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, Susanne Vinton, Superintendent Eileen Johnson and District Clerk Diane Brook. Greg Bochy was absent.
Staff members present were: Mike Bowman, Dave DeBoer, Mike Sullivan, Art Anderson, Whitney DiFronzo, Denise Wulff, Don Christman, Kim Yasenak, Hank Yasenak, Megan Coryell, Crys Arneson, Brent Lipp, Kristi Laib, Amy Muir, Annette Efta, Barbara Frank, Audrey Jones, DeeAnn Nielsen, Toni Bickford, Kerry Pantoja, Emily Belk, Darlene Hess, and Pam Richau.
Registered guests present were: Evelyn Pyburn (Yellowstone County News), Zach Benoit (Billings Gazette), Pam Malek (Exxon Mobil), Scott Chartier and Terry Sukut, AIA (JGA Architects), Conrad Stroebe, and Carlotta Hecker.
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
The Lockwood Steering Committee requested placement on the agenda to discuss a high school in Lockwood. This was placed on Item 2 C for discussion.
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 August 13, 2007 Work Session minutes and the Regular Board Meeting minutes of August 14, 2007, as presented. There were no objections; the minutes were approved.
Chair Vinton asked if there was any objection to the bills as presented. Seeing no objection, the bills presented were approved.
Intermediate Principal Dave DeBoer and Primary Principal Mike Bowman introduced their new staff members who were in attendance at the meeting.
Middle School Principal Mike Sullivan provided pictures of his new staff. He said he invited his new staff to attend the October meeting for introductions to the Board.
A. Letters of Resignation from Paraprofessionals
Letters of resignation had been received from Korey Beaudette and Larry Whitmyer, copies of which were attached to the agenda. Supt. Johnson recommended acceptance of the resignations.
B. Letter from OPI Regarding Our Excellent Audit
A copy of the letter from OPI congratulating Diane Brook on the FY 06 audit, which was entirely free of findings, was attached to the agenda. Chair Vinton and trustees expressed their appreciation to Diane.
A letter received from Lockwood Fire and Rescue after the agenda was sent out was read aloud by Chair Vinton. She asked if we had any expenses to submit.
Eileen responded that she did not believe so, but she would check into it.
Trustee Teresa Stroebe thanked Eileen and Art for all they did during the fire. Eileen advised that Art did most of the work with the Lockwood Fire and Rescue.
C. Lockwood Steering Committee
The Lockwood Steering Committee submitted a letter asking for discussion with the Board of Trustees regarding the feasibility of a high school in Lockwood.
Carlotta Hecker spoke about this issue. She said we have a number of students being bussed, and there was discussion about transportation costs compared to building a high school in Lockwood. Since having a high school in Lockwood was one of the goals expressed by the Lockwood people, the Lockwood Steering Committee felt they should start a discussion. Carlotta said she wants to make the Steering Committee available to the Lockwood Board of Trustees. She advised that they are also going to present to the Billings School Board, which is the High School Board for Lockwood. Carlotta commented that they are aware of the pros and cons, and Conrad Stroebe is the major zealot in this issue. They want to begin communication between the boards.
Conrad Stroebe mentioned an article entitled, The Road to Trust. He said he thinks that is what the Lockwood community wants. He also mentioned the survey, in which 70% of the respondents said they wanted a high school in Lockwood, but 30% said they like their students attending a Billings high school.
It was advised that this must be a combined effort with Lockwood and Billings. Items to be discussed should include: What is the feasibility? What are the advantages? Carlotta said the residents are going to want the facts.
Teresa Stroebe advised that the State of Montana currently has a moratorium on the formation of new high school districts. She commented that said she would like the study of this issue to become a committee of the board.
Carlotta noted that they will need to see what the Billings School Board would have for goals and timelines.
Those present felt it would be very beneficial to have the documentation of all the things done previously regarding this issue compiled into one record for review. This would be a good communication tool and help eliminate duplication.
Trustee Peter Freivalds asked if this would be a Lockwood High School or a Billings High School located in Lockwood. The response was that is a good question, and it needs to be part of the discussion of this issue.
Carlotta advised that it should be a very open and cooperative stance. She asked if she could return to update the Lockwood School Board after they meet with the Billings Board of Trustees. Trustees responded affirmatively.
There was no action on this item.
EDUCATION AND BUSINESS
A. Building Project Update
Architect Terry Sukut reported as follows: The wastewater treatment sewer system has been approved by the Department of Environmental Quality. He also advised that there was a competing project that has postponed their bid opening until after ours next week. The plans are out to bid for Bid Pack 3 which is the actual middle school building. He has been working with engineer Keith Campbell with Associated Construction Engineers (ACE) on Bid Pack 4, which is the HVAC renovation project. They will be able to start making value-engineering judgments soon. Bid Pack IV should be issued in late October, and they hope to open bids before Thanksgiving.
Scott Chartier of High Tech Construction advised the following: Bid Pack 1 is essentially completed. Bid Pack 2 is right on schedule or a little bit ahead of schedule. They are getting ready to start forming footings, which is ahead of the anticipated schedule. The bid opening for Bid Pack 3 will be this Friday, September 14, 2007, at 12:00 noon. Expediting anything possible before the winter weather hits will help us meet the schedule. They have had good interest in most of the bid packs; he hopes for good tight bidding on Friday. They will take about 10 days to develop the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) and hope to bring it to the board on September 26, 2007.
Eileen advised that the bid opening on Friday may be somewhat longer than the previous bid opening.
Scott noted that they had broken Bid Pack 3 into 19 separate packs. They have received some bids at High Tech Construction already. They will provide all bids to the board when they submit the GMP.
Susanne asked if a quorum is needed on Friday. Eileen said no, it is just a public bid opening.
There was a brief discussion about the new student drop-off area for the primary and the crosswalk located near the administration building. It was noted that a small amount of fencing or a barrier will be added to the south end of the crosswalk to keep traffic from moving through that end when children are crossing.
The trustees also discussed the additional crossing guards and how they are helping keep the children safe.
Chair Vinton expressed gratitude to Deputy Von Holdt for monitoring the traffic; she thinks it has helped to slow people down.
Peter Freivalds asked about the broken sewer line and who would be responsible for the repair costs. Scott Chartier responded that for right now they have taken care of it.
B. Presentation from Teachers about Summer Conference
Intermediate teachers Whitney DiFronzo, Denise Wulff, and Hank Yasenak provided a PowerPoint picture presentation about their summer conference sponsored by ExxonMobil. They reported that the conference was about inquiry-based instruction for science.
Hank Yasenak demonstrated an experiment shown at the conference as an example of Newton’s First Law of Motion: An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.They really enjoyed networking with teachers from all over the United States, including a few from Billings. The teachers expressed their gratitude to ExxonMobil and Pam Malek for providing them with this opportunity of a lifetime.
C. Presentation from Teachers Who Worked in Katrina Areas This Summer
Annette Efta and Amy Muir provided a PowerPoint presentation about their work this summer in the hurricane Katrina areas. They noted before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans had three operators of schools; now they have 22 operators. Unfortunately there is little communication between the schools; some have adequate supplies and many do not. Amy and Annette commented they went to New Orleans through Acorn Ministries.
Susanne said our teachers provide such wonderful examples, with their desire to learn and their desire to serve.
D. Request to Set-up a Benefits Committee
Mrs. Johnson advised the following: There are many issues that come to the Business Office that should be reviewed and decided upon by members of the staff. For example, the recent federal orders on the 403b have caused consternation for all schools. Other issues are the possible offerings of additional insurance such as dental or life insurance. The review and discussion of these will not bring the obligation of the district to pay, just offering them. This could also be the venue for a health insurance issue that could arise in the future. The committee should have representation from various areas of the staff since these issues affect everyone. There would be a request for volunteers. Diane has put a list of issues, which continue to arise.
Eileen advised about IRS upcoming 403(b) changes as an example of some of the issues that point to the need for the committee. Eileen advised about board committee rules; she sees this as an ongoing committee. Trustee Jason Hamrick was asked to serve on the committee. He agreed.
Peter Freivalds moved to establish a Benefits Committee. Becky Malenowsky seconded the motion. Susanne asked for questions or comments; seeing none she called for the vote. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Peter Freivalds, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Susanne Vinton voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
E. Letter from OPI Announcing the State Test Results
The attached information confirms that our schools have made AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) under the terms of No Child Left Behind. This is the result of the dedicated work of the principals, teachers, and support staff in our district. Eileen distributed some additional information. Becky and Teresa extended a thank-you to the staff for all the hard work.
F. Discussion of Board Goals
The trustees discussed and reviewed the Board Goals draft document. They assigned short term, long-term and ongoing status to many of the goals. No final decisions were made at this meeting.
It was noted in the discussion of possibly establishing new subcommittees of the board, that they must be noticed the same as regular meetings. An agenda with time, date, and place must be posted within 48 hours of the meeting and minutes must be kept by someone at the meeting and reported at the next regular meeting.
G. Set Tuition Rates for New Day Students (Prior to Goals)
Superintendent Johnson recommended using the state rates as indicated on the attachment for New Day students. She advised that the rates cannot be any higher than the state rates, but they could be set lower.
Becky Malenowsky moved to set tuition rates at $915.80 for full-time kindergartners and students in Grades 1-6 and $1,172.20 for Grades 7-8 as Lockwood School runs an accredited 7-8 program, per the attached document from OPI. Teresa Stroebe seconded the motion. Sue asked for discussion or questions; seeing none she asked for the vote. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Peter Freivalds, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Sue Vinton voted aye; the motion passed six to zero.
A. Hiring of Paraprofessionals, Crossing Guard/Aide, and Food Service Assistant
Superintendent Johnson recommended the following people for hire for the 2007-08 school year.
Paraprofessionals: Mary Beth Gajda and Kay Wilcox and crossing guard/aide: Marcella Murfitt and Kayla Garcia.
Eileen also recommended hiring these two additional employees who were interviewed after the agenda had been mailed: Food service assistant: Dorothy Osborne and paraprofessional: Scott Felchle.
Tim Sather moved to hire the above-mentioned people. Peter Freivalds seconded the motion. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Peter Freivalds, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Sue Vinton voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
B. Substitute Hiring
Becky Malenowsky moved to hire substitutes per the list attached to the agenda. Jason Hamrick seconded the motion. Teresa asked if they had been fingerprint background checked. Eileen responded affirmatively. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Peter Freivalds, Teresa Stroebe, Becky Malenowsky, and Susanne Vinton voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
REPORTS AND MISCELLANEOUS
Mike submitted an updated enrollment list. There were no principal reports.
Becky Malenowsky left the meeting at approximately 9:30 p.m.
Eileen advised the trustees about submitting expenses for MCEL.
Mrs. Johnson also informed the trustees about the Department of Labor HOST Program for 55+ seniors. The program pays them and we provide them work and training.
OLD BUSINESS OR FOLLOW UP INFORMATION
A. MQEC Report from Teresa Stroebe
The Trustees were advised that they might want to make a decision on membership in MQEC since the request is in the letter from Mr. Carparelli.
Eileen advised that this is the coalition that sued the state for funding. It was noted that there would not be any dues increase to continue membership
Jason Hamrick moved to continue membership with MQEC. Peter Freivalds seconded the motion. Jason Hamrick, Tim Sather, Peter Freivalds, Teresa Stroebe, and Susanne Vinton voted yes; the motion passed five to zero.
Teresa reported that she, Eileen, and Susanne had a conference call with attorney Debra Silk with MTSBA regarding issues with the McCracken lawsuit.
Debra said she would look into it and get a report to the board.
There will be a bid-opening meeting on Friday, September 14, 2007, at 12:00 noon, and a special board meeting on Wednesday, September 26, 2007.
The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, October 9, 2007.
Tim Sather moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:45 p.m. Peter Freivalds seconded the motion. Susanne Vinton, Peter Freivalds, Tim Sather, Teresa Stroebe, and Jason Hamrick voted aye. The motion passed five to zero.
Sue Vinton, Chairperson Diane M. Brook, District Clerk