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March 14, 2022 Board Meeting Minutes

Regular Meeting Minutes . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 14, 2022

Presented for Approval . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . .  April 19, 2022


DATE: March 14, 2022


TIME: 4:30 p.m. 


PLACE: Pioneer School, Main Building, Room 106


MEMBERS Kari Jones, Chairperson

PRESENT: Luke Rome, Trustee  

Colleen Unruh, Trustee




CLERK: Marilyn Michael


ADMIN: Melissa Schnitzmeier


STAFF: Jami Burns, Raelynn Melber, McKayla Montgomery and Alisa Rau arrived at 4:30 pm  



GUESTS:  Carolyn Sevier with Dover Park arrived 





Trustee, Kari Jones 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, March 14, 2022 at 4:35 pm.  Trustee, Kari Jones welcomed all those attending.  Trustee, Kari Jones read the Montana Law about public meetings.  


  1. MINUTE APPROVAL:  Luke Rome made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of February 10, 2022.  Kari Jones seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.





Current Enrollment K-8: 76


Pioneer is now enrolled in the AED Concierge Program. This program streamlines the tasks necessary to keep our AED compliant with Montana State Laws. 

Pioneer School is now participating with other Yellowstone County districts to pool resources during times of need offering the prospect of a swift, collaborative response during unfortunate circumstances should they occur. 

Office of Public Instruction (OPI) has released our 20-21 report card regarding performance. Montana’s system of differentiation under ESSA includes four federally required indicators plus Montana’s fifth indicator to identify schools as either Comprehensive, Targeted, or Universal. The four federally required indicators are academic achievement on Statewide assessments, academic growth on Statewide assessments, English Langauge Learner progress, and graduation rates (HS only). The fifth indicator for Montana flexibility includes attendance, college & career readiness (HS only), and CRT Science Assessments scores. Pioneer is once again in “Universal Support” meaning we are performing above the bottom five percent of schools statewide.


Pioneer distributed the Milligan School Data climate survey to its certified teachers. This data is used to drive improvement and retention throughout the district. Results were very positive. See survey results here. These results are also used to drive district improvement measures. 


I have attached the most recent Schools Weekly Report from the Yellowstone County Unified Health Command. Our community continues to see a surge. 


REAP – Submitted 

Walmart Community Grant – $700 – Trauma Kit – Submitted 

State Farm Community Grant – $25,000 – Blacktop – Submitted 


  1. Building Maintenance – Nothing at this time. 
  2. Safety Enhancements – Nothing at this time.
  3. COVID-19 Updates – The CDC announced that effective February 25th, masks would not longer be required on school buses. 
  4. Dover Park discussions – Melissa explained that staff will be going to Dover Park to begin preparing for field trips and possible science related curriculum studies. 
  5. Bond discussion/updates – Melissa explained that she felt the first community meeting went well. There were only 7 community members in attendance. The main concerns were non-resident students, no tuition charge. Other concerns were whether the foundation would be stable when the gravel pit is backfilled because of the slope of the gravel pit. Melissa asked Bill to check into this.  Three surveys were returned from community members. 
  6. 2022-2023 Calendar – Melissa asked that this be tabled while she checks into PIR dates which may change the calendar.
  7. Texting program updates – Melissa checked with a company called TextUs. He said he could offer their services for $100 per month. Infinite Campus does not allow texts back into the school, so we are not interested in their program. TextUs seemed very similar to ZipWhip. Melissa will continue to check into this. 
  8. Teacher Negotiations – Melissa, Jami and Alisa have been working together on the teacher negotiations. After discussion, the following items were agreed upon:  a 2 year contract, salary increase of 3% the first year, 2 % the second year, a raise in the amount the school pays towards insurance to $697.48 the first year and if the insurance goes up the second year, it will be raised up to $725. If no raise in premium, there will be no raise in the school amount, addition of 1 more day discretionary leave to 14 days per year. The teachers requested that Melissa find subs. Melissa agreed to find subs in emergencies but for a pre-planned absence, she would like the teachers to find their subs. The teachers agreed to this. Two items remain to be decided: First the new individual contract is being looked at by the union and MTSBA, Second, it has come to our attention that we should not be paying cash in lieu of benefits. Melissa is checking into starting a flex plan for those employees that are not taking the school insurance. She hopes to get more information soon. This will be tabled until the April meeting.



  1. Non-Resident Student Applications/Renewals – After discussion of non-resident student applications, Luke made a motion to accept Hattie and Wyatt Berg to the 4th and 7th grade classes. Kari seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  2. Bids for Extended Stop Arm on Buses – Marilyn explained that the legislature passed a law requiring extended stop arms on all school buses. She checked with First Student, who gave our information to a company they use. That company does not deal in extended stop arms, but gave Marilyn the name of a company in Montana that does JM Transportation Systems. Marilyn contacted them and received the bid of $6,875 for the purchase and installation of the extended stop arms. After discussion, Collen made a motion to approve the purchase and installation of extended stop arms on both buses in the amount of $6975. Kari seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried. Marilyn will contact JM Transportation Systems.
  3. Staff Professional Development Request – Raelynn Melber submitted a request to have the school pay for her to obtain certification for becoming a Trauma Informed Specialist. The cost of this is $2997. It is a 4 month program that she will work on through the summer and evenings. Melissa feels this would be very beneficial to the school. There may be opportunities to have Raelynn hired out to other schools as needed. There will be a cohort starting June 1st.  Melissa explained that this professional development could be paid from ESSER funds as this would fill a need for our students. Raelynn could become a trainer to other educators and parents in dealing with students with trauma. After discussion, Luke made a motion to approve the $2997 fee for Raelynn Melber to obtain certification as a Trauma Informed Specialist paid for with ESSER funds.  Kari seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  4. Auditor Contract for 20/21 & 21/22 – Marilyn presented the audit contract from SummersMcNea. The amount of the 2 year audit will be $10,500. Luke made a motion to approve the contract with SummersMcNea to do the FY21 and FY22 audits in the amount of $10,500. Colleen seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried. Kari signed the contract. Marilyn will send it back to SummersMcNea.
  5. Advertising Opportunities for Open Positions – Melissa was contacted by Kyle Leeds of New Radio Broadcasters. He proposed an advertising package for recruiting new teachers that would include 48 30 second commercials on their radio stations per week for $850. The board was not interested in advertising at this time.
  6. Technology Purchase – Melissa would like to purchase 6 charging carts so that each of the classrooms has a safer and more protective way to store ChromeBooks. The carts have surge protection. The cost is $439.99 per cart for a total of $2639.94. These can be purchased with ESSER funds as they are for the technology that we have purchased. After discussion, Colleen made a motion to purchase 6 charging carts at a cost of $2639.94. Luke seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried. 
  7. Building Use fee discussions – Melissa explained that other schools charge a fee to use their buildings. She feels we should set up a fee that can be applied if the board chooses. It is in the policy that the board can set a fee, so she felt it would be better to be ready. She felt that non-profit community groups should be able to use the facility without charge under most circumstances however private individuals should have to pay especially if the school is to be used as a venue for private gatherings as this could create extra hours for maintenance and janitorial staff. She presented a copy of Independent School’s facility use agreement for reference.  After discussion, Luke made a motion to set fees at $50 minimum and $500 maximum with board discretion on whether a fee would be charged and what amount depending on the use request.  Kari seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  8. Building Use Request for May 28, 2022 – Jamie Rindahl requested the use of the playground, restrooms and tables and chairs for her daughter’s graduation party on May 28, 2022 from 5:00 pm to early evening.  Melissa has concerns about this request. The playground grass is very poor and if it were to be wet, would be very muddy. She also is concerned about bringing our lunchroom tables and chairs outside. This would also create more work for our janitor. After discussion, Luke made a motion to allow the use of the playground with the following stipulations:  Insurance must be purchased as per board policy, a fee of $250 paid at least 7 days prior, no smoking or alcohol on the premises at all, tables and chairs are not available to be taken outside and an end time of 8:00 would be set as someone would have to be available to lock up and should not have to wait around. Kari seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried. 
  9. Crisis/Emergency Procedures – Melissa presented a new crisis/emergency procedure plan. After our PIR day for intruder training, several items needed to be updated and suggestions were made to help us in emergencies. Melissa went over the plan with the board.  After hearing the updates, Luke made a motion to adopt the updated Crisis/Emergency Procedures Plan for 2022-2023.  Colleen seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.  
  10. Preliminary Budget Information – Melissa presented the preliminary budget report for 2022-2023.  Our budget is up do to increased enrollment. She will continue to work on the 22-23 budget.
  11. Pioneer School Resolution under SB307 – Melissa presented the SB307 advertisement for 22-23. We must place this in a newspaper before March 31st. She explained the planned increases and decreases in permissive levies. After discussion, Luke made a motion to approve the 22-23 SB307 advertisement. Colleen seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  12. Election/Mill levy amount – Melissa explained that Pioneer School could seek a mill levy in the amount of $53,676.20. Melissa recommends that the board not request a mill levy election this year as our general fund budget is larger than past years and we are running the bond election. Luke made a motion not to run a mill levy this year.  Colleen seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried. 



The clerk presented claims warrants numbered 21917 through 21936 in the amount of $7,987.26, and the payroll warrants numbered 9125 through 9127 in the amount of $54,793.79.  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 each fund.  After review of the report, Luke Rome moved to approve the financial reports. Kari Jones seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.




  1. Weekly Agendas for 2/14/22 through 3/18/22
  2. March Newsletter
  3. 2022 DOL Safety Inspection





A motion was made by Luke Rome to adjourn the meeting. Kari Jones seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; motion carried.  The meeting ended at 6:26 pm.  The next scheduled regular meeting is Tuesday, April 19, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. in Room 106 of the main building and via Zoom. 




Attest: __________________________     SIGNED: ____________________________

          Kari Jones, Board Chairperson

DATE: _________________________