Regular Meeting

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November 11, 2003

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The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of School District No. 26, Lockwood Schools, Yellowstone County, was duly held at the Lockwood Board Room, 1932 U.S. Highway 87, Billings, Montana, on Tuesday, November 11, 2003, at 7:00 p.m.

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

Those present observed a moment of silence to honor our veterans and Mrs. Dahl sang the Star Spangled Banner.

Chairman Tim Trafford explained that the agenda format has been changed; the item for public comment on non-agenda school issues has been moved to the end of the agenda. This change was made due to advice received at a MCEL workshop.

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

Registered staff members were: Dave DeBoer, Mike Sullivan, Rob Osborne, Darlene Hess, and Stephanie Smith Miller.

Registered guests were: Evelyn Pyburn, Thomas Jones, M’Lis Dahl, Holly Sather, and Cyndi Smith.

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.

Greg Bochy moved to approve the October 8, 2003, October 14, 2003, and October 28, 2003 board minutes as presented and the payment of all bills and wages and extracurricular bills. Becky Webber seconded the motion.

Chairman Trafford said he had one correction to Page 1, Paragraph 9 of the October 14, 2003 minutes. The correction is as follows: Chairman Trafford Mary Kay Rottrup read aloud the e-mail she had sent to the Board, which was attached to the agenda.

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Greg Bochy amended his motion to approve the October 8, 2003, and October 28, 2003 board minutes as presented, the October 14, 2003 board minutes with the above-mentioned correction, and the payment of all bills and wages and extracurricular bills.

Chairman Trafford asked if there was any objection to the amended motion. Seeing none he called for the vote. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Greg Bochy, Becky Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.

None Received

There had been no correspondence received as of printing of agenda, however Chairman Trafford advised that he had received an email from Thomas and Penny Jones in the interim. Tim read aloud the e-mail from Mr. and Mrs. Jones, which expressed their support for Lockwood business and their concerns about the gravel trucks running in an area near children.

  A. Report on the effect of the meal charge policy
Pam Rule, lunch clerk, provided a written report on the status of the meal charge change in policy.

Mrs. Johnson reported that the news was very good. On many days no students received the alternative meal, and very few on most days.

Tim summarized Pam’s report for those present. It was noted that the policy change has had a positive effect on collections.

  B. Eligibility report on the effect of the change in policy
Supt. Johnson advised that Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Osborne had met with Trustee Painter to present some statistics regarding the eligibility requirements. Those requirements were changed at the November 2002 meeting.

Mr. Sullivan provided two graphs, one for softball and one for cross-country, to demonstrate statistical data. The graphs included information about participation, grades, and numbers of students eligible throughout the 2003 season versus the 200

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season. He summarized the data and explained that the term “flagged” means the student is ineligible for the week.

Mike Sullivan advised that they will continue to track the information for each season this year, and they will continue this next year.

Trustee Trafford asked Mr. Sullivan if he thought that allowing those kids who would have been ineligible last year to play this year was a positive or a negative. Mr. Sullivan said his observation is that it would be more encouraging for the students to get to continue to participate.

One trustee asked if the statistics for flagged students were the same students over and over. Mike Sullivan said no, if they get flagged for two consecutive weeks they would have been dropped from the sport.

Jim Painter said he thinks it makes a positive difference for the students to be able to participate; he believes their behavior is better in the classroom and in the sport.

Rob Osborne said in the beginning he disagreed with the policy change. After reviewing this information, he believes participation does help the kids. Mr. Osborne said by overall standards, the grades were still pretty good. Rob said the new policy allowing a student to be eligible as long as they are passing (D-) is serving the purpose. Last year he thought that we had lowered the standards; this year he thinks everything has been positive. If participation is the goal, then they were successful.

Mr. Sullivan said the other incentive to keep the kids practicing keeps them at the same skill level as teammates, so if they bring their grades up to passing by the end of the week and are able to play they have maintained their skill level.

Tim Trafford noted that standardizing grading and attendance procedures for Power School has eliminated some of the issues that were causing eligibility problems last year.

Teresa expressed appreciation for the extra work Rob Osborne, Mike Sullivan and Jim Painter did to provide this data.

  C. Auditor’s official report for the school year 2002-2003
Diane Brook briefly presented the official audit report for the 2002-2003 year for approval by the Board of Trustees.

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Tim Trafford advised that he had attended the auditor’s exit conference, and the auditor said information was organized, readily available and accurate, so the audit took less time.

Greg Bochy moved to accept the 2002-2003 audit report as presented. Becky Webber seconded the motion. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Greg Bochy, Becky Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.

Diane advised that the audit report would be noticed in the Billings Gazette as is prescribed by Montana Law.

  D. Health Department report for our Food Service area was 100%.
Mrs. Johnson reported: Once again kudos to Shirley Briner and the Food Service Department for receiving 100% on a recent unannounced inspection from the Health Department.

The Board of Trustees recognized the accomplishment.

  E. Skateboarding on school property is a liability unless supervised.
Current wording on Page 6 in Middle School Handbook is as follows:

Skate boards, roller blades, scooters, etc, are not allowed on campus between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Any such items brought to school will be confiscated and given to the principal.

At no time are the above items allowed on steps, ramps, railings, or near any school windows. Students abusing this policy after 4:00 p.m. will be turned over to the Sheriff’s Department.

Supt. Johnson advised that skateboarding has become an accident and damage liability for the district.

Our insurance agent said that skateboarding, along with roller blading and similar activities should not be allowed unless they are organized and supervised events. Mrs. Johnson recommended following the advice of our insurance company and making some adjustments to the Middle School Handbook to conform to their recommendations.

Eileen had researched skateboarding injuries, and she found there have been many serious head trauma injuries. The school district could be wide open for liability for these types of injuries without making a change to the rules.

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She recommended that the wording in the Middle School Handbook be changed
to say: There will be no skateboarding on school property at any time.

Supt. Johnson reported that Richard Prisbe, night security person, has had to call the sheriff a few times because the students were very disrespectful to him when he told them he had to stop skateboarding.

There was discussion of damage to school property due to skateboarding.

Tim asked for advise about the timing and process for changing the handbook.

Eileen said it is an insurance and legal issue, so it needs to be changed immediately. She advised that if the district can show that we are doing everything we can to stop skateboarding on school property, we would limit our liability. Eileen noted that basically the rules already have been changed to prohibit skateboarding at any time on school property. The wording of the Middle School Handbook will be amended to reflect this change prior to the 2004-05 school year.

Greg Bochy moved to direct the superintendent to change the middle school handbook to prohibit skateboarding on campus at any time. Becky Webber seconded the motion. Trustee Gayle Walker asked about documenting incidents of students receiving warnings, being asked to leave, and the sheriff being called.

Supt. Johnson related that Richard Prisbe documents these things in a report that he submits to her each day, and the sheriff’s office also documents their calls.

Teresa Stroebe recommended the wording in the handbook include roller blades and scooters, as well as skateboards.
Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Greg Bochy, Becky Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.

  F. Water Bottles in the Middle School
A request to discuss the issue of students having water bottles at the middle school has been made.

Superintendent Johnson noted that this issue is in the handbook, which would need revising if any change is made to current policy.

Current wording on Page 7 of the M.S. Handbook is as follows:

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Students will not be allowed to carry water bottles or beverage containers during the school day. Any open containers will be confiscated and given to the principal. Students bringing beverages for lunch must not open the container until they are in the cafeteria. Bottles and/or cans will not be allowed back into the school building or on the playground. Water-cooled drinking fountains have been installed throughout the school buildings. Students wanting a drink will be allowed out of class at the teacher’s discretion.

Chairman Trafford read aloud the existing policy shown above.

Trustee Gayle Walker attended a workshop at MCEL that discussed students’ need for water. The workshop related proper hydration to increased performance on schoolwork.

Mrs. Walker asked for the history behind the existing policy.

Trustee Teresa Stroebe said she thinks the reason water bottles are not allowed is because some students had other things in the water bottles, like alcohol.

Principal Sullivan said it is very difficult to monitor water bottles in the middle school.

He reported survey results indicated that 60 percent of middle school students had been around alcohol or had used it.

Mr. Sullivan said they try to make sure kids are hydrated with drinking fountains and water in the classroom. If someone has been sick and needs extra hydration, the parent can call and talk to Mr. Sullivan and special permission is granted. He said having water bottles also causes spills and ruined books. During physical education class or sports practice, students are allowed to have water bottles.

Teresa Stroebe asked when students are allowed to drink the water or juice in the machines. Mr. Sullivan said before school, sometimes in homeroom, and after school.

It was noted that no motion is needed if there is going to be no change made in policy.

Teresa said she was glad that they had the discussion.

Eileen said, after being a building principal, she thinks not allowing water bottles reduces one more potential problem and reduces one more policing issue for the administrator.

No action was taken on this item.

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  G. Learn and Serve Grant has been Awarded to Lockwood Schools.

Superintendent Johnson informed the board of the following: The district has received notice of receiving a Learn and Serve Grant of $9,000 each year for three years. Cindy Gopp has been quite instrumental in securing this grant. The focus is on responsible citizenship activities. The granting committee was impressed with the voting project carried out last year by Cindy’s class. Part of the grant must be shared with other schools whose projects are similar in nature. Cindy will supervise the allotment of the grant monies. Part of our share will be used to develop a nature walk center in the Primary courtyard over the next three years.

Chairman Trafford said he knows that Cindy worked really hard to put the grant together.

Trustee Stroebe said she is impressed with the amount of thought and work the students put into these projects.

  H. Request for SB and JD to attend New Day and JY to attend Yellowstone Academy under the tuition agreements.

Trustee Becky Webber moved to approve the out-of-district attendance tuition agreements for SB and JD to attend New Day and JY to attend Yellowstone Academy. Teresa Stroebe seconded the motion.

Chairman Trafford asked if there was any discussion. Teresa said she is glad that we have the availability of these programs to help these kids. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Greg Bochy, Becky Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed six to zero. It was noted that tuition fees would be paid from the Tuition Fund.

Eileen advised that a conference call with OPI finance and special education personnel has been scheduled to discuss tuition and ANB for students attending New Day.

Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Greg Bochy, Becky Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.

  I. Administrative Claim Agreement to Bill for Medicaid Services
The district will be billing Medicaid for certain services that are allowable under new legislation. An agreement has been signed and throughout the year we should be able to recapture about $10,000 to help defray some of our costs for Special Education. Bonnie Huck has received the training with Diane Brook and Supt. Johnson overseeing the project.

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Eileen advised that billing Medicaid for these services is new for Montana schools. A company named Maximus has been hired by the state to complete the billing. Mrs. Johnson noted that administrators attend IEP meetings and handle other issues regarding special education students. Maximus can provide a mechanism to receive Medicaid reimbursement for some of this time.

It was noted that the Special Education Co-op bills Medicaid for occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy provided to special education students.

Teresa said this is a way of getting funding for some of mandates of special education. She asked what House Bill or Senate Bill had provided schools with the ability to bill Medicaid.

Eileen said many other states have been doing this for several years and have gotten a lot of money.

  A. Updated List of Substitutes
Substitute Teachers: Korey Beaudette, Zachary Coombs, Robin Hatfield, and Dustin Herbert.

Support Staff Substitutes: Ramona Blacksmith, Cindy Naylor, and Linda Wagner

Chairman Tim Trafford read aloud the names on the list. Becky Webber moved to approve the hiring of the above-mentioned substitute teachers and support staff substitutes. Gayle Walker seconded the motion. Trustee Becky Webber asked if each person on the list had been background checked. Eileen responded yes. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Becky Webber, Greg Bochy, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.

A. Change Policy #5140 to conform to MTSBA recommendations. This change will set a probationary period before a new classified employee is given a contract, instead of during the term of the contract.
Mr. Trafford read aloud the policy.

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Supt. Johnson explained a lawsuit precipitated the change. The courts determined that employees have a property right to their jobs for the full length of the contract once it is issued. Attorneys are now advising that the 90-day probationary period be served prior to issuing the contract. A new employee will start with regular wages and benefits, but they would not be issued a contract until after working for 90 days.

This change in law did away with the previous policy of having the 90-day probationary period built into the one-year contract. Eileen advised that the board complete three readings to make the policy change to have a 90-day probationary period served by new employees prior to issuing a contract. Supt. Johnson advised this would give the district an opportunity to see if the employee fits, and the employee the opportunity to try the job.

This probationary period applies to classified staff. Essentially the probation period for certified staff teachers is the three years before they become tenured.

Becky Webber moved to approve on first reading the revision of Policy 5140 to conform to MTSBA recommendations by setting a probationary period prior to contract issuance to new classified employees. Greg Bochy seconded the motion. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Becky Webber, Greg Bochy, and Teresa Stroebe voted affirmatively; the motion passed six to zero.

Principals’ Report
Middle School Principal Mike Sullivan said he had nothing to add to his written report. He did point out that he had added another Power School report that includes Average Daily Attendance. The Middle School has average daily attendance of 95 percent, which is very good.

Eileen advised that every one of the 11 sub-groups required in NCLB must meet 90 percent attendance. She said at the present time there is no remedy in NCLB law for a situation, such as a severe snowstorm on the October or February count days that would cause low attendance.

Mr. Sullivan provided an explanation of the Pride Award. PRIDE stands for: Positive, Respectful, Independent, Determined, and Encourages Others.

Primary Principal Mike Bowman was not present to give the Primary School report.

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Intermediate Principal Dave DeBoer said he had nothing to add to his written report, however he would like to discuss the sheet he handed out at the beginning of the meeting.

The sheet was an explanation of the Lockwood Intermediate Science and Social Studies Leveling for Special Education Students.

Mr. DeBoer advised this leveling is the same practice Mr. Sullivan uses in the Middle School, and they are trying to implement it in the Intermediate School. Dave said that there are no established goals in science and social studies for special education students, so there is no special education help in these areas. Various things have been tried over the years, such as alternative curriculum. It is tough for the kids, the science/social studies teachers, and the special education teacher.

Mr. Orth said most schools in the Co-op are using this method. As part of developing the Individual Education Program for the student, a level (1,2, or 3) for science and social studies is determined for the student.

Mr. DeBoer reported there have been a few problems implementing a third grading scale into Power School to facilitate this leveling grading process. He felt that by the next grading period, it would be implemented as part of the grading software.

It was noted that teachers have contacted every parent of the children that fall into these leveling grading categories.

Trustee Teresa Stroebe said she felt leveling helps the self-esteem of students.

Mr. Sullivan said his special education teachers developed this leveling procedure, the state approved it, and many other schools within the Special Education Co-op are now using it, too.

The Trustees recognized the middle school special education teachers and the principals for being innovative, bright, and sensitive to the needs of students in creating this leveling grading process.

  A. Attached is the 2004 School Election Calendar prepared by OPI. The Calendar conforms to Montana Law and it is provided for Board review.

Stephanie Smith Miller noted that there would be a concert on Election Day.

Congratulations to the Lockwood Trustees for receiving their Golden Gavel Award. This is an indication of their commitment to the education of the students of Lockwood School.

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Each of the Trustees received individual recognition with Becky Webber and Robert Guenther receiving Gold, Teresa Stroebe, Silver; Gayle Walker, Tim Trafford, Jim Painter and Greg Bochy, Bronze. All seven trustees attended the MCEL in Bozeman. That alone is a feather in their caps.

Superintendent Johnson read aloud the statement above and noted the new plaque has been hung. Eileen commended the trustees.

Tim noted that Eileen had received the award of Superintendent of the Year, and the entire board expressed their appreciation of her hard work.

Teresa briefly reported on the Professional Development Committee meeting. The minutes of the meeting are available on First Class.


Chairperson Trafford said any person, who wishes to do so at this point in the agenda, may address the board or raise any questions about public school district matters or governing policies. No discussion of personnel is permitted at this time. No mention of names of students, teachers, or the public at large. We believe in public participation and also strongly believe in the right of privacy. A limit of three minutes is placed on each speaker. Persons wishing more time may make arrangements to be placed on a future agenda.

No one spoke.

The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, December 9, 2003, at 7:00 p.m.

Greg moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:43 p.m. Teresa seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Jim Painter, Greg Bochy. Becky Webber, Tim Trafford, and Gayle Walker voted yes; the motion passed unanimously.

__________________________________           ________________________________

         Timothy Trafford, Chairman                            Diane M. Brook, District Clerk

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