Regular Meeting

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Oct. 14, 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, October 14, 2003, at 7:01 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, Becky Webber, and Jim Painter, and District Clerk Diane Brook. Robert Guenther, Greg Bochy and Superintendent Eileen Johnson were absent.

Registered staff members were: Mike Bowman, Dave DeBoer, Mike Sullivan, Mary Kay Rottrup, Susan Andersen, Stephanie S. Miller, and Sue Robertson.

Registered guests were: Evelyn Pyburn, Ken Mayo, Sue Roberts, Jennifer Huschka, Dean Reuter, Wayne Rottrup, Holly Sather, Tim Sather, Violet Kober, Jim Murphy, Cyndi Smith, Clint Reynolds, Marty Montoya, Dan Burch, Mike Marnin, and Thomas Jones.


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 minutes of the September 9, 2003, regular board meeting as presented and the payment of all bills and wages and extracurricular bills. Jim Painter seconded the motion. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Becky Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed five to zero.


  A. Wayne and Mary Kay Rottrup were present to address the board concerning the Myers’ easement and lawsuit.

Mary Kay Rottrup read aloud the e-mail she had sent to the Board, which was attached to the agenda.

Mrs. Rottrup said she is concerned that the current easement is not an equal access, as had been promised when the county abandoned Piccolo. Piccolo was a county road, with no restrictions that they could find. She commented on the Myers’ access being hindered when there are things like the dog show or school activities in the parking lot.

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Mrs. Rottrup said Lockwood Schools had received five offers from Myers regarding the easement, the last one offered $23,000 for the land.

Trustees advised that the lawsuit has to do with condemnation of school property via eminent domain proceedings for Myers’ use as access to his property for mining and residential purposes. They also noted that Myers did offer to buy the land, however it is not that simple. Montana law requires certain steps be taken before school district property could be sold. The trustees want to be sure any easement would continue to be a public access to county and state lands, as it is now.

Trustees acknowledged that the Myers’ access has been hindered at times due to events in the schools parking lot, and the administration has worked to solve those problems.

Chairman Trafford said the school has never said that the Myers could not put in a gravel pit; the county said that. The school district is concerned with access and safety issues.

Mary Kay asked why the school district had not given a better access to the Myers in the past.

Trustees responded that they did not believe that previous offers were in the best interests of the school district.

Mary Kay Rottrup asked, “How much money has been designated to this issue?” Mr. Trafford responded that there was no lawsuit until recently. Prior to the lawsuit being filed, all legal fees were to get legal advice regarding the exposure of the school district and protecting the best interests of the school district.

Chairman Trafford gave Mrs. Rottrup a spreadsheet detailing the costs. Trustees advised that during the past six years the district has not exceeded the funding set aside for legal services each year. The Superintendent requests advice regularly on numerous issues that arise concerning students, contracts, policy and staffing.

  B. Residents of Peters Street have asked to discuss the parking issue related in the attached letter.

Ken Mayo spoke. He said the parking situation has become a real pain. He thought Lion’s Lair was wonderful, but now parking is a problem. He said recently 27 teachers had parked there, the school asked them to move to the parking lot. There are still seven to nine teachers who refuse to comply.

Parents parking there for after school activities are killing the grass. Some people are spinning out and causing ruts. Mr. Mayo asked if the school board would consider fencing the area or opening the gate after school hours and on weekends, so people coming for activities could park in the school parking lot.

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Mr. Mayo advised that Peters is a private street; the people who live on it pay for maintenance, not the county. He said that someone had driven over the sprinkler system that the school just put in. He reported that after school hours there are problems with liquor, drugs, honking, and driving on people’s lawns. Each school day from 7:15 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., Peters Street is extremely busy due to school-related traffic.

Mr. Mayo said he was grateful for the change in the dog show set up; that made things better for their street access.

Chairman Tim Trafford advised that there had been some discussion regarding fencing the area by the Lion’s Lair, but no decision has been made. He said teachers have been asked not to park there.

Trustees acknowledged that the after hours situation is difficult, and they understand the problems.


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. A limit of three minutes is placed on each speaker.

Persons wishing more time may make arrangements to be placed on a future agenda.

Holly Sather from Hillside Mobile Park spoke about the easement and gravel trucks. She handed out a copy of the lawsuit filed against Yellowstone County by Merlin Myers Revocable Trust. Mrs. Sather said the school is talking about giving an easement to Mr. Myers with the conditions previously requested that are highlighted in the lawsuit document. According to Mrs. Sather, Mr. Myers does not want those restrictions, and there is nothing to stop him from filing another lawsuit about those restrictions. She handed out a copy of the stance the Lockwood Board of Trustees had taken previously at a hearing. Holly asked the Board to consider very hard before giving Myers a different easement; she doesn’t think it will serve any purpose. Mrs. Sather noted that the County Commissioners said repeatedly that even if Piccolo were still open, they would not allow gravel trucks on it.

Jean Reuter of Hillside Mobile Park expressed her concern for her granddaughter’s health. She believes the dust from the gravel trucks could cause her a lot of problems because she has asthma. She also advised that she handles safety for a trucking company, and she knows that it takes many feet to stop a fully loaded gravel truck. She expressed concern for safety of the children.

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Dan Burch who also lives in the mobile home park spoke. He said the gravel pit is directly behind his house. Mr. Burch said he knows the board is not dealing with the gravel pit, but with access; and he understands that the school has to protect themselves. Mr. Burch asked where the liability would lie if the school district grants an easement along the ditch and a gravel truck injures someone. He wondered if some of the liability would then lie with the school district.

Teacher Sharon Harris spoke. She said she is one of the teachers who are parking by the Lion’s Lair on Peters Street. She said the parking lot is a problem due to slipping and falling. She has osteoporosis and is not willing to chance falling in the parking lot.

She asked, “Is there some way that there can be a balance between homeowners and users?” Mrs. Harris said teachers should have a right to park at their place of work.

Mary Kay Rottrup stated that she is not in agreement with the gravel pit, but she wants to know about possible legal ramifications of not granting an equal access.

Chairman Trafford expressed appreciation to Mary Kay for her comments and concern about this issue.

Mary Kay said she would like to have the board schedule another meeting about this issue.

Clint Reynolds spoke. He recommended that Mary Kay attend the next court hearing regarding the access and gravel mining to get further information. Mr. Reynolds advised that the biggest concern that the mobile home park has is safety on that road. He mentioned that the hours children accessing the school have expanded due to the Boys’ and Girls’ Club. He asked the Board to let the County Commissioners make the decisions regarding this issue. Clint noted that one leg of the Yellowstone County stance on the gravel mine is their request that Myers’ obtain a different access. Mr. Reynolds noted that Myers’ could have sued someone else for that different access instead of suing the school district.

Tim Sather said that he had discussed this issue with an attorney, and the attorney said that the school district could probably get some free help. He also advised that ten percent of the school population comes from the mobile home park.

Cindy Smith said she was of the opinion that the school is responsible for students until they reach their home.

Jennifer Huschka said she has three kids, and she is very concerned for their safety.

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  A. Sue Roberts and Mike Marnin from the Boys and Girls Club were present to address the Board.

Mike Marnin said they are grateful to be a part of this community. He advised that he had come to introduce the Board of Trustees to Sue Roberts, who is a teacher employed by the Boys’ and Girls’ Club.

Sue Roberts explained her new position at the Boys and Girls Club that the 21st Century Grant has made possible. This position allows them to go to the next level to help the kids do better academically, improve behavior, and increase parent involvement.

Mrs. Roberts noted that she has been here since school started this year. Prior to coming to Lockwood, she had taught for ten years and worked one year as an administrator. She was pleased to report that attendance at the Lockwood Club has been close to 200 almost every day. Sue said they have an after school “Power Hour” for homework. In May, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club will be purchasing a computer lab with grant monies for the Lockwood site.

They are working to get the middle school kids more involved. The Lockwood Boys’ and Girls’ Club has started a Torch Club, which is a service club for the community. They are also starting a Career Explorers Club and will have a Career Fair for the middle school kids.

Mrs. Roberts thanked the principals and Mr. Reynolds for helping get the Boys’ and Girls’ Club here.

Mr. Reynolds said the school is the strongest asset of the community, and we need to work to keep it that way.

B. Two Requests for Out-of-District Attendance.

Trustee Becky Webber moved to approve the out-of-district attendance agreements for DD and ZH to attend Yellowstone Academy. Teresa Stroebe seconded the motion, noting that the fees will be paid from the Tuition Fund. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Becky Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed five to zero.

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  C. Lockwood Sewer Board Representative Wanted To Address the Trustees.

Chairman Trafford noted that the Sewer Board is having a public meeting tonight, so they could not be here. They can be at the next meeting. This item was tabled until then.


A. Updated List of Substitutes as Follows:
Substitute Teachers: Margaret Ard, Carrie Broyles, Brad Halsten, Amanda Miller, Susan Peterson, Winnette Rak, Denise Reno, Charlyn Scheffelman, JoAnn Strassle, Gwyn Taft, and Terri Wofford.

Support Staff Substitute: Elizabeth Frank

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

  B. Paraprofessional
Becky Webber moved to hire Sharmi Lagge as a paraprofessional. Gayle Walker seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe asked where she would be working. Principal Dave DeBoer responded that she would work in the Resource Room for Grades 3, 4, and 5. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Becky Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted affirmatively; the motion passed five to zero.

  C. Coaching
Trustee Jim Painter moved to hire Randall Rice as seventh grade girls’ basketball coach and sixth grade boys’ basketball coach for this year. Teresa Stroebe seconded the motion. Tim Trafford, Gayle Walker, Jim Painter, Becky Webber, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed five to zero.


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  A. Principals’ Reports
Intermediate Principal Dave DeBoer said he had nothing to add to his written report, but he would answer any questions.

Tim Trafford asked if parent access of Power School is down from last year. Dave said he didn’t think so. He advised that it is early in the school year, and student numbers are down in the Intermediate School. Mr. DeBoer said 27 percent is about average; when grades go out it will probably go up.

Sharon Harris asked about the numbers reported for fifth grade boys and girls. She said she thought they were transposed. Dave said he would check on it and correct it if necessary.

Primary Principal Mike Bowman said he had nothing to add other than congratulations to Stephanie Smith Miller and Lynnette Larson. Mr. Bowman advised that both news stations had segments on the 5:30 news showing their students singing.

Middle School Principal Mike Sullivan also said he had nothing to add to his written report. He informed the trustees that he had attended a Conduct Disorder Class and thought it was very informative. Mr. Sullivan noted that the sixth grade class is very large with an enrollment of 155. Tim Trafford read the Middle School enrollment statistics for the audience.

Teresa recognized the cross-country team and Jim Painter commented on how well the girls’ softball team had done.


Teresa Stroebe reminded trustees that there was a District 9 meeting at 5:15 p.m. the following evening.

Teresa said she would report on the Professional Development Committee meeting where they discussed NCLB at the next meeting. Chairman Trafford noted that the minutes of that meeting are posted on First Class.

Tim advised that he might want to form a new committee to study the Peters Street situation and make recommendations for solving the problems. The Board would need to review district policies regarding new committee formation prior to proceeding any further.

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It was reported that there have been no LEA meetings this year.


The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, November 11, 2003, at 7:00 p.m.

The Lockwood Community Board will meet on Thursday, October 23, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. in the Board Room. Our Board has committed to having a representative on this Council.


Becky Webber moved to adjourn the meeting at approximately 8:40 p.m. Jim Painter seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Jim Painter, 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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