CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Vinton 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 Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Peter Freivalds, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky and Sue Vinton, Superintendent Eileen Johnson and District Clerk Diane Brook. Greg Bochy was absent.
Staff members present were: Mike Bowman, Dave DeBoer, Art Anderson, Harold Hagen and Johanna Freivalds.
Registered guests present were: Evelyn Pyburn (Yellowstone County News), Pam Malek and Geoff Craft (Exxon Mobil), Kerri Millhollin, Brian O’Loughlin, Nicole Jones, Connie Hagen, Bob Osborne, Scott Chartier and Shane Flohr (High Tech Construction) and Terry Sukut, AIA (JGA Architects).
Luella Brien of the Billings Gazette was also present.
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.
There was none at this time.
PUBLIC WRITTEN REQUEST TO BE PLACED ON THIS AGENDA
Kerri Millhollin had submitted a request. Ms. Millhollin agreed to discuss her issue during the project update under Agenda Item 3A.
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.
Chair Sue Vinton asked if there were any objections to the regular board meeting minutes of July 10, 2007, Bid Opening minutes of July 12, 2007, and the August 1, 2007 Work Session minutes as presented. There were no objections, so the minutes were approved. It was noted that the Special Meeting minutes of July 17, 2007 were approved immediately at the July 17, 2007 meeting.
Sue asked if there was any objection to the bills as presented. Seeing no objection, the bills presented were approved.
A. Letter of Resignation from Paraprofessional Chelle Martin
B. Letter of Resignation from Susie Senger in Food Service
Superintendent Johnson advised that Claudia White, crossing guard and lunch aide, had submitted her resignation after the agenda had been sent out. Mrs. Johnson brought Mrs. White’s letter to the meeting.
Letters of resignation from Chelle Martin and Susie Senger were attached to the agenda. Supt. Johnson recommended the board accept all three resignations.
Teresa Stroebe moved to accept all three resignations. Tim Sather seconded the motion. Teresa expressed appreciation for their services and wished them well in their future endeavors. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Peter Freivalds voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
Eileen advised that she had also received a verbal resignation from a middle school paraprofessional; she will have the written resignation on the agenda for the next meeting. She and the principals are working to get the positions filled before school starts.
EDUCATION AND BUSINESS
A. Discussion and Update on the Project
Scott Chartier reported that work on Bid Pack 2 had started. The water loop, parking lot work, and concrete work in front of the Primary School from Bid Pack 1, are almost all complete. Road milling is finished, and those materials were used on the fire road and in the construction of a parking area on the far south side of sight required as part of the Piccolo Lane agreement.
Most of the temporary fence is up, however, a snow fence still needs to be put up to protect kids.
Scott advised next week drawings will be issued for the Middle School Project; then it will be put out to bid. They have submitted the proposed schedule to Eileen and Art for approval. He thinks the Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) for Bid Pack 3 may be available by October 2, 2007.
The project is on schedule with the over-excavation and footings to be done in mid-October.
Vice-Chair Teresa Stroebe asked about siding materials for the building. Scott said they are going to look at bidding four separate siding materials: two hard materials for eight feet and below and for above, metal wall ribbed panel or hardy lap siding. He advised that putting out different options for materials allows for the pricing in any combination to try to get the best value. Teresa asked for examples of each. Eileen said there is a box of it in her office.
Trustee Peter Freivalds asked if there will be lines dividing the new paving in front of the primary building. Mrs. Johnson responded yes.
Chair Vinton asked if the turnaround off of Highway 87 was going to be patched and paved. Scott and Shane said they are working on getting that completed.
Sue asked Ms. Millhollin if she wanted to speak to the board regarding her request to be on the agenda. She said her letter was pretty self- explanatory, and it addressed her concerns.
There was discussion about the ownership of Peters Street. Mrs. Johnson had received notification from Mark English in the Yellowstone County Attorney’s office that Lockwood School is owner of Peters Street. Mr. English’s e-mail noted Survey Certificate 1318.
Barney Orand disagreed that the school owns Peters Street.
It was noted that at this point in time, we have the verification by Yellowstone County that Peters Street is the property of Lockwood School District No. 26.
Teresa said either way, if it is our street and we share it with you; or if it is your street and you share it with us, the safety of the kids is most important to all of us.
Ms. Millhollin expressed concern about having safe walkways. She also asked if an impact statement had been done for the middle school project. If there was one, she asked to see it.
Teresa said there are three issues: safety, maintaining the street, and cooperation. She thinks that is all doable.
Trustee Becky Malenowsky said we need to look at how can we help keep the property value up and how can we keep our kids safe. She advised that everyone needed to work on finding solutions, and she said that is where the cooperation comes in.
Nicole Jones said that JTL trucks had put holes in the street. She said that a speed bump or something to slow people down is needed on the street.
Ms. Millhollin said it is a problem now, and this is going to make it worse.
Eileen said we will have crossing guards and a fence that will keep the children separated from the traffic. She noted previously that parents dropped students off all over on the street; now they will be pulling in, dropping them off at school, and driving out. This will also allow parents to see their child enter the building.
Teresa said the school can take care of the street even better than the county could. She advised the key to cooperation is communication.
Eileen said we have severe safety issues all around the school campus. We have tried to do the best that we can where it borders our property.
Sue said it that would be preferable if all streets were lighted and had sidewalks, but that isn’t how it is in Lockwood. She said we are doing a lot of things for safety, and we will do everything that we can to keep children safe.
Peter said all we can do is take care of what we can with the money we have available.
Chair Vinton advised waiting until school starts to see how it is really going to work.
There was discussion about the number of parking spots that will be available.
Teresa said she regrets they (Peters Street residents) weren’t involved more in the process, and she regrets 50 years ago the school was placed next to a highway.
Becky said that we may need to look closer at the corner of Highway 87 East and Peters Street to determine what safety measures may need to be taken.
Trustee Tim Sather said we really don’t know if there will be increased traffic, as these are the same parents that were dropping off their children last year.
Sue said we all share the common concern of safety. We will continue to look at that and continue sorting out the legal issues of ownership. She asked if anyone else would like to speak. She advised those present that their input is welcome. She said the board wants to hear from them, and we will continue to work with you.
Ms. Millhollin asked what the school plans to do.
Mrs. Johnson advised: We will make sure during the early weeks that we are all out there to help people get used to the new drop-off.
There was discussion of the walking area, posting of a reduced speed limit, changing the location of the speed limit sign, speed bumps, fencing, and having the SRO monitor Peters Street. It was noted that research will be needed for some of these items to be sure acceptable standards are followed.
Sue Orrin asked how the new student drop-off on Peters Street will be publicized. Eileen advised that a newsletter will go out to all box holders in the district.
Luella Brien advised that The Gazette will be running an article showing the drop-offs also.
B. Trustees Financial Summary for 2006-2007
Diane Brook presented the Trustees Financial Report for the 2006-2007 school year to the school board.
Tim Sather moved to accept the 2006-07 Trustees’ Financial Summary as presented. Jason Hamrick seconded the motion. Chair Vinton asked for discussion or comments. Seeing none, she called for the vote. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Peter Freivalds voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
C. Budgets for 2007-2008
The budgets for all funds for 2007-2008 were presented for Board approval. It was noted that there had been a budget work session on August 12, 2007. The trustees expressed appreciation for the information provided in the budget packets, and the way it had been provided.
Becky Malenowsky moved to accept and adopt the 2007-08 budget as presented. Teresa Stroebe seconded the motion. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Peter Freivalds voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
Geoff Craft, new Exxon Refinery Manager from Fairfax, Virginia, was introduced to the Board of Trustees and all present.
Superintendent Johnson asked to go back to Agenda Item 3A, the project, because they needed to discuss fencing: Facilities Manager Art Anderson distributed a map showing the extent and expense of the fencing. Art said they wanted to permanently fence some areas rather than renting temporary fencing, as it makes sense for safety. There were six fencing areas noted with a cost of $39,652.
Funding for the new permanent fencing, would come from State One-Time-Only monies and Building Reserve Funds.
Peter suggested putting reflectors on the fence.
Tim Sather moved to accept the fencing plan with an estimated cost of $39,962 as presented by Art Anderson. Peter Freivalds seconded the motion. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Peter Freivalds voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
Eileen commented that Art has worked extremely hard on the project this summer, and his expertise and experience has been invaluable to the school district.
D. Trustee Goals
The attachment of Trustee Goals is a report of brainstorming at the August 1, 2007 work session.
Sue Vinton briefly explained the results of the session. She said the trustees were going to assign priority and a number of years for attaining the goals.
Peter moved to table this item until everyone could get up to speed on the issues, so they can have a better discussion. Becky seconded the motion. Sue asked and the trustees agreed that this item and discussion of sub-committees would both be put on the next agenda.
Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Peter Freivalds voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
E. Request to Bid for Security Cameras
Art Anderson provided the trustees with hand-outs of information about security cameras for the campus.
Superintendent Johnson asked the board to approve bidding for security cameras. She advised that it can be difficult to write specifications for security cameras, and it can be very expensive to get the work completed. Art has worked with a number of vendors. It is estimated that it would cost less than $50,000 for 30 cameras, cabling and installation, but this would not include much exterior coverage.
Mrs. Johnson requested authority for Art to continue developing the specifications, having discussions with vendors, and asking for proposals. There is such a wide variety of different equipment available, Art would like to request prices from vendors; this would give more flexibility. Supt. Johnson feels this would be the best process and would provide the best situation for the school.
Teresa Stroebe moved to authorize the gathering of proposals for security cameras not exceeding $50,000. Tim Sather seconded the motion. Peter recommended that Art make sure the system can expand. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Peter Freivalds voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
F. Declare Old Phones Obsolete for Disposal
Eileen advised the following: A resolution to declare the old phones obsolete is necessary so that we can put them up for sale or recycle. We are looking into posting them on EBay.
Peter Freivalds moved to adopt the resolution to dispose of the Telrad telephones as obsolete property. Teresa Stroebe seconded the motion. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Peter Freivalds voted yes; the motion passed six to zero. It was noted that the resolution will be advertised as required by Montana Law.
G. Request to Study Contracting Food Service
Mrs. Johnson requested that the trustees give her permission to look into the contracting for Food Service. As many other schools are experiencing in recent years, the food service areas are not completely self-sufficient. Last year our general fund had to contribute over $25,000 to sustain the Food Service Department. The increases in the cost of health insurance, supplies, transportation, salaries, etc. are contributing to this issue. It might be possible to be more efficient with a larger group that can buy in bulk with a contractor such as Sodexho. This is just an example since they are already in place in the community. I would be remiss if the idea isn’t at least explored. As you are aware the 2008-2009 school year is going to be very slim on funding. Some changes are going to be necessary. I welcome your suggestions on this. We would only have to take proposals from interested companies. Since we are going to have a major change in our Food Service Department, this might be the time to look into this. I will await your direction before checking into the situation.
Eileen advised that this is not decision-making time. She is requesting permission to investigate it.
Trustee Malenowsky said knowledge is power.
Trustee Stroebe said her preference is to have the local people in charge; she likes it the way it is.
Trustee Freivalds moved to give Eileen permission to investigate outsourcing food service. Jason Hamrick seconded the motion. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Peter Freivalds voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
A. Hiring - Librarian and Coaches
Mrs. Johnson recommended the following people for hiring for the 2007-2008 school year:
Librarian - Kristine Laib
Cross Country Coaches - Angela Giovanini and Jennifer Tresch
Softball Coach - Loretta Davis
Student Council Sponsor - Charles Harvey
Becky Malenowsky moved to hire the above-mentioned personnel. Tim Sather seconded the motion. Becky asked if everyone had been fingerprint background checked. Eileen said yes. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Peter Freivalds voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
REPORTS AND MISCELLANEOUS
OLD BUSINESS OR FOLLOW UP INFORMATION
A. Request to Start the Survey and Groundwork for a Staff Child Care at Lockwood
Supt. Johnson advised: A goal of the Trustees for a number of years has been to establish a staff child-care area on campus. This would not be funded with district money, but a “pay for itself” program. I would like to survey the staff and begin to put the steps together to establish some base information for your future consideration. For historical documentation it’s important that the Trustees give approval at a meeting for this to begin. Final approval would be after all details are gathered.
Teresa Stroebe moved to direct Eileen to survey the staff regarding their interest in a child-care area on campus in the future. Becky Malenowsky seconded the motion. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Peter Freivalds voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
B. McCracken Lawsuit
Attached to the agenda was a copy of Judge Cebull’s response to the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision. He denied a return of the McCracken attorney fees paid to Ms. Sheehy. As previously adjudicated, the McCracken’s health insurance premiums are to be paid for the remainder of their lives.
Chair Vinton advised that the Ninth Circuit Court had sent the portion of the decision regarding attorney fees back to Judge Cebull, because the case should not have been tried as a federal civil rights case. (Attorney fees are only awarded in federal cases.)
Teresa Stroebe said she had questions and she wanted to discuss this issue with attorney Ken Tolliver.
It was noted that the attorney fees were originally paid by the school’s insurance carrier, and if any fees were recovered by further litigation, they would be returned to the insurance carrier, not the district.
Sue Vinton said she felt going back to the Ninth Circuit Court would not change anything; it would only prolong the issue.
Teresa said the whole thing is entirely wrong. Mr. McCracken’s insurance is to be paid for the rest of his life, which is valued at millions of dollars. That money could be used for teachers’ salaries and for students.
Peter asked how much the attorney’s fees were. Eileen responded, $78,000. Peter asked if what they would be voting on is retrieving $78,000 in fees that have been paid by our insurance. That was affirmed.
Eileen advised that attorney Ken Tolliver needs an answer by tomorrow morning, as he has to file the brief regarding the issue of attorney’s fees by then.
Peter moved to direct Ken Tolliver not to pursue an appeal to the Ninth Circuit regarding the attorney’s fees.
One trustee said: It was wrong; it was wrong from the beginning, but we need to let it go.
Jason Hamrick seconded the motion.
Teresa Stroebe said, “I truly regret closing the meeting when I was Chair, and I truly regret not having Attorney Tolliver here tonight.”
Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Sue Vinton, Becky Malenowsky, and Peter Freivalds voted aye. Teresa Stroebe voted no. The motion passed five to one.
Teresa moved to have the MTSBA legal counsel to provide trustees with guidance and an opinion (in person or via speakerphone) regarding the legal options that might be available to us on the viability of the McCracken case in state court.
Peter Freivalds seconded the motion. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Susanne Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Peter Freivalds voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
Eileen mentioned that there would be no insurance coverage for this. She advised that they could investigate the statute of limitations.
Peter said he would like to find out what options there are.
Eileen said she would like to start this with a conference call with an attorney from MTSBA, Sue Vinton and Teresa Stroebe.
Teresa Stroebe advised that trustees will have their Delegate Assembly in August.
The next regular meeting will be September 11, 2007.
Becky Malenowsky moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:55 p.m. Jason Hamrick seconded the motion. Sue Vinton, Peter Freivalds, Tim Sather, Becky Malenowsky, Teresa Stroebe, and Jason Hamrick voted aye. The motion passed six to zero
Sue Vinton, Chairperson Diane M. Brook, District Clerk