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Board Meeting Minutes March 20, 2017

Regular Meeting Minutes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 20, 2017

Presented for Approval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . April 10, 2017

DATE:            March 20, 2017

TIME:             6:00 p.m.

PLACE:          Pioneer School, Main Building, Room 105

MEMBERS    Brad Zink, Chairperson

PRESENT:      Bill Bullard, Trustee

Kari Jones, Trustee


ABSENT:       None

CLERK:          Han Lee

ADMIN:         Melissa Schnitzmeier

STAFF:           Marilyn Michael arrived at 6:00 pm

VISITORS:     Riley & Yvonne Kelly arrived at 6:00 pm, left at 7:25

GUESTS:        Steve Woodard from LIFTT arrived at 6:00 pm, left at 6:45


Trustee, Brad Zink called the meeting of the trustees of Pioneer Elementary School District #41 to order in Room 105 of the main building, Monday, March 20, 2017 at 6:00 pm.  Trustee, Brad Zink welcomed all those attending.  Trustee, Brad Zink read the Montana Law about public meetings.

  1. MINUTE APPROVAL: Bill Bullard made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of February 13, 2017.  Kari Jones seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.


  • 4TH Graders took the Science CRT’s 3/13/17 – 3/15/17
  • Spring Barnes & Noble Bookfair brought in just under $1000 for books and supplies
  • New team member (Jennifer) started today
  • Spring evaluations done for tenured staff
    • Non-Tenured staff will receive second eval by mid-April
  • Team is working on 2017-2018 proposed classroom assignments/schedule – attached draft of schedule.
  • Team is discussing pros/cons of the concept of departmentalization to better serve our combination classes – attached.  If we departmentalized the students, K & 1 would remain in self-contained classrooms.  Grades 2 – 6 would rotate to different teachers for different subjects.  The board questioned how this would have positive PR for our school.  Melissa felt it would give the teachers more specialty in their areas which would be beneficial to students.  Riley Kelly asked if this would make it harder to get to know students.  Melissa did not feel this would be an issue. Bill asked how it would help behavior issues.  Melissa stated that this would separate some students that are now together. The board felt a parent meeting should be held to explain the concept and the benefits to parents.  Melissa will set up a parent meeting.
  • Positive PR Flyer/Mill info to be mailed to district – attached
  • We have $1440 in title 1A that can be sued (Connie’s training)
  • Team is experimenting with a science curriculum aligned with Montana’s newly adopted NGSS Science Standards – 3yr/6 yr bids attached
    • TECHBook
      • Fully digital including science labs
      • Compatible with ANY device
      • Also aligns with the CCSS in ELA & Mathematics
      • Unlike traditionally books that become outdated, the TECHBook’s information is updated regularly to ensure the most current information is being taught.
  • Positive letter from Barnes & Noble – attached
  • Thanks to recommendations from a few Panther parents, we’re going to be hatching baby chicks!  Jami is gathering materials needed.
  • I’ve arranged for staff chair massages (with special thanks to Skelly Adkins) on 3/31.  I will help watch classrooms.




  • Science Fair – 3/23 – 5:30 – 7:00
  • School Carnival 4/7


  • Reef fundraiser was a great success!
  • Carnival Sponsors and Info have been posted on the school’s FB page
  1. ADA CONSTRUCTION – Steve Woodard was in attendance from LIFTT.  This is an organization that provides services those with disabilities to live in their communities.  He stated that he did a quick look throughout the school.  His first recommendation would be to have a more thorough assessment done.  There is usually a few for this of approximately $250 – $350, however he stated that he would do it at no charge.  Some items he felt need attention include:
  1. Ramps for accessibility
  2. A stair lift would be needed for the south entrance that you could roll the chair onto.
  3. Restrooms would need an overhaul – a stall would probably have to be removed from each one to make room for a handicap stall.
  4. Door handles would need to be changed
  5. The back door of the new building would need a 31 ft. ramp. He stated that at 30 ft. you need to have a rest area.
  6. He suggested turning the 2 restrooms in the old building into one restroom, which would give space for a diaper changing area.
  7. He stated you would not have to make both buildings compliant however if major renovation (such as a major structural expansion etc) were done, they would both have to be made compliant.
  8. Woodard felt our next step should be to get the larger assessment done which would take 2 – 3 hours. Then perhaps get contractors/plumbers to get bids.

Riley Kelly asked if the costs of tuition are higher than the cost of remodeling.  It was explained that the preschool tuition is approximately $5000 per student.  Mr. Woodard explained that there may be grant with Safe Routes to School available, however the deadline is March 31st.  Kari made a motion to have Mr. Woodard come in and do the larger assessment so we could be more informed in the future.  Bill seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.

  1. STAFF HANDBOOK – All staff members have looked over the staff handbooks.  There have been no further additions or corrections suggested.  Bill made a motion to adopt the Staff Handbook.  Kari seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  2. SCHOOL CALENDAR – 2017-2018 – The possibility of an additional day of early out was discussed.  Melissa explained that it would be used for professional development with the option of going to Shepherd to join in with their PLCs.  Mr. & Mrs. Kelly stated that it may be difficult for parents to find day care for another early out day and also what the younger kids will do during a longer day as it may prove to be very tiring for them.  Melissa explained that staff is working on using structured play times in the afternoons to ease the longer days.  They also questioned if there would ever be the possibility of after school care.  Kari stated that her daughter’s previous school had after school care available for $2.50 per day and maybe it would be possible to use seniors or elementary ed students.  Bill made a motion to approve the 2017-2018 calendar.  Kari seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  3. ELECTION (General mill levy $14,499.88, 8.55 mill, $100,000/$11/54, $200,000/$23.09) – Han explained to the board that the general budget is going to be down approximately $12,000.  Teachers’ salaries go up every year which adds up.  If we ask for a mill levy and it doesn’t pass, next year’s budget would be less $12,000 than this year.  The most we can ask for is $14,499.88.  One suggestion Han made was to make Mr. Wallace’s old position 5 hours with 3 hours of aide time.  Han explained that there are several different funds such as the general fund, the transportation fund, etc.  Riley Kelly asked what happens if the budget is short.  Han explained that staffing reductions is the main way to find more money. Kari made a motion to approve a mill levy request in the amount of $14,499.88.  Bill seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  4. PROMOTING OUR SCHOOL – Bill has written a press release and Melissa has created a flyer showing positive things about our school.  The board can make phone calls, etc but staff cannot.  Han explained that the election office can print mailing labels for all of the voters in our district for about $10.  Melissa will ask PTA if they would help cover the expense of sending out the flyer to the voters.  Riley & Yvonne asked how much this would be.  It was estimated that it was about $200 last time PTA did it.  The Kelly’s said they would pay the $200 if PTA cannot.  Bill will send out the press release that he wrote to the Billings Gazette and the Yellowstone County News.  He suggested the news release be added to the flyer.  Kari wondered if the students could pass out the flyers in their neighborhoods.  Melissa will send out a request asking for help in this way.


  1. CONSIDERATION AND ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION ESTIMATING CHANGES IN REVENUE/MILLS FROM IN REVENES/MILLS FROM TUITION, BUILDING RESERVE, TRANSPORATION AND BUS DEPRECIATON LEVIES FOR SCHOOL FISCAL YEAR– SB307 provides school districts with new nonvoted levy authority for major maintenance and repairs, increased energy efficiency and technology enhancements for school facilities.  The authority is comparable to previously authorized levy authority for bus depreciation, transportation and tuition, in that trustees have the discretion to impose the levy as necessary to cover costs in these areas of a school district’s budget. The boards must adopt a resolution in time to allow it to be published in a paper of general circulation in the district and posted on the district website no later than April 15, 2017.  Han presented a figure in estimated change in revenues and mills for the bus depreciation, transportation, tuition, and building reserve levy increase.

Pioneer School District #41 Resolution Under SB 307

Resolution of Intent to Impose an Increase in Levies

As an essential part of its budgeting process, the Pioneer School Board of Trustees is authorized by law to impose levies to support its budget.  The Pioneer School Board of Trustees estimates the following increases/decreases in revenues and mills for the funds noted below for the next school fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017, using certified taxable valuations from the current school fiscal year as provided to the district:

Fund Supported Estimated Change In Revenues* Estimated Change In Mills* Estimated Impact, Home of $100,000* Estimated Impact, Home of $200,000*
Bus Depreciation $ 0.00  increase/decrease 0 increase/decrease $0.00 increase/decrease $0.00 increase/decrease
Transportation $ 0.00 increase/decrease 0 increase/decrease $0.00 increase/decrease $0.00 increase/decrease
Tuition $ 20,000 increase  11.79  increase $15.92 increase $31.85 increase
Building Reserve $ 16,957 increase  10      increase $13.50 increase $27.00 increase
Total $ 36,957 increase  21.79  increase $23.05 increase $46.11 increase

*impacts above are based on current certified taxable valuations from the current school fiscal year

Regarding the increase in the building reserve levy referenced above, the following are school facility maintenance projects anticipated to be completed at this time:

  1. Repair & paint old building siding
  2. Window Replace
  3. Heating Units Repair/Replace in the Classrooms

The above figures are estimates only.  Accurate numbers for ending fund balance, reserves, and re-appropriation, all of which affect permissive tax levy revenue, are not known until after the fiscal year end books are closed, which is after June 30, 2017.  Taxable value for the FY2018 budgets, which is used to calculate the number of mills needed to generate the tax levy revenue, is not received from the Department of Revenue until August 1, 2017.

Bill moved to approve having the advertisement placed to show Pioneer School is authorized to impose these levies including the new permissive levy for building reserve funds for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017.  Kari seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.

  1. CLERK POSITION REPLACEMENT – Han has suggested that the secretary and clerk position be combined.  This will help save money with her retiring this year.  Brad suggested Melissa take the budget part from the clerk’s duty.  Melissa presented a list of the required reporting who does them from Three Forks School District.  Han explained that clerk job is considered to be the business manager.  Budget is the main part of the business manager’s duty. She went on to explain that after the clerk separates the budget into the different necessary categories, then the clerk would discuss possible changes and if there is flexibility to move any money with Melissa.  Han went through the duty list that Melissa presented and explained who does each of the jobs at Pioneer. MTSBA has told Han budget duty should be stay with the clerk and a principal is not qualified to do the budget.  Bill made a motion to appoint Marilyn to part time clerk and part time secretary position beginning July 1, 2017.  Kari seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.  Discussion then turned to who would supervise the clerk/secretary position.  Han explained that the clerk is appointed to the position by the board, so it should be the board that evaluates the clerk if there is no superintendent and not by a principal.  This will be discussed further along with the duties of the position.

The clerk presented claims warrants numbered 20769 through 20785 in the amount of $6,133.50, and the payroll warrants numbered 8924 through 8928 in the amount of $41,768.71.  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 Jones moved to approve the financial reports. Bill Bullard seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.


MAIL: The following items were read.

  1. RiverStone Health contract – 2017-18 school nurse contract amount is $4,444.  Han told the board that she will sign the contact and send in.


  1. Melissa reported that an incident with a student that was reported to the board is being handled. The student’s schedule has been altered with the knowledge that another incident will make him have to go in front of the board.
  2. When to do classified staff evaluations was discussed. It was decided to try to hold them on April 4th beginning at 4:00 pm.  Han will set up times for the 2 bus drivers, Kevin, Daniel and Marilyn.  The board will also look at a list of stipends at this time.  Brad will check with the union to see if stipends are a union issue.


A motion was made by Kari Jones to adjourn the meeting. Bill Bullard seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; motion carried.  The meeting ended at 8:05 pm.  The next scheduled regular meeting is Monday, January 11, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. in Room 105 of the main building.


Attest: __________________________     SIGNED: ____________________________

Brad Zink, Board Chairperson

DATE: ___04/10/2017_____________