September 13, 2021 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 13, 2021

Presented for Approval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . October 11, 2021


DATE: September 13, 2021


TIME: 4:30 p.m. 


PLACE: Pioneer School, Main Building, Room 106



PRESENT: Luke Rome, Trustee  

Colleen Unruh, Trustee via Zoom


ABSENT: Kari Jones, Chairperson


CLERK: Marilyn Michael


ADMIN: Melissa Schnitzmeier


STAFF: None  


VISITORS: Adrienne Pryor & Alicia Sneeden arrived at 4:30, left at 4:38, Eleane Tremblay, Jim Kimble, Mason Kimble arrived at 4:30, left at 4:42.

GUESTS:  Nick Bravo of Fisher’s Technology arrived at 4:35, left at 5:00





Trustee, Luke Rome 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 13, 2021 at 4:30 pm.  Trustee, Luke Rome welcomed all those attending.  Trustee, Luke Rome read the Montana Law about public meetings.  


  1. MINUTE APPROVAL:  Colleen Unruh made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of August 9, 2021.  Luke Rome seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.



Current Enrollment K-8: 69

Areas of Focus


Fall NWEA MAPS Testing K-8 – Underway. This information will be used to determine student supports through our RTI/MTSS program. The team will meet 1-2 times monthly to disseminate student data. Parent information letters will be sent out regarding our RTI/MTSS program.

Campus News

Sunshade – Riverstone has found a contractor that will be bidding the project and we are beginning to plan for placement and installation.

Classroom SMARTBoards should arrive late this week. 

Playground benches have arrived! The shipment arrived with missing parts for two benches. The company has been contacted and we are working on getting those replacement parts sent out. 


I have attached the most recent Schools Weekly Report from the Yellowstone County Unified Health Command. You will notice a change in their recommendations at the top of the first page. Previously, these reports read “If three of four indicators are in red, a strong recommendation will be made to consider switching to distance-learning only”. This report now states, “If three of four indicators are read, a consideration of additional mitigation measures at the individual district level is recommended.” This reflects updated CDC guidance on prioritizing in-person learning.

As such, our campus has returned to cohorts. K-1, 2-3, 4-8 at recess in lunch in an effort to better mitigate COVID from our campus and reduce the number of students/staff quarantined/isolated should exposure occur. I am in the process of evaluating our family events to find the best way to host these events OR alternate events safely. 

The District will continue to host PTA sponsored Hot Lunch and Pizza Fridays with one volunteer on campus to assist. The staff will also be assisting to assure we can continue to host these safely. 

Legislation: (see attached)

Governor’s Emergency Rule & SB 400 How do these affect school districts? 

SB 400 really only re-affirmed a parents right to file a legal complaint and clarified that process if they believe a government entity somehow has infringed upon their fundamental parental rights. This bill does not change a school district’s ability or responsibility to have policies and procedures in place to help ensure the safe and orderly education of students as required in MCA Chapter 20. 

As for the Governor’s emergency rule, should the district decide to move towards masking due to an outbreak on campus, a mask rule is still enforceable under Montana law. Should we receive an “opt out”, the rule states the district should follow the process specified in Policy 1905 for handling exceptions. 

MT-PEC 2021 Legislative Updates impacting education 


Gifted & Talented Program Report – Filed

Building Maintenance 

  • Annual Safety Checklist to be completed by the end of September.  
  • Lead Plan – Completed & Accepted 


  1. BUILDING MAINTENANCE – Melissa will ask Kevin to finish painting the doors. 
  2. SAFETY ENHANCEMENTS – The new stairs, ramp and railing have all been installed.
  3. ADA COMPLIANCE/ARCHITECT PROPOSAL UPDATES – The ballots must be in by Tuesday for the bond election. 
  4. COVID-19 PLANNING – Melissa will be updating the protocol for requirements for testing staff and students due to the new laws on contact tracing. If someone is symptomatic, they will be able to test on day 1, if negative, they can return after 36 hours to test again. If they are negative again, they can return to work/school.
  5. PLAYGROUND NEEDS/cushion under equipment – Colleen’s husband is hoping to be able to come, but she isn’t sure so it might be best if there is someone else that can do it. Melissa will try to find someone else.
  6. MOA to CERTIFIED TEACHER CONTRACT – Melissa and Jami have worked together to update the MOA regarding COVID leave and working remotely. The union has agreed to these updates. Melissa will create the document and gather the signatures.  Colleen made a motion to adopt the MOA agreed upon with the Pioneer Education Association.  Luke seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  7. UPDATES TO STUDENT/STAFF HANDBOOKS – Melissa made updates to the Student and Staff handbooks regarding the availability of remote learning for students that are out with illness. Waiting 3 days was not working when a student is in quarantine or isolation.  Colleen made a motion to adopt the updates to the Student and Staff handbooks. Luke seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.



  1. NON-RESIDENT STUDENT APPLICATIONS – Adrienne Pryor was in attendance to request admittance of her daughter, Elayna to the first grade class.  After discussion, Colleen made a motion to accept Elayna Pryor to the first grade class.  Luke seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried. Eleane Tremblay, Jim Kimble and Mason Kimble were in attendance to request admittance of their son Mason to the fifth grade class.  Melissa explained to the parents that Mason does not meet the criteria set forth in Policy 3141. She sent a letter to Eleane regarding this, however, it was not received by Eleane, a copy of the letter was provided to them at this time.  
  2. NON-RESIDENT STUDENT POLICY UPDATES – Melissa recommended to the board that an update be made to the non-resident policy and application.  She explained that many times, parents have to wait a long time until the next available board meeting when requesting admittance for their children.  She would like to update the policy to allow her to accept the students after checking with their previous school, classroom size, etc with the board making final approval at their next meeting. She will make it clear to the applicant that this is a conditional approval of their student pending approval by the board.  Colleen made a motion to adopt Policy 3141 with the updates.  Luke seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  3. 2021-2022 BUS ROUTE UPDATES – Marilyn had made updates to the bus routes with Cindy’s guidance. Colleen made a motion to approve the updated bus routes. Luke seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.
  4. POLICY UPDATES (Policy Manual Revision via MTSBA) – MTSBA has not completed this yet. Tabled
  5. COPY MACHINE REPLACEMENT – Nick Bravo of Fisher’s Technology was in attendance to give the board a bid on a new copier.  The copier is getting old and parts are not being made for it anymore.  Nick explained that it was a refurbished machine when we purchased it, which means it is 8 – 9 years old versus 5 like we thought. It was purchased in 2016 for $5918. The machine he is recommending is a color machine. It would be on the service contract like we have now, which means we do not pay extra for the toner. Teachers could save a lot on their classroom toner by sending copies to the copy machine rather than printing in their rooms. The cost of the machine would be $10,627.14. The service contract would be a monthly report that he estimates would be $143 per month based on current usage. Nick explained that as with many things, it is taking 7 – 10 weeks for the new machine to arrive. In the meantime, they will continue to service the current one and if necessary, would work to find a loaner. Marilyn and Melissa agreed that this is a necessity as we cannot have it broken down for a week or more at a time. We have money in our flex fund that can be used to purchase the new copier. After discussion, Colleen made a motion to purchase the new Canon copier from Fisher’s Technology for $10,627.14.  Luke seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.



The clerk presented claims warrants numbered 21805 through 21824 in the amount of $33,140.89, and the payroll warrants numbered 9105 through 9106 in the amount of $46,389.21.  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 the each fund.  After review of the report, Colleen Unruh moved to approve the financial reports. Luke Rome seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; the motion carried.




  1. Stipend position contracts
  2. September newsletter
  3. Weekly agendas for 9/6 through 9/17




A motion was made by Colleen Unruh to adjourn the meeting. Luke Rome seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous; motion carried.  The meeting ended at 5:36 pm.  The next scheduled regular meeting is Monday, October 11, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. in Room 106 of the main building and via Zoom. 




Attest: __________________________     SIGNED: ____________________________

          Kari Jones, Board Chairperson


DATE: _________________________