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January 9, 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . January 9, 2023

Presented for Approval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  February 6, 2023


DATE: January 9, 2023


TIME: 4:30 p.m. 


PLACE: Pioneer School, Main Building, Room 106


MEMBERS Joshua Cantrell, Chairperson

PRESENT: Colleen Unruh, Trustee via Zoom  

Wynn Powell, Trustee




CLERK: Marilyn Michael


ADMIN: Melissa Schnitzmeier


STAFF: Jami Burns, Alisa Rau & Raelynn Melber arrived at 4:30 pm. Taylor Eissinger arrived via Zoom at 4:30 pm



GUESTS:  Kennedee Blankenship, Alex Ator, Darryl Gove, Katy Rausch, & Denyse Vanek from Roberts School arrived at 5:30 pm.





Trustee, Joshua Cantrell 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, January 9, 2023 at 4:37 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 November 21, 2022 through January 13, 2023
    2. Newsletters from December 2022, January 2023

Enrollment: 69



Trimester 2 Midterms are headed home this Wednesday and our winter NWEA MAPS assessment will run January 16th – January 20th. 

Jami Burns, Taylor Eissinger, Alisa Rau, and myself are headed to the MCEC Conference February 22nd – February 24th.  There are several areas of focus within this conference spanning from Special Education to MTSS. 

Raelynn Melber will be hosting adult education classes centered around Trauma Informed Parenting. January’s class is scheduled for Thursday, January 19th from 5:30 – 6:30 pm. We are very excited for the opportunity to offer adult education courses centered around this topic and we look forward to our community taking advantage of this free opportunity. 

The WIDA assessment window is open and our district assessments will run this week and next. 

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

Our website is currently down. I am working to reach Pat Whitmer our website creator to assist in getting it back up and running as quickly as possible. 

We’re excited to once again be hosting our Chili Cook-Off on January 24th. Alisa Rau and Ms. Kellie are planning the event together and it should prove to be another fantastic event! 

We’ve once again been chosen for KTVQ and the Howard Scripps Foundation’s Give a Child a Book Campaign. Our Scholastic Book Fair will run the week of February 6th. Each Panther student will receive 6 free books this year. 

Outdoor Education and Dover Park

Our GT and Outdoor Education Coordinator McKayla Montgomery is working with staff to schedule grade level trips into the field. These will be announced at a later date. The fence posts that were painted by the students will be stored until this spring and will then be sealed and hung on the back fence. 


There is a new federal grant opportunity that I am working on. The Renew America’s Schools grant is a K-12 a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that offers funding for energy improvements, lowering utility costs, and fostering healthier learning environments for students.  I reached out to Bill with Collaborative Designs for some assistance/feedback on the grant application. 

Legislative Updates

Attached is information from Montana Quality Education Coalition (MQEC) and the Coalition of Advocates for Montana’s Public Schools (CAMPS) regarding some of the key bills they are monitoring during this legislative session. I am watching LC732 closely.


Building Maintenance

Mr. Maddox has installed carbon monoxide detectors on campus specifically in the brick building. In addition, a new door stop will be installed on the entrance to the brick building allowing the door to be propped as students/staff/community enter the building through the metal detector. 


The Blue Bird bus did not pass our last inspection. A seat in the back was loose and had to be fixed. The bus was taken to First Student to fix this morning. 



  1. MINUTE APPROVALRegular minutes of November 14, 2022 and Special Meeting minutes from December 8, 2023
  2. November Warrants #22082 – #22103 Claims; Warrants #9153 – #9155 Payroll and December warrants #22104 – #22115 Claims; Warrants #9156 – #9159 Payroll
  3. Expenditure Reports – November and December 2022
  4. Approval of bills for January 2023
  5. Safe Return to School & LEA ARP Plan updates


Joshua Cantrell made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Wynn Poweel seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried




  1. Building Maintenance – 
    1. Bids for blacktop resealing – Melissa is working on getting bids for this project.
    2. Bids for brick resealing – Melissa is working on getting bids for this project.
  2. Safety Enhancements – 
    1. Bids for Door Lock replacements – Melissa is working on getting bids for this project.
  3. Non-Resident Student Renewals – Janessa Fawcett submitted a letter requesting her sons, Austyn and Masyn be renewed for 2023-2024. After discussion, Colleen made a motion to accept Austyn & Masyn Fawcett for 2023-2024.  Wynn seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  4. Bond Effort – Nothing new at this time.
  5. Trustee Resolution Calling for an Election – Joshua made a motion to hold an election. The purpose of the election is to elect one (1) trustee to a 3 year term and (1) trustee to a 2 year term.  Approval of additional levies to operate and maintain the General Fund for FY23 will also be requested.  If it is later determined that any portion of the election is not required, the Board of Trustees authorizes Ginger Aldrich, County Election Administrator, to cancel that portion of the election in accordance with 13-1-304 and 20-3-313, MCA.  Wynn seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.  
  6. Bus Route Reimbursement Form & Individual Contract Reimbursement Form – Marilyn presented the first semester TR6 Bus Route Reimbursement claim and the first semester TR5 Individual Contract Reimbursement Claims for signature by the board chair. She explained that twice a year we make these claims to OPI for reimbursement for our bus routes. The individual contracts is for a student attending the preschool in Huntley and being transported there by parents and also to a parent transporting their child to the Yellowstone Academy for part of first semester. Wynn made a motion to accept the bus route reimbursement form and the individual contract reimbursement form.  Joshua seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  7. Audit Requirements 2022-2023 – Marilyn explained that in the past we were only requited to have a review of our books. Due to a larger total budget amount with Covid funds, we are now required to have audits. The previous clerk had 2-year audits before the rule was changed for us to only have a review.  The last 2 years’ books are at the auditor right now. Marilyn reached out to Brian VanSteeland with SummersMcNea to see if they recommend an audit every year or continue with a 2-year audit but she has not received a response yet. Marilyn wanted to see if the board had any preference. They board felt whatever the auditor recommends will be good. Marilyn will update the board when she hears from Brian.
  8. District Strategic Discussion & Planning – Nothing new at this time. 
  9. 4 Day Week Discussion – Alex Ator, Superintendent of Roberts School was in attendance along with four teachers from Roberts. They all came to give their opinions and answer questions regarding a 4-day week schedule. An open discussion was held with board members and Pioneer teachers asking questions and how their schedule works, what they like and dislike about the 4-day week. The Pioneer board and staff thanked them all for coming and for all of their information.
  10. Administrator Evaluation – The meeting was closed at 5:03 pm by Joshua Cantrell, board chair, to conduct Melissa Schnitzmeier’s annual evaluation. The meeting was reopened at 5:25 pm.
  11. Administrator Contract – Melissa is in the middle of a 2-year contract so no action is needed on her contract.



A motion was made by Joshua Cantrell to adjourn the meeting. Wynn Powell seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; motion carried.  The meeting ended at 6:52 pm.  The next scheduled regular meeting is Monday, February 6, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. in Room 106 of the main building and via Zoom. 




Attest: __________________________     SIGNED: ____________________________

          Joshua Cantrell, Board Chairperson

DATE: _________________________