CALL TO ORDER
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 11, 2006. Chairperson Stroebe called the meeting 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, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Barbara Forrester Frank, Greg Bochy and Tim Trafford, Superintendent Eileen Johnson and District Clerk Diane Brook. Becky Malenowsky was absent.
Staff members present were: Mike Sullivan, Art Anderson, and Bonnie Chatriand.
Registered guests present were: Bob Chatriand, Dan Nelsen, Becky Shay, Holly Sather, Tim Sather, and Don Reed.
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.
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.
Tim Trafford moved to approve the June 13, 2006 regular board meeting minutes, the May 16, 2006, Steering Committee meeting minutes, and the June 27, 2006 Steering Committee meeting minutes as presented and the payment of all bills and wages and extracurricular bills. Thomas Jones seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Barbara Forrester Frank, Greg Bochy, and Tim Trafford voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.
Teresa Stroebe gave thank-you cards for the flowers sent for the funeral service of her mother-in-law.
EDUCATION AND BUSINESS
A. Approval of the Middle School Handbook for 2006-2007
At the June meeting trustees had received the proposed handbook for the Middle School. Mike Sullivan said there were very few changes.
Greg Bochy moved to accept the middle school handbook as presented. Barbara Forrester Frank seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Barbara Forrester Frank, Greg Bochy, and Tim Trafford voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.
B. Recommitment to Eastern Yellowstone Cooperative
The Eastern Yellowstone Special Education Cooperative is requesting that each of the eight schools recommits for the upcoming school year. This would be a motion to recommit to the Coop for the 2006-2007 school year with an appointment of a representative to their board. Supt. Johnson has served as chair of that board for a number of years and she advised she would be happy to continue as your representative to that group.
Tim Trafford moved to recommit to the Eastern Special Education Cooperative and appoint Superintendent Eileen Johnson as representative. Greg Bochy seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Barbara Forrester Frank, Greg Bochy, and Tim Trafford voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
C. New Teacher Evaluation Form
The principals had worked on developing a new form for teacher evaluation. This new form was submitted to LEA for comments. Supt. Johnson recommended board approval of this computerized form.
Barbara Forrester Frank moved to accept the new teacher evaluation form as presented. Thomas Jones seconded the motion.
Tim asked if the form is the same or if it had been revamped. Mike said it has been totally revamped.
Tim suggested assigning a numeric value to categories. Mike Sullivan said he thought it was a much better instrument. Thomas Jones said it is clear and concise.
Teresa Stroebe, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Barbara Forrester Frank, Greg Bochy, and Tim Trafford voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.
D. Set up of Student Council Account and Advisor
Supt. Johnson advised that last year a group of students presented their request for a Student Council in the Middle School, and there was an unofficial organization. She recommended that one be officially established, an account set up in the extracurricular fund, and Charles Harvey be hired as the advisor. This group will run the concession stand for all activities. This will help to fund MBI (Montana Behavior Institute) activities for the Middle School.
Barbara Forrester Frank moved to approve all three above-mentioned recommendations. Tim Trafford seconded the motion. Tim asked if Student Council would involve 6-8 grades. Charles Harvey responded yes.
Mike Sullivan explained that the Student Council will be more MBI based. The leadership team will be selected by the staff. Principal Sullivan noted that Charles advised the Student Council on his own last year without pay.
Tim Trafford asked about the money that had been transferred from the previous Student Council fund when it had been closed. Mike Sullivan responded that it had been deposited in another activity fund; it was only about $100. Mike Sullivan advised that the board will see a transfer from Yearbook into Student Council. They had a money-making activity and the proceeds went into the Yearbook Fund until the Student Council Fund could be re-established.
There was a brief discussion of how concessions proceeds will be shared between Athletics and Student Council. Eileen commented that the advisors will work out the details.
Teresa Stroebe, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Barbara Forrester Frank, Greg Bochy, and Tim Trafford voted affirmatively; the motion passed six to zero.
E. Facilities Report from the Steering Committee
Committee Chairman Bob Chatriand was present to give a report on the progress of the Steering Committee’s work on facilities and the lack of space issue.
Eileen said the Steering Committee was a very committed group, and they have worked very hard. She advised that several committee members were present at tonight’s meeting. The committee met several times and worked for many hours to bring a recommendation to the board within the time constraints of the accelerated timeline.
Facilities Steering Committee Chairman, Bob Chatriand, provided the following report:
I am pleased to be here tonight to report to you the activities and recommendations of this committee since its first meeting on May 16, 2006. Your committee has met a number of times with some sessions lasting 4 to 5 hours. The meetings of late have been longer in consideration of the timeline that must be followed in order to present a bond issue for voter approval this November.
These meetings included the study of historical issues and construction projects here at Lockwood School over the past 50 or so years. Your committee discussed the current needs and what needs there might be for the future. We understand that earlier in this year the Board looked at a 75,000 square foot building and decided against that project. Therefore, you understand a little of what your steering committee has been doing. JGA Architects has provided a wealth of information to the committee and this information has been shared with you through e-mail and with the community at large through the school website.
Your committee also participated in a June 29, 2006 Community Forum to receive input and comment from the public about the needs at Lockwood School.
You should have some handouts that include material from JGA Architects referring to a Scheme 3 proposal along with some bond issue information and worksheet to identify the bond’s impact on your property. Does everyone have this? Your committee poured over Scheme 1 & 2 and did not find that either fit the needs of Lockwood School and did not fit the needs expressed at the Community Forum and so, JGA was asked to provide a Scheme 3.
Your committee, by consensus, makes this recommendation to you, the Lockwood School Board. We recommend a new stand alone 59,000 square foot middle school building; HVAC, building code and safety upgrades for the existing campus buildings, to include some targeted air conditioning areas for a total cost of $13.2 million, the maximum bonding capacity of the Lockwood School District at this time.
Of course, the final decision belongs to you as the Board of Trustees and you can certainly change or modify any part or portion as you see fit. Your committee does not expect you to make any decision tonight. Your committee would remind you that this is a project for the future of Lockwood School for the next 20 years.
You will notice that JGA’s total cost figure is $13,626,000. Your committee believes that this figure can be reduced to the $13.2 million through the targeted HVAC upgrades and also through the competitive bidding process for the project. This bidding cannot occur until next spring pending voter approval of the bond issue this November.
Your committee is willing to form a partnership with you the Board to promote and support this project and get a bond issue passed this November. Like all partnerships we expect you to do your share and you can expect this from the committee. You can also expect this committee to tell you straight away, if they do not think you are doing your part and we expect you to do the same if the committee fails as well in the partnership. The bottom line is that we must all be on the same page and singing the same song with this project. We must know the facts and figures and kindly correct the errors the public might have. We must answer the public’s questions truthfully, honestly and with the facts. This is exciting and we should all be excited about this project. We cannot remain silent, we are not District 2. This is needed and we must all be involved and work together in promoting this project to completion.
Someone spoke at an earlier meeting about the magic at Lockwood School. There is an educational magic here. The creativity and innovation involved in utilizing the current space to accommodate the programs and students here is nothing less than magic. Additional programs and growth in enrollment are overwhelming the creativity and innovation here at Lockwood School. There is simply not enough space and the educational magic at Lockwood School is in real jeopardy.
I worked up the tax impact for my home and it was 23 cents per day. 23 cents! I am willing to spend 23 cents per day to “Preserve the Magic” at Lockwood School for other students, teachers and staff to enjoy and be a part of, are you? Are you willing to “Preserve the Magic?”
Once you make the decision to move this project forward do not hesitate, stand firm and support “Preserving the Magic” for Lockwood kids.
Please give careful consideration to your committee’s recommendations before you make your final decision. Thank you.
Bob noted that all documents received by the committee were available on the website and had been sent to the trustees.
Teresa Stroebe advised those present that copies of the documents mentioned were available on the back shelf for anyone who wanted to review them.
Tim Trafford pointed out that the voice of unity is probably the single most important part of this. Once the Board of Trustees votes; it becomes a unified voice.
Sue Vinton said she is excited to have observed the committee. She has attended most of the committee meetings, and she is excited about the momentum that has been built. We can build on that momentum. This is no small task and none of us minimize this number. She is excited that the committee feels so strongly about it. She likes the idea of breaking down the bond tax costs to a cost per day.
Greg Bochy commented that he was impressed with how the committee completed their task. They worked well together; they brought up pros and cons, and ironed out a good plan. The people in this community are very supportive. The school is the center of the community, and the people know it. He commended Bob for a job well done.
Thomas Jones said being very cognizant of the costs of the bond and focusing on the “magic” of the Lockwood School education were both very important factors.
Sue noted that is will be very important that we can address the concerns about the bond amount, and how we determined what the needs are that are reflected in the bond request. She said the committee is a real good mix, and they are totally student focused.
Greg commented that our past history in managing our facility speaks well for us. We have never wasted and we have taken good care of things. He said it is easier to keep up than to catch up.
Tim Trafford reflected that for five plus decades every school board has stepped up and built on this campus. We can’t let it go by when it is our turn.
Teresa Stroebe asked those present what they thought or heard about the community feeling regarding a possible bond election. Tim and Holly Sather said they have spoken to several people. They have not had anyone say anything negative yet.
Tim thought it was important to take the approach that the bond amount is a number on paper that has come as a result of identifying the needs of the school district. The exact building plans will come later.
Bob Chatriand mentioned that the committee was led to recommending Scheme No. 3 because they felt keeping all the middle school in one place was very important. They heard how some middle school kids and staff feel detached under the present situation. This would also offer more good sized rooms for community use. Bob said the committee wanted to make sure that the new building is something that can be expanded in the future. He also advised that they agonized over the price tag.
Tim Sather noted that safety issues were addressed in the plans with the addition of fire doors and fire alarms.
Bonnie Chatriand advised that they will need to go to where the people are to provide information about the bond. We all need to provide the same information to help the community make an informed decision.
Eileen reviewed the timeline with the trustees. She advised that they must decide the scope of the project by August 1, 2006. After that decision, the bonding attorney will draft the resolution language for adoption at the August 8, 2006, meeting.
Superintendent Johnson briefly discussed the current Building Reserve Fund. She advised that the third and final year of the levy will end May 2007. Ending the levy will reduce the tax burden, so if a bond is passed there will not be as significant of a tax impact. She said it is possible that a building reserve could be necessary again in the future. The building reserve is one of the few ways schools have to fund ongoing maintenance, repairs, renovation, and safety issues for buildings and sites.
Trustee Trafford noted that as the tax base grows the costs of the bond will go down.
Teresa said it would be good to put all these facts down in a “white paper” for community members.
Trustee Barbara Forrester Frank had to leave the meeting at 8:00 p.m.
Eileen said there is a possibility that we may need to hire someone due to a possible resignation. She requested permission to put it on the agenda of a special meeting if necessary.
REPORTS AND MISCELLANEOUS
A. Summer School Report
Mike Sullivan updated the trustees about summer school. We found out after school was out that Lockwood had received Title I summer school funding. Mike reported that six teachers had been hired for the program. 180 letters had been mailed to families. They were hoping to serve 50-60 students. Summer school will start on July 24, 2006, and it will run for three weeks.
B. Community Based Services Report
Information on our Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch Community Based Services is included as information only. Eileen said this is strictly for the information of the board and historical information. They are also running a summer program here on campus.
C. Current certified and classified contracts
Attached are copies of current contracts in use with our personnel. Most of the templates come from Montana School Board’s Association. These were provided for historical information and reference.
OLD BUSINESS OR FOLLOW UP INFORMATION
Tim Trafford asked if there had been progress on getting the easement from the state. Eileen responded that Attorney Larry Martin is working very diligently with the state to get that easement done. It was noted that Attorney Mark English had developed an historical document about the easement, which they are using for assistance in processing the state easement.
Teresa Stroebe advised that this type of a situation is a good reason to have county and community planning. She noted that the Yellowstone County Commissioners had adopted the Lockwood Community Plan.
Eileen advised that Lockwood School got a math grant for the Intermediate and Middle School teachers to participate in math curriculum work with Billings District 2.
Supt. Johnson also commented that three Lockwood teachers had received an all-expense paid trip to the math conference from Exxon. The teachers said it was wonderful.
Chairperson Teresa Stroebe reported about the MTSBA June 22-24 meeting that she attended. MTSBA is building a new building. Information from the MTSBA meeting were provided to trustees. It was noted that the MTSBA Delegate Assembly will be held in August.
There are two special meetings scheduled on Tuesday, July 25, 2006, and Tuesday, August 1, 2006.
The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, August 8, 2006.
Thomas Jones moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:25 p.m. Greg Bochy seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Sue Vinton, Greg Bochy, Tim Trafford, and Thomas Jones voted yes; the motion passed five to zero.
Teresa Stroebe, Chairperson Diane M. Brook, District Clerk