CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Vinton opened the regular meeting, called it to order at 7:02 p.m., and led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The following trustees and officers were present: Trustees Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Greg Bochy, Peter Freivalds and Sue Vinton, Superintendent Eileen Johnson and District Clerk Diane Brook. Teresa Stroebe and Becky Malenowsky were absent.
Staff members present were: Mike Bowman, Dave DeBoer, Mike Sullivan, Don Christman, Art Anderson, Pam Richau, Tina Muller, Becky Conner, and Johanna Freivalds.
Registered guests present were: Zach Benoit (Billings Gazette), Evelyn Pyburn (Yellowstone County News), Pam Malek (Exxon Mobil), Scott Chartier, High Tech Construction, and Terry Sukut, AIA, JGA Architects, Bob Cummings, JGA Architects, Richard Begger, Western States Insurance and Shawn Bubb, Montana Schools Insurance Group of MTSBA.
Mrs. Vinton 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.
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.
Greg Bochy moved to approve the minutes of the May 8, 2007 regular meeting, the special meetings held on May 31, 2007, and June 5, 2007, and the bills as presented. Tim Sather seconded the motion.
Chair Vinton asked that from now on the clerk include a time insertion when it is noted that a trustee arrives late to a meeting. Greg Bochy, Sue Vinton, Jason Hamrick, Peter Freivalds, and Tim Sather voted yes; the motion passed five to zero.
A. Request for Leave of Absence
Superintendent Johnson recommended approval of the extended leave of absence as noted in the letter from Linda Ruegsegger.
Greg Bochy read aloud the letter from Linda Ruegsegger, a copy of which was attached to the agenda.
Tim Sather moved to approve Linda Ruegsegger’s request for an extended leave of absence. Greg Bochy seconded the motion.
Supt. Johnson noted that they had hired a special education teacher for one-half year, and she will be available for the second half of the year if needed. Greg Bochy, Sue Vinton, Jason Hamrick, Peter Freivalds, and Tim Sather voted yes; the motion passed five to zero.
B. Letters of Resignation from Jennifer Howe, Amanda Wambolt, and Lindsay Sedlacek
Jason Hamrick moved to accept the letters of resignation from Jennifer Howe, Amanda Wambolt, and Lindsay Sedlacek as presented. Peter Freivalds seconded the motion. Greg Bochy, Sue Vinton, Jason Hamrick, Peter Freivalds, and Tim Sather voted aye; the motion passed five to zero.
C. Letter of Grant Approval for Library Books
This was a Lewis and Clark Grant from Yellowstone County. Tim Sather read aloud the letter. The trustees expressed their appreciation to Johanna Freivalds for her efforts in securing this grant for Lockwood Schools.
Middle School Principal Mike Sullivan provided copies of a letter advising that the Lockwood Middle School was awarded the “MBI Exemplar School” award.
EDUCATION AND BUSINESS
A. Building Project Update
Representatives from the JGA architectural firm and High Tech Construction were present to provide project updates. Terry Sukut of JGA distributed a complete Design Development Submittal of the new middle school. He noted that it is a summation of all of the work to date as well as a timeline.
Terry said they are working on the second bid-pack, which is for the building foundations. It is due to go out June 18, 2007. They are working to get all the building documents complete by the middle of August.
It was noted that a small delegation will go to Laurel tomorrow to look at their unit ventilators, which are like what we will have. They will also tour the building to look at the colored concrete floors, etc., to help with our decisions. All present were reminded that there are construction team meetings each Thursday afternoon.
Eileen asked whether or not an extra outside door for the FACS room would be needed. Terry said that it will not be necessary to have an extra door.
Chair Vinton asked for a “walk-through” of the timeline. Scott Chartier reviewed it with those present. He advised all paperwork aspects of getting started have been completed. They have determined that the construction of Bid Pack 1 may be done sooner than the 75 days estimated.
They are working to get the construction, the sequencing, and the budget in line for Bid Pack 2. They are looking at using some milled product from the parking lot for the fire road. They are trying to find a cost effective way to meet the challenges from the soils report. It was noted that they are scheduled to commence work in mid-July on Bid Pack 2.
Bid Pack 3 is the actual middle school building. The schedule will be updated before the construction meetings, and the board will be updated monthly or more often if they choose.
Bid Pack 4 will be put out after the middle school pack is put out. Inflationary factors are having an impact; so as we get to the point of putting the middle school out to bid, there may have to be some alternate choices bid. It is possible that we may have to balance the final bid pack with how much was spent with earlier construction and where they are in the overall budget.
Sue asked if Bid Pack 2 is waiting for drawings from JGA. Scott said the drawings need to be finished and issues need to be resolved regarding the soils, etc. Eileen asked if Engineering Inc. would be at the Thursday meeting with some drawings. Terry said he hopes they will have the necessary information.
Trustees discussed room dimensions, the stairway, and timeline for public bid opening and adoption of Amendment No. 2.
Sue expressed their concern about the timeline. She said when deadlines get pushed out over and over again with no change in the end-date, it compresses everything.
The presentation ended at 7:39 p.m. and the representatives from JGA and High Tech left the meeting.
B. Property and Liability Insurance Proposals
Richard Begger from Western States and Shawn Bubb from Montana School Boards Insurance Division made presentations about their offers of property and liability insurance for the district for 2007-08.
Eileen said as a district we are required to have insurance and it is a big budget item for us every year. Liability protects trustees, employees and all the buildings, etc. Supt. Johnson introduced Richard and Shawn. She disclosed that she sits on the Board of Directors for the Montana School Insurance Group that Shawn represents. The Board did oversee his proposal of insurance to schools.
Eileen advised that a decision has to be made tonight as the renewal is effective July 1, 2007.
She commented that Western States has been our carrier for a number of years. Montana Schools Group Insurance Authority of MTSBA is establishing a new program. Eileen advised that each insurance representative would provide the trustees with their sales promotion and insurance coverage information. It was also noted that each had provided information with the agenda.
Richard Begger provided information about Western States insurance coverage that would be provided and historical data.
Eileen advised that the premium was $48,244 for 2006-07. The Western States premium for 2007-08 would be $38,595. She asked how stable the premium was going to be in the future.
Mr. Begger responded that it is based on the group and volume and what is going on in the market place. Currently it is stable. He advised the best he could say is that the future looks favorable, but a terrible hurricane season could cause increases in premiums in the re-insurance market.
Sue asked how long the large claim we had would be in our history. Mr. Begger said five years is a long-term window. He also noted that the “course of construction” is covered there at no additional premium.
Eileen advised that the McCracken case is still open. If the judge rules in our favor and returns the attorneys fees back to insurance, will that help us. Richard said yes; it would lower our loss experience.
Shawn Bubb, Director of Insurance Services, provided information about the coverage MSGIA was offering the district. He noted there is a local agent option within their packet, and Richard could be retained in that capacity if we so chose. Shawn provided some history about the development of their new program. He talked about being self-insured and MSGIA. Shawn said good and fair competition is favorable. Their goals were to meet all the core business needs of a school district, be competitive, and offer stable pricing on a long-term basis. Mr. Bubb advised that structure and re-insurance are both very important. He said their re-insurance partners are very good companies and he feels very good about the structure of his program. They have a strong focus on providing tools to mitigate future losses. Within their program, annual training for the board and administrative team would be provided, and some insurance for student injuries would be provided.
Trustee Peter Freivalds asked about the premiums for the MSGIA Program. Shawn responded that the premiums would be $48,547; premiums with an insurance agent are an additional ten percent, $53,402.
Peter moved to accept the proposal from Western States to provide Property and Casualty and Errors and Omissions Insurance for 2007-08. Jason Hamrick seconded the motion.
Trustee Bochy said he likes the history with Western States, but he also likes the confidence and ideas presented in the new program. He suggested tabling it to the end of the meeting, because it is an important decision.
Chair Vinton advised that the competition has been good for our school. She said she didn’t feel it was a coincidence that the premiums proposed by Western States had decreased from the previous year. She said we have Shawn to thank for that. Sue thinks they are both excellent proposals.
Trustee Peter Freivalds said basically with all else being equal, we have a company that we are happy with and their price is $10,000 cheaper than the other guys. He expressed concern about providing student insurance, because it could become extremely difficult to manage. He said the company we have is good, and it is working.
Sue said premium price is very important in the cost conscience times.
Eileen noted that the development of a plan to provide school insurance coverage through MSGIA has been outstanding, and the competition has brought the price down considerably. She hopes Western States will keep that in mind, and she hopes MSGIA will continue to work to provide insurance plans to schools.
Chair Vinton called for the question. Greg Bochy, Sue Vinton, Jason Hamrick., Peter Freivalds, and Tim Sather voted in favor of accepting the proposal provided by Western States; the motion passed five to zero.
C. RFP for a New Telephone System
Supt. Johnson advised that a committee had been working on the issue of a new phone system. Jeff Honcoop from the technology consulting firm of Eide Bailly, has been giving us advice and assistance. The Request for Proposals (RFP) to be advertised was attached to the agenda for the trustees’ review.
The RFP template was the document used by OPI for the AIMS program. Jeff re-worked it to the current form for requesting proposals for a new phone system. The RFP responses will be evaluated with a point-system evaluation instrument devised by Jeff. It is similar to the evaluation system we used in choosing a construction manager for the building project.
Pam Richau, Technology Director, and Jeff Honcoop were present to provide information.
Pam Richau advised that Jeff Honcoop of Eide Bailley had conducted the technology audit. He is a “vendor-neutral” advisor, which has been extremely helpful. Mrs. Richau also noted the schedule for the RFP is very ambitious. The reason they wanted to do this now is so we will not be opening a new middle school in the same year that we install a new phone system.
Eileen advised that the new telephone system is estimated to cost less than $200,000. That includes the new building and the intercom system.
Jeff said moving to voice-over IP would add about $50,000 to the cost. He noted that the RFP is geared toward a high-bred system or a digital system. We want the system user-friendly, and we want it set up so Pam can manage the system internally. We want to avoid maintenance costs each time a change is needed.
Greg asked about system failure. Jeff advised that the RFP requested a battery backup for two hours. We also requested the ability to call every contact within the system, such as putting out a call to parents of every student. The fire alarm system will remain a stand-alone analog line.
Peter asked how many providers are there in this area. Jeff said we will probably get at least eight respondents to the RFP. He said this is an exhaustive process that will weed out those not serious. Jeff also noted the specified lifetime is15 years.
Interviews and product demonstrations will be on July 9, 2007. It will be narrowed to those vendors with high scores. The evaluation instrument defines relative valuations of each area and provides an objective scoring situation. The RFP asked that the technician and the sales personnel be present for product demonstrations.
A trustee asked about the cabling going to the new building. Pam said they have attended meetings with the architects and the construction manager regarding this issue. Art said we will have adequate capacity to run whatever is needed for the telephone system.
Peter asked who was on the committee for the final decision. Eileen said the committee will be comprised of some or all of these people: Jeff Honcoop, Pam Richau, Eileen Johnson, Mike Sullivan, Mike Bowman, Dave DeBoer, Diane Brook, and Debbie Strizich. Jeff said the more people involved the more objective the decision will be. He also advised they are trying to give complete transparency into the process.
Peter Freivalds moved to accept the RFP for a new telephone system per the document provided in the attachment to the agenda. Greg Bochy seconded the motion. Greg Bochy, Sue Vinton, Jason Hamrick, Peter Freivalds, and Tim Sather voted yes; the motion passed five to zero.
There was a request to move to re-arrange the agenda and go to Item G. next. No one objected to the change.
G. Curriculum Approval for Instructional Technology, Computer Applications, and Science
Superintendent Johnson recommended approval and adoption of the above-mentioned curriculums. Mr. Christman was available to answer questions. The curriculums were distributed to trustees last month.
Curriculum Director Don Christman distributed the Compass Odyssey Testing Results 2006-07, which is the district assessment, to the board. He noted that K-8 had positive gains in every area. He said the teachers now design an assessment based on what they teach; this is recommended by the state and No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
Eileen advised that the $100,000 Compass Odyssey Program was purchased in 2005 with a budget amendment funded by reserves. Pam Richau commended the staff for being positive and working so hard to apply this system to our district.
There was discussion of how teachers can review a student’s progress by looking in their individual files, which are called backpacks in the Odyssey system. They can determine whether or not a student was guessing at the answers, and whether they may need to spend more time on a particular skill.
Greg Bochy moved to approve the Instruction Technology Curriculum, the Computer Applications Curriculum and the Science Curriculum as presented and provided previously. Peter Freivalds seconded the motion.
Peter Freivalds asked if the computer and science curriculums are written to fall in line with national standards. Don Christman responded yes.
Peter asked if the computer curriculum includes keyboarding. Pam said she believes students start keyboarding in Grades 4 and 5. They have reinforcement in Grades 6, 7, and 8.
Tim Sather asked if there is information about spam and viruses. Don said it is taught in the lab with I-safe and it is reviewed with each new class each semester. It is very thorough.
Pam said I-Safe will be taught in health classes. I-Safe also covers Internet predators, etc. She would like to share that program with the board sometime in the future. Pam said they are looking into getting a new filter that will block proxies, also.
Greg Bochy, Sue Vinton, Jason Hamrick, Peter Freivalds, and Tim Sather voted aye; the motion passed five to zero.
D. Community Education/Facilities Rental Report
Becky Conner, Community Education Coordinator, was present to give her annual report, a copy of which was attached to the agenda. She said our goal is to use the school as a community center. She, Art, and Eileen are going to look at paring down the use of Sturdevant Gym next year.
Eileen said Becky does a super job, and she works well with people.
Sue Vinton said Becky truly is a liaison to the community.
E. Family Resource Center Report
Family Resource Center Coordinator Tina Muller was present to give her annual report, a copy of which was attached to the agenda. She noted that the Family Resource Center averaged contacts by 352.6 people per month. The center provides resources for parents, and they try to do a program at every grade level and tot time. The also conduct programs for enhancing reading and math skills. It is their goal to get parents involved early and have them embrace the school.
As a cost savings measure, next year the newsletter will be e-mailed to parents. Hard copies will go to those who request them because they do not have a computer.
F. Bus Routes for 2007-2008
Bus routes for next school year were presented for approval. It was noted that all routes will be published in the Back-to-School Newsletter, which is sent out in August. These routes will also be posted on our website.
Eileen advised that there were no big changes from last year; a couple of new pickups were added. Mileage will remain the same for the routes.
Greg Bochy moved to approve the bus routes as stated in the agenda packet. Tim Sather seconded the motion. Greg Bochy, Sue Vinton, Jason Hamrick., Peter Freivalds, and Tim Sather vote affirmatively; the motion passed five to zero.
Athletic Director: Mrs. Johnson recommended hiring Keith Tresch as Athletic Director for the 2007-08 school year.
Summer maintenance and custodial workers: Supt. Johnson recommended the following people who have taken and passed the pre-employment physical test.
Kerry Pantoja (added after the agenda packet was mailed)
Tim Sather made a motion to re-hire Keith Tresch as Athletic Director and to hire the above-mentioned people as summer maintenance and custodial workers. Peter Freivalds seconded the motion.
Eileen advised that all of the summer custodial and maintenance workers are employed by the district during the school year in other capacities.
Greg Bochy, Sue Vinton, Jason Hamrick, Peter Freivalds, and Tim Sather voted aye; the motion passed five to zero.
REPORTS AND MISCELLANEOUS
A. Summer Maintenance Work
Facilities Manager Art Anderson advised that the list of 2007 Summer Work Projects including costs estimates was attached to the agenda. He said it will be a busy and interesting summer.
Sue asked about the fencing mentioned on the list.
Art explained that fencing will need to be done in the following areas:
1) to provide barriers for primary children as they access play areas
2) between the administration building and the bus drop-off area
3) roadway fencing
4) areas to be determined as the building project progresses.
Tim Sather asked about the turf cart. Art said it is a modified golf cart with a box that will dump. It will be much better than using pickup trucks as we do now. The cart will be used to transport between buildings when the new building is built.
Peter Freivalds moved to complete the work per the attached list. Jason Hamrick seconded the motion. Greg Bochy, Sue Vinton, Jason Hamrick, Peter Freivalds, and Tim Sather voted yes; the motion passed five to zero.
B. Library End of the Year Report
Librarian Johanna Freivalds said she provided the report attached to the agenda for board review.
Sue noted the decrease in check-outs and wondered if it was due to technology and the Internet. Johanna responded that she thinks it was lack of time due to testing. She said that technology and reading are very good partners.
Johanna pointed out the average age of our collection. She said when you see a reduction in the age of the collection, it is good stewardship. We want to encourage reading by giving students the very best.
Chair Vinton commented that it was a very thorough report, and she appreciates the information provided.
OLD BUSINESS OR FOLLOW UP INFORMATION
Mike Sullivan advised that the trustees have a copy of the Middle School Handbook. He pointed out the changes and noted they are indicated in red. In July he will ask for input from the trustees and approval of the revised Middle School Handbook.
A. Report on Legal Issue
Eileen advised that we are waiting for Judge Cebull to decide whether or not we will get the attorney fees back from the McCracken case. The judge has no timeline for making this determination.
B. Report on Easement Progress
Eileen advised that last week she sent an e-mail to Jeff Bollman and the County Commissioners. Jeff Bollman said there should be paperwork going to our lawyer soon. Larry Martin has not yet received any paperwork.
C. INTERCAP Loan
Business Manager Diane Brook advised it appears getting a general obligation INTERCAP loan from the Montana Board of Investments is the best and most cost effective option for the district to access the remaining $540,000 in bond authority that will be available July 1, 2007. She will report the progress of the loan application process and bring a resolution for board consideration and approval to a future meeting.
D. Discussion on Electronic Meeting Information.
This issue was tabled until a future meeting.
A. Discussion of a Work Session
Chair Vinton advised that she would like the board to get together as a group and re-focus our goals. She would like to have the work session in August. She thanked Eileen for providing the chain of command, evaluation process, and goals.
The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, July 10, 2007. There may be additional day meetings for bid openings and approvals. Separate notifications will be provided for those.
Greg Bochy moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:20 p.m. Peter Freivalds seconded the motion. Sue Vinton, Greg Bochy, Peter Freivalds, Tim Sather, and Jason Hamrick voted aye. The motion was passed unanimously.
Sue Vinton, Chairperson Diane M. Brook, District Clerk