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Special Board Meeting Minutes April 4, 2017

Special Meeting Minutes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April 4, 2017

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

TIME:             4:00 p.m.

PLACE:          Pioneer School, Main Building, 3rd/4th grade Class Room

MEMBERS    Brad Zink, Trustee

PRESENT:      Kari Jones, Trustee

Bill Bullard, Trustee


ABSENT:       None

CLERK:          Han Boon Lee

ADMIN:         Melissa Schnitzmeier

STAFF:           Jami Burns, Karissa Gordon, Emily Fanus, Eva Ticknor, Connie Russell, Jennifer Painter and Marilyn Michael arrived at 3:30 pm

VISITORS:     None

GUESTS:        None


Trustee, Brad Zink called the meeting of the trustees of Pioneer Elementary School District #41 to order in 5th/6th grade Room of the old building, Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 3:30 pm.  Trustee, Brad Zink welcomed all those attending.  Trustee, Brad Zink read the Montana Law about public meetings.

  1. MINUTE APPROVAL: Tabled to April 10, 2017
  1.  NONE


  1. DEPARTMENTALIZING/SCHEDULE – To begin the discussion of departmentalization of class, the board explained that they want to make sure what is being done is best for the students. Bill felt he wanted to hear all the information to help know what is best.  Eva explained that there are pros & cons.  One of the pros is the arrangement would separate some behavior issues that are now in combined classes.  One con to the proposed schedule is that Connie would not be doing her own Special Education and Title I.  Han explained that Connie is paid through state sp-ed fund and coop federal grant for Special Education for 4 hours, Title IA grant to pay her 3 hours of Title IA, so she should be teaching those classes.  Melissa stated that as long as Connie facilitates the lesson plans, an aide or the teacher could handle the students.  Kari asked if the Special Education students or the regular ed students would be being shorted if Connie were teaching a regular class?  Bill asked the teachers to describe what would take place in their class now compared to departmentalizing the classes.  The teachers describes the differences.  Emily stated that a big reason is to separate some of the behavior students that are in some of the combo classes.  If these classes were doing separate things throughout the day, they would not be together.  Kari asked the teachers to vote yea or nay if they were for or against departmentalizing and if they would tweak anything on the possible schedule.  Eva said she would say yea, however her tweak would be that Melissa would need to be utilized more.  Jami explained she feels the Special Ed and Title I teacher should be the one teaching Special Education as that is what they are trained and hired to do. Karissa agreed with this and agreed that Melissa should be facilitating the lessons.  Melissa explained that she feels her students have not received the attention they should have due to having to deal with behavior issues.  Karissa stated that with departmentalization, it is supposed to help the behaviors, so Melissa should not be needed as often for behaviors so Karissa explained she feels we need to pick a scenario that we will assume will most help the kids.  Marilyn stated that she could not say which way would be best, however, we need to listen to Han when it comes to the money to pay for these things.  We do not have unlimited resources.  It would be wonderful to have Melissa full time and have aides, etc, but if there isn’t money there isn’t money.  We cannot spend more than we have been given for the budget.  Bill asked if there were no behavior issues would we be talking about departmentalizing?  Jennifer explained that in a previous teaching position, she taught several grades and ELA and math are both big responsibilities and separating them is beneficial to service the students.  Kari thank the staff for their comments and their passion.  Karissa stated that collaboration would be very important and a lot of tweaking would be needed to the schedules.  Melissa presented 3 possible schedules, 2 with departmentalizing and 1 without.  These schedules were looked at.  The one with no departmentalizing was taken out as staff seems to agree departmentalizing with some tweaking would be better.  No decisions were made on the departmentalizing or schedules.
  2. BUDGET REVIEW – Han explained that the budget is going to be short. Kari had questions about the master contract.  Han explained the base salary times “steps and lanes” that the teachers’ pay is based on.  Steps and lanes rate goes up with teacher’s years of working. At this time the teachers are in a 3 year contract.  This contract gave teachers a 3% raise the first year, 2% the second year and a 1% the third year.  After the third year, the contract will be renegotiated.  This contract was signed in May 2016.  Leave policies, prep time, etc are also detailed in the contract.  Brad explained that one way to find more money would be to get rid of stipends.  Kari said she would not like to take away the stipends and expect people to still do these extra duties.  Bill stated he would only agree to this as a last resort.
  3. GT POSTION – Staff has looked at the GT program and would like to keep it but feel it needs a face lift. Melissa will try to take some courses this summer to get more information and hopefully more consistency.  Jami stated she has taught GT off and on for 9 of her years here and it is a good program.  We have always had many students in it because our kids do well.


  1. Bill stated at this time he is in favor of departmentalization and he asked the staff to get the tweaks worked out to make a schedule that will work for everyone.
  2. Bill stated that the news release he did was not picked up by the Billings Gazette or the Yellowstone County News. Jami stated that she did send the YCN the pictures from Jump Rope for Heart.  She will contact YCN about the press release.  Letters to the editor could be written in support of our mill levy.
  3. If no candidate is found within 90 days of the election, the County Superintendent would have to appoint someone. It was asked if the Superintendent has to find someone, would they have to live in the district.  Han was quite sure they would but said she will try to find out.


A motion was made by Bill Bullard to adjourn the meeting. Kari Jones seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; motion carried.  The meeting ended at 5:15 pm.  The next scheduled regular meeting is Monday, April 10, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in the Room 105 of the main building.


Attest: __________________________     SIGNED: ____________________________

Brad Zink, Board Chairperson


DATE: ____4/10/2017_____________