October 10, 2022 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . October 10, 2022

Presented for Approval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . November 14, 2022


DATE: October 10, 2022


TIME: 4:30 p.m. 


PLACE: Pioneer School, Main Building, Room 106


MEMBERS Joshua Cantrell, Chairperson

PRESENT: Colleen Unruh, Trustee  




CLERK: Marilyn Michael


ADMIN: Melissa Schnitzmeier


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


VISITORS: Kari Jones arrived at 4:30, left at 5:05

GUESTS:  Adam Milligan, Milligan School Data





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, October 10, 2022 at 4:30 pm.  Trustee, Kari Jones welcomed all those attending.  Trustee, Kari Jones read the Montana Law about public meetings.  




  1. Public Comment – None
  2. Weekly Agendas September 19 through October 14
  3. October Newsletter


  1. Superintendent Report for October

Enrollment: 73


Now that our Fall NWEA MAPS testing is complete, our Walk – To programs have started. Walking to math or reading is a process of grouping students in skill-alike groups for a portion of our reading/math blocks for targeted instruction in their areas of need. Pioneer students may walk to lower level or higher level groups based on their needs as evidenced by district and classroom based assessments. These programs increase instructional time by providing teacher-directed, small group opportunities at their specific level of need. Our staff works collectively to monitor student progress and make adjustments to Tier I and Tier II placements every 6-8 weeks to ensure the correct level of support throughout the school year. Placement within Tier III is adjusted less frequently; taking place after reviewing NWEA MAPS data to ensure the highest level of intensive intervention for our identified students. The letter mailed home to Tier III parents is in the resource folder. 

Raelynn Melber and I are in the process of attending an intensieve 2 day NWEA MAPS workshop aimed at better utilization of data to drive instruction and intervention. 


During the 2021 Montana Legislature, Senate Bill 99 was passed and signed into law. This bill requires districts to notify parents at the beginning of the school year of any content in our curriculum that pertains to topics of human sexuality, including intimate relationships, human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexually transmitted infections, sexual acts, sexual orientation, gender identity, abstinence, contrecepton, or reproductive rights and responsibilities. At Pioneer, we have not changed any content or standards in which we have not already been teaching. Parents/Guardians will continue to get a letter from our school nurse prior to teaching human development and all topics/lessons concerning things such as sexual/asexual reporduction can be viewed in the teachers’ PlanBook lesson plans. The letter mailed to parents can be found in the resource folder. 

Staffing & Climate

I’ve aligned two great professional development opportunities for the February 13 PIR day agenda. The first session is a virtual Better Lesson Workshop aimed at using data to differentiate small groups in RTI. The second session is through Escape Room Parties. This interactive workshop will encourage our team to work together increasing communication and problem solving skills. Meant to be a team building experience, the afternoon is sure to be an exciting one. Educational renewal units will be given for both sessions. 

Our first “Dinner Night Out” community event hosted by the Panther PTA will take place this Thursday, October 13th at Panda Express. 

Red Ribbon Week runs from October 24th through October 28th. 

Outdoor Education and Dover Park

Carolyn Sevier and I have begun creating a 3-4 year strategic plan aimed at full integraton of outdoor learning opportunties into our exisiting curriculum. More to be discussed later in the meeting. We’ve got several field trips planned for the next two months. 

10/13 – 4/5 Geography

10/27 – K-1 Bones

11/1 – K-1 Shapes

11/15 – 6-8 Climate & Erosion

11/21 – Whole School – Service Project – Remediation


ESSER/ARP Amendment for the 22-23 Year – Accepted 

TEAMS Accredidation Report – Due November 1

Building/Grounds Maintenance

Kevin found a few spots that look to be leaking on the old portion of the brick building roof. Bradford roofing has been called to run an inspection. 



  1. MINUTE APPROVALRegular minutes of September 12, 2022
  2. September Warrants #22054 – #22067 Claims total $10,877.64; Warrants #9147 – #9150 Payroll including ACH & Direct Deposit total $54,925.22
  3. Expenditure Reports – September 2022
  4. Approval of bills for October 2022


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




  1. Board Member Resignation – Kari Jones has moved out of Pioneer School District and as such, she can no longer serve on the Pioneer School board.
  2. Selection of Board Chair – After discussion, Joshua Cantrell was chosen to be the board chair.
  3. School Data with Adam Milligan – Adam Milligan was in attendance. He showed the board data that has been collected on Pioneer School. His data shows how our general fund and transportation fund are being used from year to year. Another graph showed our staff and student attendance. This graph also showed a comparison to other districts by showing absences of students and staff on a per 1000 basis which allows the numbers to be compared to other districts. He also has an enrollment prediction graph which could help to predict class and school sizes in the next 5 years. The board thank Adam for all of his work.
  4. Building Maintenance – Bradford Roofing will be coming to inspect the west side of the roof for holes as we had some leaks during the recent rain storm.
  5. Safety Enhancements – None at this time
  6. Outdoor Learning Strategic Planning Guide – Plans were discussed for our Outdoor Learning Strategic Planning. Melissa explained that this will be implemented over a 3-year period with teachers progressively adding more areas of study for students that can be conducted outdoors in the Dover Park. She went on to explain that the park is already being utilized in many areas and this plan will continue. Colleen made a motion to adopt the Outdoor Learning Strategic Planning Guide. Joshua seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried. Colleen asked if anyone knows what the status of Charter Schools in Montana was. Melissa will try to find out more information.
  7. Bond Effort – Melissa recommended starting some community meetings possibly in November and January. These would be to try to get more community involvement in planning on our bond efforts to see what the community would like to see in the plans for Pioneer School. Colleen made a motion to have Melissa scheduled two community meetings. Joshua seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried. Melissa will keep the board informed as to the dates of these meetings. 
  8. Policy Updates – Melissa presented Board Policy 2335. This is a new required policy. The board reviewed the policy. It will have a second reading at the next meeting.
  9. Non-Resident Student Applications/Renewals – An application was received for Anthony Reitler to be admitted to Pioneer School Kindergarten. Melissa has approved Anthony. Colleen made a motion to accept Anthony Reitler to the kindergarten class. Joshua seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  10. Shepherd Transportation Agreement – Melissa explained that we now have 2 students attending YBGR. Shepherd has agreed to transport the 2 children on their bus that already goes to YBGR. Melissa will find out what the cost will be for this transportation. Colleen made a motion to approve the MOU with Shepherd to transport the 2 students to YBGR. Joshua seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  11. District Strategic Discussion and Planning – Melissa has been talking to other Superintendents about 4-day school weeks. The Superintendent at Roberts School has been very helpful and has a lot of experience in helping schools plan 4-day weeks. Melissa sent a survey to staff to view their thoughts on a 4-day week and see what their thoughts on the pros and cons would be. She would like to invite Alex Ator from Roberts to a future board meeting. She will also send out a community survey. 
  12. Emergent3 Program – Melissa contacted Emergent3 and negotiated a price of $750 per year and $100 for the set up. She also found out that Dover Park could be included in the mapping, it does work on Smart watches and it cannot contact parents directly at this time. After discussion, Colleen made a motion to approve the Emergent3 Program at $750 per year plus the $100 set up fee. Joshua seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  13. Certified Staff Salary Review Contract Negotiations – Melissa presented a new salary schedule that was negotiated with the union. Colleen made a motion to adopt the new certified staff MOU as negotiated with the union.  Joshua seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  14. Administrator salary review and possible update – Melissa explained that she is not asking for a raise in her salary for 22-23. However, she would like to begin re-negotiating her salary schedule. She explained that she is in the middle of a 2-year contract. She presented the board a list of salaries of other Superintendents from Montana Small Schools Association. 
  15. Cafeteria Plan/IRS 125 Updates – Melissa reported that we have not received a copy of the cafeteria plan yet. 
  16. Lead Service Line Project Survey – The Montana DEQ sent a letter regarding Lead Service Line Project Requests. This states that Montana may receive a large amount of funding for lead service lines. Marilyn spoke to Kevin regarding our service lines and he does not believe any of our service lines are lead. 
  17. School District 2 Attendance Agreements – Attendance agreements for 3 children residing in Pioneer School District that are attending District 2 schools were received. Joshua marked “Acknowledges Receipt of this Student Attendance Agreement on all 3. Marilyn will send these back to District 2. 
  18. Consideration of Declaration of Vacancy – Marilyn explained that the board may open the position that was held by Kari Jones. As this was the third year of her 3-year term, a new board member would serve until May of 2023. If they would like to remain on the board, they will have to run for the new 3-year term on election day, May 2023. If the position is opened, the board can receive letters of interest and interview any candidates and select the replacement. Colleen Unruh made a motion to declare the position vacant. Joshua seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried. Marilyn will send a text to parents that are district residents and we will also post it on our Facebook page and our website.



A motion was made by Colleen Unruh to adjourn the meeting. Joshua Cantrell seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; motion carried.  The meeting ended at 6:17 pm.  The next scheduled regular meeting is Monday, November 14, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. in Room 106 of the main building and via Zoom. 




Attest: __________________________     SIGNED: ____________________________

Joshua Cantrell, Board Chairperson

DATE: _________________________