Archive | June, 2013

Vol. 13 | Issue 20

17 Jun

View PDF version here.

Garza named next Woodbury principal

Anel Garza de Sandoval will be the next principal at Woodbury Elementary beginning July 1, 2013.

Read more about Garza on Bobcats Making Headlines.

Board approves annual progress goals

The Board approved annual progress goals for 2013-2014 focused on increasing the number of students attaining one year’s growth in one year’s time.

The goals, drafted by the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC), focus individually on math, science and reading tests on the Iowa Assessment. The 2012-2013 goals focused on increasing the percentage of students attaining proficiency on the text. Goals are measured at fourth, eighth and eleventh grades. The District met the projected gains in all grade levels for reading, in 8th grade for math, and in 11th grade for science (there is no 4th grade science component).

Changing the goal focus to growth shifts the goals to encompass all students and aligns with the Strategic Action Plan.

Board reviews kindergarten readiness data



Spring assessment of District preschool students show 93.9 percent met the social-emotional readiness criteria for kindergarten.

The 228 preschoolers were evaluated using the GOLD Assessment, given to preschool students in the fall and spring. Previously the assessment data was calculated manually, but recent changes to the GOLD Assessment have put it online and added more efficient report capabilities.

The spring 2013 data shows 94.7 percent of preschoolers demonstrating kindergarten readiness in physical-fine motor skills, 85.9 percent in language, 89 percent in cognitive abilities, 85.9 percent in literacy and 62.8 percent in mathematics.

Dr. Susan Pecinovsky, associate superintendent of student achievement, said in 2013-2014 preschool educators will have quarterly job-alike meetings and monthly program meetings to allow more time to work together and review the implementation of the Creative Curriculum. There will also be special professional learning geared toward increasing kindergarten readiness among preschoolers.

Board approves 2013-2014 salaries

The Board approved salary increases for several groups Monday night.

The Board ratified a settlement with the Marshalltown Education Association that adds $675 on the BA base salary, increasing it to $30,815 (a 2.2 percent increase). A new teacher starting at BA Step 5 on the salary schedule will make $35,745, a $783 increase over 2012-2013.

The total package increase for the MEA is 3.59 percent, including mandatory IPERS increases and teachers moving on the salary schedule. The increase will cost $786,600.

The Board also approved a 3 percent salary increase for District administrators and a 3.5 percent increase for district supervisors, Learning Supports Specialists, and those falling into an “other” employment category. Two exceptions were business office manager Jody Brintnall and district server specialist Mark Krukow, who received 5.5 percent and 6 percent respectively.

Six administrators also received one-time salary increases totaling $35,200 in an effort to increase the compensation for the lowest-paid administrators. Vicki Vopava, Tim Holmgren, Amy Williams and Matt Cretsinger will receive $6,000 each and Deb Holsapple and Dr. Liz Jurgensen will receive $5,600 each. Savings from administrator retirements funded these increases.

The total increase to the district for these groups (administrators, supervisors, LSS and other) came to 1.7 percent over 2012-2013 expenditures.

The Board also voted 5-1 to approve a new contract for Superintendent Marvin Wade through June 30, 2015. This included the same 3 percent increase as other District administrators.

Dairy, produce bids awarded for 2013-2014

The Board approved renewing the bid with Hiland Dairy (formerly Roberts Dairy) to supply milk in the 2013-2014 school year.

In 2011-2012 the District approved a milk bid from Roberts Dairy that included a possible two annual renewals, with the approval Monday night being the second of those renewals.

The contract with Loffredo Fresh Product Company of Des Moines was also renewed.

PPEL extension slated for Sept. 10 ballot

Extending the District’s Physical Plan and Equipment Levy (PPEL) will head to the voters Sept. 10, 2013.

The current tax levy is $0.67 per one thousand dollars of taxable valuation and will expire June 30, 2016. The Board approved asking voters to extend the PPEL at the current tax rate for another 10 years. PPEL funds can be used for improving grounds, construction of schools and buildings and purchase of transportation equipment.

The question will be on the next regular school board election ballot.

MHS PLTW remodeling goes to bid

Marshalltown High School’s remodeling for Project Lead the Way is heading to bid for the second time after the initial round of bids came in too high above projections.

The project includes remodeling the existing Student Resource Center into a bio-medical lab and part of an existing area adjacent to the Manual Drafting classroom into an engineering lab.

Total anticipated project costs are $409,317.13.


By Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent of Schools

During its June 3 meeting, the Board demonstrated fiscal responsibility by rejecting all bids for the MHS Project Lead the Way (PLTW) remodel because the bids came in significantly above anticipated costs.  The Board also directed district staff and the Architect of Record to return later with another plan for PLTW.  This evening, Architect David Schulze presented a new proposal to remodel classroom spaces for PLTW Biomedical and Engineering labs.  The Board approved the revised project and directed Mr. Schulze to proceed with the public bid process.  Mr. Schulze’s aggressive revised project schedule includes a substantial completion date of Oct. 11, 2013, so PLTW is still a course offering for first semester of the 2013-2014 school year – with classes temporarily taught in other MHS spaces until the labs become available mid-October.  These actions demonstrate the Board’s continuing commitment to implementing innovative programs while also maintaining the district’s strong financial standing.


By Sherm Welker, Board President

This evening the Board ratified the negotiated agreements with the MEA (Marshalltown Education Association) aka Teachers Union, and with the Administration group. Both groups received and average pay increase and those increases will be funded with the 2% State funded increase. The settlements were well above the amount of increase we received from the state, but we made cuts in our budget earlier this year to offset the increased costs. Thank you to all parties in reaching an amicable solution.


First Reading

409.3 Licensed Employee Family and Medical Leave, updated legal references, waive second reading

Initial Review

409.7 Licensed Employee Military Service, mark reviewed
409.8 Absence Without Pay – Licensed, mark reviewed
410.1 Substitute Teachers, mark reviewed
410.7 Exchange Teachers, mark reviewed

PERSONNEL – Click here (PDF) and here (PDF).

Vol. 13 | Issue 19

3 Jun

Suspensions, expulsions down in district

Suspensions and expulsions decreased in 2012-2013 according to data compiled after the close of the school year.

Human Resources Director Lisa Koester presented the numbers Monday night as part of a regular report on Strategic Action Plan progress.

In 2012-2013 there were 2,609 in-school suspensions, down from 2,839 in 2011-2012. Out-of-school suspensions decreased from 424 in 2011-2012 to 263 in 2012-2013 and there were no expulsions.

The decreases in these three areas meet and exceed the projected decreases in the district Strategic Action Plan.

Schools strive to create safe, supportive learning environment

Student Support Teams are just one component of the work district-wide to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for all students.



Matt Tullis, director of equity and learning supports, presented an update on this component of the Strategic Action Plan Monday evening. Some of the work related to this strategic was implemented a few years ago, such as a safety and security audit. That initial work at evaluating district needs provided the baseline information to implement future work.

Current work includes Student Support Teams in each building. These teams meet regularly to identify students who are experiencing barriers to learning, communicate with families and connect them with appropriate services. They also follow up with students and monitor progress.

Connection to those services is also a key component of this strategy, which includes maintaining strong partnerships with community-based agencies that provide counseling and mental health services.

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is also being implemented in every building with training and support from Area Education Agency 267. Tullis noted the recent Department of Education site visited cited this as a strength.

Tullis reported results from the Iowa Youth Survey that showed an overall decrease in instances of students being bullied in 2012 compared to 2011.

Much of the work in this area has been facilitated through the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative, a four-year, $5.6 million grant awarded in July 2009. Next year the district will be in a fifth extended year of the grant, which will officially end June 20, 2014. After that time the District will no longer have Learning Supports Specialists employed in every school. Tullis says at that time other District staff will need to take over the work done by LSS. Much of the work completed by LSS through the grant has been establishing the infrastructure for services, which will aid in the transition. The District will continue working with community partners and service providers to make sure student needs are met.

Board rejects construction bids

The Board rejected several construction bids Monday night that came in significantly higher than expectations.

The cost for re-roofing the Roundhouse received one bid from Academy Roofing and Sheet Metal for $709,000, nearly $300,000 over the estimated budget. The cost for Project Lead the Way classroom remodeling came in near $1 million. Construction estimates were $335,000.

Architect Dave Schulze told the Board he will work on new plans to cut costs and hopes to bring the cost of the PLTW project down to $400,000. The Roundhouse roof will either be packaged with other components of the renovation of simply bid again at a later date.


By Sherm Welker, Board President

Tonight the Board was presented with data for our discipline issues for the past school year. We have achieved the goals outlined in our strategic plan and commend the staff for their diligence. Part of our success must come by having a successful environment for student achievement and discipline is one of the major factors.

Last week we had storm events that caused some of our students and families difficulties due to transportation issues caused by road closures and regional flooding. This has happened 3 times in the last 20 years but twice in the last 5 years. The District will be working on an emergency plan that can be enacted for future events such as this. When this happens in the future, the plan for closures, delays, and instruction on what we will be doing will be posted on the District website, and released to the local radio stations as early as possible. We will also contact the regional TV stations, but have very limited control on how and when they may announce those plans. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Have a great summer!

PersonnelClick here.