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Regular Board Meeting Minutes from March 20, 2018

Old School House Illustration for 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 20, 2018

Presented for Approval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April 9, 2018


DATE:                        March 20, 2018

TIME:             5:00 p.m.

PLACE:          Pioneer School, Main Building, Room 106

MEMBERS    Bill Bullard, Chairperson

PRESENT:      Kari Jones, Trustee

Sarah O’Brien, Trustee


ABSENT:       None

CLERK:          Marilyn Michael

ADMIN:         Melissa Schnitzmeier

STAFF:           Taylor Eissinger, Connie Russell, Dylan McDermott and Alisa Rau arrived at 5:00. Dylan left at 7:37, Taylor and Connie left at 7:40, Alisa left at 8:05,

VISITORS:     Jody Goddard arrived at 5:00 pm, left at 7:30.  Krystle Henry arrived at 5:15, left at 8:30, Paula Tokarski arrived at 5:45, left at 7:30

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, March 20, 2018 at 5:00 pm.  Trustee, Bill Bullard welcomed all those attending.  Trustee, Bill Bullard read the Montana Law about public meetings.  Bill also explained that he would be invoking new more orderly ways to run the meeting. If the people attending the meeting would like to speak, they will need to wait to be called on by the board chair.

  1. MINUTE APPROVAL: Sarah O’Brien made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of February 12, 2018.  Kari Jones seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  • Staff Shout-Outs
    • Jerica & Dylan for helping put on another amazing Science Fair
    • Taylor & Jami for helping to figure out our schedule for 2018-19
    • Connie for putting on another incredible Book Fair
    • Alisa, Connie & Taylor for jumping on & joining our Title I Committee
    • Dylan for taking the lead on Pennies for Patients
  • District Happenings
    • Preliminary Budget Total (attached)
    • Snow Day – May 7th Proposed
    • 4th Grade Science CRT’s completed
    • First Annual Sled for PE day was 3/11
    • 32nd Annual Science Fair 3/15
      • K – 3 Winners – 1st Place – Madyson Schnitzmeier, 2nd Place Dylan Krieger, 3rd Place – Zachary Wyman
      • 4- 6 Winners – 1st Place – Teagon Kelsey, 2nd Place Laci Johnson, 3rd Place Kara Johnson
      • Overall Grand Prize Winner – Olivia Krieger
    • Run, Hide, Fight Training through BPD for Staff – 4/11/2018 @ 2:40 pm
    • Bethany McDermott was able to put me in contact with Janelle Slade at Q2. They will be covering a story on our little school! I will keep you apprised of what about and when!
  • Upcoming
    • Contract Renewal/Non-Renewal Recommendations Ready in April
    • Tri-District SPED Preschool Agreement – Negotiations Underway
  • Reports & Grants
    • Schoolwide Title I Intent Submitted
    • Title I Audit – Submitted
    • REAP Grant – Submitted



  •  SECRETARY/CLERK – Marilyn reported to the board that she is getting all reports done on time however, she feels there is still not enough time to be spending more learning about some of the clerk job such as budgets.  There is still overtime every month due to board meetings. She is anticipating having to work extra hours at the end of the school year due to secretary reports that must be done, plus many clerk duties that also will fall at the same time.  She feels that combining these two jobs may not have been a good idea. She understands that there is not money to split these two jobs again however wants the board to be aware of this situation for discussion during her evaluation time.  She stated that paying a clerk would cost a lot more than she is being paid as she is $17 per hour and Han was making $27. Marilyn was making $15.50 as secretary alone.
  • NEW BUS – Marilyn explained that Cindy was able to get trade in values from all three school bus dealers.  Blue Bird offered $7000, Thomas offered $3500 and International originally offered $4500, but upped it to $7200.  This would make the total bus cost for the International the lowest bid at $93,708.16.  Kari made a motion to accept the bid of $93,708.16 from International.  Sarah seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  • POLICY REVIEWS – Melissa presented a revised version of Policy 3141 and also Policy 3125F. 3125F is a policy that Melissa found out that we are required to have regarding McKinney-Vento Homeless Education while preparing the Title I Audit.  Marilyn asked if the Out of District Student Application has been revised to match the policy changes in 3141.  Melissa said she will get this done and have it ready for approval at the next meeting.  Kari made a motion to adopt Policies 3141 and 3125F.  Sarah seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  • POSITIVE PR FOR SCHOOL – Kari gave a report on the May 11th Panther Party. She has 6 vendors committed. She is contacting food trucks to see if they would be interested. It has been discussed that possibly GT could make posters for the vendors. She suggested flyers could be made to get the word out. Some games that could be possible are Twister, obstacle course, etc. Sarah added that the Tint Factory has a Back to the Future car that they might bring out.  The discussion then went to concerns about the relationship between staff and PTA.  PTA has concerns that they are just viewed as a checkbook. Jody Goddard requested that if staff would like PTA to pay for something that they get their request in two weeks before the PTA meeting so it can be on the agenda.  The discussion went on with several ideas of things that could make the relationship better.  Bill explained that if someone has a problem with a certain staff member, they must follow the chain of command starting with speaking to the staff member first to try to resolve the issue.  The next step would be to get the principal involved. If there is still no satisfaction, they could request to be on the agenda for a board meeting at which time the concern could be addressed in closed session if necessary.  Bill went on to explain that the School Board has no jurisdiction over PTA or its officers. If they have issues, they need to resolve them at a PTA meeting.
  • TITLE I AUDIT – Melissa reported that she has submitted the Title I Audit.
  • SAFETY CONCERNS – Bill explained that at the previous meeting concerns about safety for our school were discussed.  Sarah spoke to her brother who is a Highway Patrol officers with extensive training in Texas. She gave him a video tour of the school to get his suggestions. He suggested that the main point of contact should be in the building that doesn’t hold the students if possible.  He also suggested have a fence attached to the fronts of both buildings to make it more difficult to for someone to get to the students. He explained that schools in Texas received grants from Homeland Security to pay for safety issue upgrades. Sarah also reported that she met with gentlemen from Johnson Security. They suggested in place of adding safety glass, we could add safety film to the windows that is shatter resistant.  The Tint Factory in Billings carries and can install this.  The normal price for this is $10 per square foot but for school’s they would do it for $3 per square foot. New doors would be needed as the current ones are not the recommended kind as they could be chained together to stop people from being able to get out.  The buzzer/camera system would cost approximately $3000 per door. Kenco’s cost was between $5000 and $8000 per door.  Sarah is waiting on a quote from another company also. Bill asked to clarify that the four most important concerns are 1. Buzzer/Camera System 2. Fence 3. Moving the first point of entry 4 Window Film.  The first step would be to get estimates on doors, film for the windows and whether to move the office or not.  Bill felt a committee should be formed with Sarah taking the lead with a staff member and an outside person. Taylor Eissinger volunteered to be the staff member involved.  Melissa submitted her recommendations which were:
    • As per officer recommendation, a fence is built around the schools’ perimeter from the face of the buildings back which would completely enclose the playground and allow for students to navigate between both buildings behind a secure fence.
    • Two Options:
      • 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.
      • 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.

This item will need more discussion and information.  Kari made a motion to table this as more information is gathered.  Sarah seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.

  1. ADMINISTRATOR LEAVE – This was discussed along with the Administrator Contract in New Business.
  2. K – 8 DISCUSSION – Marilyn expressed concerns about how we will pay for having K – 8th grade.  Budget amendments were discussed at the clerk lunch and it was stated that if we do not meet the number of students reported in the budget amendment, OPI will take all of the funding back that is beyond our current ANB.  District 2 is having this happen now.  She explained that if we sign contracts for the current teachers, we have to pay them which could leave funds short for paying other bills. Melissa explained that we can use Flex fund where we have $42,000 at this time. What was levied on our taxpayers would be made up for in the 19-20 school year budget. We could use Reserves in a worst case scenario.  Melissa is working on the scheduling with other staff members.  She also presented her potential numbers for next year with all students remaining. In this scenario, the number would add up to 61. Krystle Henry asked questions about if more staff would be hired to handle extra grades. It was explained that more staff would not be hired but that the most classrooms that would be combined would be 2 grades together. Krystle stated that it would be a good idea to explain this as she had different feelings when she found out there would not be more staff added.  Kari made a motion to table the K – 8 discussion as more information is gathered.  Sarah seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.




  1. SCHOOL FINANCE EXPLANATION – Sarah made a motion to table this. Kari seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  2. SNOW DAY MAKE UP – Melissa explained that May 7 is a PIR day. It is her recommendation to hold school on May 7th to make up the hours we need from our snow days. The PIR day would then be moved to May 30th after school gets out to ensure having 7 PIR days. Kari made a motion to make up the snow day on May 7th and hold the PIR day on May 30th. Sarah seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  3. KOUNTRY KARE/BUS – It was reported that our bus was not going to be allowed to drop kids off at Kountry Kare next year.  Melissa spoke with Mandy Berens the owner of Kountry Kare to see what the issue is that would lead to this decision.  She was told that they are not informed if one of the kids attending Kountry Kare is not coming and that sometimes their staff is having to wait for 20 or more minutes for our bus to come. As an attempt to help this and persuade Kountry Kare to allow students to get off our bus at Kountry Kare, Melissa told Mandy that we would be willing to send them a text if any students going to Kountry Kare were not in school or did not ride the bus. Marilyn has spoken to Cindy about this and she is arriving at Kountry Kare within a 5 – 10 minute time frame, but the time is rarely off by more than a couple minutes. Melissa will continue to work with them.
  4. PRELIMINARY 2018-19 CALENDAR – Melissa presented the calendar for the 2018-19 school year that was most favored by staff.  She has built in 2 snow days plus has the Thursday before Easter break as a potential make up day if there is more than 2 snow days. If there is not snow days to make up, it would be a vacation day for a 5 day Easter break.  Sarah made a motion to adopt the 2018-19 calendar. Bill seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  5. PRELIMINARY BUDGET INFORMATION – Melissa presented preliminary budget information based on the actual ANB count and also on if she proceeds with a budget amendment to accommodate 7th & 8th grade.

PIONEER SCHOOL RESOLUTION UNDER SB307 – SB307 provides school districts with  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 March 31, 2018, 2017.  Melissa presented her recommendations for the permissive levies that we will need for 2018-19. She stated that we should plan on $16,000 for our tuition fund as we have not finalized an agreement for our share of the Special Preschool, plus Marilyn stated that we should plan enough for paying Shepherd for 7th & 8th grade in case it is decided not to have 7th & 8th grade at Pioneer. Melissa agreed as we can change these numbers when the budget is formally adopted. It was also discussed how much to ask for in the Building Reserve area. We can designate this to address safety issues and use it to pay for the upgrades that we plan to do.  Sarah moved to approve having the advertisement placed to show Pioneer School is authorized to impose these levies including the permissive levy for building reserve funds for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018.  Kari seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.                                                   Pioneer School District #41                                                                                                          

Resolution Under SB 307

Resolution of Intent to Impose an Increase in Levies


At the regular meeting of the Pioneer Elementary School Board of Trustees on Tuesday, March 20 2018 the following resolution was passed:

Sarah O’Brien moved the following resolution:

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, 2018, 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 $(23,588) decrease (0.01) decrease $(0.01) decrease $(0.02) decrease
Tuition $ (525) decrease ( 0.25)  decrease $(0.34)  decrease $(0.68) decrease
Building Reserve $ (692) decrease  0.05   increase $0.07 increase $0.14 increase
Total $ (22,6775) decrease (0.21) decrease $(0.28 ) decrease $(0.56)  decrease


Impacts above are based on current certified taxable valuations from the current fiscal school year. Regarding the increase in the building reserve levy referenced above, the following are school facility safety upgrades anticipated to be completed at this time.


The above figures are estimates only. Accurate numbers for ending fund balance, reserves, and re-appropriation, all of which affect permissive tax levy is after June 30, 2018. Taxable value for the FY 2018 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, 2018.


  1. ELECTION – Marilyn explained that the board needs to decide if and how much to ask for the mill levy. Without the mill levy, our budget is down $15,048.56 from 2017-18. Melissa stated that she has been told that you always want to ask for the mill levy if you can. The amount we can ask for is for a General mill levy is $18,367.15, which is 10.26 mill, $100,000/$13.85, $200,000/$27.70.  Kari made a motion to approve a mill levy request for $18,367.15.  Sarah seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  2. ADMINISTRATOR CONTRACT – Melissa presented a contract for a Superintendent with Principal Duties that she received from MTSBA. There are several areas that will need to be addressed and filled in but she wanted the board to be able to look it over.  Bill asked Melissa if she was waiving her right to a closed session to which she stated that yes, she was waiving that right at this time.  Administrator leave on old business was also discussed during this time.  Melissa explained that most administrators have some comp time as they normally work more than 40 hours per week. This allows them to leave for brief periods of time as needed without having to take leave time. This will be in the contract for 2018-19 however it is not in her contract for 2017-18.  She requested that an amendment be made to her contract to allow for a fixed salary for fluctuating hours as noted in ARM 24.16.2512.  Sarah made a motion to amend Melissa’s contract to include a paragraph stating that Melissa would be allowed a fixed salary for fluctuating hours as noted in ARM 24.16.2512.  Kari seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.




The clerk presented claims warrants numbered 21011 through 21033 in the amount of $5619.93, and the payroll warrants numbered 8980 in the amount of $36,253.96.  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. Sarah O’Brien seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.





  1. ASCD Envelope addressed to Bill Bullard
  2. MT-PEC Brochure addressed to Bill Bullard
  3. Weekly Agendas for February 19 through March 23
  4. March Newsletter


  1. Sarah expressed interest in attending the MTSBA Budget Symposium to be held at Lockwood on Monday, March 26th. The cost is $125. There is money for board members to attend these conferences. Kari and Bill both agreed this would be a good idea.  Melissa said she would help Sarah get registered.




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 8:40 pm.  The next scheduled regular meeting is Monday, April 9, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in Room 106 of the main building.




Attest: __________________________     SIGNED: ____________________________

Bill Bullard, Board Chairperson

DATE: _________________________