PROCEEDINGS OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
LOCKWOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT #26
YELLOWSTONE COUNTY, BILLINGS, MT
Regular Meeting


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April 13, 2004

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CLOSED SESSION             6:00 P.M.

The session was closed for the purpose of litigation strategy for the McCracken Lawsuit. Trustees and officers present were: Robert Guenther, Becky Webber, Greg Bochy, Jim Painter, Gayle Walker, Teresa Stroebe, Tim Trafford, District Clerk Diane Brook and Superintendent Eileen Johnson. Others present: Previous trustee Tom Neujahr, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, and attorneys Bobbi Frazer and Ken Tolliver.

CALL TO ORDER            7:15 P.M.

The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of School District No. 26, Lockwood Schools, Yellowstone County, was duly held in the Board Room, 1932 U.S. Highway 87, Billings, Montana, on Tuesday, April 13, 2004, at 7:15 p.m.

Chairperson Tim Trafford presided. He led those present in the pledge of allegiance.

The following trustees and officers were present: Trustees: Gayle Walker, Tim Trafford, Teresa Stroebe, Greg Bochy, Becky Webber, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, District Clerk Diane Brook and Superintendent Eileen Johnson.

Staff members present were: Dave DeBoer, Mike Bowman, Mike Sullivan, Stephanie S. Miller, Lynette Larson, Marie Anderson, Vicki Balgua, and MaryKay Rottrup.

Registered guests were: Pam Malek, Barbara Frank, Bryce Brown, Jinx Brown, Lane Larson, Chad Fehr, Angelo Bianco, Gary Forrester, and Thomas Jones.

The School Resource Officer, Chad Fehr was introduced by Chairman Trafford.

Mr. Trafford also introduced Gary Forrester who is running for House District No. 44 and
Lane Larson who is running for Senate in the new Senate District. They both said they were attending the board meeting to listen and learn.

The four candidates for school board trustee were also introduced. Thomas Jones is an air traffic controller, Angelo Bianco is retired military, Barbara Frank is a teacher for Billings Public Schools, and incumbent Tim Trafford, works in information systems for EBMS.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND PAYMENT OF BILLS AND WAGES

The Board received a copy of the summary of paid bills by account. The summary included a detailed statement of all expenditures of money with the name of the person or business to which payment is made, showing the service rendered or goods furnished.

Becky Webber moved to approve the February 26, 2004 special board meeting minutes and the March 9, 2004 regular board meeting minutes as presented and the payment of all

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bills and wages and extracurricular bills. Robert Guenther seconded the motion. Chairman Trafford asked if there was any discussion. Seeing none he called for a vote. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy, Rebecca Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed seven to zero.

PUBLIC WRITTEN REQUEST TO ADDRESS THE BOARD

Mary Kay Rottrup read aloud a letter from her and the other members of the primary staff. The letter requested that the trustees consider adding at least a half-time health enhancement teacher in the Primary School (K-2) to reinstate the Health Enhancement program.

Mary Kay referred to articles relating information about diabetes and weight problems in children. The children need to learn about the importance of exercise. She said Lockwood Primary is now one of the few schools that do not have a PE program at all.

Trustee Robert Guenther asked if the classroom teachers are teaching physical education now. Mary Kay responded that the priorities are reading and math. She said it is a logistical nightmare for classroom teachers to handle PE.

She advised that there might be a qualified staff member interested in teaching an organized half-time health enhancement program.

CORRESPONDENCE

  A. Letter of resignation as Technology Assistant from Cathy Gamrath

Supt. Johnson advised that Cathy Gamrath has been Technology Assistant for five years and has done a wonderful job of creating the evolution of this position into a vital one for all our students and staff.

Tim Trafford read aloud Cathy Gamrath’s letter of resignation.

  B. Letter of resignation from Family Resource Center Coordinator Sue Stahley

Mrs. Johnson noted that Sue Stahley has been our first and only Family Resource Coordinator for almost eight years. This is an element of public schools that is now required. Sue has done an excellent job with bringing the parents into our schools.

Tim read aloud Sue Stahley’s letter.

  C. Letter of resignation as a middle school math teacher from Katie Notis

Katie Notis has taught math to sixth graders for two years during the leave of another teacher. Mrs. Johnson commented that we thank her for a job well done.

Tim read aloud the letter from Miss Notis.

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Mrs. Johnson recommended acceptance of these terminations. Eileen said all three have made a very positive contribution.

Gayle Walker moved to accept all three letters of resignation. Greg Bochy seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe expressed regrets that they are leaving and extended best wishes to all three. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy, Rebecca Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed seven to zero.

  D. Request for a leave of absence from Teresa Marchant

Mrs. Johnson reported that Teresa Marchant is requesting a leave of absence for the 2004-2005 school year. Her husband will be on active duty in the military, and she is seeking the comfort of her family for herself and her children during this stressful time. The superintendent recommended that the Board grant Mrs. Marchant’s request.

Chairman Trafford read aloud Teresa Marchant’s letter.

Greg Bochy moved to grant this one-year leave of absence to Teresa Marchant. Robert Guenther seconded the motion. Teresa expressed concern and understanding for Mrs. Marchant’s situation. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy, Rebecca Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed seven to zero.

EDUCATION AND BUSINESS

  A. Candidates for Trustee positions

The candidates had been introduced earlier in the meeting.

  B. Elementary Handbook for 2004-2005

Mr. Bowman distributed copies of the proposed 2004-05 Elementary Handbook to trustees and others present. The handbook was presented for consideration by the trustees over the next month. Action on this item will take place during the May meeting.

Chairman Trafford encouraged trustees to e-mail or phone their questions to Eileen or Mr. Bowman. They are welcome to bring questions to the next meeting, but e-mailing ahead of time allows the opportunity to prepare an answer before the meeting.

Teresa Stroebe asked how changes are noted. Mr. Bowman said they would have to look at the previous handbook to be able to see the changes. He noted that there were not substantive changes.

It was the consensus of the trustees that they would like to have the changes noted within the document with strikethrough text for deletions and bold or italics for additions and word changes.

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Superintendent Johnson said they would provide the handbook with the changes noted in the manner requested. They will be mailed out to trustees and anyone else requesting them.

Tim Trafford asked who had worked on the handbook. Mike responded that there was a committee. He noted that the revised document had been put in the lounges of the intermediate and primary buildings to give the faculties an opportunity to review it. He also advised that the building secretaries and principals reviewed it.

  C. Accreditation for the three schools has been received.

Mrs. Johnson reported that all three schools have received accreditation for this school year. She expressed appreciation to Mike Bowman, Dave DeBoer, and Mike Sullivan, who as principals, have struggled with the state demands and still are able to keep our schools fully accredited within the standards.

Tim Trafford said even with budget constraints Lockwood School is able to maintain accreditation.

  D. Request for out of district attendance

Supt. Johnson advised trustees that an out of district attendance request for H.O. at Yellowstone Academy for the remainder of the 2003-2004 school year had been received. She recommended approval of this request and noted the cost would be funded through the permissive tuition levy.

Mr. Trafford said the cost for the out-of-district placement comes from the Tuition Fund and it is paid in arrears next year.

Eileen said the student is already there and is doing well. They were hopeful of receiving the Board’s approval.

Teresa Stroebe moved to approve the out-of-district attendance agreement at Yellowstone Academy for H.O. Gayle Walker seconded the motion. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy, Rebecca Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed seven to zero.

The trustees asked about the number of student placements at the academy and New Day.
Eileen reported that there are currently four students at Yellowstone Academy and 10 students at New Day.

  E. Attendance agreement with Blue Creek School

Superintendent’s report: Our district has open enrollment with no charge for tuition. Blue Creek students would be able to attend even if all of the requirements in policy are met without this agreement. However, with this agreement it would be possible for Blue Creek 7th and 8th graders to attend with transportation provided by the Blue Creek School.

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Our district would receive the ANB. The 20 to 25 students go to various places in Billings for middle school education: Riverside, Catholic School, Elysian, and private schools. We may get a few of these students or none. With this agreement, it will not be necessary to sign the individual transportation forms for each student. This is the same agreement that was in place during the past two school years. I am not aware of any Blue Creek students attending at this time. I recommend approval of this.

Becky Webber moved to approve the Attendance Agreement with Blue Creek School for the 2004-05 school year. Robert Guenther seconded the motion. He commented that if our classrooms are too crowded, we could refuse those students. It was noted that Lockwood has an open-enrollment policy and charges tuition to no one.

Teresa said this is more of a transportation issue for them and we are very compatible with them. She said it is a neighborly gesture.

Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy, Rebecca Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted affirmatively; the motion passed seven to zero.

  F. Salaries for classified and administrators for 2004-2005

Supt. Johnson had attached her 2004-05 salary recommendations to the agenda.

She noted that the recommendation included a raise of $5 per day for certified and non-certified substitute teachers. She said Lockwood is trying to entice them and compete with Billings.

Eileen said she recommends an across the board $.50 per hour for the classified staff. The categories are the same categories as last year. She wants to boost all categories by $.50 and continue to bring them in line.

She recommended a raise of $.75 per hour for substitutes for classified staff, from $6.25 to $7.00.

The superintendent recommended a 3.5 percent increase for the three building principals and business manager/district clerk Diane Brook. She noted that the overall teachers’ raise for 2004-05 is 4.76 percent.

Eileen reported that portions of the principals’ salaries, her salary and Diane’s salary are paid from other funds including transportation, school foods and federal funds, rather than just from the general fund. Many of the teachers are paid from federal funds, also. It was noted that over the last few years, teacher FTE (full time equivalent) has been reduced from 78 to 71.

Trustee Robert Guenther asked about salary for Superintendent Johnson.

Chairman Trafford said he would like to include her 2004-05 salary increase with the motion.

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Becky Webber moved to approve the above-mentioned salary recommendations with a 3.5 percent increase to Eileen Johnson’s salary as well. Robert Guenther seconded the motion. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy, Rebecca Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed seven to zero.

Trustee Gayle Walker asked what would happen if the levy does not pass. Eileen said these people are here and these raises would be given. It the levy doesn’t pass, it would affect the staffing proposals.

Tim asked who is considered support staff. Eileen responded paraprofessionals, custodians, food service workers, and maintenance workers.

Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy, Rebecca Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed seven to zero.

Eileen advised that health insurance rates are only going up by three percent for next year.

  G. Staffing for the 2004-2005 school year

A list of the currently known changes that will take place for the next school year was attached to the agenda. Mrs. Johnson advised she would try to answer any questions concerning these positions.

Eileen said she understands where Mary Kay is coming from. Eileen said the cry that she has heard most is help is needed with reading. Eileen’s proposal would be to add a special education teacher in the Primary School to work with classroom teachers. She also recommends adding another special education teacher for the Intermediate School. In the Middle School, they want to add a reading teacher. Eileen noted that reading is the focal point these days.

Assistant Technology: Eileen said we were hoping for someone who knows the needs and could help to integrate them. Eileen said we are probably paying less than it would cost to bring in a technology person from outside.

Tim asked from what fund the technology position would be paid. Eileen responded part of it would be paid from the Technology Fund and part from the General Fund.

Director of Facilities: Mrs. Johnson noted the Board of Trustees had directed the hiring of this position. She advised that the interview team had conducted a very positive interview today, and she would like to offer the position. She feels the person would be a good fit.

Family Resources Coordinator: Supt. Johnson advised that someone in-house is interested. If she moves into the position, then another position would open up.

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Eileen reported that Debbie Rang, primary secretary, is doing the sub clerk job right now and hopefully will take it next year.

Mrs. Johnson reviewed the proposed Title Program staffing.

Robert Guenther asked what the salary would be for the Director of Facilities. Eileen responded, $45,000.

Trustee Guenther asked if these changes could wait until after the election. Eileen said, “Some yes, but most have to be done.” She said when it is all finished; there won’t be much out of house hiring.

Robert asked about consideration of the PE position after election. Eileen said, “Possibly. Is that the position the trustees would like to add back in?”

Teresa said we could make the same case for art. NCLB is testing for things that don’t pertain to art, PE, or possibly music. The Board will have to make decisions about what, if anything, to add.

Eileen reminded trustees that benefits for salaries paid from Federal Funds can no longer be paid from the Retirement Fund. This means there will be approximately $60,000 less available from grants for salaries.

Teresa said we tried to save people when we made the decisions about cuts.

MaryKay Rottrup said presently the Primary School has one-half time art and library is being provided by the librarians from the other buildings, but they have no PE.

Teresa suggested adding some things on the playground and during recess to help provide physical education for the primary students.

Eileen said she could bring a list of what was eliminated previously, including three communication arts teachers in the Middle School. She said we have had a growth in special education and that has to be addressed.

Robert Guenther said it is something that we should look at. If we can’t bring the PE position back and keep it, it may not be a good idea.

Eileen said she could only speak to one year at a time.

Greg Bochy said he thinks the reading is very important. He thinks we need help in that area.

Teresa said she doesn’t want to be driven by test results; we should look at the big picture.

Eileen said when we add a few more teaching staff, we will be required by law to bring back a curriculum director.

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Tim said that he sees the point Mary Kay made about a student’s need for PE. He said our focus and the impact of NCLB has been ongoing since he has been on the board. He thinks the reading specialist is a better use of the funds. Tim asked Mr. Bowman what he thought.

Mr. Bowman said the number of referrals has increased for special education, and they are seeing an increase in severely needy children. Mr. Bowman said AYP was not met because children with disabilities did not make it. This special education teacher would help there.

Dave said the Intermediate School is just getting back to where it should be, because previously one of his special education teachers had been transferred to the Middle School.

Mike Sullivan said that one-quarter of the students in the Middle School are in special education.

Jim Painter made a motion to accept the staff changes as presented with the addition of a special education teacher in the primary and filling the vacancy for Teresa Marchant for next year. Greg Bochy seconded the motion.

Tim said it would be proper to put the half-time health enhancement position on the next agenda for consideration if any trustee so chose. Teresa requested that it be on May agenda.

Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy, Rebecca Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed seven to zero.

HIRING

  A. Updated list of substitutes

Becky Webber made a motion to approve the substitute teacher list and read aloud the names as follows: John Leibrand, Ryan Truscott, and Dirk VandanBerg. Robert Guenther seconded the motion. Trustees asked if all substitutes had fingerprint background checks. Eileen said yes.

Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy, Rebecca Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed seven to zero.

  B. Certified Staff

  C. Classified Staff

Superintendent Johnson had attached lists of her staff recommendations for next school year for both certified and classified personnel.

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Becky Webber moved to approve hiring of all certified and classified staff recommended by the superintendent as presented. Jim Painter seconded the motion. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy, Rebecca Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed seven to zero.

  D. Contract for School Nurse

The contract with the Yellowstone City-County Health Department for nursing services for 2004-2005 was attached for Board consideration. Supt. Johnson recommended the renewal of this contract.

Teresa Stroebe asked if the nurse would be Carol Blank. Eileen said that is not guaranteed, but she has been advised that it will be Carol Blank for next year. Teresa moved to accept the contract with YCCHD in the amount of $49,987 for a school nurse for the 2004-05 school year. Greg seconded the motion.

Tim pointed out that it is a resource that not a lot of schools have. He asked if Carol was shared with any other schools during the school year. Eileen said no, she is here from the time kids arrive until they go home.

Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy, Rebecca Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted affirmatively; the motion passed seven to zero.

Eileen clarified that the amount of the contract is not necessarily Carol’s salary. She is a county employee.

POLICY

None

REPORTS AND MISCELLANEOUS

  A. Principals’ Reports

Mike Bowman said there were two music teachers present, Stephanie Smith-Miller and Lynette Larson, who helped make Lockwood one of the 100 best music schools in the United States. He noted that Brent Lipp was also part of the trio.

Mr. Bowman gave recognition to Sue Robertson for receiving $500 for school supplies in her classroom from A+ Insurance.

Dave DeBoer said he had nothing to add to his report. He wants to give public recognition and support to the third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers for all the testing that has been done. Both Measured Progress tests and the Iowa tests have been administered. He said it has been a tough month. He believes that they are at 100% participation now with make up tests. He noted that Vickie Jury took two solid weeks to give the Measured Progress tests to her special education students. Guidance counselor Katie Gaspar organized all the testing.

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Eileen explained more about Adequate Yearly Progress. She said that 95 percent of all students must be tested, as well as 95 percent of every sub-group.

Principal Mike Sullivan recognized his staff also. He reported that they had just finished the fourth week of testing. The Middle School administers an additional test, Northwest Evaluations Assessments. He said his staff did an awesome job; they provided lots of one on one help, extended time groups, and read the tests to many students.

Tim mentioned the good spellers from the Middle School that competed in the Spelling Bee.

Mr. Trafford said he thought it would be interesting to do some comparisons with the mobile student population and the students who have attended school at Lockwood throughout their school career.

Teresa said they would like to see the Lockwood School dropout rates.

Mike Sullivan said he would try to provide it; he advised that Lockwood students are difficult to track since they go to different high schools.

Teresa thanked Mr. Sullivan for “Bridging the Gap” between 8th grade and high school.

  B. Superintendent’s Report

Eileen said she has nothing to add. She briefly discussed the information that she had provided to Senator Burns demonstrating how our Title 1 and other Federal Funds have decreased in the last three years. Mrs. Johnson said we lose grants and grant monies because Lockwood is lumped in with Yellowstone County poverty statistics, instead of separating us and reflecting the true statistics for our population that qualify for free and reduced price meals.

OLD BUSINESS OR FOLLOW UP INFORMATION

  A. Consideration of remaining in the MQEC lawsuit for school funding

MQEC submitted a request for Lockwood Schools to remain in the lawsuit for support of school funding in Montana. Supt. Johnson recommended continued involvement with the group.

Tim Trafford gave some explanation of the MQEC lawsuit to those present. He said an appeal would be filed regardless of the results at this point. This year the dues request is $2,000; last year it was $5,000.

Robert moved to pay the $2,000 to MQEC for the lawsuit. Teresa Stroebe seconded the motion.

Teresa said the lawyers did a good job of presenting the case. It will go to the Supreme Court, so she can see the need for the extra money. Individuals can also join for $10.

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She encouraged people to check out the website. Teresa said they should stay the course. Robert said we started this process and I think we should see it through. Tim agreed. Tim said he does not feel it is controversial at all. He believes that the legislation is not being done properly and the courts will force them to do their job.

Teresa said she believes the courts need to set the parameters and say that a quality education is a part of the constitution. She doesn’t think we should get into the argument about it being legislative versus judicial responsibility.

Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy, Rebecca Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted affirmatively; the motion passed seven to zero.

  B. Attached is some information about the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.

Eileen said this was provided for information only. She noted that they are grateful for the electrical outlet that was installed for them.

Mike Bowman advised that the installation of the plug was paid for from the Health Grant.

  C. There will be a report from Mr. Sullivan and/or Rob Osborne on the winter basketball and volleyball grades and eligibility.

Mr. Sullivan said in comparing last year’s policy to this year’s policy there was no difference for basketball and for volleyball, fewer kids were warned.

Tim asked what effect would it have had on the kids. Mike replied that of the six that would have been cut, three were allowed to stay on by bringing their grades up. He has no hard facts on the exact effects on the kids.

Tim said that is a significant part of the team.

Mike said they are trying to survey the coaches and teachers to see how they are doing. He noted that the new policy doesn’t stress the teachers as much.

Jim Painter said he thinks this new policy is a good thing. You aren’t hurting them. It is not a negative.

Mike said it might be the only team these students ever get to participate with.

Jim said it is hard to explain, but he thinks it helped them. It connects them to school; it is somewhere to go after school. They make new friends.

TRUSTEE REPORTS

There was discussion about the Lockwood Community Meetings and the City-County Planning Department. A process was put in place to elect a Steering Committee.

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Conrad Stroebe was elected Director of the Steering Committee.

Tim said he would try to be sure the trustees are represented at these meetings. The next one is scheduled for Thursday, April 22, 2004.

PUBLIC COMMENT ON SCHOOL ISSUES

Tim advised this time is for public comment on school issues. He asked that participants limit their comments to three minutes, identify themselves, and there is no discussion of personnel allowed.

Stephanie Smith-Miller asked for clarification on staff changes. She was not sure about the assistant technology position. She wanted to know if the person would be a teacher and part of the LEA unit. Eileen responded if a teacher from in-house would be hired, they would remain part of the unit representing certified staff. If someone from outside is hired, it could be either a teacher (certified) or a classified person.

NEXT MEETING

The next regular meeting is May 11, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.

Eileen invited Becky Webber and Robert Guenther to attend even though their terms will have ended. Tim said he is requiring them to be here for a small reception.

ADJOURN

Becky moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:17 p.m. Greg seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Becky Webber, Tim Trafford, Robert Guenther, Rebecca Webber, Greg Bochy, Jim Painter, and Gayle Walker voted yes; the motion passed unanimously.

 

__________________________________           ________________________________

         Timothy Trafford, Chairman                            Diane M. Brook, District Clerk

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