September 11, 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . September 11, 2023

Presented for Approval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . October 9, 2023


DATE: September 11, 2023


TIME: 4:30 p.m. 


PLACE: Pioneer School, Main Building, Room 106


MEMBERS Joshua Cantrell, Chairperson

PRESENT: Colleen Unruh, Trustee  

Wynn Powell, Trustee via Zoom




CLERK: Marilyn Michael


ADMIN: Melissa Schnitzmeier


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








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 September 11, 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
    2. September newsletter

Superintendent Report for September

Current Enrollment: 80


Fall NWEA MAPS Testing 1st-8th – Completed. This information will be used to determine student support through our RTI/MTSS program. The team will meet monthly/bi-monthly to disseminate student data. Parent information letters have been sent home regarding our RTI/MTSS program.

Dyslexia screening for kindergarten and new students (1st and 2nd grade) will be conducted beginning next week. Parents/guardians of students who are flagged will be notified in writing. 

Alisa Rau, the District’s Testing Coordinator, and I have completed our Testing Plans as required by OPI. You can view them here.

Staffing & Climate

KTVQ and the Howard Scripps Foundation are once again partnering with Pioneer School for “Give a Child a Book” Scholastic Book Fair events. We are very humbled and excited to again be able to offer our Pioneer students free books through this program. Q2 was on campus 8/31 for an interview with our Lead Teacher, Alisa Rau and four of our students from multiple grade levels. 

Our September PIR is scheduled for Monday, September 25th. Our teachers will be headed to Lockwood Schools for Ruby Payne’s Emotional Poverty event. Emotional Poverty: How to Reduce Anger, Anxiety, and Violence in your Classroom. Many of our teachers have attended the book club events surrounding the book as we work towards being a more trauma informed school. 

Our music teacher, Ms. Vigesaa has started. Ms. Vigesaa is here on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, meeting with each class once weekly. Both staff and students are very excited!

Outdoor Education

Carolyn Sevier and I are continuing to look for grant opportunities that incorporate outdoor education as we work through our year two goals. In addition, Pioneer and YRPA are teaming together to bring our outdoor adult education program to life. In the upcoming months (Fall), YRPA and Pioneer will be hosting the following adult education classes: 

 Friday Field Days – Fridays from 8:30am – 12:30 pm

Walking Club – 6-week session on Tuesdays from October 3rd – November 7th 6:30 am – 7:30 am

Birding in Dover Park – Saturday, November 11th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Dover After Dark – Friday, October 27th, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm. 

Information on each class will be posted in the District’s newsletters. 

Taylor Eissinger, our Outdoor Education and GT Coordinator, will begin gathering information from classroom teachers to include in our monthly newsletters. We hope to provide our school community with information on how we’re tying our curriculum and outdoor learning together as work toward the whole-school, all-subject approach to outdoor education. 


TEAMS – In Progress

IDEA Consolidated – Waiting to Open

ESSER/ARP Amendment for the 23-24 Year – In Progress

Building/Grounds Maintenance

We received the bid for the piping that needs replacing, which came in at $1555.00. Kevin is still working to schedule this project as it needs to take place when students/staff aren’t on campus. Melissa also reported that Reddi Electric will be here next week to install an outlet for the metal detector in the old building and heaters in the bathrooms.



  1. MINUTE APPROVAL Regular Meeting minutes of August 14, 2023 & Special meeting minutes of August 22, 2023
  2. August Warrants #22253 – #22274 Claims total $24,186.02; Warrants #9182 – #9183 Payroll including ACH & Direct Deposit total $56,446.89
  3. Expenditure Reports – August 2023
  4. Approval of bills for September 2023
  5. ARP & Safe Return to Schools Plan
  6. Substitute List


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




  1. Building Maintenance – 
    1. Bids for Brick Resealing – 
    2. Plumbing Issues – Melissa explained that we have a leak in the basement of the new building. We have a bid from Christoferson Plumbing to fix this. The cost will be $1555. After discussion, Colleen made a motion to approve the bid of $1555 from Christoferson Plumbing. Joshua seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  2. Safety Enhancements – Nothing at this time.
  3. YBGR Student Attendance Agreement – Melissa explained that we have one student attending YBGR. We have a student attendance agreement with them that needs to be signed and returned. The cost of the tuition to YBGR is $105.62 per day. After discussion, Collen made a motion to approve the student attendance agreement with YBGR. Joshua seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried. 
  4. Transportation Contract with Shepherd – Shepherd has agreed to allow the YBGR student to ride the bus from Shepherd to YBGR. They have sent an MOU for the board chair to sign. After discussion, Colleen made a motion to approve the MOU with Shepherd. Wynn seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  5. Stonerock Business Solutions update – Melissa explained that she is working with Amanda Stonerock on the Renew American Grant and some other grants. She explained that our state representatives were not able to help but would write letters of support. When the grant reopens, Senator Daines has stated that he can help fight for being allowed to do a new building versus only allowing upgrades so Melissa and Amanda are hopeful that this will help when the time comes to reapply for the grant. Amanda is also working with a partner that has created a way to work on grants with AI technology that would allow him to write 10 grants in approximately 10 hours. Amanda is allowing Melissa to do a grant course a no cost that she is teaching. Melissa will meet with a Brownsfield representative to help with a DEQ assessment that we may need for future grants. This way, it will be completed ahead of time. The current invoice from Stonerock Business Solutions is $600. After discussion, Colleen made a motion to approve the invoice. Wynn seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  6. Yellowstone County Interdisciplinary Child & School Safety Team Agreement – Melissa explained that all schools are now going to be a part of an Interdisciplinary child information and school safety team. This team’s goal will be to assist with sharing of certain student information to help schools with disciplinary issues that may come up. She explained that this was attempted a few years ago and nothing came of it, but they are going to start again. There is an agreement that all schools must sign, so Melissa will go to the Courthouse to sign for Pioneer. After discussion, Colleen made a motion to have Pioneer School participate in the Yellowstone County Interdisciplinary Child & School Safety Team. Wynn seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  7. Non-Resident Student Application – Raelynn Melber submitted an application for her daughter to attend Pioneer School as a part-time student. Taylen Melber has previously attended Pioneer School and would come for special education services. Melissa recommended approval of Taylen’s enrollment. Colleen made a motion to approve Taylen Melber’s enrollment. Wynn seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried. 



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 4:55 pm.  The next scheduled regular meeting is Monday, October 9, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. in Room 106 of the main building and via Zoom. 




Attest: __________________________     SIGNED: ____________________________

          Joshua Cantrell, Board Chairperson

DATE: _________________________