Proceedings of the Board of Trustees
Lockwood School District No. 26
Yellowstone County, Billings, MT
Special Meeting of March 3, 2008
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CALL TO ORDER 6:20 P.M.

Chairperson Vinton opened the special meeting, called it to order at 6:30 p.m., and led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The following trustees and officers were present: Trustees Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Becky Malenowsky, Susanne Vinton, and Teresa Stroebe who arrived 6:50 p.m., Superintendent Eileen Johnson and District Clerk Diane Brook. Peter Freivalds and Greg Bochy were absent.

Staff members present were: Mike Sullivan, Dave DeBoer, Mike Bowman, Nancy Kaderavek, Lynette Larson, Mary Kay Rottrup, and Nicole, Alt.

Registered guest present was Senator Lane Larson.

Luella Brien (Billings Gazette), Evelyn Pyburn (Yellowstone County News), and Don Reed were also present.

2008-09 GENERAL FUND BUDGET

A. Review 2008-09 General Fund Budget and Decide Whether to Request
    a General Fund Mill Levy

Eileen noted the updated information on the budget estimates due to receiving the Preliminary Budget Data Sheets from OPI on the afternoon of Friday, February 29.

Attachments to the agenda and information provided at the meeting:

Power Point Presentation of 2008-09 Lockwood General Fund Budget Information
Preliminary Budget Data Sheet
Elimination of Federal Medicaid Payments
Title V, Part A Funds for School Year 2008-2009 – Zero Allocation
Lockwood School District No. 2008-09 Budget Information Summary

The information provided was summarized as follows:

Previous budget 2007-2008
6,889,394
Allowable w/o a levy budget 2008-2009
6,922,806
Less than 1% increase
Difference of
33,412
Allowable with a levy of 105,966
7,028,772
1.9% increase

Master Agreement with the teachers is a 4% increase in 2008-2009 school year.

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Special Board Meeting
March 3, 2008

The increase in costs to the district next year is $465,127. This includes salaries, utilities, insurance, and increased operation for a new building (utilities and custodial services).

In order to provide services to our students at the same level of 2007-2008, the district will use and deplete all other funds available---OTO Maintenance, Medicaid, OTO Kindergarten, and OTO Indian Education. (OTO is One Time Only.)

This will get us through the next year. How do we then keep services as present? For example, how do we pay for the added kindergarten in the future? The General Fund formula does not provide enough funding to sustain the existing programs. This could result in serious cutbacks for the delivery of education to our students.

Supt. Johnson advised that tonight’s task is to decide whether or not to run a mill levy and to determine salary increases. The finite details will be worked out over the next few months. She mentioned that our current health insurance carrier, Blue Cross and Blue Shield MSHWP Group, and the MUST Group are having discussions regarding consolidation. If this happens, it could be good for our rates.

There was no recommendation of making cuts to staff by anyone.

Eileen said they can push forward the adoption of reading curriculum for another year. She said the last time communication arts curriculum was purchased it cost $210,000.

Trustee Becky Malenowsky said she would rather be safe; she is leaning toward running a levy.

Tim Sather commented that he feels that the budget shortfalls have been pushed on to the local school boards and local taxpayers by the legislature.

Teresa agreed that the state legislature had not properly funded schools in the last session.

Eileen said there is quite a burden on the community for money from other entities, such as sewer and fire departments.

Senator Lane Larson said he believes that they will have some good revenues coming up and hopes the next session will do a better job of funding schools. He said, sadly, the last session had problems due to partisan politics.

Chair Vinton said we have gotten the message that we should spend all monies that we have or we will be pointed at as a school that does not really need funding increases.

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Special Board Meeting
March 3, 2008

Eileen said she had been advised that information is gathered about the state one time only monies and other pots of money [alternate funding sources such as MAC, Medicaid, E-Rate, and Flex Fund]. They will want to know why we still have them.

Tim Sather noted that most of school money goes to salary and benefits. It was noted that ninety percent of Lockwood’s general fund budget is for salary and benefits.

Jason Hamrick said he would like to see the legislature step up and do what needs to be done. If the state is going to look at one time only funds and other pots of money, maybe we need to spend them.

Primary Principal Mike Bowman said it is important to communicate Lockwood Schools’ budget situation to the general population. We are a K-8 district and any cuts made will affect the integrity of the program.

Teacher Lynette Larson said we are putting our hopes in the legislature.

Becky said it is important not to underestimate our community; they have always been supportive of the school.

Eileen commented that we are very fortunate to have these monies this year, and we still have a seven percent general fund reserve. Many school districts have already used their one-time-only monies and don’t have good reserves.

Teresa said we have been working hard to be good stewards. We have a shortfall, and we may have it again. But I don’t want to go back to the taxpayers.

Sue commented that we could run a levy this year and still be in the same place next year.

There was discussion of having less money for teaching supplies in the last few years.

Tim Sather moved not to run a levy for 2008-09 general fund budget. Teresa Stroebe seconded the motion. Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Jason Hamrick, and Tim Sather voted aye. Becky Malenowsky voted nay. The motion passed four to one.

B. Determine 2008-09 salary increases for staff not covered by the
Lockwood Unit MEA/MFT and School District No. 26 Master Agreement.

Eileen advised that she would like to have a hiring list completed at the April board meeting.

It was noted that the teachers had received a four percent increase for 2008-09. In past years the board usually used that as the basis for raises for all other staff.

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Special Board Meeting
March 3, 2008

Jason Hamrick moved to approve a four percent increase in wages for staff not covered by the Lockwood Unit MEA/MFT and School District No. 26 Master Agreement.

Tim Sather seconded the motion. Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Jason Hamrick, Becky Malenowsky, and Tim Sather voted aye. The motion passed five to zero.

Jason said he believes it is important to educate the public about school funding problems.

Sue thanked Senator Larson for attending and participating in the meeting.

ADJOURN

Becky Malenowsky moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:04 p.m. Jason Hamrick seconded the motion. Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Jason Hamrick, Becky Malenowsky, and Tim Sather voted aye. The motion passed five to zero.

Respectively Submitted,

___________________________      ___________________________
Sue Vinton, Chairperson                         Diane M. Brook, District Clerk

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