The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Chinook School Board addresses resignation and new hires;Donna Miller is back to teach English


May 3, 2023

The Chinook School Board held its regularly scheduled on Tuesday, April 20, 2023. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Trustee Frank Billmayer at 7:00 pm. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and visitors were welcomed. Visitors included, Matt Molyneaux, Leslee Weber, Jill Paulsen, Paula Molyneaux, Laura Kellam, Tammy Edwards, Celeste Elliot, Brockton Elliot, Robert Kelley, Shay Waldbillig, Julianne Snedigar, Sheena Barber, Danelle Gibson, Alicia Noel, Michael Reel, Daniel Dahl, Dan Arriola, Chrissy Downs, Mike Jones, Bree Swanson, Lori Swanson, Janelle Deanon, John Elliot, Nick Turner, Walter Waldner, Jenn Conrad. Board Present in attendance were Frank Billmayer, Kevin Elias, Russell Alisch, Shane Strobe, Teddy Crowley, and Scott DePriest.

A brief public comment period followed for comments on non-agenda issues. Mr. Dan Arriola made comments related to the construction of a bus storage and or maintenance facility. Presumed locations are the five city lots at the west end of the football field.

He addressed transparency saying the school board could have been more transparent on this issue. Please consider this issue to be of significant public interest. Points of discussion included: Zoning, Lack of Utilities, Street Access, Water Runoff, Floodplain issues, Water Tower, Alternate Properties

Chairman Billmayer assured that the board has not picked a site yet.

Student Council Member, Bree Swanson states that they have not been busy, and that Elections are coming up for Juniors and Seniors. The student Council is planning to serve breakfast for teacher appreciation week. The annual Ski trip took place with 43 high school students attending. This year the Student Council had the ski trip on a Wednesday. Teacher Appreciation Week is May 8th – 12th.

Included in the Superintendent report Mr. Hoffman commented that he has been filling teacher vacancies and doing a “Deep dive”, on the budget and possibly reopening negotiations with teachers. In addition, he reported the plan for issuing Bids for the buses, new ones. Mr. Hoffman stated, “we have addressed an issue in the freshman class regarding racist comments earlier this year. This was addressed at the board by a community member. That issue was addressed. We had another such issue in the junior high this past month. That matter has also been addressed. This is partly why MBI is so important. Being proactive. the idea is to create a positive climate in the school. Make an investment, weeklong training in Bozeman.” Mr. Hoffmans report also included comments stating additional issues included are “finding a bus driver for spring events, all cancellations. It is hard to get one.

Chairman Billmayer then addressed the board and visitors regarding the consideration of Resignations, if any. Chairman Billmayer chose not to read the resignation letters. Those resignations came Kylie Kropf, English, Kasie Gandenberger, Art, Michael Jones, Girls’ Basketball Coach and Kaelyn Kaftan, Paraprofessional.Motion to accept the resignations was made by Trustee Alisch and seconded by Trustee Crowley. Chairman Billmayer asked for public comment. No public comments. Chairman Billmayer asked for a discussion. No discussion. The motion carried unanimously.

Several teacher and maintenance hiring were discussed with a notable teacher included in hiring Donna Miller as an English Teacher. Mrs. Miller has a strong connection to Chinook High School having started in the school right out of college and having taught many of the parents of students currently enrolled.

A motion to hire Donna Miller and give her 18 years on the salary matrix was made by Trustee Crowley and seconded by Trustee DePriest. Chairman Billmayer asked for public comment. Public comments ensued. Ms. Kellam supports the hire of Dr. Miller. “She provides classroom management. Kids need it. And she is going to help with catching up after COVID.” Mr. Molyneaux stated that she is a good egg. She could also provide drama club as an elective.

Chairman Billmayer asked for a discussion. Trustee Crowley stated that she is going to be a great asset to have in the building. Trustee DePriest agreed, her presence is going to be beneficial. Trustee Elias expressed that she is going to reach every kid, she will get her point across. She is going to be really good for the building. The motion carried unanimously.


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