Regular Meeting

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January 11, 2005

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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, January 11, 2005. Chairman Trafford called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

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

The following trustees and officers were present: Trustees: Teresa Stroebe, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Jim Painter, District Clerk Diane Brook and Superintendent Eileen Johnson. Barbara Forrester Frank arrived at 6:39 p.m. Trustees Greg Bochy and Gayle Walker were absent.

Staff members present were: Dave DeBoer, Mike Bowman, Art Anderson, Stephanie S. Miller, Amanda Miller, Liz Herbert, Karla Steppler, and Carrie Larson.

The registered guests present were Evelyn Pyburn, Pam Malek, and Sandra Hopkins.

The trustees met at 6:30 p.m. to work on the superintendent’s evaluation. Chairman Trafford discussed the method used, which is a number system with comments. He advised that he believes consistency is important and that the evaluation system evolves as tasks evolve. It was noted that evaluations do not always have to be yearly; they can be quarterly or some other time-frame.

Mr. Trafford summarized Mrs. Johnson’s evaluation by saying throughout the entire document there was nothing but the best of numbers. Everything is pretty much between fours and fives; with scoring from one (lowest) to five (highest). There were a couple unknowns in there, which meant the rater had not observed that particular item and could not rate.

Teresa Stroebe advised that the communication and relationship with the board is a two-way street. She said when we critique those areas we are also critiquing ourselves.

Eileen asked for suggestions. Teresa said she has no suggestions, but she likes some of the things Eileen does. She wants Eileen to continue to work the way she does with people. She feels Eileen takes time to consider their gifts as well as whatever problems they may be having. Mrs. Stroebe also said she likes it that Eileen can be tough when necessary.

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Tim said she “upped the ante” as far as communications with the board. Mrs. Johnson is providing more written reports in the packets. Tim says he feels very informed.

Mr. Trafford noted that there were several “unknowns” in the area of the evaluation entitled: Relationship with Staff. Tim said the board has no idea how evaluations of staff are conducted within the district.

Eileen said she will put a flow chart and summary together showing how evaluations are done, when they are done, and by whom.

Trustee Painter said he thought Eileen did an excellent job with the new wing and getting the rooms assigned and the move accomplished.

Tim said evaluations are very important and he feels having an understanding of it is very important.

Eileen said if any individual has a question at any time, she hopes they will ask her. She also said individual trustees should contact her if they want something brought to the whole board.

The area of public relations was discussed. Teresa said Eileen is doing even more than she used to. She works with several committees including the Steering Committee and Exxon. Trustees Stroebe said getting Eileen’s monthly overview provided in the packet monthly helps them to see what she is doing.

Tim thanked her for those things and noted that her receiving the Superintendent of the Year Award certainly takes that into account.

Trustee Thomas Jones said people in the community know who she is and have positive comments.

Tim mentioned Mrs. Johnson’s abilities in education, her mentoring other superintendents, her involvement with OPI. He has seen her drive make a difference and her ability to make changes when necessary.

Mr. Trafford said the board was adamant last year in requesting Eileen hire a facilities director and delegate duties. This has been accomplished.

Barbara said she wants Eileen to be an active part of helping to get the strategic plan developed. Mrs. Johnson said she really wants to help with the plan. She asked for direction from the board, and she’ll work hard to get it done.

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It was mentioned under the comments section of the evaluation that perhaps the board should be more involved in the higher-end projects. These projects are less than the $25,000 bid threshold, but they are very important. The opportunity for more board input might be beneficial.

Thomas said Eileen is doing a fantastic job, and our school district is very fortunate.
Trustees Teresa Stroebe, Barbara Forrester Frank, Jim Painter, and Tim Trafford all agreed.

Eileen said she really enjoys working here.

Chairperson Tim Trafford led those present in the pledge of allegiance again to re-open the meeting at 7:00 p.m.


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.

Thomas Jones moved to approve the November 30, 2004 special board meeting minutes and December 14, 2004 regular board meeting minutes as presented and the payment of all bills and wages and extracurricular bills. Teresa Stroebe seconded the motion. Tim Trafford, Jim Painter, Barbara Forrester Frank, Thomas Jones, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed five to zero.


None received.


None received


The Boys and Girls Club will be hosting a hot chocolate stand at the Lockwood IGA from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to raise money for the Tsunami victims.

Deani Kirkness put an election calendar on the Lockwood website with link to Yellowstone County.

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    A. Updated List of Substitutes

Chairman Trafford read aloud the list of substitutes in the packet and the additional names provided at the meeting as follows: Katie Russell, Kimberly Schreiner, Colleen Simpson, Beverly Soria, Alysia Swank, William Wittpenn III, Maja Archer, Sandra Hopkins, and Melinda Moos as substitute teachers and Jackie Atkinson as support staff substitute.

Teresa moved to hire the above-mentioned people. Thomas Jones seconded the motion. It was noted that fingerprint background checks had been completed on all. Tim Trafford, Jim Painter, Barbara Forrester Frank, Thomas Jones, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed five to zero.

    B. Recommendations for Additional Second Semester Staff

Interviews for the second semester staffing took place during the first week of January.
Eileen advised that there were 31 applicants. She and the principals interviewed seven people for the teaching positions. They attempted to match the applicants’ qualifications to the needs of the district. Mrs. Johnson said there were some outstanding candidates, and she believes the ones chosen will do an excellent job for us. She recommended hiring as follows:

Jennifer Sumner - Transfer from half-time kindergarten to full-time second grade teacher
Amanda Miller - Third Grade Teacher
Liz Herbert - Half-time Kindergarten Teacher
Wesley Caldwell – Primary Math and Health Enhancement Teacher

Vern DiLulo – Part-time Custodian

Crossing guard - Pending fingerprint background check

Teresa Stroebe moved to hire Amanda Miller, Liz Herbert, Jennifer Sumner, Wesley Caldwell, Vern DiLulo, and a cross walk guard pending background check. Thomas Jones seconded the motion.

Mr. Jones asked how they determined which students would be placed in the new third grade room. Principal Dave DeBoer said this classroom will have about 15 students; the small size will enable extra help for those that are struggling in reading and math.

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Mr. Bowman is working out something similar with his second grade staff for the additional second grade room.

Tim Trafford, Jim Painter, Barbara Forrester Frank, Thomas Jones, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed five to zero.

Intermediate Principal Dave DeBoer introduced Amanda Miller to the trustees.

Primary Principal Mike Bowman introduced Liz Herbert. He also advised that Sandra Hopkins was present and she was hired as a substitute.

Mr. Bowman also re-introduced Carrie Larson and Karla Steppler. Mike noted that Special Education Director Leonard Orth believes they are two of the top first year teachers for special education in Montana.

    C. Superintendent’s Contract

Chairman Trafford explained that Superintendent Johnson’s current contract is a three- year contract (7/1/2004 through 6/30/2007). Hiring Mrs. Johnson extends the end-date of her contract for one year to June 30, 2008.

Eileen advised that there is no tenure for superintendents under Montana law.

Trustee Teresa Stroebe moved to extend Supt. Johnson’s contract by one year. Barbara Forrester Frank seconded the motion. Tim Trafford, Jim Painter, Barbara Forrester Frank, Thomas Jones, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed five to zero.


There was nothing to consider at this time.


The board briefly reviewed the superintendent’s report.

Eileen pointed out the information in her report about minute-taking in closed session.
Three lawyers who do training and work with schools on legal issues agreed that minutes should not be taken in closed session.

The federal funding information provided was discussed. It was noted that Lockwood Schools will see a loss in federal funds again next year.

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There were no principals’ reports due to the Christmas holiday.

Mrs. Johnson advised trustees that two applications for school psychologist for the co-op had been received. Leonard will be interviewing them soon.

Dave DeBoer said the new addition is wonderful; the added space has really been helpful.

Chairman Trafford said the board will be asking what can be done for better learning environments in other rooms in the buildings, also.

Tim advised that there are three trustees up for election this year. Trustee Election will be held May 3, 2005. This year the terms of Greg Bochy, Jim Painter, and Teresa Stroebe expire in May 2005. The official school election calendar was included with the agenda packet.

Eileen advised there are deadlines that we will be dealing with for elections.


Tim asked Art Anderson, Facilities Director, if there are any outstanding obligations on the addition that they need to know about. Art said it is substantially complete, so the contractor is eligible for their final payment. A few things still need to be done to be compliant, such as the handrail, but it is substantially complete. TAAA

Art advised there are some problems with the heat system, some carpet adhesive problems, and leaky plumbing. These all are warranty issues. Art said we have a builder’s warranty for one year and there are some manufacturer’s warranties that last longer than that.

Art Anderson and the trustees discussed the turnaround. Art advised that the problem is failure of the asphalt. Art submitted to the contractor an independent recommendation of mediation for the problem. He provided them with independent test lab results and the independent report. He said it is up to the contractor to bring it up to an acceptable level. It will be spring before that can happen, because asphalt cannot be put down until it is above 50 degrees.

Eileen advised that Art had also met with legal counsel regarding this issue.

Chairman Trafford said he thinks it is time to get the county and state lands easement moved from the middle of the school parking lot over to the new easement area. He wants this done so there is no residual easement through the parking lot.

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Eileen said she would get on that this week. She said she would review a letter from the county about why they were delaying moving their easement.


    A. Teresa Stroebe’s report on Legal Issues with the State

Teresa briefly discussed the lawsuit that she and Conrad have against the state. She reported that it has gone to a five-judge panel. They were notified on December 13, 2005, that there would be no oral arguments. Mrs. Stroebe distributed information about the lawsuit to those present.




There will be a work session on January 20, 2005 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The session will be to work with mission, vision, and goals.

Tim Trafford said they need a meeting to discuss strategies to deal with crowding and the aging facilities. Eileen suggested Tuesday, January 25, 2005 at 6:00 p.m. Tim would like staff and public participation.

Eileen advised that she had a personnel issue that needs to come to the board at the January 20, 2005, work session/special board meeting

Eileen advised that we need to have the meetings begin and end on time; they should start promptly at 6:00 p.m. and end right at 8:00 p.m.

The next regular board meeting will be held on February 8, 2005, at 7:00 p.m.


Thomas Jones moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:12 p.m. Teresa Stroebe seconded the motion. Tim Trafford, Jim Painter, Barbara Forrester Frank, Thomas Jones, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed five to zero.


__________________________________           ________________________________

         Timothy Trafford, Chairman                            Diane M. Brook, District Clerk

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