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Regular Board Meeting Minutes from April 9, 2018

Pioneer Board Meeting Minutes Schoolhouse HeaderPioneer 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April 9, 2018

Presented for Approval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  May 14, 2018

DATE:                        April 9, 2018

TIME:             6:00 p.m.

PLACE:          Pioneer School, Main Building, Room 106

MEMBERS    Bill Bullard, Chairperson

PRESENT:      Kari Jones, Trustee (via FaceTime) ended at 8:20

Sarah O’Brien, Trustee



ABSENT:       None


CLERK:          Marilyn Michael


ADMIN:         Melissa Schnitzmeier


STAFF:           Connie Russell arrived at 6:00 pm, left at 8:25 pm


VISITORS:     None


GUESTS:        None






Trustee, Bill Bullard called the meeting of the trustees of Pioneer Elementary School District #41 to order in Room 106 of the main building, Monday, April 9, 2018 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 March 20, 2018.  Bill Bullard seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.




  • Staff Shout outs:
    • Taylor Eissinger – Quickly stepping into a PTA position to ensure and sustain our home to school connection!
    • Panther Team – Showed a wonderful amount of teamwork by offering to assist Taylor in whatever way possible.
  • District Happenings:
    • Laci Johnson nominated by Ms. Schatz for this years’ Principal Leadership Award! Luncheon will take place on April 19th.  Laci Johnson was nominated for the Leadership Award because she has shown academic excellence and leadership. She does her best on all assignments and strives to maintain a high academic standard. She pays close attention to details and makes sure that her daily work is not only accurate, but also meticulously neat and of the utmost quality. She excels in all subject areas. Laci goes above and beyond on her assignments pushing herself to do her best on all her work. She regularly completes more work than is asked of her. Her work ethic and focus on doing well sets a positive example for her peers. Laci is respectful, responsible and reliable. She is always ready to learn, well prepared, and self-motivated. She has volunteered to work with students in the younger grades. Laci has been reading with Kindergarten students weekly most of the year. She has also helped prepare and present a lesson on some of the school values for the younger students. All my students have come to see her as an example of a model student. She truly leads by quiet example. She should be proud of herself and her accomplishments. I thank her for her efforts this year and I can’t wait to see what she does with her tremendous talents.
    • Connie attended the Title I Conference in Helena & is not our certified Homeless Liaison
    • Melissa & Marilyn attended MASBO Budget Conferences
    • Upcoming:
      • 4/11 – Run, Hide, Fight training for Staff
      • 4/13 – Jump Rope for Heart
      • 4/17 – Kindergarten Roundup – 3:#0 – 4:30
      • 4/19 – Principals’ Luncheon
      • 4/23 – 4/27 – Smarter Balanced Assessments
  • Administrative Tasks
    • Classrooms assignments will be announced to teachers this month
    • Summative evaluation conferences held the first weeks of May
    • 18-19
    • Budget
  • Reports & Grants
    • N/A




  1. School Finance Explanation – Melissa presented an explanation about school finance, different funds and where the money comes from and what different things a school can do with money within each fund.
  2. Secretary/Clerk Position – Bill explained that he had spoken to Marilyn about her concerns with the combined position. He stated that Marilyn’s concerns stemmed most from compensation and working overtime quite often. He had asked if the compensation were changed would she be able to continue doing both jobs. Marilyn explained that at this time, with consideration for a plan to pay the overtime that she is working every month due to board meetings and other things that come up, plus the possibility of needing to work more than 5 hours per day the last 2 weeks in June, she felt she would be able to continue doing both jobs. She would also like to see the job change for the coming year to be up to 8 hours per day during the summer months as she is new and does not know how many hours the job requirements will take.  At this time, Bill asked for Melissa to present a recommendation.  Melissa stated that she feels Marilyn needs to be compensated for overtime worked. She recommended raising Marilyn’s salary to $18 per hour plus compensation for overtime as needed or to go to a salary pay. Marilyn explained that salaried employees must be paid overtime also unless they are in a supervisory position. Kari confirmed this. Marilyn stated she felt the easiest way would be to do the hourly wage and explained that she would keep overtime to a minimum. Kari made a motion to raise Marilyn’s salary to $18 per hour with overtime paid for hours worked over 40 per week. Sarah seconded the motion. Bill asked if we were ready to make this a permanent position and no longer be two positions. Kari amended her motion to include as of July 1st, the Secretary/Clerk position will be a permanent positon. Sarah seconded the motion to amend the original motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.  Sarah made a motion to amend Marilyn’s contract to allow Marilyn to work up to 8 hours for the last 2 weeks of June instead of the previously agreed upon 5 hours. Kari seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  3. New Bus Information – Marilyn explained that Cindy had sent a picture of the lettering on the old bus for the new bus. She also was sent a diagram of camera placement which is similar to the installation in the old bus, so she had told them that diagram was good.
  4. Policy Reviews – Melissa presented an updated version of the non-resident student application to match the policy revision approved at the last meeting. Kari made a motion to adopt the new non-resident student application. Sarah seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.  Marilyn explained that when speaking to our insurance which is through MTSBA, she was told we should revise our Facility Use Agreement to include a statement saying “Said certificate shall contain a provision that the insurer not cancel or refuse to renew without giving the District written notice at least 10 days before the effective date of the cancellation or non-renewal.” No other changes were recommended.  Kari moved to adopt the new Facility Use Agreement – Policy 4330.  Sarah seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  5. Safety Concerns – Bill asked Sarah when the Safety Committee would like to present recommendations.  Sarah stated they would like to present them at the May meeting.  Marilyn explained that she had some concerns with the 2 possibilities that Melissa presented at the last meeting and asked if she could present them so Sarah & her committee could consider them.                                                                                                               Admin Suggestion 1:

Secretary/Clerk moves to the white building utilizing the current administrator office and the two rooms off to the side. A video/buzz in system is installed on the white building and it is locked down. Parents check in at the white building before being let into the brick building.

My Concerns:

  1. There is no phone in that room, plus no answering machine & fax machine ability unless several thousand is spent on a new phone system. Where will this money come from? Phone lines come into this building into the office & are mounted on the wall along with the internet switch with all the wires that provide internet to the school.
  2. S does not get a sub. Who will be here to help with sick kids, copies, etc and the other things that students and teachers need secretary assistance on throughout the day.
  3. If Mrs. S is in a conference with a parent or handling a student – door to office would be shut which means teachers couldn’t make copies, check mail boxes, laminate, etc. No one would be available to help with student emergencies like sickness, temperature taking, bandaids. This is also the teachers’ lunch room, what if a problem with a student or need to meet with a parent occurred during the teachers’ lunch times? As several of them have lunch duty, this could make it so they did not get their designated lunch break.


Admin Suggestion 2:

Teachers’ lounge is moved to the white building utilizing room 101. A video/buzz in system is installed on the brick building and all buildings are locked down. This move would require some construction as a full wall needs to be present between the secretary & administrator office to ensure staff privacy compliance.

My Concerns:

  1. The teacher’s lounge in the old building would create difficulties for teachers as they need copies several times throughout the day. They send students to the office to get copies when students make a mistake and need a new paper.
  2. This would be a waste of the biggest classroom, if not in the classroom, there is no way everything in the teacher’s lounge would fit in the small room.
  3. Kevin has said that building the wall higher would make it difficult to get to the heater in the office if something ever goes wrong with it, plus where would money come from to do this?


Marilyn explained that she still feesl the best solution for Melissa to be in this building would be to utilize room 103. This is the smallest room in the building. It would provide quiet for times when she is doing her reports, etc, plus privacy when needing to meet with parents or students while allowing the office & teacher’s lounge to remain. No money would have to be spent on changing the phone lines, etc.

The old building classroom would be available for a class – it is the largest class.

Put a buzz-in system in the new building – old building is always locked anyway.

Remind people doing recess that must shut the back door after every recess.  Marilyn also reminded that the money from this years’ SB 307 permissive levy increase is not available until next year, FY19.

  1. K – 8 Discussion – Considerable discussion took place about the pros and cons of going to K – 8 or remaining K – 6. Kari made a motion to be cautious and remain a K – 6 school and go to a full departmentalized schedule.  The motion died due to lack of second.  More discussions took place.  Kari made a motion to move forward with offering K – 8 for the 2018-19 school year.  Sarah seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  2. Administrator Contract – Melissa explained that in adding the statement regarding a fixed salary for fluctuating hours as noted in ARM 24.16.2512 to her current contract, she found that her contract for 2017-18 does not fully describe the duties she has performed this year. She would like to have it revised to fully encompass the principal and superintendent duties that she has been and is performing. Kari made a motion to amend Melissa’s contract to encompass all of the duties that she has been performing during the 2017-18 school year.  Sarah seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  3. Preliminary Budget Information – Melissa recommended this be tabled while we gather more information.  Sarah made a motion to table the preliminary budget information.  Kari seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  4. Options available for payment of Mentorship fees – Melissa recommended that this be table pending more budget information. Kari made a motion to table considering options available for payment of mentorship fees.  Bill seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.





  1. MSSA Agreement – Marilyn presented a contract for the 2018-19 school year for membership with MSSA. This includes the MAPs testing and Professional Development opportunities. Sarah made a motion to approve the contract with MSSA for the 2018-19 school year.  Bill seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  2. Building Use Request – YSA Soccer Team – A local YSA soccer team coached by Crystal McKnight has requested using the field on Thursdays from 5:30 – 6:30 for the duration of the soccer season.  Sarah made a motion to allow the YSA team to use the field from 5:30 – 6:30 on Thursdays for the duration of the soccer season.  Bill seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.  Marilyn will give her a gate key to use and return when the season is over.
  3. Cancellation of Trustee Election – Acclamation – Marilyn informed the board that our Trustee election is cancelled as the number of people running is equal to or less than the number of positions open.  Kari Jones and Sarah O’Brien will be seated at the May meeting.
  4. Sarah to MTSBA Symposium – Sarah attended a MTSBA video symposium on budgeting and school finance.  It is still available for others to watch.
  5. Teacher Resignation – Melissa received a resignation from Jerica Schatz.  Sarah moved to accept Jerica Schatz’s resignation.  Bill seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  6. Contracts – Melissa recommended renewing the contracts of Jami Burns, Alisa Rau, Dylan McDermott, Taylor Eissinger, and Connie Russell.  Kari made a motion to accept renewal of the contracts for Jami Burns, Alisa Rau, Dylan McDermott, Taylor Eissinger and Connie Russell.  Sarah seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  7. Board Agendas – Discussion took place as to who should prepare the board agendas. Marilyn is currently doing these.  It was decided that she would continue to do them.




The clerk presented claims warrants numbered 21034 through 21045 in the amount of $10,741.32, and the payroll warrants numbered 8981 through 8983 in the amount of $39,626.04.  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, Sarah O’Brien moved to approve the financial reports. Bill Bullard seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.





  1. April Newsletter
  2. Weekly Agendas for March 26 through April 13
  3. Fire Inspection Report
  4. Accreditation Status Report





A motion was made by Sarah O’Brien to adjourn the meeting. Bill Bullard seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; motion carried.  The meeting ended at 8:40 pm.  The next scheduled regular meeting is Monday, May 14, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in Room 105 of the main building.




Attest: __________________________     SIGNED: ____________________________

Bill Bullard, Board Chairperson

DATE: _________________________