OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
CALL TO ORDER JULY 13, 2004
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, July 13, 2004, at 7:07 p.m.
Chairperson Tim Trafford led those present in the pledge of allegiance.
The following trustees and officers were present: Trustees: Gayle Walker, Teresa Stroebe, Tim Trafford, Greg Bochy, Barbara Forrester Frank, Jim Painter, District Clerk Diane Brook and Superintendent Eileen Johnson. Thomas Jones was absent.
Staff members present were: Art Anderson, Shirley Briner, Mike Sullivan, and Stephanie Long.
Registered guest was Evelyn Pyburn who arrived at 7:14 p.m.
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.
Greg Bochy moved to approve the June 8, 2004 regular board meeting minutes and the June 21, 2004 special meeting board minutes as presented and the payment of all bills and wages and extracurricular bills. Barbara Forrester Frank seconded the motion. Gayle Walker, Greg Bochy, Jim Painter, Barbara Forrester Frank, Tim Trafford, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.
PUBLIC WRITTEN REQUEST TO BE PLACED ON THE AGENDA
EDUCATION AND BUSINESS – (Considered prior to Correspondence Item)
A. Recommitment to Eastern Yellowstone Cooperative
Mrs. Johnson noted that the Eastern Yellowstone Special Education Cooperative is requesting that each of the eight schools recommits for the upcoming school year. The motion would be to recommit to the Coop for 2004-2005 and make an appointment of a representative to their Board. Supt. Johnson has served as Chair of that Board for a number of years and would be happy to continue as Lockwood’s representative.
Tim said there are eight schools in the Special Education Cooperative.
Eileen has been chair of the Coop Board for about five years. He expressed
appreciation for her work on the board.
Barbara Forrester Frank moved to recommit to the Eastern Yellowstone County Special Education Cooperative for 2004-05 and named Eileen Johnson as representative for Lockwood Schools. Jim Painter seconded the motion. Gayle Walker, Greg Bochy, Jim Painter, Barbara Forrester Frank, Tim Trafford, and Teresa Stroebe voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
Chairman Trafford signed the agreement.
B. Continue to use the services of Yellowstone Academy’s Community
Superintendent Johnson advised that Lockwood Schools has worked with the Mental Health Center from Yellowstone Academy to provide services to our students. There is no cost to the district since the funding for these services is provided through Medicaid. She recommended that this partnership continue.
Eileen said she did not have a formal contract at this time. She asked the board to make the motion to continue the use of the services, and she will get the contract sometime this summer. Mrs. Johnson advised they are late in getting out the contract, but she wanted to be sure the commitment was in place. This way Lockwood Schools could have the services in place at the beginning of the school year.
Gayle Walker made a motion for Lockwood Schools to continue to use the mental health community based services provided by Yellowstone Academy. Greg Bochy seconded the motion. Gayle Walker, Greg Bochy, Jim Painter, Barbara Forrester Frank, Tim Trafford, and Teresa Stroebe voted affirmatively; the motion passed six to zero.
C. Contract with Custer to provide assistance with Special Education
Supt. Johnson reported the following: Custer School needs a special education teacher for only a short period of time each year as indicated on the attached contract. If the board approves this, Sandra Maloughney, who is assigned to the students at New Day, will go to Custer Schools for 16 days during the school year. Other certified teachers at New Day will take her duties while she assists Custer. Hysham Schools provided this service in the past, but no longer has a special education teacher. Sandra is aware of this and would enjoy the change of pace.
Custer’s payment would be a reimbursement toward Sandra Maloughney’s contract with us.
Gayle Walker asked if Custer had approved this agreement. Eileen responded that they have a meeting tonight and will decide also.
Tim Trafford said he likes the idea of sharing; working cooperatively works well.
Greg Bochy asked if New Day gets new students would they have enough teachers. Eileen explained that Lockwood School is only responsible for the education of boys in Grades K-8 as they are the New Day students that reside in our district. Greg asked if New Day gets another eight students, would we need to hire another teacher. Eileen said no; the staffing in place would handle that many more students.
The trustees discussed the possibility of touring New Day. Eileen said she would see about setting up a group tour in August or September after school is back in session.
Greg moved that we accept Custer’s offer to share a special education teacher for 16 days during the 2004-05 school year. Teresa Stroebe seconded the motion.
Mrs. Johnson advised that Sandra Maloughney would go to Custer once or twice per month. The salary reimbursement is prorated accordingly.
Gayle Walker, Greg Bochy, Jim Painter, Barbara Forrester Frank, Tim Trafford, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.
The meeting was recessed for ten minutes.
D. Employee Handbook update
Supt. Johnson advised: The Employee Handbook was sent out for review. Diane and I will take any questions about the recommended changes. Most of these are either cosmetic or pertain to laws. The change for classified leave is new and is recommended in the spirit of fairness to our employees.
Tim Trafford noted that they had received the copies in the mail with suggested changes identified.
Eileen commented that some of it was just clean up, bringing it up to date, adding information. She said the major change had to do with Page 33, leaves of absence. She thought bereavement should be an additional leave benefit not taken from sick leave, as is present policy. This change would bring it in line with other employees’ benefits.
Teresa Stroebe thinks this is a good idea.
Chairman Trafford requested a motion to accept the handbook as presented. Greg Bochy said, “I so move.” Barbara Forrester Frank seconded the motion.
Tim asked if there was discussion.
The section entitled Teaching About Religion on Page 30 was briefly discussed.
Teresa Stroebe asked if the homework information is crossed out in the revised employee handbook because it is redundant. Eileen said information about homework is in the student handbook, and it did not need to be in the Employee Handbook.
Tim Trafford said in his mind the Employee Handbook is for employees’ information.
Greg Bochy, Barbara Forrester-Frank, Teresa Stroebe, Gayle Walker, Jim
Painter, and Tim Trafford voted aye. The motion passed six to zero.
Chairman Trafford returned to this item at 7:36 p.m. after the approval of the handbook.
Tim read aloud Bonnie Lorang’s letter asking for a medical leave of absence. Tim said in the past the School Board has approved these types of leaves. Superintendent Johnson recommends granting this leave.
Teresa Stroebe moved to grant a medical leave of absence to Bonnie Lorang. Greg Bochy seconded the motion. Greg Bochy, Teresa Stroebe, Barbara Forrester-Frank, Jim Painter, Gayle Walker, and Tim Trafford voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.
Greg Bochy asked what would be done to replace Bonnie during the leave. Eileen responded they are not sure yet.
Chairman Trafford read aloud Stephanie Long’s letter of resignation. Stephanie expressed her gratitude to everyone. She said thank you for giving her the courage to try this.
Tim said schools are all about growth for kids, trustees, and teachers.
Teresa moved to accept her resignation with best wishes and regrets. Gayle Walker seconded the motion. Greg Bochy, Teresa Stroebe, Barbara Forrester-Frank, Jim Painter, Gayle Walker, and Tim Trafford voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.
E. Hormone-free milk discussion
Trustee Stroebe requested to have a discussion on the topic of hormone free milk. Shirley Briner, the district’s Food Service Manager, has written documentation from our provider that the milk sold to us does not contain recombinant bovine growth hormone (RBST).
Shirley Briner reviewed this item with the board. She advised that the letter she has from Meadow Gold Dairies was dated in 1999, and that is exactly the way their policy reads to this day. It has not been modified since that date. Meadow Gold producers are not allowed to use hormones, and they are confident that their milk is hormone free.
Teresa Stroebe said this is good enough documentation for the school and the needs of our students.
Shirley said the cows naturally produce this hormone, so there is no way to test for it. They can review production records; if there is a jump in production without an increase in cows then the producer may be using hormones. The only way you could be totally sure is to buy certified organic milk, but that would not be economically feasible.
Teresa said she thinks the checks are in place. They may want to have a statement in policy that Lockwood Schools will educate environmentally conscious students.
Chairman Trafford thought that would not be a policy item, but maybe a resolution would work.
Greg Bochy said you could go so many different directions with that type of a statement, and you could be muddying the waters.
Teresa Stroebe said maybe we could consider this when we review policy.
Eileen read aloud the existing policies on nutrition.
Teresa asked that the policy on nutrition be pulled for consideration with the other Board Policy Manual revisions.
Tim asked Teresa to get together with Shirley Briner and work through the wording she wants considered with the policy.
Teresa expressed her appreciation to Shirley for providing the information.
B. Styrofoam plates in the cafeteria
The use of styrofoam plates in the cafeteria was a topic brought up by the grade six Project Citizen students during the school year. Their request was for Lockwood food
service to eliminate the use of styrofoam trays in our lunch program for environmental purposes.
Shirley Briner informed the Board that biodegradable trays are not that sturdy or as stable as they should be and the price is horrendous. They cost $58.00 for 500 trays; Styro-foam trays cost $26 for 500. She said in the school food business we work in pennies and just adding pennies adds up in a hurry.
Mrs. Briner said she will cut back on the use of styrofoam trays dependent on the number of students she has working in the kitchen.
She advised that they would be using styrofoam trays for at least the first day. They will always use them for the eighth grade lunches because of time; otherwise she would need to hold staff over to do the final clean up. The cost for extra staff time would be expensive.
Chairman Trafford said Shirley is looking at eliminating about two-thirds or more of the use of styrofoam trays.
Gayle Walker asked Mike Sullivan how many students he would have available to be aides in the kitchen. Mike said he thinks he can provide whatever number of kids Shirley wants to have.
Shirley said she thinks it will work out well; she is looking forward to it.
Tim thanked her for making this happen. He said the sixth graders taught us.
Eileen said this is part of the Learn and Serve Grant. It really teaches citizenship.
Greg said he thought the kids involved should get a letter saying this change was implemented because of them.
Chairman Trafford advised no action would be required other than a thank you to Shirley.
Teresa Stroebe noted action could be in the form of the policy if they add the statement she previously suggested.
Eileen advised that she posted the math position left vacant by Stephanie Long. They will review applications and offer the position based on final approval of the board at the August meeting.
A. Third and final reading of change to Policy #2420 on grading for grade three and parent conferences.
Greg Bochy asked for a review of the policy change. Eileen read aloud the changes and advised that the teachers had been working on the grading change for three years.
Gayle Walker moved to adopt Policy No. 2420 with the changes on third and final. Jim Painter seconded the motion. Seeing no further discussion, Chairman Trafford called for the vote. Greg Bochy, Teresa Stroebe, Barbara Forrester-Frank, Jim Painter, Gayle Walker, and Tim Trafford voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.
REPORTS AND MISCELLANEOUS
A. Superintendent’s Report
Mr. Johnson noted the following: As an addition to my attached report I want the board to be aware that Lockwood School will receive a grant of $91,000 for two years (45,500 each) under the Homeland Security Act. This grant was awarded due to Cindy Gopp's success with Learn and Serve Grant in the Gifted and Talented Program. We were chosen to be one of the six schools in the state to get this funding. There are very clear guidelines for the use of this, and I'll have more details for you, as I receive them. June Atkins from OPI called me on June 25 with the notification.
Tim complimented Eileen on her report.
Teresa said she was intrigued with the letters from the representatives. Eileen noted that there is a possibility that the Congress may be making some changes in Special Education Funding. Letters have gone out asking them to support the full funding of IDEA.
Gayle asked for explanation of Lunch Bill. Congress is upset and is thinking this money is misspent, so they wanted a higher percentage of free and reduced applications verified. If these people do not respond, their children no longer receive free or reduced-price meals. Often these people have many difficulties and filling out the forms, and this additional paperwork causes them even more problems.
Tim asked what percentage is checked now. Diane responded that about three percent of the applications are verified.
Teresa Stroebe said she was glad to see that Conrad Burns and Max Baucus responded.
Three trustees briefly discussed the Impact Aide lawsuit in relation to retirement funds.
Art Anderson, facilities director, provided an update on the building project and the fencing at Lion’s Lair.
Art advised that we are two or three days behind due to emergencies with utilities and pipes that weren’t shown correctly in the plans and maps. They had an evacuation drill with the Boys’ and Girls’ Club kids when this happened.
Art advised that people are working well together. A couple change orders have been necessary. It is progressing, but not as smoothly as he had hoped.
Art said steps have been taken to deal with routing the kids around the
building for safety. Fisher Construction has had flaggers out when needed.
Art advised that getting notification in advance for these safety issues
was addressed in the pre-construction conference.
Eileen said Art has done an outstanding job. He has vision and he has started programs with lights, floors, etc. He is a good detail person.
Tim said they appreciate his work and the fact that he speaks the language, having been a contractor, definitely benefits the school district.
Mr. Anderson said he met with Peters Street citizens on two occasions
regarding fencing. He met with two fencing companies and selected one.
The fencing will be installed in about three weeks. There will be four-foot
access holes and there will be signage, which is in response to concerns
of Peters Street residents. Bus parking there will be prohibited.
Greg Bochy had concerns about dangerous dogs in a yard close to the cross walk by the church.
Eileen said the buses might be moved to the Bus Barn in Billings for overnight parking. That would change some things in the parking lot. We might need to relocate the plug-ins for the buses to use during the day.
Gayle Walker asked about the fencing costs. Art responded the chain link would cost under $10,000.
Tim asked how the Peters Street people felt. Art said most everyone is happy with the fencing plan.
Art said they will have a survey done and we will be in compliance with regulations for setbacks, right-of-way, etc. They plan to leave a 35-foot area in the front without fence. Curb stops may be put out. If there are problems, they will put in a three-foot fence.
It was noted that the proposed turnaround could be used for additional parking in the evenings.
Tim said we want to be good neighbors and protect our property.
Superintendent Johnson provided this clarification on salary figures from the June meeting: Teacher salaries have increased by $262,382 from 2003-2004 to 2004-2005. The $30,000 reduction figure was from the earlier projections of preliminary guesstimates as to what new staff would cost the district. These are the exact figures on teaching salaries for the two years.
2003-2004 75 F.T.E. $2,850,985
Gayle asked for more information about the Homeland Security Grant. Eileen said it is part of Learn and Serve, and it has very narrow parameters. We got it because of Cindy Gopp’s program, and we are one of six schools (sub-grantees) that got it. We will need to hire someone to help. It is very student-focused. Students will study emergencies and disasters; they will include the Boys’ and Girls’ club and other schools. Students will develop model emergency plans for public entities, such as a nursing home. It is to get kids to think about what happens in an emergency. $10,000 of the grant must be used to pay University of Montana staff to do on-site training here at Lockwood School. OPI and U of M are the main grantees. The grant will also pay for the salary of a half-time teacher, who will do curriculum development for safety issues and disasters. Geographic Information Systems will be used for planning routes and locating everything.
Supt. Johnson noted that Cindy Gopp has been invited to present at a National Conference.
Formation of a Growth Response Committee was discussed. Tim said he wants board members to decide if they want to be on it and think of whom they might like to enlist.
Teresa Stroebe gave each trustee copies of MTSBA committee meeting minutes. The trustees briefly discussed MTSBA issues.
Trustee Stroebe reported that she has copies of the MTSBA financial reports, and they are very financially sound.
PUBLIC COMMENT ON SCHOOL ISSUES
The next regular meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 10, 2004.
The trustees wanted to have a work session to review the budgeting process before the regular August meeting, at which time the final budgets for 2004-2005 will be adopted.
A special board meeting work session was set for Monday, August 2, 2004 at
5:30 p.m. for the purpose of reviewing the budgeting process and proposed budgets.
Greg Cross made a donation for stain for the Lion’s Lair.
Greg Bochy moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:24 p.m. Gayle Walker seconded the motion. Greg Bochy, Teresa Stroebe, Barbara Forrester-Frank, Jim Painter, Gayle Walker, and Tim Trafford voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.
Timothy Trafford, Chairman Diane M. Brook, District Clerk