March 6, 2023 Board Meeting Minutes


Regular Meeting Minutes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 6, 2023

Presented for Approval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April 10, 2023


DATE: March 6, 2023


TIME: 4:30 p.m. 


PLACE: Pioneer School, Main Building, Room 106


MEMBERS Joshua Cantrell, Chairperson

PRESENT: Colleen Unruh, Trustee  

Wynn Powell, Trustee




CLERK: Marilyn Michael


ADMIN: Melissa Schnitzmeier


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



GUESTS:  Eric Claunch, Sanderson Stewart, Safe Routes to Schools arrived at 4:30, left at 5:00.





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, March 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 February 13 through March 10
    2. March newsletter



Enrollment: 68


Jami Burns, Taylor Eissinger, Alisa Rau, and myself attended the MCEC Conference February 22nd – February 24th and are bringing many amazing things back to the team for implementation. The sessions attended focused on Dyslexia screening and interventions as well as RTI Tiered intervention (application and practice). 

The teacher survey data collected by Adam Milligan can be viewed here. This survey reviews staff thoughts regarding everything from our facilities to our team and how we function as a whole. 

Community Outreach

Our annual community MTSS planning meeting will be held Wednesday, March 22, from 4:00 – 5:00 pm via Zoom. 

Raelynn Melber will be hosting a parenting workshop centered around understanding and parenting through tantrums. March’s class is scheduled for Tuesday, March 21, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm.

Our K-8 Science Fair will be held Thursday, March 23. 

Our 2/3rd graders are headed to the Alberta Bair for a theater presentation on Tuesday, March 7th. The 6-8th graders are set to travel to Red Lodge on Thursday, March 30th for a ski day. Both events have been sponsored by the Panther PTA. 

Outdoor Education and Dover Park

The staff met with Carolyn during our team meeting on February 28th. We are beginning to make our way through the Green School’s application process with Carolyn in addition to planning our spring ventures into the park.  

Kindergarten will be going on a field experience adventure at the end of March to coincide with their Oregon Trail unit. They are also planning a picnic and walk through Dover Park. Sometime in May they will be talking about pond life and will be doing real life observations of ponds adjacent to us.

1st grade will be

2/3 will be integrating outdoor learning around our campus as we explore energy, forces, and motion in science, and geometry for math in the next couple of months. 

4/5 will be taking a trip into the park on March 28. It will be a cross curricular trip where they will explore erosion and changing landforms for science, as well as survival skills including shelter building, edible plant identification, and fire starting, which directly correlates to their novel study on My Side of the Mountain.

6th-8th will be taking a Ski trip on March 30th. They will not only be using this as a PE trip, but also a review on water cycle and how higher elevation moisture affects lower elevation ecosystems and vegetation (water tables). In May, students will take a trip into Dover park for an overnight camping trip. This trip will also be cross curricular where students will put their map reading skills into practice. This mapping will not only include landform, but also astrological mapping. Students will take part in storytelling, and the importance of storytelling throughout history and native cultures. Lastly, math skills in problem solving and group cooperation will be tested throughout this trip as students conquer challenges of the outdoors.


The concept paper for Renew America’s School’s grant has been submitted. The District applied for 2.6 million dollars to assist with replacing the existing building with a more energy efficient structure. Amanda (Stonerock), Bill (Collaborative Designs) and myself met on the afternoon of February 23rd to discuss our overall plan to attack the grant application and what information was still needed to ensure a complete project. We are striving to create a plan for a net-zero school with many projects and possible participants (including YRPA and YVEC) in play. I received word on Friday (3/3) that the department had reviewed our concept paper and they are encouraging us to move forward with submission of the full application. 

Amanda also assisted in guiding me to other grant opportunities. I’ve submitted a $20K grant to Northwestern Energy and a $15K grant to Town Pump. Project descriptions for both of these are centered around playground/campus transformation which includes the construction of outdoor classroom spaces and nature-based playground structures. I am now working through the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation Grant for a similar project. 

Amanda and I also submitted a grant through DPHHS called the ELC school reopening grant for $50,000. These grant monies would be used to help pay salaries for our trauma certified specialist and a para educator, in addition to the program’s technology supply need. 

I’ve also reached out to the Breakfast Flakes to request a second metal detector for our original 1905 building. We have students entering directly into this building each morning and I would like them to be afforded the same safety precautions as the rest of our students. 

REAP is open and due in April

We were required to make an amendment to our Title 1 Grant as there was an error in distribution amounts across schools in Montana. We received $381 less than anticipated. This amendment was submitted and accepted by OPI. 

Building Maintenance

The metal detector was down for a few weeks. After troubleshooting, it was determined that it needed a new control panel. I reached out to Garrent Metal Detectors and they sent us a new piece, free of charge. The new piece was placed on 2/27 and it is now up and functioning again. 

Per request, I contacted Annette with MSGIA and have her scheduled to come assess our playground on March 28th. 



  1. MINUTE APPROVALRegular minutes of February 6, 2023
  2. June Warrants #22132 – #22150 Claims total $10,850.81; Warrants #9163 – #9165 Payroll including ACH & Direct Deposit total $56,640.40
  3. Expenditure Reports – February 
  4. Approval of bills for March 2023 – March bills were not ready as many bills have not arrived. Marilyn will email the list to the board for approval.


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


  1. Safe Routes to Schools – Eric Claunch with Sanderson Stewart was in attendance to do a presentation on the City/County Safe Routes to Schools plan. He explained that Pioneer is one of the schools they are looking at for possible walking route updates. The board thanked Eric for attending the meeting.
  2. Building Maintenance – Melissa recommended waiting on approving these bids until closer to the end of the year to see where we are in the general fund expenditures. 
    1. Bids for Blacktop resealing – Melissa received a bid for $9600 to reseal the blacktop.
    2. Bids for Brick resealing – Melissa has not received any bids for this.
    3. Playground maintenance/inspection – Annette will come to inspect the playground on March 28th.
    4. Lunchroom floor – Melissa received a bid from
  3. Safety Enhancements – Melissa reported that the doors would have to be replaced, the locks cannot be changed. She was given a company to call for door replacements and will contact them soon. Melissa recommending waiting on this until we have more information.
    1. Bids for Door Lock replacement – Mountain Alarm bid for classroom door security system – $14,539.25
  4. Non-Resident Student Renewals/Applications – An application was received from Kyle and LaTeasha Johnson to enroll their daughter into the 23-24 Kindergarten class. Melissa recommended approving Terrae Spotted Wolf. Colleen made a motion to accept Terrae Spotted Wolf for the 23-24 kindergarten class. Wynn seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  5. Health Insurance Deductible increase – Marilyn explained that our health insurance had an increase in the premiums this year. Staff on the health insurance requested checking into raising the deductible. Associated Employers sent rates for several other deductibles. At this time, we offer $200 and $500, no one is using the $200. Due to our staff size, we are only allowed 2 deductible choices. Staff would like us to offer $500 and $1000. Colleen made a motion to raise the deductible choices with Associated Employers to $500 and $1000. Joshua seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  6. Spring ANB Count – The spring ANB count has been submitted. Melissa explained that these are the numbers that our budget is based off of. Next year’s budget will be based off of 73 students.  
  7. Pioneer School Resolution under SB 307 – Melissa asked that this be tabled as she will be attending a workshop to assist with the calculation. We will then need to hold a special meeting to approve the resolution as it is required to be published by March 31st every year. The board agreed to hold a special meeting on Monday, March 13th at 4:30 via Zoom.
  8. Preliminary Budget Information – Melissa presented the preliminary budget information from OPI. She explained that we could run a mill levy in the amount of $44,430.35. This would bring our budget for 23-24 to $603,208.59. Without a levy our budget would be $558,778.24. Melissa recommended that we not run a levy this year. She explained that the budget is a little higher than 22-23 and with ESSER funds to be used, we should be fine without running the mill levy. 
  9. Election/Mill levy amount – After discussion, Colleen made a motion to not run a mill levy this year. Wynn seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  10. Bond Effort – Nothing new at this time.
  11. District Strategic Discussion and Planning – 
    1. 4 Day Week discussion & decision – The board discussed changing to a 4-Day week beginning the 23-24 school year. After discussion, Colleen made a motion to move to a 4-Day week beginning in the 23-24 school year with the option of a Friday program being discussed as plans more forward. Wynn seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried. Melissa will plan to run a survey to see if parents are interested in a Friday program. The next step will be negotiations with the union to amend the certified teachers’ contract. 



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 5:50 pm.  The next scheduled regular meeting is Monday, April 10, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. in Room 106 of the main building and via Zoom. 




Attest: __________________________     SIGNED: ____________________________

          Joshua Cantrell, Board Chairperson

DATE: _________________________