-11 22:43:46

I just find the attitude of the owners really strange regarding all this.
Am seriously considering moving DCs to another preschool now.

mossip Wed 15-Jun-11 23:03:29

Yes, wouldn't blame you. I guess it depends on how long they've got left before school and how settled they are really. pre-school after all is quite a temporary experience - 1-2 years.

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