OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Tim Trafford called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. He led
those present in the pledge of allegiance.
Staff members present were: Mike Bowman, Dave DeBoer, Mike Sullivan, Art Anderson, Stephanie Miller, Sharon Harris, Jan Trask, Michelle Black, Denise Wulff, Kay Reynolds, Sharmi Lagge, Linda Engdahl, Jennifer Sumner, Patti Doble, Mary Kay Rottrup, Sue Robertson, Diane Slagsvold, Nancy Kaderavek, Nikki Alt, Vicki Turnquist, Wesley Caldwell, Liz Herbert, Denise McGough, Tammy Biggins, Susan Andersen, and Whitney DiFronzo.
The registered guest present was Clint Trask.
Chairman Trafford, after input from other trustees, changed the order of the agenda and considered item number three first.
EXTENSION OF THE K-3 STUDENT DAY EFFECTIVE 2005-2006 SCHOOL YEAR
Tammy Biggins read aloud a letter from the primary staff.
Mary Kay Rottrup provided a document that said education in the arts will improve test scores.
Mike Sullivan asked whether all primary teachers actually supported the point of view expressed in the letter. He said since it is just signed primary staff and not by individual signatures, it was difficult to know the level of actual agreement.
Mary Kay Rottrup and Sharon Harris said the majority of the primary staff is in support of the point of view expressed in the letter.
Mary Kay Rottrup said she has mixed feelings because she thinks the only way to get primary specialists back is to go to the lengthened day.
Sharmi Lagge spoke as a parent. She has a daughter in the primary building and a son in the intermediate school. Mrs. Lagge said she is in favor of the longer day. She thinks it would have helped her son, had the day been longer when he was in Primary School. Sharmi said many of the students are here early; so if they are going to be here any way aren’t we serving them better in a learning environment rather than on the playground.
Sue Robertson spoke in favor of adding teachers and paraprofessionals, and having smaller class sizes.
Wes Caldwell spoke in favor of continuing health enhancement in the primary.
He noted the advances the kids have made this year with the half-time program.
Sharon Harris doesn’t think the art program should be short-changed. Kate Morris has worked hard to get art to the primary kids.
Eileen explained some staffing scenarios and noted staffing is dependent on 2005-06 state funding, which is not set by the legislature yet. The scenarios are attached.
Chairman Trafford asked Primary Principal Bowman for his opinion. Mr. Bowman replied that he likes the idea of having more teachers, smaller class sizes, and a science specialist in primary. The science specialist was his idea to help meet the demands of measured progress. He said departmentalizing in Middle School works. Principal Bowman commented that it is not realistic to expect primary teachers to be experts in all aspects of every subject.
Superintendent Johnson said she has had individual requests by teachers for reading and/or math coaches. Recently the Middle School teachers had a good experience with a math coach provided in cooperation with Billings School District via a grant. Eileen said coaches dissect measured progress tests, develop curriculum for skills and coach teachers by providing teaching strategies and lessons.
Trustee Painter commented that a science specialist in the primary would be a big plus.
Barbara Forrester Frank remarked that she would like to see PE back full time in the primary, and she agrees with Jim about having a science specialist. Trustee Frank said a coach done well is wonderful. They provide lessons and research for you. She suggested teachers think about coaches and read about them.
Trustee Stroebe said she could feel really good about a mill levy if they are able to add staff and reinstate specialists. She commented if we have the extended day in primary, it would allow for the curriculum. Mrs. Stroebe said her preference would be to add the art teacher as a specialist. She felt science could be incorporated with art. She commented that the time of day the specialists serve the students is an important consideration also.
Trustee Thomas Jones said he felt what Mr. Bowman said was important. He thinks having a science specialist would be great. It would be wonderful to have it all, but choices have to be made.
Trustee Greg Bochy said the scenarios provided by Mrs. Johnson look good. He expressed that he would like to know from the teachers what they want.
Chairman Trafford said it was evident by the number of teachers present,
how much they care.
Mr. Trafford advised that the number one goal of the board is to make AYP and another goal was smaller class sizes. He felt determining the finite details of how to attain these goals was the job of the administrators. He said the administrators ask us for the tools; if we don’t provide the tools, we can’t hold them accountable for the outcome.
Superintendent Johnson asked to address the topic of hiring administrative help. She said this had been discussed this morning in the district goals meeting. Eileen said administrative help can be a curriculum director, technology person to manage testing and skills data or a teacher coach.
She explained the tracking of sub-groups that will be required and a data system for assessment and collection of data. Mrs. Johnson advised that the staff has been looking at some of the companies that have software for tracking this data.
Teresa Stroebe pointed out that Kathy Bowen had been a teacher coach and curriculum director. She thought maybe someone could be hired to fill the roles of teacher coach and data or analysis person.
Eileen said many of the programs could provide supplemental work for students in a supervised data lab or classroom.
Sue Robertson said she has been at three presentations of the programs. This type of program is going to be very costly. She hopes that we look at all programs to be sure we get what is best practice and will work for us. She doesn’t think we have the capability right now to use them.
There was discussion as whether the administrative help would be paid as a teacher or administrator. Eileen said it needs to be someone who can work for an extended year beyond what is covered by the Master Agreement, because they may need to work during the summer months. She noted that Kathy Bowen was not under the Master Agreement as Curriculum Director.
There was some discussion as to how many teachers a coach can effectively serve.
Trustee Thomas Jones asked about Project Love and how many parent-volunteers
The issue of confidentiality of student records in relation to using volunteer help was also mentioned by Jennifer Sumner.
Trustee Teresa Stroebe moved, dependent on available funding, to lengthen the K-3 school day effective with the 2005-06 school year if there are specialists hired.
Trustee Jim Painter seconded the motion.
Supt. Johnson asked for direction as to the type of specialists to be hired for purposes of advertising the positions.
Mrs. Stroebe asked to amend her motion to prioritize the list of specialists, with art first on the list.
Chairman Trafford asked if there was dissention.
Jim Painter did not agree with the amendment.
Teresa Stroebe withdrew her motion.
Teresa Stroebe moved to lengthen the K-3 school day effective with the 2005-06 school year dependent on available funding. Jim Painter seconded the motion.
Greg Bochy asked how much longer the K-3 day would be. Eileen responded that it would be from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Currently K-3 students are in school from 8:25 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.
Supt. Johnson gave a brief explanation of how the extended day would run, including bussing, eating, etc. There will be more buses and we will have at least two administrators and three to six teachers and/or paraprofessionals on bus duty.
Teresa asked if primary kids would be on separate buses from older kids. Eileen said no. Buses would serve all children in a neighborhood. Teresa said she was asking because there has been concern. They plan to have younger students ride in the front of the bus and older students on the back of bus.
The vote was called. Teresa Stroebe, Jim Painter, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Greg Bochy, and Barbara Forrester Frank voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
DISCUSSION OF POSSIBLE STAFFING FOR 2005-2006
Eileen noted that specialists may be shared with third grade and fourth grade. Schedules will have to be looked at. Eileen wants people to look across the district as a whole, not just in their particular areas.
Possible building schedules were briefly discussed. It was noted that about 45 minutes of teaching time would be added.
Vice-Chairperson Teresa Stroebe made a motion to add the specialists in this order: full-time health enhancement, full-time music, full time art, science, and library, depending on funding.
There was no second to the motion.
Mrs. Stroebe moved to consider adding specialists in the year 2005-06 depending on funding. Jim Painter seconded that motion.
Barbara Forrester Frank asked the teachers present what they felt would be the priority.
Whitney DiFronzo said they are both important; but if they are going to be tested on science, it should be the priority.
Teresa Stroebe, Jim Painter, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Greg Bochy, and Barbara Forrester Frank voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
Chairman Trafford said we are going in the right direction now, adding staff instead of cutting.
Chairman Trafford called for a short break at 8:45 p.m. The meeting resumed at 8:56 p.m.
District Clerk Diane Brook gave a brief explanation of the levy and budget possibilities under pending legislation. She noted that the deadline for certifying the ballot is April 8, 2005. All figures must be finalized by that date, even if the legislature has not made decisions on school funding issues. The trustees and audience were provided with worksheets showing estimated general fund budget figures of $6,046,491.98 without a levy or $6,143,266.88 with a levy of 96,774.90, being approximately 7.43 mills. The estimated tax impact would be $16.16 on a house with a market value of $100,000 and $32.32 on a house with a market value of $200,000. This levy estimate was provided by using data in SB 177; it was noted that parts of SB 177 has been amended into HB 63 with some changes. Neither bill has been passed by the legislature.
Chairman Trafford asked for the comparison to last year’s figures.
The previous year’s budget was $5,690,700.91 with a levy of $78,719.77
being approximately 6.14 mills. The estimated tax impact was $13.92 on
a house with a market value of $100,000 and $27.84 on a house with a market
value of $200,000. That levy would be replaced by the 2005-06 levy.
Teresa Stroebe, Jim Painter, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Greg Bochy, and Barbara Forrester Frank voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.
Mrs. Brook informed the trustees that the deadline has passed for filing Nomination Petitions for Trustee and the deadline to file a Declaration of Intent for Write-In Candidate was April 7, 2005. Presently, there are two candidates who filed Nomination Petitions for Trustee, incumbents Greg Bochy and Teresa Dahl Stroebe. No one has yet filed a Declaration of Intent for Write-In Candidate. If one Declaration of Intent for Write-In Candidate is received, the election can be called by acclamation, because there would be two candidates and one write-in declaration for the three trustee positions.
No one made a motion for Trustee Election by acclamation. District Clerk Brook said the Trustee Election would be held with the Mill Levy Election on Tuesday, May 3, 2005.
This item was tabled until a later date.
B. Discussion and possible development of a community survey
Teresa Stroebe reported that she discussed with Mr. Floyd from MSU-Billings how he conducts surveys. He said they make 360 calls from his office area. The cost would be approximately $5,000.
Teresa said they need to establish direction and they may need to look for funding sources for the survey. It would be an objective survey if Mr. Floyd did it. Vice-chairperson Stroebe thought the survey should be conducted by May, before school gets out.
Eileen said the idea for the survey came from the Facilities Committee.
Greg Bochy advised that he had talked to the Lockwood Water and Sewer Board about their survey. They did a random door-to-door survey of eleven zones. They had eleven kids take 30 ballots to houses in each sector. They also left 100 ballots in each school and Lockwood IGA for other residents who wanted to fill it out.
Trustee Bochy commented that survey questions should be developed, and then some Lockwood students could do the door to door survey. The survey should be dropped off, and then picked up within one hour. The Lockwood Water and Sewer Department could give us the zones they used, and we would add our own zones. Greg thinks it would be an accurate and helpful survey.
Primary Principal Mike Bowman suggested conducting the survey at the polling place during the upcoming election.
Chairman Trafford suggested scheduling another meeting to discuss the study circles.
Barbara gave a brief explanation of study circles to the audience. It is a collaborative effort to get everybody into some dialoguing groups. It is like a jump-off point to get the community involved. There would be trained facilitators for each study circle.
Teresa Stroebe moved to do a survey or surveys in April or May. Greg Bochy seconded the motion. Barbara Forrester Frank said she liked the idea of the survey on School Election Day.
The trustees thought they should bring survey questions to the next meeting.
Teresa Stroebe asked to amend her motion to do a survey or surveys in April.
Mrs. Johnson advised that doing surveys and developing questions is a specialty in itself, and it could take a lot of time.
Teresa Stroebe withdrew her amended motion
Trustee Forrester Frank said she does not want to rush.
Greg Bochy called the question. Teresa Stroebe voted yes. Jim Painter, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Greg Bochy, and Barbara Forrester Frank voted no; the motion failed five to one.
A special meeting was called for Monday April 18, 2005, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. to discuss Study Circles and a Survey. Trustees were asked to bring ideas for questions and suggestions of people who may want to serve.
Tim said they have a request for the SD2 committee to meet with the board. Tim said he is very opposed to it. He felt there are plenty of other venues for them to address the community.
Chairman Trafford said the Board Chair or two board members can put an item on the agenda. Tim feels it is inappropriate. Teresa Stroebe said the committee should not feel that they are not given an opportunity to be heard.
It was the consensus of the trustees to direct Superintendent Johnson to respectfully decline their request and offer the school facilities to provide them opportunities for meetings with community.
Jim Painter moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:00 p.m. Thomas Jones seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Jim Painter, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Greg Bochy, and Barbara Forrester Frank voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
Timothy Trafford, Chairman Diane M. Brook, District Clerk