CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Stroebe opened the regular meeting, called it to order at 7:00 p.m., and led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The following trustees and officers were present: Trustees: Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Greg Bochy, Sue Vinton and Superintendent Eileen Johnson and District Clerk Diane Brook. Barbara Forrester Frank was absent.
Staff members present were: Art Anderson, Mike Bowman, Dave DeBoer, Mike Sullivan, Johanna Freivalds, Pam Richau, and Judy Guenther.
Registered guests present were: Luella Brien (Billings Gazette), Evelyn Pyburn (Yellowstone County News), Scott Chartier (Hi-Tech Construction), Peter Freivalds, Pam Malek (Exxon Mobil), Tim Sather, Holly Sather, Jason Hamrick, Keith Campbell (ACE, Engineering), Terry Sukut and Bob Cummings from JGA.
Mrs. Stroebe welcomed visitors and advised the following:
If you wish to speak to the Board of Trustees at this meeting about agenda items, please complete a form and give it to the Board Chair or the clerk.
Any person present, who wishes to do so at this point in the agenda, may address the board or raise any question about public school district matters or governing policies. No discussion of personnel or individual students is permitted at this time. A limit of three minutes is placed on each speaker. Persons who want more time may make arrangements to be placed on a future agenda.
The cake this evening is to celebrate the 109th birthday of the district. March 10, 1898 is the official date of the establishment of the district.
PUBLIC WRITTEN REQUEST TO BE PLACED ON THIS AGENDA
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.
Thomas Jones moved to approve the minutes of the February 13, 2007, Regular Board Meeting, and the bills as presented. Sue Vinton seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Greg Bochy, and Becky Malenowsky voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
Chair Stroebe advised that two additional letters were received after the agendas had been mailed.
Chair Stroebe read aloud the letter of resignation from Katy Gasper. Eileen said no action is necessary because the resignation is effective at the end of her contract year. The board wished Katy well.
Teresa read aloud a letter of thanks from Pam Richau and other teachers regarding their attendance at a technology conference.
Trustee Trafford told Pam and the teachers that they are leading us in technology. Pam said the technology levy allowed for them to attend. They will share what they learned with other teachers at after-school in-services.
A. Letter from First Student Explaining Company Changes
Attached to the agenda was a letter from First Student explaining some upcoming business changes with the company. Supt. Johnson also included a press announcement from a Google search. First Group is the parent company of First Student. First Group is purchasing Laidlaw, another large transportation corporation.
Eileen said they do not foresee any changes in services for Lockwood School due to this change in the company.
EDUCATION AND BUSINESS
Tim asked to re-arrange the education and business items and allow Item C. to be first. All trustees agree to the change.
A. Contract with JGA for Construction Services
The contract with JGA was included in the agenda packets. Supt. Johnson advised: This 36-page document represents many hours with the Director of Facilities, Superintendent, our attorney, and the architect. It has gone through so many revisions and lots of negotiations. Art Anderson and Attorney Martin spent numerous half days to finalize this. On Friday, February 23, 2007, Mr. Sukut and I reviewed it one more time and have tentatively agreed to its contents. This is too much of an investment in district funds to have my unilateral approval. It does have my recommendation and will have my signature upon your approval. Terry Sukut, AIA, was present to answer any questions and provide the latest plans for the project.
Tim Trafford moved to accept the contract as presented. Sue Vinton seconded the motion. Chair Stroebe asked if there was discussion or questions.
Sue Vinton asked about the project parameters on Page 4 of the contract, which included the remodel of space for the nurse’s office. Sue wanted to know if this is the only renovation to the existing building. Eileen answered that there will also be fire system upgrades and of course, the HVAC system remodel. She advised that there is no money in the bond for other renovation. Trustee Vinton asked JGA and Hi-Tech how do they feel about the dates. Terry said it is a very full schedule; it is our goal to meet the deadlines. Sue mentioned that she didn’t see any penalties for not completing on schedule in the JGA contract.
Chair Stroebe advised that JGA has signed the contract and it is awaiting board approval.
Sue asked about builder’s risk insurance; she asked if that is the district’s responsibility.
Scott Chartier from Hi Tech said he has built that into the budget and he will discuss it later. He advised that it is usually the school’s responsibility.
Eileen advised that JGA is insured for $2,000,000. She said we will advise our carrier and pay the additional premium.
Chair Stroebe called for the question. Teresa Stroebe, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Greg Bochy, and Becky Malenowsky voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
Terry reported that soil borings, utility lines location, survey information, and establishing new floor elevation due to slope were started or would be done very soon.
JGA presented a three dimensional image of the new building with sloped roofs and shingles and the grounds.
It was reported that the new bus pick-up and drop-off was implemented and is working
very well. There have been few problems and mostly positive comments. They want to use the new way until the end of this year.
There was discussion about the existing parking lots and changes that may be needed. Mr. Sukut advised that he asked the surveyors to study and count all parking available on the campus. This will be an item for future discussion.
The next item discussed was how we are going to phase the existing building HVAC project and costs.
Scott Chartier from Hi-Tech Construction has made some interpretations and created a cost model.
The original schedule for the HVAC renovation was to begin this summer. They have talked to the three major mechanical contractors in town about the project. They would need to order equipment within the next two weeks; they felt the time frame was too tight to begin the work this summer. Some of them may not even bid on it with that type of schedule. The project would also have to be split into sections in order to begin this summer. This could cause different bidders and different equipment for different sections of the project.
Scott said that they feel it would be better to get the entire HVAC design done and put it out for bid as a complete package in September-November 2007. This would be more cost effective and we would get like equipment in all buildings. Putting out the request for equipment in one large package at a less busy time should save money.
Mr. Chartier distributed a project schedule and everyone present reviewed it.
Keith Campbell from Ace Engineering advised that he agreed with this new schedule. He said, “It makes the best sense.”
The trustees asked Facilities Director Art Anderson for his opinion. He said with every-thing considered, he agrees that the schedule advised by Hi-Tech makes the best sense.
Scott Chartier reviewed his project cost estimates with the board. He mentioned the costs for leveling the site, noting that quite a bit of fill dirt will be needed at a cost of approximately $240,000.
Scott believes that the project should be designed with the gymnasium as a deduct alternate. He advised that the time to look at any kind of savings or area that can be pulled out is while we are designing it, not in value engineering after the bidding occurs. He requested approval from the board to show the gymnasium as an alternate on the bid.
Superintendent Johnson advised that the trustees can direct her and Art to work with Hi-Tech and JGA to do what is best for the district.
Trustee Becky Malenowsky said she thinks it is wise to be prepared.
Trustee Trafford said he is opposed to eliminating the gym. He asked Middle School Principal Mike Sullivan about it. Mike said he would really like to keep the gym. He wants a stand-alone middle school.
It was noted that even if the gym was allowed as a deduct option in the bidding process, the final decision would come back to the Board of Trustees as to what might need to be cut.
It was advised that the middle school will go to bid in August; the HVAC renovation in September or October.
Mike Bowman asked if a rectangular box design would be less expensive than a design with multiple roof slopes, etc. There was a brief discussion of using this type of a design to save money, as it still provides all the classroom space needed.
Scott said people have come to expect more than the old type of designs.
Keith Campbell advised that not air conditioning the gymnasiums is definitely a savings.
Terry said they are early in the process, and they have a lot of refinement to do.
Keith said it is very positive to have a proactive rather reactive approach.
There was a discussion of being true to our voters and providing what they perceived they would be getting for a middle school and renovation.
Chair Stroebe paused the meeting for refreshments.
A. Resolution Calling for a School Election in May
Superintendent Johnson advised the following: Attached is a resolution calling for a school election on May 8, 2007. There are three trustee positions to be filled on the Board. Under the present formula for school funding there is no opportunity for the district to make a general fund levy request. However if that changes in the legislature, it may be possible. For example, if full time kindergarten passes that could boost our maximum budget and allow for a levy request, since the budget is determined by ANB. A resolution at this time to put this on the ballot will clear the way to make a final decision
later in April. This funding is for the general operation of the district for one year. It covers salaries, insurance, supplies, maintenance and other operating costs. The Trustees should discuss and decide whether to put this on the ballot.
Eileen advised that we have to call for the election even though we do not know what our funding may be, due to election timelines that are required by Montana law.
Teresa asked for figures as to what kindergarten may cost. Eileen distributed a sheet with cost information.
Tim Trafford moved to adopt the election resolution as presented. Becky Malenowsky seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Greg Bochy, and Becky Malenowsky voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
B. Offer Full Time Kindergarten if Funded by the Legislature
Superintendent Johnson advised the following: If the legislature currently in session votes to fund full time kindergarten, I am recommending that the district offer such during the 2007-2008 school year. It will be vital in the state to get in on the first wave of hiring staff. Also, the children who are eligible for this should be accommodated however difficult it may be for space. The staff has been working on a plan that may include such changes as use of the locker rooms as classrooms, primary and intermediate counselor changes, rearrange classrooms, different use of aide stations, etc. A final plan will follow before school is out. Other considerations are being studied. Your suggestions are welcome for this one-year plan.
Tim Trafford moved, contingent upon legislative funding, to direct administration to provide all-day every day kindergarten starting with 2007-08 school year. Greg Bochy seconded the motion.
There was discussion about the schools that are already providing all-day every day kindergarten.
Eileen said philosophically she and the staff support an all-day program. They feel Montana is behind other states.
Trustee Thomas Jones said he is not a big fan of all day kindergarten. He had talked to some professionals who noted the potential for burnout among young students.
Greg Bochy said he would much rather have children here at school instead of in day care. He said, “If we can give them a jump start on education, we should.”
Tim said that he is a proponent of all-day every day kindergarten because of the passion
in Primary Principal Mike Bowman’s eyes when he talks about it. If Mr. Bowman, who is the expert, thinks it is educationally sound, then Tim agrees.
Mr. Bowman advised that approximately 70% of children in kindergarten are in full day kindergarten. He said the continuity and consistency in providing the building blocks are very important.
There was a brief discussion of the space issues for next year.
Tim said that in all discussions about space, all-day every day kindergarten had been considered.
Trustee Vinton asked if it is possible to offer a choice; to keep one kindergarten class as a half-day every day. She knows that not all parents agree that all day kindergarten is best for their child.
Eileen said they could make it happen, but she doesn’t agree with it. Eileen advised that during kindergarten roundup the first week in May, we could survey parents.
Mrs. Johnson commented that staffing is very important, and we will have tremendous competition for teachers.
Greg Bochy, Sue Vinton, Tim Trafford, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; Becky Malenowsky and Thomas Jones voted no. The motion passed four to two.
A. Hire Track Coaches
Mrs. Johnson recommended for track coaching positions for the 2006-2007 spring season: Wesley Caldwell, Andrea Hofmann and Amy Muir.
Thomas Jones moved to hire the above-mentioned people as track coaches for the 2006-2007 spring season. Tim Trafford seconded the motion. (He noted they are existing employees and as such had been fingerprint background checked.)
Teresa Stroebe, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Becky Malenowsky and Greg Bochy voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
B. Hire Substitutes
Sue Vinton moved to hire James Beal, Joey Henry, Ursula Thomason, and Jonathan Waterfall as substitute teachers per the list attached to the agenda. Becky Malenowsky
seconded the motion. Tim Trafford asked if these people had been fingerprint back-ground checked. Eileen Johnson answered affirmatively.
Teresa Stroebe, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Becky Malenowsky and Greg Bochy voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
A. Revise Policy No. 5140 – First Reading
Superintendent Johnson recommended a change in Policy No. 5140. The change would add a statement about the health insurance benefit not being offered to classified staff until successful completion of the 90-day probationary period. Currently we offer insurance immediately upon employment. This has caused some difficulties when the person leaves prior to the end of probation.
Eileen distributed the handout that answered some questions asked by a trustee.
Tim said that [successful completion of a 90-day probationary period prior to receiving insurance] is the current market according to the human resource director at their company. He said that benefits are a retention tool.
Intermediate Principal Dave DeBoer mentioned that hiring paraprofessionals can be difficult and he is concerned implementing this policy could be another road block.
It was noted that this is first reading for the policy change; there will be two more readings before the change becomes final policy.
Tim Trafford moved to adopt Policy No. 5140 as amended on first reading. Sue Vinton seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Becky Malenowsky and Greg Bochy voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
REPORTS AND MISCELLANEOUS
Curriculum Director Don Christman was not present. His report was attached to the agenda for board review.
Technology Director Pam Richau had nothing to add to her report.
Athletic Director Keith Tresch provided a report that was attached to the agenda for review.
Facilities Director Art Anderson distributed his report at the meeting. Teresa thanked Art for all the hours he put in on the JGA contract.
Sue Vinton asked about the hot water problem. Art said it is a very “overdone” complicated system. He believes the boiler has enough capacity to eliminate the two expensive tanks and change some piping configuration. He thinks it was a “pitiful” design, and they will be able to correct it.
Primary Principal Mike Bowman provided a copy of the tentative K-5 Handbook. He said approval of the revised handbook will be on the April Board Meeting agenda.
He noted these changes:
Page 7: Clarification of school ending time
Page 8: Recommended wording due to a safety situation that occurred this year.
Page 27: Strikeout correction.
Intermediate Principal Dave DeBoer had nothing to add to his report. He distributed pictures of two student teachers who are in the Intermediate School.
Middle School Principal Mike Sullivan advised that Middle School Librarian Johanna Freivalds was just awarded the Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Award from the Montana Library Association. He distributed a copy of the letter advising of this award and the awards luncheon to be held on April 27, 2007, to honor this year’s recipients.
Mr. Sullivan thanked Eileen and Don Christman for assisting with testing students in a one on one situation.
Eileen advised that Mike Sullivan will be a presenter about MBI at a National Conference at the Crown Plaza in Billings.
Eileen congratulated Teresa Stroebe on her article in the MTSBA Newsletter.
Eileen advised that there will be a reduction in services from the Yellowstone East Special Education Co-operative next year. She said they will try to make the reductions across the board by taking a little out of each area.
She advised that it is a possibility that Lockwood may need to pull out of the special services co-op in the future, and provide the services ourselves. We will be working on the figures over the next year. We would have to give appropriate notice to the special services co-operative. She said we will need to have hard figures before she would be ready to make such a recommendation.
OLD BUSINESS OR FOLLOW UP INFORMATION
Tim Trafford reported that he attended the recent Yellowstone County Commissioner’s meeting where the easement was discussed. The county and state currently have an easement through the school district’s parking lot. It will require that the county grants an easement to the state. He said we were promised that this would be solved in about two weeks, and that we could proceed with the building plans that affect the parking lot. Tim commented that there was no disagreement on anyone’s part.
Evelyn Pyburn advised that next Monday the “Getting Started Clinic” for the Women’s Run will be held at Lockwood School. It will be every Monday at 5:30 p.m.
Greg Bochy and Teresa Stroebe plan to attend the Day of Advocacy on March 19 in Helena.
The next Regular Board Meeting will be held Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
Tim Trafford moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:02 p.m. Thomas Jones seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Sue Vinton, Greg Bochy, Becky Malenowsky, Tim Trafford, and Thomas Jones voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.
Teresa Stroebe, Chairperson Diane M. Brook, District Clerk