CALL TO ORDER
The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of School District No. 26, Lockwood Schools, Yellowstone County, was duly held in the Board Room, 1932 U.S. Highway 87, Billings, Montana, on Tuesday, December 13, 2005. Chairperson Stroebe called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. and led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The following trustees and officers were present: Trustees: Teresa Stroebe, Greg Bochy, Barbara Forrester Frank, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, and Tim Trafford, Superintendent Eileen Johnson and District Clerk Diane Brook. Trustee Gayle Walker was absent.
Staff members present were: Mike Bowman, Dave DeBoer, Mike Sullivan, Art Anderson, Stephanie Miller, Sue Robertson, Nikki Alt, and Sandra Hopkins.
Registered guests present were Evelyn Pyburn of Yellowstone County News, Chris Malenowsky, Becky Malenowsky, Susan Rose, Mike Healy, Matt Miller, Josh Middleton, Roger Heimbigner, and Pam Malek.
Mrs. Stroebe welcomed visitors and advised the following:
If you wish to speak to the Board of Trustees at this meeting about agenda
items, please complete a form and give it to the Board Chair or the clerk.
Any person present, who wishes to do so at this point in the agenda,
may address the board or raise any question about public school district
matters or governing policies. No discussion of personnel or individual
students is permitted at this time. A limit of three minutes is placed
on each speaker. Persons who want more time may make arrangements
to be placed on a future agenda.
Stephanie Miller said the staff had given the ivy wreaths to the board and superintendent as an appreciation gift. She thanked them for the work they do.
PUBLIC WRITTEN REQUEST TO BE PLACED ON THIS AGENDA
APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND PAYMENT OF BILLS AND WAGES
The Board received a copy of the summary of paid bills by account. The summary included a detailed statement of all expenditures of money with the name of the person or business to which payment is made, showing the service rendered or goods furnished.
Thomas Jones moved to approve the November 8, 2005 regular board meeting minutes as presented and the payment of all bills and wages and extracurricular bills. Barbara Forrester Frank seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Greg Bochy, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, Tim Trafford, and Barbara Forrester Frank voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
A. Letter of Resignation
A letter of resignation was received from Theresa Schock. Superintendent Johnson recommended the board accept this resignation and extend good wishes.
Chairman Stroebe read aloud the letter from Mrs. Schock. Mrs. Stroebe also advised that another letter of resignation had been received [after the agenda packets had been mailed] on December 8 from Christy Wells. Teresa read aloud that letter also.
Superintendent Johnson informed the board that the wife of a trustee will be recommended for hire in the Food Service Department as a replacement for Theresa Schock. She said Penny Jones was hired previously [with required notice] as a support substitute, and she has been working in this capacity in the school kitchen since the beginning of this school year.
Eileen advised the following: Because Penny Jones is the spouse of a board member, Montana law requires notice must be put in the newspaper advising the public that the board will be considering hiring the spouse of a trustee. The notice must contain the date at which the hiring will be considered, and a statement saying that such appointment is permitted under Montana law if all the trustees, except Trustee Thomas Jones who must abstain from voting, approve the hiring.
Tim Trafford moved to accept both resignations. Greg Bochy seconded the motion. Greg Bochy, Thomas Jones, Teresa Stroebe, Sue Vinton, Tim Trafford, and Barbara Forrester Frank voted yes. The motion passed six to zero.
A. School Audit Report from Galusha Higgins & Galusha PC
Susan Rose from Galusha Higgins & Galusha was present to review the 2004-2005 audit report.
Mrs. Rose provided an overview of the auditing process and highlighted some items within the report. She advised that determining materiality, which is the number that would be significant, if financial statements were misstated by that amount. They also determine risk areas. Due to recent changes in auditing requirements precipitated by situations like the Enron debacle auditors must now brainstorm as to where they think fraud could occur.
She advised that the major funds for Lockwood Schools are General Fund, which is always required to be a major fund, the Retirement Fund and the Building Reserve Fund.
Susan briefly reviewed the Management Discussion and Analysis portion of the audit that is now required; it is written by the business manager and superintendent. Auditor Rose advised that the financial statements belong to the school district, not the auditors.
Galusha Higgins and Galusha have audited Lockwood Schools for many years. Their firm provides an additional detail audit evaluation by a qualified A & A reviewer within their firm.
In conclusion, Susan said that things were in very good order and Lockwood Schools received a “clean” audit opinion with no findings for the 2004-05 school year.
Teresa Stroebe said she liked the statement on Page 7 of the audit that talked about growth. She said it is in line with the discussions that will take place tonight with the Laurel trustees, superintendent, and business manager. Mrs. Rose said that statement was from the MD&A, which was done by Diane and Eileen.
The trustees thanked the business manager for a job well-done.
Susan Rose left the meeting at 7:35 p.m.
Chairperson Stroebe commented that it might be helpful to re-arrange the order of the agenda to accommodate people who were present for one item in particular. Sue Vinton moved to consider Item 9A (Library Report) next, followed by Item 4A to accommodate the people in audience. Greg Bochy seconded the motion. Teresa asked if there were objections. None were noted. Greg Bochy, Thomas Jones, Teresa Stroebe, Sue Vinton, Tim Trafford, and Barbara Forrester Frank voted affirmatively. The motion passed six to zero.
OLD BUSINESS OR FOLLOW UP INFORMATION
A. Library Report
The school librarians provided a document explaining the selection criteria for library media materials, how decisions are made to purchase library materials and answers to frequently asked questions. Supt. Johnson said there had been a question by parents regarding a book in the library. In response to that inquiry, she asked the librarians to prepare the report that was included in the agenda packet.
Superintendent Johnson said we certainly don’t want anything in the library that does not meet the curricular expectations of the district.
Chris Malenowsky and Becky Malenowsky were present to discuss this item with the trustees. Mrs. Malenowsky asked if a group of parents would be able to review library books as the orders come in, prior to being shelved. She said this would not be censorship, but it would assist librarians who do not have time to read each and every book ordered. Becky asked if there was an ordering and shipment schedule or a way that the parent reviewers could be contacted when books arrive.
Eileen asked Becky if she would like to be the contact person. She said yes. Mrs. Johnson asked Mrs. Malenowsky to leave her phone number, and she will be contacted when groups of books come in.
Becky Malenowsky commented that she very much appreciated how responsive Eileen and Mike Sullivan were when she brought the questionable library materials to their attention.
Trustee Thomas Jones volunteered to be on the reader committee.
The Board of Trustees expressed their appreciation of the librarians’ response to this question.
Chairperson Teresa Stroebe requested that the sites mentioned in the library report be put on our website. Eileen said she would have Deani Kirkness put links to any that are not already there.
There was no further public comment on this item.
A. Visitors from Laurel School to Share Growth Experiences
Visitors from the Laurel School District were present to share their experiences dealing with growth issues and construction of school facilities. The visitors from the Laurel School District were as follows: Superintendent Josh Middleton, Trustee Matt Miller, Trustee Mike Healy, and Business Manager Roger Heimbigner.
Mr. Middleton distributed a building timeline entitled: Laurel Facilities Planning – A Retrospect. He had put together this report to provide information for Lockwood. Josh reviewed their planning process noting these items:
JGA Architects were hired to conduct the facilities study and master plan; after their bond passed they advertised for bids for the building project architectural services. They received over twelve proposals; JGA was selected.
Lesson 1: You cannot over communicate on building issues.
Lesson 2: Take time to have a symposium regardless of who your architects are. Insist on this as it really did bring the best of best out of all participants. It was a long three days, but a lot of enthusiasm and energy was created. (He noted that the timeframe indicated on the report for the building symposium is incorrect. It was actually held in November 2004.)
Lesson 3: Go visit other schools in and out of the state. The lessons of what not to do will be as valuable as what to do.
Eileen asked about their projected costs versus actual costs. Mr. Middleton replied that their costs had gone up quite significantly due in part to the hurricanes.
It was noted that they had many questions, a lot of community discussion, and conducted quite a bit of research about the configuration of the Middle School. They finally determined that they would include fifth grade and the Middle School will house Grades 5-8. It is built for 600 students; current Laurel enrollment in Grades 5-8 is about 525. They have 1700-1750 total students.
Laurel Trustee Matt Miller said that bonding restrictions by law are an obstacle. It makes it difficult to get enough money for the project. They really had to prioritize by weighing building, health issues, and life safety issues.
Laurel Trustee Mike Healy commented from his observation the school has a positive situation going on with the Lockwood community. He said that is to your advantage.
Greg Bochy asked about what types of questions or concerns there were regarding adding fifth grade to middle school. One of the Laurel trustees responded that the main concerns were separation issues and how close the fifth graders would be to the upper grades. It was noted that many small schools in Montana have all twelve grades in one building. He also advised that it is important to keep the meetings positive, keep the community involved and address their concerns.
Teresa Stroebe asked which schools they had visited in Wyoming. They looked at Riverton and Worland schools.
Trustee Tim Trafford commented that one of the things they are struggling with is getting people to show up for the meetings. He asked, “How do you get them to show up?” Laurel representatives advised that they also had that problem and the problem of attrition on the planning committee.
Tim asked, “If they don’t (attend), do you go ahead anyway? Josh Middleton advised that they should proceed.
Matt Miller said it can be helpful to get the PTA involved.
Josh said they were very aggressive right before the bond election. He said we met with any group possible.
There was discussion about the importance of the timing of a bond issue election.
The importance of providing real numbers for people, so they can understand what the increase would be on their tax statements was also discussed.
Roger Heimbigner advised that there are many legal and technical aspects of bonding. He said having bond consultants like Bridget Ekstrom from D.A. Davidson, and bond counsel are invaluable to the process.
Thomas asked what the plans were for the old middle school. Josh said they will still be using it in some capacity; the district offices will still be there. They have considered several scenarios, but no final decision has been made yet.
During the planning phase, Laurel compared costs of remodeling existing facilities to building a new facility. They felt that helped some community people support that building a new facility was a better option. The Laurel delegation advised getting a vast array of people that cover the spectrum of the district to participate on a Facilities Committee.
Sue Vinton asked if Laurel is providing full-day kindergarten. Mr. Middleton said they currently have one section and he would like to have it for all the kindergarten.
Roger said that the Lockwood Board may want to have a work session with the Laurel repre-sentatives at a later date to discuss the logistics and legalities of getting architects.
One of the most difficult things is that the timeline is very long; it was a three-year process for them.
It was noted that some Montana schools had included a Community Library and it had worked very well. This may be something Lockwood could consider.
Trustee Thomas Jones asked if it is a good practice to ask after-the-fact questions about the schools visited. The response is yes; they will show you what not to do. Take lots of pictures.
The Laurel representatives left the meeting at 8:28 p.m.
B. Continue Discussion About School District’s Expansion
This item was moved to an earlier place on the agenda as requested at the last meeting. Some attachments from past meetings were included in the agenda packets.
Chairperson Stroebe asked if there was any more discussion about items 4A or 4B. Eileen said we have a facility meeting scheduled for December 19th at 7:00 p.m. Wyeth Friday is coming to that meeting to discuss the Community Plan document and Bridget Ekstrom who is Vice President of Public Finance with D. A. Davison is coming to the January 10, 2006 meeting to provide bonding information.
B. Flex Plan Document – Amendments & Language Modifications
Diane Brook reported: Recent law changes require language modifications which must be incorporated into our flex plan document. The IRS now allows cafeteria plans to offer an extended grace period to incur claims and the ability to pay medical bills through flexible spending account debit cards. The best way to incorporate both the required modifications and amendments that allow the new enhancements is to restate our plan document with the current IRS requirements and addition of language for the Extended Grace Period and Debit Cards. Employee Benefit Resources, our plan administrator, will process these changes and send us the new plan document.
Trustee Trafford gave a brief explanation of his questions and a description of a flex plan. He said he appreciated the written responses Diane Brook had provided. Teresa asked if everyone had had an opportunity to read the responses. The trustees answered affirmatively.
Tim Trafford moved to amend the Flex Plan Document as requested. Greg Bochy seconded the motion. Greg Bochy, Thomas Jones, Teresa Stroebe, Sue Vinton, Tim Trafford, and Barbara Forrester Frank voted aye. The motion passed six to zero.
A. Request for a Student to Attend Yellowstone Academy District No. 58
The superintendent recommended approval of out-of-district tuition for J.D. to attend Yellowstone Academy District No. 58 (Boys and Girls Ranch). Funding for this will be from the Tuition Fund, which is a non-voted levy.
Thomas Jones voted to approve the out-of-district placement at Yellowstone Academy District No. 58 for student J.D. Tim Trafford seconded the motion. Sue Vinton, Teresa Stroebe, Greg Bochy, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, and Barbara Forrester Frank voted yes; the motion passed six to zero.
A. Updated List of Substitutes
Substitute Teachers: Vern Bass, Kim Keysor, Melissa Nygaard,
Chris Peterson, James Salyer
Substitute Support Staff: Mona Curtis
Tim Trafford moved to hire the substitute teachers and support staff substitute as presented. Thomas Jones seconded the motion. Thomas asked if each of these people had been fingerprint background checked. Mrs. Johnson said yes. Sue Vinton, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Barbara Forrester Frank, Teresa Stroebe, and Greg Bochy voted affirmatively; the motion passed six to zero.
REPORTS AND MISCELLANEOUS
Eileen briefly reviewed Pam Richau’s reports, since Pam was unable to attend the meeting. She noted that Pam had sent out an e-mail about turning off computers at night and the savings in power costs that would result.
Don Christman was unable to attend due to illness. Trustees had received his report in the agenda packet.
Art Anderson had to leave the meeting due to a classroom heating problem. He had distributed his report to the trustees at the beginning of the meeting.
Mr. Osborne’s report was included in agenda.
Middle School Principal Mike Sullivan pointed out that last Friday’s newspaper had included an article about the Lockwood Student Council. Mike advised that they had formed a Student Council that is a MBI Student Council; the MBI Student Leadership Team became the Student Council. The leaders are selected by staff. In order to be considered this process had to be completed: 1) The student had to submit a resume; 2) Their parents had to fill out an information sheet; 3) The students were interviewed. There were no elections because too many times it becomes a popularity contest not a leadership contest. Every Friday from now on there will be (BASE) homeroom for twenty-five minutes; during that time staff and students will work on MBI components. They are also going to have no bells on Fridays, to see how that works out. There will be twenty-seven BASE classes; each will elect a representative who will attend MBI Student Council. Mr. Sullivan said he is very happy with the idea of meshing the two components. He believes that staff and students are also happy with this arrangement.
Intermediate School Principal Dave DeBoer mentioned two upcoming Christmas programs; one will be Thursday at 1:00 p.m. and one on Friday at 1:30 p.m. He also thanked the board for the wonderful board luncheon provided last week. Dave advised that he currently has Judy Maehl, a veteran substitute, covering in the classroom of the teacher who resigned on December 8, 2005.
Ms. Maehl will continue substituting in that classroom until December 22, 2005. They are working to fill the position.
Primary Principal Mike Bowman said the music programs are going very well. His building has one left, which will be tomorrow. Mike noted that Project Love volunteers are donating 80-100 hours per month. He distributed copies of the Heights Section of the Billings Gazette that contained an article about the Primary Science Program. Mr. Bowman also commented that they have been helping some needy families and children with the Humanitarian Fund.
Eileen had received more information about the grant that Lockwood has been invited to participate in with Billings District No. 2. The grant is to review crisis procedures and drills, including procedures for pandemics.
Teresa Stroebe said she had attended the meeting at St. Vincent’s Hospital, and it was very interesting.
B. Discussion of Proposed School Funding Plans and Special Legislative Session
Teresa and Eileen reported that they had attended a meeting about the proposed school funding set up through Vision Quest. The meeting included the Governor, the Board of MQEC, Directors of MTSBA, superintendents, and trustees.
Teresa said vision netting is a very interesting way to have meetings. She suggested Lockwood Schools may want to look into purchasing it in the future.
Trustee Sue Vinton asked about the progress of naming the road. Eileen said the name has been submitted to the county for review. The county employee that reviews the road name suggestions has been gone for quite some time. They are waiting for a response from the county.
Trustee Thomas Jones briefly reported on the Homeland Security meetings. He said one student project was a refrigerator magnet with important emergency information on it. Tom said students will be going to Philadelphia to present about their Emergency Kits Project.
A chart was distributed that shows the continuing inflationary shortfall in state funding of K-12 public education under the Governor’s special session proposal.
Teresa Stroebe dispersed information provided by MTSBA about evaluating the superintendent.
It was noted that the evaluation usually takes place in January. Tim explained past practice to new trustees. He said the format used previously was aligned with the superintendent’s job description. After a brief discussion, evaluation of the superintendent was slated for 6:00 p.m. on the January 10 regular meeting agenda.
Chairperson Stroebe said she would email the evaluation forms to all trustees prior to the January meeting.
There will be a Special Meeting to discuss Lockwood School Facilities and Growth on December 19, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. in the Board Room. This Lockwood Steering Committee will present the Lockwood Community Plan.
The next regular meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. on January 10, 2006 in the Board Room.
Thomas Jones moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:09 p.m. Sue Vinton seconded the motion. Teresa Stroebe, Greg Bochy, Tim Trafford, Thomas Jones, Sue Vinton, and Barbara Forrester Frank voted aye. The motion passed six to zero.
Teresa Stroebe, Chairperson Diane M. Brook, District Clerk