November 6, 2017 Board Meeting

7 Nov

Board learns of personalized learning going on at Miller Middle School 


Miller Middle School student Samya Huerta speaks as part of the school presentation to the school board on November 6. The students talked about a cookbook they are publishing as part of a personalized learning class.

Miller Middle School presentation
This school presentation included students from a personalized learning class at Miller and also featured teacher Lisa LaVelle, Principal Pat Rial and Associate Principal Dave Glenn. The students presented work they are doing to publish a cookbook along with some of the goodies they are working on as part of the book.
The cookbook will feature 169 recipes, many are favorites of the Miller staff. This project is just one of many at Miller where students are learning real-world skills.
“A lot of hands on stuff going on,” Rial said.

For a cookbook order form, click here.


From left, veterans Ross Harris, Chuck Springer and Brian Bart.z

Honoring veterans
Board member Ben Fletcher read the proclamation that honored veterans as Saturday is Veterans Day and three veterans in attendance were recognized including Board member Ross Harris,  Director of Buildings and Grounds Chuck Springer, and Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz.
Other district veterans will also be honored this week by Central Office administrators.


Luke Pedersen and Kassie Wilkins performed a number from the upcoming musical “Cinderella.”

MHS musical sampling
MHS will present the musical “Cinderella” at 7 p.m. on Friday November 10 and Saturday, November 11. Cast members Luke Pedersen and Kassie Wilkins along with vocal director Amy Ose on keyboard presented a number from the show.


District Buildings and Grounds Director Chuck Springer, second from left, recognized the hard work of, from left, Travis James, Todd Goulding and Jennifer Gray.

B&G staff honored
Three Buildings and Grounds staff workers were recognized at the meeting for their help in guiding the department through a leadership change recently. Recognized were Jennifer Gray, Travis James and Todd Goulding.


Marshalltown High School student Nayeli Barajas speaks about the recent Latinx Conference attended by MHS students.

Latinx Conference students recognized
Marshalltown High School students who attended the recent Latinx Conference at the University of Iowa were recognized. A group of them took third place in the history contest while others presented at the conference along with MHS teacher Jocelyn Frohwein.
The group also thanked MHS Principal Jacque Wyant for her support. For more information on the conference, click here.

For personnel items approved by the board click here.
Additions were added to the personnel list including two early retirements from longtime staff members. Special Education Instructional Coach Penny Duer and MHS counselor John Fitzgerald had their early retirement requests approved, effective at the end of the school year.

Iowa STEM Best grant
Marshalltown Learning Academy Principal Eric Goslinga, talked about being a recipient of the STEM Best grant from the state in the amount of $25,000.
“It’s a nice honor for a program of our size,” Goslinga said.
Goslinga said this grant will help MLA increase STEM programming and also will lead to more connections with local businesses, especially as they seek apprenticeship opportunities for students. The board accepted the STEM best grant award.

Title I Chromebooks
Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented bids for 131 Acer Spin Chromebooks,with carts and headphones for TItle I program use. The board approved the awarding of the bids to GovConnections in the amount of $58,072.

Refunding of current bond issues- New bond issue to cover Roundhouse Phase II
Presented by Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz. This item combines the refinancing of current bonds with the sale of bonds for the Roundhouse Phase II project.
The refinancing rates came back better than expected and will allow for a savings of just under $300,000 over five years.
The total sale of bonds is $9.9 million with $5.5 million of that going to the Roundhouse Phase II project and the remaining being refinanced to pay off previous bonds.
The board approved the refinancing and new bond issue.

Application to the School Budget Review Committee for 2017 Modified Supplemental Funding for Increasing Enrollment, Open Enrollment Out and Limited English Proficiency Instruction Beyond Five
Since enrollment is up 23.2 students, the state allows the district to recapture spending authority for these students since money is behind on this, noted Brian Bartz. Approved by board.

Board Policies
(Continue renumbering to bring polices in line with Iowa Association of School Board policies)
500.1- change to 500 – – Objectives of Equal Educational Opportunities for Students- Number change, Reordered protective classes and change in equity director, approved, waived second reading
501.1-(changed to 501.3-E1)- Attendance requirements- Minor wording changes approved, waived
501.3-E 2 (Formerly 501.1R)- Attendance Regulations  – Policy to run by county attorney on chronic absenteeism- To come back before board.
501.5 (Formerly 501.3)- Numbering change- change responsibility to superintendent vs. the board in regards to attendance center assignments- Approved, waived seond reading
501.3-Compulsory Attendance – No recommended changes (IASB format)- new policy- Approved
501.8- (Formerly 501.4) -Attendance Records- Adjustment made on primary responsibility for caretaker of records to principals. Approved, waived second reading
501.9 – Student Absences-Excused -New policy – IASB policy – Approved waived second reading
501.10 -Truancy- Unexcused Absences-New Policy – IASB policy-Approved, waived second reading

705.9 -Death of a Student, Staff Members, or Board Director- Change to be brought back- added “which may include purchase of flowers or a plant.”

The following 400 level policies were reviewed and are in alignment with IASB policy numbers. There were all marked as reviewed.
402.2- Child Abuse Reporting
402.2R – Child Abuse Reporting Regulation
402.2-E – Reporting Child Abuse When Suspected by “Caretaker”
402.3- Abuse of Students by School District Employees
402.3E1 – Abuse of Students by School District Employees- Complaint
402.3E2 – Abuse of Students by School District Employees- Investigation
402.4 – Gifts to Employees
402.5 – Public Complaints About Employees
415.5 – Classified Substitutes

The next regular meeting of the school board  is at 5 p.m. on Monday, November 20 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Our board meeting was filled with students and staff making presentations or being recognized for remarkable things.  What a perfect way to remind the board of the real reason that we are sitting at the table when surrounded with the financial and policy decisions that we must deal with at every meeting.

Al Exito students shared their experiences from a recent Latinx Conference.  Cast members performed a number from the upcoming MHS musical, “Cinderella.”  MMS students brought samples for the board to try from their soon-to-be published cookbook.  Staff members who have served our country in the armed forces were recognized.  Employees from Buildings and Grounds who stepped up and took on extra responsibilities during the search for a new department director were recognized.  And, Eric Goslinga shared the receipt of a $25,000 STEM grant awarded to MLA.  What a night!

Remember the musical performances on Friday and Saturday at the MHS/Community Auditorium.  And watch your emails for a chance to purchase a cookbook from MMS.  The samples that we tasted were great!  Great things are happening in the MCSD!” – Bea Niblock  


Hoglan STEM work in spotlight at board meeting

17 Oct

Hoglan Elementary School fourth graders presented on STEM as part of the school’s overall presentation to the school board on October 16. Pictured are students, from left, Angel Chavez, Anthony Chavez, Millie Heitmann and Sydney Kapayou. At right is STEM specialist teacher Alex Jahnke.

Hoglan Elementary School presentation
Hoglan Principal Amy Williams led this presentation. She said Hoglan has 376 students with 46 percent being English Language Learners and 82 percent as free and reduced lunch. A special STEM program presentation was made by STEM Specialist Alex Jahnke and four Hoglan fourth graders.

The Class 4A state golf champion Bobcats were honored at the start of the meeting. The group won the title at Elmwood Country Club in very wet conditions.


State Champion golf coach Lucas Johnson talks about the team’s accomplishments. Pictured, from left, are Mason Reid, Nate Vance, Tate Carlson, Keygan Hansen, Luke Appel, JD Pollard and Cole Davis.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Public Comment
Several current Marshalltown Schools staff members spoke in favor of keeping the voluntary early retirement policy in place for this school year including Dee Coulter from Miller, Karen Roessler from Hoglan, Matthew Nevins from Miller, Brad Weidenaar from MHS and several speaking via video including: Mark Church from Rogers Elementary, Mary Estrada from Woodbury, Jasmine Hazen from Woodbury, Deb Martin from Lenihan, Jane Boehler, retired Anson teacher, and Bob Gilbertson from Miller.

Marshalltown Education Association President Kate Troskey introduced the MEA leadership team and a few members-at-large.


Every Student Succeeds Act


Dr. Lisa Stevenson

Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this state-provided overview of ESSA – which is a replacement for No Child Left Behind and is still awaiting federal approval.
Iowa’s plan is designed to continue to give equity to disadvantaged students

2017-18 Curriculum Overview
Dr. Lisa Stevenson and Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger presented this document, which outlined the curriculum plans. Dr. Stevenson said several teams are meeting to research curricular needs throughout the district. The board had several questions for the Lisa and Matt.

Cell Phones for Preschool Bus Routes
Dr. Lisa Stevenson said there is a need for preschool bus route monitors to have cell phones to be able to call the Language Line and use a translator. The board approved the purchase of three cell phones.

Certified Enrollment Count
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said it appears enrollment will be up somewhere between 23 and 28 students district wide. The numbers are unofficial as the state is still cross checking students. It could take until November when official enrollment figures are released


Voluntary Early Retirement Program
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte recommended to offer the voluntary early retirement incentive package for the 2017-18 school year to retirees eligible.  The package pays insurance cost for 8 years or shorter after retirement depending on when Medicaid starts for the retiree.
“It helps us to be in a better balanced budget situation,” Schutte said.
Extensive discussion was held regarding this policy and how it provides savings for the district and the need for estimates on what the savings are projected.
The board adopted the early retirement policy for this school year by a vote of 4-2.

Supplement to Agreement for Services with Terracon Consultants Inc.
The board approved this supplement to an agreement with Terracon Consultants related to inspection of the work of the subcontractors related to the base of the Roundhouse Phase II project.

Board Policies

Second reading
414.8 -Absence Without Pay- Classified – Approved as amended

First reading
203.1- Formulation, Review and Revision of Policy- Updated review cycle for board policies- Approved as amended.
414.3- Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – The following five policies were updated with Iowa Association of School Board language and updates with the federal family and medical leave language- All were approved and second reading was waived.
414.3 R1-Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Regulation
4.14.3-R2 –Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Definitions
414.-3-E1-Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave Notice to Employees
414.3 – E2- Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Request Form
414.4 -Classified Employee Bereavement Leave- Funerals-  Phrase changes Approved, waived second reading
414.6- Classified Employee Jury Duty – Title change and section changes- approved waive second reading
414.7-Military Service- Approved with changes
414.10-Classified Employees Immediate Family Illness – Different number of family days -Approved waived second reading
414.11-Classified Employees Personal Leave-  Title addition and change of accrued sick leave maximum to 140 days.- Approved
415.1-Drug and Alcohol Testing Program- Changed phone number – Approved as amended
415.1- E1- New Policy- Drug and Alcohol Testing Program Notice to Employees- Exhibit related to policy which is required by law- approved as amended, waived second reading
415.1- E2- Drug and Alcohol Program and Pre-Employment Testing Acknowledgement Form-  New exhibit,  approved as amended, waived second reading
415.4- Classified Staff-Professional Development Leave- Inserted language from IASB- Approved as amended, waived second reading

Initial reading
The MCSD 500 Series order and IASB order are not inline- so number changes are being made to many polices

500- Students Rights and Responsibilities- Marked as reviewed changed to 500.1
501.1-Objectives for Equal Educational Opportunities for Students- Policy number becomes 500- changes to Director of Human Resources and Civil Rights Office address change- to come back for first reading.
501.1- Attendance Requirements and 501.1R – Attendance Regulations- Tabled for further work to be done by administrators.
501.2- Entrance Requirements – Evidence of Age- new number becomes 501.4- Changes in cross references- Marked as reviewed
501.3 – Attendance Center Assignment- New number becomes 501.5, To come back before board with changes
501.3 Compulsory Attendance- New policy- To come back with changes
501.4 – Attendance Records- New number becomes 501.8 – needs to return to board, added language from IASB policy.
501.5- Resident Students- New number  becomes 501.1-Marked as reviewed
501.6 – Non-Resident Students – New number becomes 501.2- Marked as reviewed
501.9 – Student Absences – Excused – New Policy, to come back
501.10 – Truancy – Unexcused Absences- New Policy- To come back

The next regular  board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on November 6 in the district office board room.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“What a busy board meeting we had.  School reports, curriculum reports, certified enrollment, business contracts, cell phones for preschool buses, and board policy updates.  The board seems to have a full agenda these days.

We also had the opportunity to hear from teachers regarding their feelings about the early retirement policy.  It is easy to say that teachers consider this incentive when planning for their retirement.  Dr. Schutte made a presentation which, based on financial considerations, raised questions in some board members’ minds.  Serious discussion centered around the offering of the early retirement program for the 2017-18 school year or not.  When the dust cleared, the board voted 4-2 to offer the incentive program to teachers, administrators and 12-month secretaries for this school year.

Stay tuned!  The board votes each year before October 30th, as to whether the early retirement incentive program will be offered or not.  See you next October!” – Bea Niblock


October 2, 2017 board meting

3 Oct

Principals Honored as part of National Principals Month


Several of the Marshalltown Schools principals were in attendance at the school board to be recognized as part of National Principals Month. Pictured, from left, Tim Holmgren (Franklin), Mick Jurgensen (Rogers), Liz Jurgensen (Lenihan), Deb Holsapple (MHS), Amy Williams (Hoglan), Anel Garza (Woodbury), Ronnie Manis (Anson) and Kyle Young (Lenihan).

Principals in the district were recognized as part of National Principals Month. Board Member Sean Heitmann read the proclamation for National Principals Month. They were presented a certificate of recognition by Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.

Personnel items
For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Annual Appointments
The board approved the following annual appointments:
– Brian Bartz as Board Secretary for the District for 2017-2018 school year.
– Cartwright, Druker and Ryden as School Attorney for 2017-2018. John Veldey as collective bargaining counsel spokesman.
– Ahlers, Cooney, PC as Additional Legal Counsel for selected legal issues for 2017-2018.
-Designate by resolution the name and location of Iowa located financial depository institution(s) to serve as the official school district depository/depositories

Policy Review Schedule
Dr. Schutte presented the new board policy review cycle, which is built on a five-year review cycle instead of a three-year cycle. Changes were made to policy 203.1 to reflect the change in schedule. Policy  203.1 will come back at next meeting for board approval.

Board Committee Representatives
The board will look through committees and give their top five choices they want to be on to Board President Bea Niblock. Assignments will be approved at the Oct. 16 board meeting.

Boardroom laptops
The laptops utilized by the board at meetings are approximately 6 years old. Director of Technology Josh Wesley proposed replacing them with Chromebooks. The board gave the approval to move forward with Chromebooks.

2017-18 Strategic Plan
Dr. Theron Schutte presented this new strategic plan for the district including the goals and objectives for the next 3-5 years. Past survey research, open forums and a Thought Exchange survey helped shape the direction of the plan.
The plan has five primary goals: student achievement, staff development, communication & engagement, learning environments and resources. The board discussed the plan and gave feedback to Dr. Schutte.
Target dates will be established for action items within the areas. Updates to the board on plan progress are expected 2-4 times a year.
The board approved the plan as presented.

2016-17- Year End Financial Statements
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz presented this document, which overall was a positive report on the financial state of the district.
Total revenues for 2016-17 were at $61,067,587 with toal expenditures are at $61,020,018.
“We are still in a good financial position at this time as far as cash on hand,” Bartz said.
The board approved the financial statements as presented.

Special Education Deficit
Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger said the current special education deficit is at $1.9 million, up from $1.2 million the previous year. Most school districts operate on a special education deficit as funding does not match up with the cost of serving the varied needs of special education students.
“The cost to educate per special ed student continues to rise,” Cretsinger said.
For his presentation document, click here.
Cretsinger asked the board to be able to seek spending authority from School Budget Review Committee for allowable growth and supplemental aid. The levy would be approved by April 15 budget.
The board approved the action.

Title 1 Chromebook RFP
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson and Director of Technology Josh Wesley  presented this item. They sought approval to publish a Request for Proposal to purchase 131 Chromebooks for use by Title I students.
Current Chromebook allocations do not meet the needs of TItle I and there are carryover funds available in the Title I budget. Title I carryover funds will pay for this technology.
Total estimated cost is $59,296 for 131 Chromebooks with licenses, 126 headphones and six carts.
The board approved the publishing of an RFP for the Chromebooks.

Board Room Video Upgrade
This is a continuation from the last board meeting. Josh Wesley requested a video portion to upgrade the board room. Previously, the board approved the audio upgrade portion to upgrade the sound for those in attendance at the meetings and those watching the delayed broadcast. The board approved to upgrade the video system, 4-1, for a cost of $21,195 from local company Mechdyne.

Board Policies

First reading
414.8- Absence Without Pay – Classified – Changes to align with Iowa Association of School Board policy- Changes will come back before board.

Initial Review
203.1 -Formulation, Review and Revision of Policy – T0 be adjusted based on change in review schedule of policies- Marked as amended.
414.10 – Classified Employees Immediate Family Illness- Recommended changes align with IASB language. To come back before board.
414.11 -Classified Employees Personal Leave-  Change number of days that can be accumulated in sick leave from 200 to 140. To bring back before board.
414.12 -Temporary Disability –  Marked as reviewed – no changes recommended
415.1- Drug and Alcohol Testing Program- “Adding superintendent or designee,” change transportation phone number to reflect 641 area code. To come back before board.
415.1- E1- Drug and Alcohol Testing Program Notice to Employees – New policy- To come back before board.
415.1- E2 -Drug and Alcohol Program and Pre-Employment Testing Acknowledgment Form- New policy. To come back before board.
415.3- Relations to Pupils and Public- No changes
415.4- Classified Staff – Professional Development Leave- Changes to reflect IASB language- To come back before board.
801.6- Selection of an Architect-  Policy deleted (not required).

The next regular board meeting will be at 5 p.m on Monday, October 16 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“For a number of years, the district has been without a strategic plan. But, the district now has a ‘road map’ to steer our journey. The board adopted 5 goals last night that make up a living document to give us a direction, a focus, a path to provide students with the best possible educational experience.

Goals surrounding achievement, staff development, communications, learning environments and resources are the basis for the plan. Strategies to accomplish these goals have been identified and metrics have been determined to define the growth that we are making toward the achievement of the 5 goals.

The strategic plan is meant to be a ‘living document’ that can be amended and changed as determined. If we find that the strategies selected are getting us the desired results we will be encouraged, but, at the same time, adjustments can be made if we determine that something is not working as planned. Our district has begun a journey guided by a strong strategic plan.” – Bea Niblock

September 18, 2017 Board Meeting

19 Sep

Newly-elected board members take oath of office

New Board

Board Secretary Brian Bartz, left, gives the oath of office to three of the four newly-elected school board members including, from left, Karina Hernandez, Ben Fletcher and Bea Niblock.




From left, Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte and Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson present awards to Kyley Leger and Ben Cooper for their work on a Vision Marshalltown video on Marshalltown Schools. Both Kyley and Ben are MHS graduates.

Point of Pride Vision Marshalltown video
Director of Communications Andrew Potter along with Vision Marshalltown Executive Director Kyley Leger and videographer Ben Cooper presented this video, produced by Vision Marshalltown, which features the school district.


Kendall Derby was recognized for serving on the board for four years.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.


Charles “Chuck” Springer, new Buildings and Grounds Director

Charles “Chuck” Springer was introduced to the board as the new Buildings and Grounds Director of the district. Springer has lived  in Marshalltown since 2003, previously working at the local hospital and has had a long career working for Aramark.

“I’m really looking forward to this opportunity,” Springer said.
He will start on the job on September 27.

Board room audio and video upgrade
Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented this item, to upgrade the audio and video in the board room for guests in person and those watching on the delayed broadcast.

It was recommended to award Marshalltown-based Mechdyne the bid for the audio and video project.  The board approved the audio upgrade project by a vote of 4-2 for a cost of $16,488. The video upgrade (with a cost of $21,195) received a tie vote of 3-3 and was not approved. Board President Bea Niblock said the item would be brought back  when the complete board was there (Mike MIller was absent at the meeting).

Owner-Contract agreement for Roundhouse Phase 2  Project
The board approved the agreement with Ball Team as part of the Roundhouse Phase 2 project. This was after the board approved bids at the the September 5 board meeting. Dirt is expected to turn on the project soon. The board approved the agreement 6-0.

First reading

414.2- Personal illness- Changes made in cumulative sick leave to 140 days- Approved as amended, waived second reading
414.3-R1 and R2 -Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave Regulation/Definitions – Attorney to review

Initial review
414.3-E1 Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave Notice to Employees – Attorney to review
414.3- E2- Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Request Form- Attorney to review
414.4 – Classified Employee Bereavement Leave- Funerals- Two small changes to make – from 5 to 2 days of bereavement for “Spouses Brothers and Sisters”- To come back before board
414.6 -Jury Duty –  Change to article reference- to come back before board
414.7- Military Service – Attorney to review to come back before board
414.8- Absence Without Pay- Classified –  Title changes to HR director – To come back before board.

Election results
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz reviewed the votes from the September 12 board election. He noted  three candidates were elected to four-year terms including Karina Hernandez, Mike Miller and Bea Niblock and one was elected to a 2-year term, Ben Fletcher.  Hernandez, Fletcher and Niblock took the oath of office (Mike Miller not present). Hernandez is the one new member on the board.

After the oath of office was taken the new board voted on their own leadership.


The board re-elected Bea Niblock as president of the board for the next year.

The board re-elected Janelle Carter as vice president  for the next year.

The next regular meeting of the school board will be at 5 p.m. October 2 in district offices

From Board President Bea Niblock
“If you weren’t at the board meeting to see the latest video in Vision Marshalltown’s Point of Pride video series, you missed a remarkable sharing.

Kyley Leger, Executive Director of Vision Marshalltown, and Ben Cooper, videographer, worked with our own Andrew Potter to create a video of Marshalltown Schools. When you see the video, you can’t be anything but proud of the things that the district has to offer the young people of this community.

It covers many of the programs that only Marshalltown offers, hears from students about their learning experiences and hears from teachers and administrators about how great it is to work in the Marshalltown Schools. We are, definitely, on our way to becoming the best for miles around!” – Bea Niblock


September 5, 2017 Board Meeting

6 Sep

Students from Anson Elementary School and Lenihan Intermediate School demonstrate the new ST math curriculum to school board members and local business representatives at the board meeting on September 5. Many local companies donated to the project.

New ST Math curriculum demonstration draws a crowd

ST Math took center stage during the recognition section of the school board meeting on September 5.

The Marshalltown Community School District has implemented the high quality digital platform this fall that is based on neuroscience and called Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math to further enhance STEM education, at each of our six elementary schools and Lenihan Intermediate School.  

Students from Anson Elementary School led by teacher Heather Pals and from Lenihan Intermediate School led by teacher Laura Fricke presented ST Math to the board and to representatives from several area companies, which donated to help get the curriculum off the ground.

Local donations amounted to $60,000 from the following companies: UnityPoint Health, RACOM, Great Western Bank, Pinnacle Bank, Farmers Savings Bank, United Bank and Trust, McFarland Clinic, Wolfe Eye Clinic, Mechdyne Corporation, Marshalltown Company, JBS & UFCW Local 1149, Emerson Process Management, Marshall Economic Development and Lennox. The Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation also donated $60,000 to the effort. See photos below as we recognized these companies for their support.

The initial grant of $60,000 for the program was secured by  MCSD Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson from the Governor’s STEM Council. The school district also paid $60,000 for the curriculum.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.


Roundhouse Phase 2 project design at center

Roundhouse Phase 2 Project bid awarded
The Marshalltown High School Roundhouse Phase 2 project is moving forward after a bid was accepted for the project, which will add a wrestling room and auxiliary gym to the school.
The board approved a bid from Ball Team LLC of Urbandale for $6,686,000 for the project.

“This is a really nice, momentous day that we ought to be celebrating,” said board member Mike Miller, who also thanked the many people who donated to the project and led the fundraising effort.

Gary Schulte of FEH Design, addressed some concerns about the project that were expressed at a recent board meeting. The concerns were around the use of voluntary alternates for the project, but it was deemed these alternates were used as a way to get the project to budget.

Marshalltown High School exterior perspective

Board Policies
413.3-R – Dismissal and Suspension of Classified Employees-  Amended waived second reading
413.6 – Classified Employee Retirement- Amended as presented waived second reading
413.7-Twelve-Month Secretary Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program-  All early retirement incentive program polices to come to the board in October.
414.1-Vacation- Classified-  Marked as reviewed
414.2- Personnel Illness – Changed sick leave cumulative from 200 to 140 days – Policy to come back before board
414.3 -Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave- Marked as reviewed
414.3 R-1 -Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Regulation- To be reviewed with board attorney by HR director
414.3 R2 – Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave- Definitions-  To consult with IASB on this policy
501.13 -Pregnant Students – numbering change to align with IASB- approved by board and waived second reading.

The next regular meeting of the school board will be at 5 p.m. on September 18.

From Board President Bea Niblock

“We had the opportunity to spend a delightful half hour interacting with students and the community at last night’s board meeting. Donors from the community, representing over $120,000 in contributions to purchasing ST Math for district students, and students from first, third and sixth grade showcasing the program gave us a great view of what can happen when all stakeholders come together to influence the future.

The evening was a perfect opportunity for donors to see how their dollars are affecting the lives of students, strengthening their skills of logic and stretching their creative thinking. The Marshalltown School District is blessed with great school-business partnerships.

On another note, the school board election is just a week away. Be sure to become informed and exercise your right to vote. Vote early at the Auditor’s Office or vote next Tuesday. The make-up of the board affects your very lives.” – Bea Niblock

Thanks you to these local companies for their generous donation to ST Math 

Recognized with certificate and framed JiJi pictures. JiJi is the mascot of ST Math.


Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte with Sarah Erikson and Rande Jones of Emerson


Dr. Schutte with Jerrod Leffler of Farmers Savings Bank


Dr. Schutte with Karn Gregoire of the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation


Dr. Schutte with Jeff Mathis of Great Western Bank


Dr. Schutte with Mike Graves, left, of UFCW Local 1149 and Niko Aguirre of JBS.


Dr. Schutte with Miguel Gutierrez of Lennox


Dr. Schutte with Janelle Carter of Marshalltown Company


Dr. Schutte with Deb Wollam of McFarland Clinic


Dr. Schutte with Mike Pedersen of Mechdyne


Dr. Schutte with David Barajas of Marshalltown Regional Partnership, left, and Tom Deimerly of Marshall Economic Development


Dr. Schutte with Mike Miller of RACOM


Dr. Schutte with Jennifer Hass of United Bank & Trust

August 21, 2017 Board Meeting

22 Aug

Marshalltown High School junior Sam Estrada spoke to the school board on August 21. He had a busy summer which included the STEM Academy at Emerson and the National Hispanic Institute Youth Legislative Session in Elmhurst, IL. Sam has an interest in studying mechanical or electrical engineering in college.

MHS junior talks about his busy summer
Marshalltown High School junior Sam Estrada talked about his busy summer as he was recognized by the board at the meeting. Estrada participated in the STEM Academy at Emerson and the National Hispanic Institute’s Lorenzo De Zavala Youth Legislative Session in Elmhurst, IL this summer.  

Sam said they passed motions and made bills in the mock legislative session. Sam is no stranger to Emerson either as he already completed an internship there a year ago.

Sam has an interest in studying mechanical or electrical engineering in college. Emerson employee Sam Ibarra also attended the meeting and spoke of Sam Estrada’s involvement at Emerson.

Roundhouse Phase 2 bids
A public hearing was held for the Roundhouse Phase 2 project of a wrestling room and auxiliary gym at Marshalltown High school. Representatives from Garling Construction expressed  concern over the use of voluntary alternates in the bid process.
After consultation with legal counsel, the board tabled approval of the bids for the project, pending further study on the issue and further legal counsel.
Before tabling the bid approval, the board approved plans, specifications, form or contract and estimated cost of the project.

Personnel items
For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Donations for cross country shelter
The board approved a list of donations for the new cross country shelter house (named in honor of Tim Bell) and to purchase the new varsity girls cross country uniforms.

Literacy materials for Special Education

Cretsinger, Matt copy

Matt Cretsinger

Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger requested to purchase literacy materials for special education students to help meet the needs of the students.
Approved by the board was the purchase of curricular items Really Great Reading for $39,597 and System 44 NG (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) for $63,748.59.



Superintendent and School Board goals
These goals were established during previous board and superintendent work sessions and other discussion. The board approved the goals.

2017- 18 Legislative priorities for Iowa Association of School Boards
The board approved these priorities which will be presented to IASB to take into consideration in their delegate assembly as they decide what issues to lobby for during the 2018 legislative session.

Air Conditioning unit at Miller Middle School
An A/C unit is no longer functioning at Miller.  The board approved the bid of a new chiller of $110,683 from Kapaun & Brown of Marshalltown. This bid was accepted because it included installation within a week of bid approval.

Board Policies

First reading
411.1 – Definition of Classified Personnel- deleted old policy and adopted new which mirrors Iowa Association of School Board’s policy
411.7 – Evaluation – Delete old policy and adopt IASB policy
411.9 – Terms of Employment – Amended and approved
412.1 – Salary Schedule –  Minor terminology change via legal advice- Amended and approved.

Initial reading
412.4- Annuities- Classified –  Tabled review of this based on recent law changes and awaiting IASB guidance.
413.2- Retirement- Deleted the brief policy-(combine it with 413.6)
413.3- Dismissal and Suspension of Classified Employees – Slight changes to title and number for consistency with discipline policy. Reviewed.
413.3R- Dismissal and Suspension of Classified Employees Regulation- Changes on number and slight title/wording changes, To come back at next meeting.
413.6 -Classified Employee Retirement – Combine with 413.2 policy- language made consistent with other retirement policy- to come back before board.

Next school board meeting
The next regular meeting of the school board is at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 5 in district offices, 1002 S. 3rd. Ave..

School Board candidate forums
The Marshalltown Education Association will host a school board candidate forum at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 26 at the Fisher Community Center. The chamber is sponsoring a candidate forum at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, August 24 at Fisher Community Center.  

From Board President Bea Niblock
“At last evening’s board meeting, the board approved a number of donations. Donations ranged from a few dollars to $1000. These donations were approved for the Cross Country Shelter House and the Varsity Girls Cross Country uniforms.

Donations have been received for a variety of things in the past. Without the support of our community and their generosity, a number of activities would not happen and a number of things would not be purchased.

As the state has provided less and less over the last few years to the increased funding in the public schools, the school districts’ budgets have been stretched thinner and thinner. So, the board is most delighted to accept these donations for things that we might not otherwise be able to afford.” – Bea Niblock


August 7, 2017 Board Meeting

8 Aug

Cross country shelter to honor Tim Bell under construction


Marshalltown High School staff member Eric Weeden talked to the school board on August 7 about the new cross country shelter house being constructed on the Marshalltown Community College campus to honor Tim Bell.



Tim Bell

Marshalltown High School juvenile court liaison Eric Weeden gave an update on the cross country shelter house, which is currently under construction on the Marshalltown Community College campus, just southwest of the dorms. Construction is expected to be completed in a matter of days. MHS hosts meets at the MCC cross country course.

The shelter will include a commemorative plaque as it is named in honor of Tim Bell, the longtime coach and athletic director at MHS who retired in 2013.




Sara McCue

Lenihan Intermediate School vocal music teacher Sara McCue was recognized by the board. She attended the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation workshop in New York City this summer.

She spent four days learning about how to teach rock and roll to students to keep them engaged. For more on the workshop, click here.

Personnel items
For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Public Comment
Miller Middle School teacher Steve Hinderhofer spoke to the board. He thanked the district  for the opportunity he has been given to teach here. He said they have a great staff at Miller and are like a family there. He said he looks forward to seeing the students every Monday morning. He also thanked the board for all they do to help the district.

Legislative priorities for Iowa Association of School Boards
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte presented this document of his potential legislative priorities. The board will provide input on these priorities and present a final list for board approval at the August 21 meeting.

That priority list would then be provided to the IASB as they compile priorities from across the state to see what to focus lobbying efforts on for the 2018 legislative session.

School Board and superintendent goals for 2017-18
These goals were developed at two work session meetings.
This will be brought back for the August 21 meeting as an action item for board approval.

Board Room Audio-Visual System
Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented a request to submit a Request for Proposal for upgrades to the audio and visual systems in the board room.
As part of the RFP, there are two options – one to upgrade audio system and the other to upgrade the audio and visual systems.
The audio only project has an estimated cost of $20,000-25,000 and the audio and video project is estimated at $50,000-55,000.
In a 5-2 vote, the board approved to move forward with publishing an RFP to see what bids come back and make a decision at that time whether to move forward with the project.

Board Policies
First reading
409.3-E-2 – Licensed Employee Family and Medical Leave – Adopting up to date policies from IASB.  Amended and approved.
409.8 – Absence Without Pay- Amended and approved

Initial Review
410.7- Exchange Teachers- Marked as reviewed
411.1- Definition of Classified Personnel- To come back with IASB policy additions
411.7 -Evaluation- To come back with IASB policy
411.9 – Terms of Employment-  Change last paragraph from head custodian to supervisor. Also 40 hours indicated in policy as a normal work week is not reflective of summer hours. Discussion was held around summer hours for 12-month employees, which includes Fridays off. To come back before board after consultation with Director of Human Resources and Superintendent.
412.1 – Salary Schedule – Change “salaries” to “base wages.
412.3 –  Insurance- Needs to be changed since insurance can’t be bargained for any more.

The board then went into a closed session for a student readmission request.

The next regular board meeting is at 5 p.m. on August 21.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Over the past couple of months, the board has been involved in its own self-assessment and setting of goals for the coming year. After 2 lengthy work sessions, the board has decided on its goals. Without that focus, the board is set adrift and deals only with the current issues that cross its bow.

The needs of the board and of the district have been discussed and the items of strongest interest have been worded into 3 goals with underlying objectives and activities defined. The goals are 1) Focus on improved student achievement for all students, 2) Prepare for negotiations implemented through collective bargaining changes, and 3) Renew its commitment to self-development and education.

Everyone needs goals to chart their course. Your board has goals, too. Watch us during the school year to make sure that we are focusing on our defined goals. ” Bea Niblock