February 6, 2023 Board Meeting Minutes

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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . February 6, 2023

Presented for Approval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 6, 2023


DATE: February 6, 2023


TIME: 4:30 p.m. 


PLACE: Pioneer School, Main Building, Room 106



PRESENT: Colleen Unruh, Trustee  

Wynn Powell, Trustee


ABSENT: Joshua Cantrell, Chairperson


CLERK: Marilyn Michael


ADMIN: Melissa Schnitzmeier


STAFF: Alisa Rau arrived at 4:30 pm. Jami Burns arrived at 4:30 pm via Zoom








Trustee, Colleen Unruh called the meeting of the trustees of Pioneer Elementary School District #41 to order in Room 106 of the main building and via Zoom, Monday, February 6, 2023 at 4:30 pm.  Trustee, Joshua Cantrell welcomed all those attending.  Trustee, Joshua Cantrell read the Montana Law about public meetings.  


  1. Public Comment – None
    1. Weekly agendas for January 16 through February 10
    2. February newsletter
    3. Letter to parents of renewal acceptance

Enrollment: 68



Jami Burns, Taylor Eissinger, Alisa Rau, and myself are headed to the MCEC Conference February 22nd – February 24th. 

February’s PIR Day is scheduled for February 13th. The morning will consist of a virtual training with Better Lesson on the topic of using data to differentiate small group instruction. The afternoon will be a team building event in which the staff will engage in an Escape Room activity.

Community Outreach

Raelynn Melber will be hosting adult education classes centered around Trauma Informed Parenting. February’s class is scheduled for Thursday, February 16th from 5:30 – 6:30 pm.

We’re excited to once again be hosting our Pancake Breakfast Friday, February 17th. Alisa Rau and Raelynn Melber are taking the lead on this event. 

Our Scholastic Book Fair will be hosted this Thursday, February 9th and we expect KTVQ on campus with volunteers.

Outdoor Education and Dover Park

Staff will be meeting with Carolyn Sevier on the 15th of this month to discuss our winter ventures into the park. In addition, we will begin making our way through the Green School’s application process. Once certified, Pioneer School will be the first certified green school in Montana. 


The Montana School Portable Air Cleaner Program has granted us portable air purifiers for each classroom and common area. These portable air purifiers will work to improve our indoor air quality and air circulation as a mitigation measure for COVID-19 and other harmful particles: Cold & Flu germs, pollen, dust, mold spores and more. Better health means a better learning environment.

I’ve also applied for a MEEA mini grant of $500. These funds can be used for a variety of projects like creating a student-run wildlife habitat or funding a visit to a local state park. 

The concept paper for Renew America’s School’s grant has been submitted. The District applied for 2.6 million dollars to replace the existing building with a more energy efficient structure. Amanda from StoneRock Business Solutions will begin walking me through the grant process this week. 

Building Maintenance

The facilities assessment has been updated to reflect our most current building needs including heating units in the white building to prevent frozen pipes. I am in the process of soliciting bids for multiple projects. 




  1. MINUTE APPROVALRegular minutes of January 10, 2023 and special meeting minutes from January 30, 2023
  2. January Warrants #22116 – #22131 Claims total $10,209.37; Warrants #9160 – #9162 Payroll including ACH & Direct Deposit total $59,476.28
  3. Expenditure Reports – January 2023


Wynn Powell made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Colleen seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried




  1. Building Maintenance – 
    1. Bids for Blacktop resealing – Melissa is waiting on bids for this project.
    2. Bids for Brick resealing – Melissa is waiting on bids for this project.
    3. Playground – maintenance/inspection – Melissa explained that we can have Annette Satterly come and inspect our playground. She has told Melissa that there is no timeline on when recommended repairs would need to be made however if someone
    4. Lunchroom Floor – Melissa is waiting on bids for this project.
  2. Safety Enhancements – 
    1. Bids for Door Lock Replacement – Melissa received a bid from Mountain Alarm for new classroom door security. This would include the ability for Melissa to lock all doors from her office. The cost would be $14,539.25. She is waiting on a bid for just replacing the locks and possibly the doors, if necessary, from a locksmith. 
  3. Spring ANB Count – Melissa reported that today is our count day, she has more to do on the report, however the student count for the Spring is 68. The report will be completed and submitted to OPI tomorrow. A copy of the submitted report will be presented at the March meeting.
  4. Audit Requirements 22-23 – Marilyn reported that she received an email from Brian Van Steeland with Summers-McNea regarding the need for an audit in 22-23. He explained the requirements for an audit and feels that we may go back to only needing a review if our revenue is under $750,000. If it is over $750,000, schools our size generally do 2-year audits, so we would not be due for one after 22-23. 
  5. Election Contract with Yellowstone County – Yellowstone County has a new election administrator, Ginger Aldrich. She would like each school to sign an agreement for the County to conduct our elections. Marilyn attended a meeting this afternoon for the clerks in Yellowstone County to go over some of the points of the agreement. At this meeting, Ginger Aldrich and the clerks agreed to some changes in the agreement. Marilyn presented the updated contract for the board to look over and sign if approved. After review of the agreement, Wynn made a motion to approve the contract with the Yellowstone County Election Office. Colleen seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  6. Bond Effort – Melissa explained that due to the grant she is working on, she would recommend waiting until November or possibly next May to try to run the bond again.
  7. District Strategic Discussion & Planning – 
    1. 4 Day Week Discussion – The 4-day week was discussed. Melissa explained that if the board approves this move, the next step would be to start meeting with the union to either re-open the contract or create an amendment to implement the 4-day week. This would entail discussions on the calendar and hours worked by certified staff. Melissa went on to explain that she cannot create a calendar and schedules until this decision is made. She feels that the overall response from community surveys has been positive. Marilyn stated that one concern is our bus driver as she would stand to lose quite a bit with no routes on Fridays. Melissa will visit with Cindy regarding the 4-day week and what her concerns would be and how we could make adjustments to her hours and/or salary. Colleen stated that she would feel better making this decision with the full board in attendance, Wynn agreed. This was tabled until the March meeting.



A motion was made by Wynn Powell to adjourn the meeting. Colleen Unruh seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; motion carried.  The meeting ended at 5:30 pm.  The next scheduled regular meeting is Monday, March 6, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. in Room 106 of the main building and via Zoom. 




Attest: __________________________     SIGNED: ____________________________

          Joshua Cantrell, Board Chairperson

DATE: _________________________