September 26, 2016 board meeting

27 Sep

Rogers Elementary School staff members Ann Soetenga, left, and Bill Roberts talked to the school board about the Rogers Garden project.

Rogers Elementary staff members Ann Soetenga and Bill Roberts presented about the Rogers Garden. Food from the garden was served to students and families during a special event on September 20.
The garden will be named after the late Martha Shibe during a dedication ceremony planned for the spring. Shibe lived in the Rogers neighborhood and was a big supporter of the school.

For personnel items approved, click here.

Public Comments
Matt Nevins, 7th grade math teacher at Miller Middle School, advocated for the reactivation of the early retirement incentive. Nevins said the early voluntary retirement incentive allows for savings for school district and a benefit to staff.
He said 92.5 percent of staff surveyed, who are Marshalltown Education Association members, said they were in favor of reinstating the early retirement incentive.

Voluntary Early Retirement Programs
The board held a discussion on the reactivation of this policy, which was recommended by Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.
Schutte said the timing is a problem as it’s hard to know budget-wise until the certified enrollment count date of October 15. Schutte said next year the district would look at pushing out this decision by the board until after this enrollment count.
This plan allows for staff to get health insurance for 8 years or until they turn 65 years of age if they qualify for early retirement. Qualifications for secretaries, teachers and administrators include 55 years of age or older and at least 15 years of service to the district.
There is a possibility this incentive will be extended to other employee groups to make it more equitable among all staff groups in the future. Also, the date of the time the board will make the decision each year is expected to move back to later in the year in the future. Changes will be discussed at future meetings of the board.
The incentive program was approved by the board 5-0 for qualifying staff retiring at the end of this school year.


Settlement of Secretary/Treasurer Reports for Fiscal Year 2016
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz put together a financial health report. Click here for the report.
Bartz said the general fund had “good things happening” as far the health of that fund.
Revenues were up $1.01 million from the previous year and expenditures were up $681,953, which meant the year ends on the good side to the tune of $328,618.
Overall, most of the budget numbers were improvements from last year, Bartz said.


Board Policies
300- Statement of Guiding Principles – Marked as reviewed.
301.1- Superintendent of Schools- Qualifications and Recruitment- Marked as reviewed.
301.2- Superintendent of Schools – Contract and Contract Non-Renewal – Marked as reviewed.
310.3 – Superintendent of Schools – Functions – Add building principals to evaluation duties, will be brought back at next meeting to change language.
302.1- Associates to the Superintendent – Positions – Marked as reviewed.

Board calendar
Board Vice President Janelle Carter had two recommendations for the board calendar. She proposed the board eliminate the January 9, 2017 meeting and just have one meeting in January. She also proposed for next September to have the meeting the Tuesday after Labor Day, instead of waiting a whole week. Board members agreed to these changes.

Interviews for vacancy
The board then interviewed four candidates for the open board vacancy including Carol Geil of the Marshalltown Community College Foundation, Ben Fletcher of Emerson/Fisher, retired teacher Peggy Niedermann and AEA staff member Kathleen Goslinga.
The board will interview three more candidates in open session beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 27 including Edie Rierson, Dwight Martin and Brittany O’Shea. The board is expected to make a decision to fill the vacancy at the October 3 meeting.


From Board President Bea Niblock
“After a good deal of discussion, the board approved the reactivation of the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Programs for the 2016-17 school year. This gives eligible staff members another tool in their personal retirement planning. Notification will need to be given to the superintendent by February 1, 2017, indicating an individual’s intent to participate in the program.
The board has indicated a desire to look at the Voluntary Retirement program over the next few months to determine if any changes would be appropriate for the financial health of the district. If retirement planning is in your near future, make it a point to stay informed of those board discussions.”   – Bea Niblock

September 12, 2016 Board Meeting

13 Sep



Marshalltown High School art teacher Wade Judge talks about his design which was selected for an art piece for the pedestrian walkway in downtown Marshalltown at the school board meeting on September 12.


Walkway art project
Marshalltown High School Art teacher Wade Judge talked about the pedestrian walkway art project he designed in a former alley. It is located between the Fiddle and Whistle and Apgar Photography off of Main Street. Judge said there were several volunteers who helped paint the piece on the ground and said there is more art to come downtown.

“I’m really proud to be able to put my thumbprint to be part of Marshalltown,” Judge said.


MHS Student Senate members Morgan Van Staalduine and Trevor Lewis talked about Homecoming events going on this week. Both encouraged the community to come out to the events and show their Bobcat spirit.

“It’s a way for the whole community to come connect together,” Van Staalduine said.

Board Director Resignation
The board accepted the resignation of board member Ben Stansberry. The board will be accepting letters of interest (sent to Brian Bartz at district office) for those wishing to fill this vacancy until September 21. More information is forthcoming on this process, which could also be filled via an election if a petition is filed with the required signatures by September 28.

New Administrator
Josh Wesley introduced himself as the new Director of Technology. Josh is from St. Paul, Minnesota and was a technology supervisor for a school district in that area. He started at MCSD on September 1.

Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis presented this personnel list which was approved by the board. He noted two changes to the list including Ashlea Dall is not resigning as paraeducator at MHS and Miriam Rodas will stay as a bus monitor.

Depository Resolution
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz presented this item. This is a yearly requirement to list the financial institutions in which public funds may be deposited.

310.1 – Administrative/Management Team – Marked as reviewed
310.3- -Administrative Structure- Marked as reviewed
312.1 – Administrative Personnel Employment – Individual Contracts – Recommendation to delete last line “The contract shall automatically continue in force for one year following expiration unless mutually modified or terminated.”
This would make all administrative contracts rolling one year contracts like the teachers. (instead of two years). This is expected to come back as a first reading next meeting.
312.3 – Administrative Personnel – Compensation/Benefits – Marked as reviewed
705.9 – Death of a Student, Staff Member or Board Director – Board President Bea Niblock suggested add to this policy that flowers be sent to a funeral that we know about for current students, staff members or board directors. Business Director Brian Bartz said this action has been written up by auditors in the past at a different district. This policy will come back with some revision to have some way to offer sympathy.

Election of Board President for 2016-17 year


Brian Bartz reads the oath of office to Bea Niblock after she was elected Board President.










Bea Niblock was re-elected Board President for the next year and took the oath of office.

Election of Board Vice President for 2016-17 year


Board President Bea Niblock reads the oath of office to Board Vice President Janelle Carter.

Janelle Carter was re-elected Vice President for the next year and took the oath of office.

Annual Appointments for 2016-17

-Appointed Brian Bartz as Board Secretary

-Appointed Cartwright, Druker and Ryden as School Attorney and John Veldey as collective bargaining counsel spokesperson

-Appointed Ahlers and Cooney as additional legal counsel

-Appointed TSP as architect of record

Board Work Session
The board held a special work session with the superintendent search firm McPherson and Jacobson and Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte to set up superintendent goals. This is part of the follow up work by the search firm. The goals established include: Improve Culture, Improve Communication, and Improve Student Development (student achievement, participation and performance).

Next Meeting
The next regular meeting of the school board will be held at 5 p.m. on September 26 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Monday’s board meeting allowed us to see two of the ways that staff and students are reaching into the community and sharing of themselves and the educational community, as well.
MHS art teacher, Wade Judge, told the board of his design, which was selected to help beautify a pedestrian walkway in downtown.  The talents of our staff reach far beyond teaching students and into the community to make it a more enriched place to live and work.
Senior class officers, Morgan Van Staalduine and Trevor Lewis shared a preview of the activities that are happening at the high school and in the community for Homecoming Week.  It’s a wonderful highlight of the spirit and enthusiasm of the student body.
Great things are happening in our schools and the successes are being shared with our school community and the Marshalltown community at large!” – Bea Niblock

August 15, 2016 board meeting

16 Aug

Three school nurses provided a health services update to the board on August 15, 2016. Pictured are, from left, Franklin Nurse Carol Barlow, Woodbury Nurse Elly Mack and MHS and lead district Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford.

Health Services Report
Marshalltown High School and lead district Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford, Woodbury Nurse Elly Mack and Franklin Nurse Carol Barlow gave an update on health services provided in the district.
Tool-Crawford said the three primary duties of the nursing staff are student health, well-being and academic success.
“The need for school nurses has never been stronger,” Barlow said.
The student population in the district is 5,320 and nurse office visits totaled 50,626 from August 2015 to June 2016.
Mack said one of the most important things to do is build a trust relationship with the child so they feel comfortable coming the nurse. She said it’s also important to build trust with parents as well.

New administrator introduction


Dr. Lisa Stevenson

Dr. Lisa Stevenson, the new director of instruction, introduced herself. She has been in education for 21 years including 10 years as an ESL teacher. She has been a curriculum director and principal for the past 11 years and comes from Bettendorf.
“I’m real excited to be here,” Stevenson said. “It’s been a whirlwind the last six weeks.”

Personnel items
For the initial list of personnel items, click here.
Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis also provided another list of additional personnel items at the meeting, which included:


Joshua Wesley, Director of Technology, Salary $97,000

Reji Kurian, Resource Specialist at Marshalltown Learning Academy- Salary $37,000

Pamela McDonnell, ESL Teacher at Senior High, Salary- MA/Step 10

Matt Tullis, Special Ed II teacher at Lenihan Intermediate, Salary MA + 30/Step 15

Tiffany White, Paraeducator at Rogers Elementary School, Salary $9.77/hour

Change of Contract:

Stephanie Collins, Special Ed II Teacher at Rogers Elementary (from Woodbury Elementary),

Spurgetis said Wesley has been a supervisor of network services at a school district in North St. Paul, Minnesota. He is scheduled to begin on Sept. 1.

Bus Transfer Discussion
With the advent of the new police and fire station to be built on the site of the current bus transfer lot, the district is looking into other locations for this transfer site in the future.
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said informal discussions have taken place as they search for a centralized and safe location for the new transfer site.
Board President Bea Niblock stressed the bus transfer site will be in the same location to begin the school year and the near future and encouraged others to spread the word.

Board Vacancy
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz talked about the board vacancy, with an application deadline of August 31. For more information on this vacancy, click here.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“This most recent meeting of the school board marks the beginning of a very busy week. At the meeting we heard from Dr. Stevenson, Director of Instruction, about her past professional life and her goals for the coming year. That is the last report of 7 new administrators in the district.
And Tuesday, August 16th marks the Open House for the new administrators to meet and greet the public. The Open House will be held at the Roundhouse (team room) from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and is open to staff and community. We hope that many people will come to meet the new administrators who will be providing new direction to the district this year.
Thursday, August 18th is the date for all MCSD staff to meet together in the Auditorium. Various individuals will speak to welcome back or welcome aboard the tenured and new staff of the district. This is the beginning of the beginning with the first day of school on Tuesday, August 23rd. Welcome back to staff and students!” -Bea Niblock

August 11, 2016 Special Meeting

12 Aug

The school board met in a special session on August 11, 2016 to approve personnel hires. The meeting was held to approve the hiring of several of the new teachers who will be reporting for new teacher orientation on August 15, said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.

To view the personnel items approved, click here.

Note: Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis pulled Joseph Doyen (Miller art) off the list of hires to be approved.

The next regular meeting of the school board will be at 5 p.m. on Monday, August 15 in district offices.

The board also invites everyone to an open house to meet new school administrators from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 16 in the team room of the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse. For more information on the open house, click here.

August 1, 2016 Board Meeting

2 Aug

Open House
There will be an open house to meet the several new administrators in the Marshalltown Community School District from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on August 16 in the team room of the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse. For more information on this event, click here.


New MHS Activities/Athletics Director Rollie Ackerman talks to the board during the August 1 meeting. Also pictured at the table, from left, is new Miller Associate Principal David Glenn, new Miller Principal Pat Rial and new Buildings and Grounds Director Brett Purvis.

New Administrator/Director Introductions
Several new administrators and directors introduced themselves at the board meeting on August 1 including Rollie Ackerman, David Glenn, Pat Rial, Brett Purvis, Anthony Spurgetis and Dr. Theron Schutte.
Activities/Athletics Director Ackerman said he is planning a fall sports kickoff with team scrimmages on August 19.
Glenn, the new associate principal at Miller Middle School, said his immediate goal will be to continue the work which has been started, especially with standards based grading and supporting PBIS.
Purvis comes from the Iowa Valley Community College District and is the new director of buildings and grounds. “I look forward to serving you,” Purvis said.
Pat Rial, new principal at Miller Middle School, comes from the associate principal post at Miller. He said project based learning and standards based grading will continue to be a focus.
“I’m excited to build on the positive relationships I’ve had at Miller,” Rial said.
Anthony Spurgetis, new director of human resources, arrived from Des Moines Schools.
“Very excited to be here, very excited about our new admin team,” Spurgetis said.
New Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said his welcome has been “unbelievable” in the community.
Dr. Schutte said he is excited to move forward this fall with crafting a renewed strategic plan for the district.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here. Spurgetis said one hire on this list, John Pelzer, has decided not to take the assistant football coach position.


Woodbury Teacher Librarian Sue Cahill, left, reports on the findings of the continuous learning calendar committee to the board. Also pictured giving the report at the table, from left, is Arlene McAtee, Karina Hernandez and Jenny Fisher.

Continuous Learning Calendar Committee Recommendation
Arlene McAtee and other members of the continuous learning calendar committee presented to the board including Sue Cahill, Jenny Fisher and Karina Hernandez.
Several other committee members were also in attendance.
The 18-member committee spent more than 14 months looking at the possibility of a continuous learning calendar or a balanced calendar in Marshalltown.
The majority of the committee (80 percent) recommended MCSD should move from a 12 week summer break to an 8 week summer break to help cut summer learning loss.
The committee also recommended the following: that the change be made gradually, to commit to the alternative calendar for no less than three years, intersessions created through an additional break time and some of the summer break be used in whole or in part for remediation and enrichment, have baseline data and measure changes over time.
McAtee said the committee members were all in agreement that the district consider having a broader community dialogue to get community input on this potential change.
The board had several questions for members of the committee regarding their research, which was extensive with school districts that have implemented a balanced calendar out of state. No current Iowa school district is on a balanced calendar though some have certain buildings on a type of calendar like this.
Dr. Schutte gave some background on a school that used a balanced calendar in Bettendorf.
“It most helps a challenged demographic population,” Schutte said.
Dr. Schutte asked about whether this calendar is feasible at the state level, according to Iowa Code.
McAtee said they talked with legislative advisors and weren’t told exactly that they couldn’t do this.
“We were given the impression that it was possible to do this,” McAtee said.
The board thanked the calendar committee for their many months of work and meetings.

Next step
Board President Bea Niblock said the next step is for the board to take this information and work with the central office cabinet to provide for focus groups at the community level. President Niblock said there is a need to investigate together and move out in the community for a broader community perspective on this issue before making any decision to pursue this type of calendar.

To view the report from the committee, click here.

Operations/Maintenance Report
New Buildings and Grounds Director Brett Purvis gave a brief update on his department as we are three weeks away from the start of school on August 23.
“We look very capable of hitting all of our goals,” Purvis said as they get ready for the start of school.
Purvis said he is working to get the grounds of the schools looking better.
“We kind of like to pick up the curb appeal,” Purvis said of the appearance around schools.

Board Policies
204.6 – Notice of Board Meetings – Marked at reviewed, check on legal reference
204.7 – Quorum for Meetings – Marked as reviewed
204.8 – Rules of Order – Marked as reviewed
204.9 – Agenda and Order of Regular Business Meetings – Marked as reviewed
204.10 – Community Participation in Board Meetings – Marked as reviewed

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The board had the opportunity to hear from the continuous learning calendar committee at Monday’s board meeting. The committee, made up of educators and community people, had worked for 14 months to interview school districts which used the continuous calendar model and to do the necessary research on summer learning loss and other pertinent topics.
The recommendation, from the majority of the committee, was to encourage MCSD to move from a 12 week summer break to an 8 week summer break. This would create short intersessions during the school year to be used for remediation and enrichment. It was recommended that the change be made gradually and methodically.
The board accepted the committee’s research and data and agreed to work with the Central Office cabinet to further investigate the possibility for such a move in the district. This would include community focus groups to gather the impressions and opinions of a broader segment of the community. Watch for further information on this process from the MCSD Board of Education.” – Bea Niblock

July 18, 2016 board meeting

19 Jul

Rogers Elementary Principal Dr. Mick Jurgensen, left, recognizes Karina Hernandez from Mid-Iowa Community Action during the July 18 board meeting. Jurgensen said Hernandez is very dedicated to work in the schools in several different programs.

Karina Hernandez from Mid-Iowa Community Action was recognized by the school board and district. Hernandez is very active in several of the schools year-round and this summer leads Rogers University and the Munch and More programs. She also is involved in the Marshalltown High School 4-H Club, Spread the Words- Read by Third initiative and more.
“She is just everywhere in the school district and deserved this recognition,” said Rogers Elementary School Principal Dr. Mick Jurgensen. “We are much stronger with her support.”
Hernandez said being around youth is her passion.
“I’m thankful for being around what I like to do,” Hernandez said.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.
Of the hires approved by the board was Dave Glenn, the new associate principal at Miller Middle School, who was in attendance at the meeting.
“We are very excited to have him come on our administrative team,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.


Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger talks to the board about the Extended Learning Program (XLP) alongside XLP teachers Deb Christenson, center, and Nicole Holman

Extended Learning Program (XLP)
Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger led this presentation and was assisted by district elementary XLP teachers Nicole Holman and Deb Christenson.
Cretsinger said the Extended Learning Program will now go by the acronym XLP to not be confused with English Language Proficiency.
The XLP Program works to support accelerated students in a variety of ways and serves 5 percent of the students in the district for a total of 300. Cretsinger said the district will look to recruit a more diverse student population into the XLP program to better reflect the district’s demographics after a memo from the Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Justice.
Conversation was held around the board wanting to grow the XLP program and ways to look at funding to allow for more participation.
To view the presentation document, click here.

Review Board Calendar
Board President Bea Niblock gave the board a printed copy of the board calendar as it relates to a board policy. This calendar lists proposed annual agenda items and is the policy 204.9 R-1. The board approved minor changes to the policy.

Food Service Report
Director of Food Service Lynn Large gave a report on the summer meals program and a look ahead to new menu items for the fall. The summer meals program served on average 656 kids a day in June and 491 students a day in July


Lynn Large

“We’ve had a great summer,” Large said.

New additions for the menu for the fall include: tamales (due to Miller and MHS student request), extended salad offerings for students in the cafeteria and for staff to order and a new cookie.

Large said partnerships with a local farm and Iowa Choice Harvest will bring more fresh food to the district.

Large has a goal of increasing participation in the lunch program for MHS students this school year. She said they are trying new ideas such as a “grab and go” lunch option with deli wraps, sandwiches and new salads in a box. A tailgate style lunch with a grill at the front of  the building is also being considered.

Food Service Contracts for 2016-17
Large presented five contracts up for renewal by the board.

  1. Renewal of Contract with Loffredo Fresh Produce Inc.
  1. Renewal of Contract with Martin Brothers Distributing
  1. Pizza Bid:  Contract award to NPC International (dba Pizza Hut) and to Iowa Pizza Co. (dba Domino’s)
  1.  Milk Contract renewed year two (2016-2017 and summer program) with Hiland Dairy
  1.  Agreement between MCSD and Nurtrislice, Inc. for Nutrislice Software Services.

The board approved the foodservice contracts for 2016-17.

Roundhouse Resolution for Final Acceptance and Closing Final Project Costs
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz proposed this resolution on the final acceptance and closing final project costs with Dean Snyder Construction for Phase 1 of the Roundhouse. The board approved the resolution.

Board Policies
201.8 – Board Vacancies – Approved policy as presented, waived second reading.
203.5 – Comprehensive School Improvement Advisory Committee – Marked as reviewed
203.6 – Legal Counsel – One word added to policy, marked as reviewed
203.7 – Administration in Absence of Policy – Change typo at top, marked as reviewed
203.9 – Gifts to Board of Directors – Marked as reviewed
203.10 – Board Self-Evaluation – Marked as reviewed.

Board members report
Board Vice President Janelle Carter would like to plan an open house for the public and staff to have a meet and greet with the several new administrators in the district. The board members were receptive to this and one will be planned, possibly in mid-August. Look for more information on this open house in the coming weeks.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“We’ve heard of Christmas in July, but we don’t usually hear “Happy New Year!”
But, July is truly a month of beginnings for a school district. It is the beginning of the contract year and the fiscal year. And with that beginning, we had the opportunity to welcome new people to the district at last night’s board meeting.
Dr. Theron Schutte, Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Anthony Spurgetis, Pat Rial, David Glenn, Brett Purvis, and Rollie Ackerman all join the administrative team. And many certified and classified staff members join the MCSD family, as well.
As Joyce Meyer, author and speaker, says “Don’t be afraid of change. Because it is leading you to a new beginning.”
And so, we begin the 2016-2017 school year. Welcome aboard to many new faces, and welcome back to our old and trusted friends.” – Bea Niblock


June 23, 2016 special board meeting

23 Jun

The MCSD Board of Education held a special meeting on June 23, 2016. After an exempt session, the board approved the following items in open session:

Secretarial staff compensation – The board approved a 3.22 percent salary package increase. Of this increase, 1.9 percent is salary alone.

Administrative staff compensation – The board approved a salary package increase of 3.4 percent, of which 2.38 percent is salary alone.

Stipend – The board approved a $2,500 stipend for Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz for additional duties he took on during the superintendent transition process.