Eureka School Board
April 12th, 2021 Public Meeting
By Sally Durham

0:01 Pledge of Alliegence

0:26 General Comment- No non-agenda comments

1:27 Board Reports

Facilities mtg held- details. Discussed future building projects. Gen consensus- We should wait till we’re closer to normal. New businesses involved in bidding. New opportunities. We need to build an addition on the High School as well as Junior High. Discussion on how to get projects in a possible price range.

4:22 Propose wait on building project till Aug meeting. - unanimous

6:30 Chair sending the board the concept art to review.

7:05 Agenda 101 & 201 comparison of Budget numbers. We’re ordering supplies for next year which is a big ticket item. Please double check the numbers. When final numbers are in, we may be tighter financially next year.

9:38 Agenda passed.

9:54 Losing teacher/golf coach. Motion to accept resignation for Andy Kelley. - Unanimous.

11:05 We don’t like adding substitute teachers late in the school year, but she’s worked as an aid here for a while. Recommend we hire her. One board member abstained; sub is his niece. Motion to approve- all other votes unanimous in favor.

13:30 Audit report finalized and sent to board. Motion to approve- unanimous.

14:51- curriculum co-op. By joining co-op we don’t have to have a full time employee coming up with curriculum. Flathead schools in the co-op. Problem, Kalispell and a couple others pulled out. Resources will be tighter, but the chair recommends we stay with the co-op for one more year. The co-op is fiscally sound for the next year. He’s hoping that they’ll get more for their money because everything won’t be in Kalispell. Curriculum on 5-7 year rotation. It pays for training, materials, speakers, etc. Ultimately board gets the final say. Part of co-op last 11-12 years. Co-op is $12k ann. Hiring someone would be $40k.

24:11 tech issue

24:40- motion to approve staying in co-op- unanimous

25:44 List of 12 renewing contracts for non-tenure teachers for the next year. Vote to approve extensions.

Board- why do we vote for all of them at once. We (as board members) don’t know them. Are they evaluated regularly?

Board- if someone wasn’t a good candidate, they wouldn’t put the teacher’s names on the list.

Chair- evaluations that he received were good. If you have concerns, come to us, and share them. We can evaluate outside of a public forum.

Board- Tenure is 4-year process, all teachers are evaluated regularly.

34:00 listed teachers by how many years they’ve been with the district. There are no teachers up for tenure.

Recommendation to renew all 12 teachers- unanimous

35:35 Treasure State- Biomass fuel- requesting 3 year bid. $6727 per ton of green fuel, recommend accept the bid. Things have been really smooth with this company. Few interruptions and it handled most of our heat needs through the winter. – unanimous

38:20 One spot open for Trego and only one person ran in the election. There will be a Eureka election.

39:19 Ballots go out for election Wed. Due date for all ballots is May 4th by 8PM. Election judges count votes.

41:03 Motion to pass Trego election by acclamation- unanimous.

41.38 Mask Mandate- Chair recommends removing mandate April 29. It is 2 weeks after second round of shots. Will need special board meeting on 27th to work with Union. Ability to negotiate MOU exists.

Union- negotiation workable. We have a plan. We’ve had a year in school when most states are just getting back. We still need to find middle ground.

45:00 Chair- explain his recommendation. I believe we’ll never make everyone happy, but it will put out a bit of hope for the next school year.

Motion to approve-

48:00 discussion

Public- do away with mandate. It will make school events easier.

Public- get rid of it. My deaf child has trouble hearing people when they talk through a mask and can’t read lips. She’s having trouble learning anything.

Chair- head start has its own upcoming meeting.

Public- re: procedure. Contacted the school district attorney. She wasn’t consulted for MOU agreement. I assumed the attorney would be involved in contractual obligations that bind teachers, parents, and students. A lot of other districts were instructed by their attorneys not to sign the agreement. As a matter of practice, if agreements come up where all obligated parties aren’t there to sign the agreement, this board should get legal counsel of their attorney. MOA isn’t binding on everyone.

Board- When we were considering everything to get the school open, we weren’t trying to alienate the union. We meet monthly. We can readdress often. Recommend that Monday, we meet with the union and negotiate to have the masks off Tuesday. Everyone is ready to have the masks off.

Chair- we can vote to take masks off as soon as the union agrees. I don’t know if they’ll agree, but we can vote on it after negotiations. We can meet 48 hours after the negotiations.

Board- can we all be there and not just the negotiation board?

Chair- union would have to agree with that.

Board- negotiations might not go well in a board meeting setting. It would be drawn out and delayed.

Board- make recommendation now, amending motion to have meeting earlier.

Board- negotiations can make removal date earlier, but if negotiations don’t come to an agreement, mask mandate ends April 29

Chair- negotiation is preferable. Would be willing to deal with a grievance over that?

Board- what are the unions negotiating to get?

Union- teachers would like some autonomy. Potential masks in common areas. As strongly as you have your opinions, all our staff have strong opinions too.

Board- I had a group of teachers that came to me today, non-union. They said we’re losing credibility with the community. We do have a negotiation team. But we need to include all staff including bus drivers and office staff, anyone working with the kids, regardless of whether they work for union. They need to have a say in their workplace. Meeting with union is needed. We’re not just talking about masks. We’re talking about breaking contracts and the memorandum with new circumstances. Avoiding a grievance is important. We’ve always been able to work through contractual issues in the past. I don’t want to lose all that relationship building.

Chair- can 2 board members attend a mtg on Mon? I’ll make an offer to meet.

1:09:28 We’re ahead of schedule getting everyone vaccinated. One teacher missed, and that was by choice.

1:10:40- amending motion discussed.

1:12:19 Apr 29 is cut off for masks. Vote- unanimous

1:14:46- negotiation committee chosen

1:15:31 High School roof Bids- Contractor broke roof into 3 sections. One section is really bad. Will leak next winter. Got an estimate. Section 1 $144k – 153k, Section 2 $49k, Section 3 $79k. Building reserve fund right now is $98k. There is an outstanding bill, however, and we need to look at the levy as well.

Chair wants to open up bids and get real costs for the repairs. It will give us time to talk about the bids and decide next month. We’d be on track to replace roof in 3 years. I want to put an Oct completion date in the bids so the worst of it is done before winter. Motion- passed

1:22:01 Communities That Care- mission to reduce drug and alcohol use. Grant position available. Organization meant to create activities that don’t involve drugs. 2016 we brought in navy seals to train with kids. We want to develop leadership and foster a healthy environment. Josh Brown was hired to do it. He’s a coach already. He will work with the kids in this county. Want him to start immediately- Title: Join The Pride Leader. 4 year grant.

Chair- hiring isn’t through the school, but there is a school background check. Recommend we house it in the school.

Board- each county has their own. I’d like to involve Junior High as well as Trego and Fortine. They’re our kids.

Motion to accept grant position- unanimous.

1:28:39 Resolution proposed2021-2022 year to allow district to conduct elections for the upcoming year if necessary. Covering bases in case it’s needed. -unanimous.

1:30:21 Maintenance- drinking water is being tested for lead. Anticipate finding lead in old buildings. Hoping newer building comes out well on the tests.

Security cameras- waiting for second bid including wiring.

Boiler inspection. There’s a leak in JH basement. Hoping it’s coming from an easy to fix area, but need inspection in June-July. We barely used it this year because the bio-mass fuel worked. But we didn’t have a long cold spell. We need a backup heat source.

Health Insurance quotes coming out Thursday. Numbers were good this year.

1:34:18 Chair- Board members should visit school once a year. Can we schedule meeting the 14th at 9AM? Or do I sched individual meetings? We can do 1 at a time. Times negotiated.

1:37:00 Teacher Appreciation Day in May. Looking for volunteers.

1:38:48 public forum for election candidates being held 4/20 board trustee Riverstone Lodge

“To say “I love you” one must know first how to say the “I”.” - Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead