Q2 Morning Email Newsletter

Aug 16, 2011 12:41 AM by Amanda Venegas

Budget delayed after tensions rise at Billings School Board meeting

BILLINGS - A Billings School Board had a lengthy meeting Monday night with the focus on the budget for the coming school year. However, concerns over whether the public was given adequate information about the budget, results in a delay and some frayed feelings between board members.

Over the past several months, the budget has fueled heated conversations, particularly over the issue of removing steps, lanes and longevity, which is basically a scale that pays teachers more money for their continuing education and experience. For the first time this year, Billings Education Association President Jeff Greenfield addressed the crowd saying the district missed the contract deadline. Billings Classified Employee Association President Deana Elder also expressed concern over the cuts the board made saying some of them were directly affecting students.

The meeting then went to another level, when Trustee Pam Ellis spoke about concerns that the board and Dr. Beeman had kept communication and documents from the public.

Chair Bryan tells Q2 Amanda Venegas that Trustee Ellis has threatened the board that she is building a lawsuit. She says the board is doing its best to comply with open meeting laws.

Next Monday at 5 pm, the trustees will revisit the budget issue. Chair Bryan says adopting the budget does not end the process. She says it can still be amended later when union negotiations are completed. The school budget is due to the state by August 25.

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