School Board Meeting Minutes Banner

Board Meeting Minutes from August 14, 2017

Pioneer Elementary School

1937 Dover Road
Billings, MT   59105
Telephone (406)-373-5357

Mission Statement:  Our mission is to serve the community and the school by creating a safe environment that fosters Respect, Trust, Accountability, and Responsibility while promoting life-long learning for all.

Regular Meeting Minutes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . August 14, 2017

Presented for Approval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . September 11, 2017


DATE:                        August 14, 2017

TIME:             6:00 p.m.

PLACE:          Pioneer School, Main Building, Room 105


MEMBERS    Bill Bullard, Chairperson

PRESENT:      Kari Jones, Trustee

Sarah O’Brien, Trustee



ABSENT:       None

CLERK:          Marilyn Michael

ADMIN:         Melissa Schnitzmeier

STAFF:           Jami Burns, Alisa Rau, Dylan McDermott, Jerica Schatz, Connie Russell arrived at 6:00 pm.  All staff members left at 7:55 pm

VISITORS:     Britney Lowman, Lindi Anderson, and Travis Kelsey arrived at 6:00 pm.  Britney Lowman and Lindi Anderson left at 6:20.  Travis Kelsey left at 6:35.

GUESTS:        None




Trustee, Bill Bullard called the meeting of the trustees of Pioneer Elementary School District #41 to order in Room 105 of the main building, Monday, August 14, 2017 at 6:00 pm.  Trustee, Bill Bullard welcomed all those attending.  Trustee, Bill Bullard read the Montana Law about public meetings.


  1. MINUTE APPROVAL: Sarah O’Brien made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of July 10, 2017 and the special meeting minutes from August 7, 2017.  Kari Jones seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.


  2. ADMINISTRATOR REPORT: Melissa submitted the administrator’s report to the board.  She stated that it was prepared with a reflective spirit – looking back on our accomplishments to date, while also sharing recent activity in a variety of key organizational domains.  In personnel news, Karissa Gordon resigned in July.  Her position has been filled by Alisa Rau.  Jennifer Painter resigned in early August.  We also welcome Dylan McDermott to the 2nd/3rd grade position and Jerica Schatz to 4th– 6th grade position.  Our current enrollment is at 54.

Some things for the 2017-2018 school year include:

  • RTI – Response to Intervention
  • Exploring
    • Team development & scheduling of meetings
    • Inventory of curriculum, programs & materials will be conducted and aligned
    • Seek out professional development for team
    • Instructional expectations and continuum of interventions identified and created
    • Benchmark data collection systems in place
    • Parents/Community & School Board given information packet
  • Implementation
    • Diagnostic testing occurs at every grade level three times annually
    • Team meets to analyze school data regularly
  • ESSA – Every Student Succeeds Act, leaves NCLB and AYP behind. Plan highlights attached.
  • The new Discovery Science & Social Studies TECHbook Curriculum has been purchased and implementation is underway. The team will take part in professional development learning how to best utilize this new resource on September 13 with more following.  Each training will end with a certificate that can be submitted to me to attain professional development renewal credits.  All web-based courses taken resulting in a certificate can also be submitted to me for renewal credits.8

Looking ahead – Activities Related to Goals:

Communications/Public Relation Goals:

  • Expanded the use of school website to facilitate communication between parents and school
  • Informational items posted on school website, ie job listings, meetings, and events.
  • Plan and participate in community events – schedule of all events to be announced at a later date.
    • Teacher Meet & Greet – August 22 – 4:00 – 6:00 pm
    • Open House – September 21 – 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Professional Development

  • Connie & Jami attended the 2017 Summer Technology Conference
  • Connie will be stepping into the Testing Coordinator Position and will attend the NWEA/MAPS training in Great Falls on August 24.
  • Montana Reading Conference – October 19/20 – $80 registration fee
  • MCEL – Leadership Conference – October 19/20 – $275 registration fee

Administration Focus Areas – Summer

  • Scheduling
  • Interviews & Staffing
  • Staff and Student Handbook Review
  • School Goals/Strategic Plan – Outlining Action Steps for 2017-2018
  • Planning for Evaluation/Supervision of Staff
  • Facilities – Kevin has done an outstanding job with our buildings this summer. The school grounds look great!
    • School Garden – It did well over the summer! We have many perennials, herbs and pumpkins growing!  Another thanks to Kevin for all of his help troubleshooting the watering of this.


  2. Interview for teaching position – Interviews were conducted from 4:00 – 5:45.  After discussing the candidates, Kari made a motion to offer Taylor Brewington the position of Math/PE teacher and 3 hour aide position.  Sarah seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.  Melissa will contact Taylor in the morning to offer
  3. School Outreach (to discuss how to get parents/community more involved) – Bill explained to staff and parents present that we are looking for ideas for getting more parents coming to board meetings and with the school. Several ideas were presented by staff and board members.  Sarah made a motion to have Kari, Connie & Dylan work together on a possible movie night.  Bill seconded the motion.  After discussion, all board members voted no on this motion.  It was then decided to have the team discuss possible ideas at a team meeting to see what would be feasible.
  4. Secretary/Clerk position – Marilyn informed the board that the job combination of clerk and secretary is not working very well. She is very concerned about the amount of time spent doing the clerk job and not being able to get to the secretary duties.  Melissa will look into the possibility of contracting some of the clerk duties.  Bill will continue to check with Marilyn weekly on how things are going.  Marilyn thanked the board for their support.



  1. Welcome to teachers & staff/Summary of select school policies – Bill welcomed everyone to the board meeting. He congratulated all of the new teachers and welcomed back the returning teachers.  He explained that all staff have the opportunity to have the best teaching experience.  He went on to explain that everyone is expected to work together to do what is best for our school. He reminded everyone that we have a principal and if there are problems to not wait, go to her with your concerns so she can help with them.  He also told the teachers to read their contracts, see the grievance part of it and follow the steps.  Kari added this is for parents, too.  If they have a problem, go to the teacher or principal to help solve it.  She added that this is a new opportunity for our school with a new board, new principal and several new staff members.  Bill reminded the teachers of a fundamental rule of honoring the contracts that they have signed and the board will honor them also.
  1. Non-resident student applications – The meeting was closed at6:10 to speak individually with the parents requesting their students attend Pioneer School.  The meeting reopened at 6:20.  Sarah made a motion to accept Emma Lowman, Josie Anderson and Teagon Kelsey to Pioneer School as non-resident students.  Kari seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  1. Trade out Tech Conference for MEA – Connie and Jami presented a letter requesting to trade the 2 days of technology conference that they attended July 31st & August 1st for the 2 MEA days in October. Kari made a motion to allow Connie and Jami to trade the technology conference days for the MEA days.  Sarah seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  2. New Teachers to Reading Conference – Melissa explained the since MEA is in Missoula it would be best for the new teachers to attend the Reading Conference in Billings during the MEA days in October. The cost is $80 per person.  The teachers that did not attend another conference and trade it out are required to attend a conference during the two days is October set aside for MEA.  Kari made a motion to pay $80 for each of the teachers that have not attended another conference prior to the school year to attend the Reading Conference in Billings.  Sarah seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.  Jami and Connie asked if they choose to attend the all or part of the conference if their fee would also be paid and were told that it would.
  3. Teacher Negotiation – update master contract – Jami explained that the master contract hours are not correct now that we have changed our hours and our early out days.  She had the union representative write a new paragraph with the new hours and allowing the teachers to have one prep day on the early out Wednesday per month and one prep day on the Wednesday before the marking period totaling 13 Wednesdays allowed for prep.  She presented the board with a addition for the board and school union rep to sign.  Sarah made a motion to approve the amendments to the Collective Bargaining Unit for the new hours and prep revision to the Master Contract of the certified teachers.  Kari seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  4. Bus Driver/Bus Routes for beginning of the year – Daniel Pardis has not completed his bus driver license yet.  He is scheduled to take the written test on August 17.  He cannot take the driving test until 2 weeks after this.  This will be a couple weeks after school starts.  After discussions it was decided to pursue one of three options.  1. Dylan’s roommate may be available to drive as he is licensed.  2. See if Jeanne is available. 3. Run the emergency AM route until Daniel has passed his tests.  Dylan will let Melissa know if his roommate is available.  Bill will check with Jeanne.
  5. Stipend Positions – Connie submitted her resignation as technology coordinator and stated her interest in becoming the testing coordinator.  Melissa stated she feels this would be a good fit as Connie has been doing the MAPS testing for several years.  Melissa felt it would be best for Connie to attend the training on August 24th that Melissa was scheduled to attend.  Melissa also recommended ending the tech stipends and she would do the job duties that the tech coordinator has done.  She has been doing some of them anyway.  Sarah made a motion to appoint Connie to the testing coordinator position and eliminate the testing coordinator stipends and have Melissa take on these duties.  Kari seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  6. Recommitment to the Eastern Yellowstone Special Ed Co-op – Sarah made a motion to recommit to the Eastern Yellowstone Special Education Coop and have Melissa continue being our representative on the board.  Kari seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  7. Counselor Variance – Melissa checked with OPI and as long as we have less than 125 students we do not need a counselor on site and can continue to use Kyanne Wear on an as needed basis to not need the counselor variance with MSSA.
  8. Letters of Reprimand in teachers’ OPI files – After discussion and contact with MTSBA on what can be done as reprimand for the teachers that chose to not fulfill their contracts after signing them for 2017-2018.  This has put the school in a position of having to replace these teachers close to school starting creating problems for the school.  Sarah made a motion to contact the Board of Education to request that they place a letter in the files of Karissa Gordon and Jennifer Painter.  Bill seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.  Bill will draft a letter to the Board of Education.
  9. MCEL conference – Melissa would like to attend the MCEL conference during the MEA break in October.  The cost is $275.  Kari made a motion to send Melissa to MCEL and pay the $275 fee.  Bill seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  10. Trustees Financial Summary Report 2016-17 – Marilyn presented the board with the Trustees’ Financial Summary report for 2016-17.  She explained to the board that this is a report of where we received money for 2016-2017 and how it was spent. After reviewing the report, Kari made a motion to accept the 2016-17 Trustees’ Financial Summary report.  Sarah seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  11. Final Budget Report 2017-18 – Marilyn presented the board the final budget report for 2017-18.  Marilyn explained that there is money that we will not be receiving due to SB261.  Melissa stated that it is recommended that we keep our highest budgeted amount, we just won’t have all of the money to spend.  It is similar to a district having protested taxes.  Marilyn also explained that one requirement of SB307 was that we need to report increases or decreases in the mills of the permissive levies.  She then explained that our transportation permissive levy will be decreasing by $2540, 1.42 mills from last year.  Also, our tuition permissive levy will be increasing by $9350.76, 5.22 mills from last year due to a student in the district attending Yellowstone Academy and more students from our district that are attending Shepherd Junior High.  Last year, the actual amount paid to Shepherd was $5800.  We were sent a list of 27 kids on it this year times $200 each.  This is $5400, so we budgeted for $6000.  She went on to explain that SB307 requires that we review the deficiency report conducted by OIP in 2007.  We must fix the projects labeled as 1’s, 2’s and 3’s before spending the money from the permissive building reserve fund.  After fixing these deficiencies, we must conduct a new report to make sure we have no other areas of concern before spending the building reserve fund on other projects.  OPI is still determining who can conduct the inspections for the new report.  After reviewing the report, Sarah made a motion to accept the 2017-18 final budget report.  Kari seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried



The clerk presented claims warrants numbered 20881 through 20890 in the amount of $8057.52, and the payroll warrants numbered 8953 in the amount of $2835.98.  The ACH and Direct deposits were included in the amount. The clerk presented the trial balance sheets for each fund and a monthly report stating each line item YTD and budget balance remaining for the each fund.  After review of the report, Kari moved to approve the financial reports. Sarah seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.






  1. We received a report on our Thomas bus maintenance suggestions. It was decided this should be given to Owen’s to determine if these items need to be looked at.
  2. The results for the lead and copper testing were reviewed. They all came back negative for lead and copper.  The Water Lab will be here to do the regular water testing shortly after school starts.



A motion was made by Kari Jones to adjourn the meeting. Sarah O’Brien seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; motion carried.  The meeting ended at 8:30 pm.  The next scheduled regular meeting is Monday, September 11, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in Room 105 of the main building.




Attest: __________________________     SIGNED: ____________________________

Bill Bullard, Board Chairperson

DATE: _________________________