Call to Order
The special 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 Monday, January 23, 2006. Chairperson Teresa Stroebe led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance and called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.
Trustees and officers present were Trustees: Thomas Jones, Greg Bochy, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, and Tim Trafford, Superintendent Eileen Johnson. Trustees Barbara Forrester Frank and Gayle Walker were absent.
Executive Session for Superintendent’s Evaluation
Chairperson Teresa Stroebe closed the meeting as individual privacy exceeds the public right to know.
CALL TO ORDER
The special 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 Monday, January 23, 2006. Chairperson Teresa Stroebe led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance and called the meeting to order at 6:37 p.m.
Trustees and officers present were Trustees: Thomas Jones, Greg Bochy, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, and Tim Trafford, Superintendent Eileen Johnson, District Clerk Diane Brook. Trustees Barbara Forrester Frank and Gayle Walker were absent. (Gayle arrived at 7:15 p.m.)
Other staff members present were Mike Bowman, Denise McGough, Bonnie Chatriand, and Art Anderson.
Registered guests were Tim Sather, Holly Sather, and Conrad Stroebe.
Lockwood School Facilities and Future Growth of Lockwood Schools and the Lockwood Community
Chairperson Stroebe began the discussion by reading aloud the Lockwood Schools Mission and Vision Statement, distributing the Phillipsburg School statement, and referring to the Lockwood Board of Trustees worksheet entitled Brainstorming a Vision for Five Years into the Future.
Teresa asked Eileen to address crowding concerns.
Eileen advised of the following items:
There are two classes being held in an upstairs room that is not handicapped accessible. That upstairs room was not insulated to be used as a classroom and it has wooden stairs; both issues cause an extreme amount of noise that is very disruptive to the classrooms below. They have a new idea for the Title 1 Program for next year, but two additional classrooms are needed to implement the new plan. No rooms are available. It is getting critical.
Trustee Tim Trafford commented that if all-day kindergarten is implemented and state funded next year, there are no classrooms available for it. He said there is not space available to put art back in the primary curriculum.
Eileen advised that five classrooms would be needed for all-day kindergarten.
Sue Vinton asked how accommodation was being made for handicapped students that cannot traverse the stairs. Eileen said Mr. Sullivan had to make other arrangements for the student.
Mrs. Johnson noted that health teachers are still juggling schedules because three teachers are sharing two classrooms.
Teresa Stroebe reported in follow-up that it is not possible to co-op with Wyeth Friday and the County Planning Committee to complete a survey.
Teresa asked how many meetings had been dedicated to this issue. Eileen responded that the board had started discussing this in September of 2004 and have been discussing ever since.
Plan Development to Address Overcrowding Issues
Eileen asked these questions:
What portion of the bonding authority did they want to use for a new structure?
What would an architect determine could be built with that amount?
What portion would be used for remodeling in the other buildings?
Do you want to invest in air conditioning?
Mrs. Johnson said that in order to sell the bond issue, there has to be something in it for everyone. The questions above are the types of decisions we have to get our arms around. What are the thoughts of the board? What do they want to see? Do you want just a set of classrooms built? She advised for 13 million dollars which is our top bonding, you are not going to get a huge school, especially with the remodeling needs.
Trustee Greg Bochy asked what type of remodeling would help the older buildings.
Eileen advised in the estimates they had received earlier, there are some remodeling costs included. She will get that information sheet for the trustees. She said it is very important to get the counselor’s office out of the hallway.
Teresa said maybe we need a one year plan, a five year plan, and a ten year plan. We have overcrowding now, shouldn’t we be more proactive.
Tim said he thinks we have already done the one year plan with the added classroom space. He thinks the five-year plan is to build a middle school.
Mr. Sather said, “How many kindergarteners and first graders are there now? Is that more than current eighth graders? Eileen answered, “Yes.” Mr. Sather said, “There is your plan.”
Teresa said we need a 20-year plan to be proactive.
Eileen said a 20-year plan is visioning. You cannot make a decision on what a board is going to do even five years from now. Mrs. Johnson said building a structure that can be easily added to would be vital. That can be part of the visioning. Eileen said many of the problems we have are due to funding issues.
Conrad Stroebe asked, “How many kids do you want to put on this campus?”
Tim said he thinks it is more important to deal with the students we have now.
Holly Sather asked how much additional square footage is needed.
Eileen said about 72,000 square feet which would include a small gym and multipurpose room.
Conrad asked how many students the building would serve.
Eileen advised that it would be for 450 students.
Someone asked what would be done to the existing buildings. Eileen responded that many things would be moved around, and they would take people out of entryways, etc.
Conrad asked again, “How many students do you want on this campus?
Eileen said we have ten acres, and she hadn’t thought of an exact number.
Teresa commented that making the older buildings safer would be a good selling point to the public.
Eileen said that at the point the board decides what they want to do then they bring in the architect.
Tim Trafford commented: “It is how you manage the classrooms and the students that is relevant, not how many students are on a campus.”
Teresa asked about the maximum number of students allowable on the current school campus.
Eileen said we would not be adding more than a couple hundred students here on campus.
Teresa said many years ago state land had been designated for schools in the original planning for communities.
Greg said we don’t have the capacity to deal with anything like that.
Teresa said she thought they did and that state lands shouldn’t have been given away.
Eileen asked, “You are not now considering selling or buying land, are you?”
Teresa said we should be aware of the way things should be.
Eileen asked, “What is the next step I can take?”
Teresa said that she could bring in professionals, but be sure we are not tied to them.
Eileen said you could get five or six architects to provide conceptual designs, but first you need to tell them what you want.
Sue Vinton said, “Give them a budget range. We’ve been talking about a middle school plan for quite awhile and I don’t see any disagreement here. We need to move forward.”
Eileen advised that maybe plans should be developed, trustees can review them, and then you could decide what pieces we can afford.
Holly Sather said she thought it would be important to get teachers’ input.
Eileen said she had gotten input; everyone on campus had filled out information.
Gayle Walker arrived at the meeting at 7:13 p.m.
Eileen suggested having several architects come in and present plans.
Thomas Jones said he agrees with Tim that a five-year plan is a middle school, and that a twenty-year plan can be somewhat addressed by an expandable building.
Teresa said she believes the state should take care of the bonding. She wondered what would happen if funding changed in that manner.
Tim said he doesn’t believe that the state would leave school districts that have moved forward with building projects hanging, if they change the funding structure for bonding. He said, “We shouldn’t be afraid.”
Tim Sather mentioned the additional costs of putting a school in a different location. He said the costs would be higher because of additional administrative, maintenance, and cafeteria staff, etc.
Teresa said if we could provide a community library, that would give everybody something.
Mr. Sather asked how much has population gone up.
Eileen said about nine percent.
Conrad said the Steering Committee population projections indicated that the population in Lockwood could go to 20,000, if a sewer system was installed.
Holly Sather said making the new building expandable to accommodate growth was a very good idea.
Eileen suggested contacting some major architects who have worked on school projects. They could provide some plans and costs. She said it is possible that all we can afford right now is a structure with ten or fifteen classrooms. Supt. Johnson commented that the architects would just provide general ideas at this point at no charge. At the point of hire, they would begin charging for their services.
Eileen said that the middle school would almost have to be an entity onto itself. It would need a cafeteria and gymnasium. A structure with ten or fifteen classrooms could be built closer to the other buildings, and it would not need those separate items.
Teresa asked about the model CTA came up with about ten years ago. Eileen said it was only a sketch. We had no detail blueprints. She advised they would be better off to start all over at this point.
Teresa said it would be good for board members to go look at other schools.
Eileen said usually after the bond has passed you work with the architects for about a year or so to finalize the design and visit other schools. She said maybe they could look at Laurel Schools. Teresa suggested Orchard School.
Sue said she wants a concrete idea of what we would put out for the election.
Greg said maybe we need to build our sales plan. We need to get it going.
Tim also commented that they need to start the momentum going.
Eileen asked the trustees whether they planned to have the bond election in June or November. She advised that time is of the essence.
Tim Trafford said we could use the architectural sketches when we are asking for the bond.
Eileen said in the final planning phase you involve staff and community.
Sue said the time is getting short for doing a bond. We need to let people know this is why we are asking them to reach into their pockets.
Tim Trafford said we may need to take on some of this burden.
Teresa commented we need to put all the facts in one document. She suggested a background document stating all the facts to present to people. If someone objects, they can object specifically.
Eileen said she could develop a condensed document with the facts.
There was some discussion about a bond attorney. Eileen advised the very formal wording for the bond ballot needs to be drafted by a bond attorney.
Tim and Sue both said that a unified concept is needed.
Tim asked if they plan to discuss common concepts at the next meeting.
The superintendent asked if the trustees were ready to make a motion.
Tim Trafford moved to go forward with the bonding process with a bond attorney. Greg seconded the motion.
Thomas said that is a good start.
Sue Vinton suggested getting three to five architecture firms, providing them with the information from all previous board and community meetings, and asking if they would like to make a proposal.
Tim Trafford amended his motion as follows: Tim moved that the Board of Trustees proceed with involving a bond attorney to draft the bond language and with soliciting for architects.
Greg Bochy seconded the amendment.
Chair Teresa Stroebe requested two separate motions.
Eileen said she will put together the informational document.
Greg Bochy, Gayle Walker, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, and Tim Trafford voted yes. Teresa Stroebe voted no. The motion passed five to one.
Thomas asked about developing concepts. He suggested something he called the Denver Airport model. The main structure is centralized then there are wings off of it. Additional wings can be added at any time and built on to the central structure.
Eileen advised that the renovations would come after the move into the new structure.
Sue said the architects’ ideas for renovation need to be included.
Greg said, “I think we are going down the right path.”
Gayle expressed concern about the necessity of renovating the old gym. She said it needs to be included in the plan, and it will take quite a bit of money.
Teresa talked about flood plains and ground settling problems. We need to remember that there are areas in Lockwood that have some problems.
Eileen said the work that was done this summer will help the little gym situation. Drainage and run off control has stopped erosion and settling.
Greg said it his understanding that it is adequate for current uses.
Art said certain types of stabilizing can now be done to minimize expansive conditions.
Eileen suggested two nights of meetings with the architects in early March.
Teresa asked people to articulate their vision of a new space and their ideas.
Tim expressed these ideas: Smaller class sizes, bigger classrooms, wide hallways, better teacher ratios, alleviate crowding. The new space should be “green.” Maybe we don’t have to trade square footage for the environment. The community, teachers, and students, if possible, should be involved in the process.
Denise McGough advised that showing pictures of the crowded situations to the community may help them to become involved. She suggested pictures of Title 1Tutors in the hallways, paraprofessionals in aides’ station and hallways. She thought a bulletin board showing plans and progress might be helpful.
Denise said she sees a middle school with a stage for band, wide hallways and all the needed classrooms.
Bonnie Chatriand said she would like a community multipurpose room, auditorium and stage. She felt involving the community was important. Bonnie suggested showing pictures and video with sound of the four classes in one room, the noise in the compass lab, and the middle school kids that have to have classes in the intermediate building.
Art Anderson advised that he has been trying to collect the ideas and determine the direction. He said space issues and classrooms are priority; maybe an auditorium may have to come later. He mentioned having backpack storage and address safety issues. Art said many areas are being utilized in ways for which they were never intended.
Primary Principal Mike Bowman said he believes early intervention is very important. He felt building new space that is expandable and remodeling the existing aging facility are both very important. His vision included full-time kindergarten and implementing other early education strategies. Lockwood School has one of the greatest reputations of any school district in the state; we need to continue that on and do things right.
Tim Sather said he sees it as its own facility; one that stands alone and is expandable.
Holly Sather commented that getting the most bang for the buck and doing what’s best for the kids is most important. She liked the idea of a having an auditorium that could be used by the community. Holly said safety, space, an environment that is good for kids, soccer fields and baseball fields are part of her vision.
Conrad Stroebe advised that connecting as many kids and as many families to the education process as possible is important. He distributed handouts with different ways to make the connection. Conrad said one of the real advantages to smaller learning situations is that it gets people involved. He said to keep building on the connected community.
Chairperson Stroebe asked if everyone had had an opportunity to speak. There was no more input from those present.
Tim Trafford moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:10 p.m. Thomas Jones seconded the motion. Thomas Jones, Greg Bochy, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Gayle Walker and Tim Trafford voted yes. The motion passed six to zero.
Teresa Stroebe, Chairperson Diane M. Brook, District Clerk