Archive | September, 2014

Vol. 15 | Issue 3

22 Sep
Kevin Posekany administers the oath of office to board president Kay Beach.

Kevin Posekany administers the oath of office to board president Kay Beach.

Board elects new president, vice president

Kay Beach was elected president of the Board of Education Monday night during the annual reorganization meeting. Anne Paullus was elected vice-president.

Following the election, the Board made its annual appointments for various positions:

  • Secretary-Treasurer: Kevin Posekany
  • School Attorney: Cartwright, Druker & Ryden
  • Additional Legal Counsel: Ahlers & Cooney, PC
  • Architect of Record: TSP

The board also approved the list of District financial institutions and membership on the School Improvement Advisory Committee.

September is Attendance Awareness Month

AAM_2014_Badge-SquareSpread the Words: Read by 3rd! is marking Attendance Awareness Month with several activities and outreach programs to make sure students are in class and learning every day.

Lindsay Upah, Spread the Words: Read by 3rd! coordinator, and Arlene McAtee, executive director of Mid-Iowa Community Action, discussed plans with the Board Monday night. More than 250 school districts across the U.S. participate in Attendance Awareness Month campaigns annually. In Marhsalltown, Spread the Words will have a float in the Oktemberfest parade, as well as present information to the city council and school board. There are also plans for PSAs, flyers for businesses, and participation in parent nights at elementary schools.

September will also launch the second year of the Perfectly Punctual campaign. This initiative began mid-way through last year and will include efforts at Rogers Elementary and St. Paul’s Preschool, the Community Y Preschool and Head Start. Children track their own attendance through the program, which includes parent activities and frequent recognition.

The quarterly attendance ceremonies will also continue this year at all elementary schools in Marshalltown.

Special Education deficit discussed

Special Education funding is always a year behind, explained Matt Cretsinger, director of special services. This fact, combined with an increase in students served after the annual Child Count date, contribute to a Special Education deficit of $1,139,996.

Funding is determined by the number of students and their level of services who are attending the district on the last Friday of October. Last year 676 students were counted on that date, but the district served 759 students throughout the school year. This 83 student increase over Child Count equates to $392, 363 in additional costs, with funding not allocated until the next year.

The district also had some initial start-up costs for Four Oaks ($85,970) and costs to serve Special Education students placed outside if the district or open enrolled ($681,772).

Cretsinger did note that Special Education Department expenditures decreased by $147,752 between 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 and while our deficit increased by $221,001, it is still below or comparable to many other districts this size.

The Board voted to approve applying additional spending authority from the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) to cover the costs.

Brycon, LLC, awarded Anson Elementary parking lot project

Brycon, LLC, of Marshalltown will complete the Anson Elementary parking lot project at a cost of $214,000. They listed a substantial completion date of Oct. 31, 2014. The project includes repaving the current parking lot and an alternate of expanding to the north.


By. Dr. Marvin Wade

During Monday evening’s board meeting Kay Beach was elected Board President and Anne Paullus was elected Vice President.  Mrs. Beach and Mrs. Paullus have provided leadership to Marshalltown Schools for a number of years and the community is fortunate to now have them as officers of the Board.  We are equally fortunate to have former President Sherm Welker and former Vice President Jennifer Wilson remaining on the Board. I have greatly appreciated the vision, guidance and support of Mr. Welker and Mrs. Wilson – both have worked tirelessly on behalf of the district and made significant contributions to the short- and long-term success of our students, staff and community.


First Reading

701.4 Governmental Accounting Practices and Regulations, approved as amended

Initial Review

701.5 Post-Issuance Compliance Policy for Tax-Exempt Obligations, mark reviewed
703.3/R Preparation of the Working Budget Document, bring back for first reading.
704.1 Local – State – Federal – Miscellaneous Revenue, mark reviewed
704.2 Sale of Bonds, mark reviewed
704.3 Investments, mark reviewed
704.4/R Gifts, Grants, and Bequests, mark reviewed.

PersonnelClick here.

Vol. 15 | Issue 2

8 Sep

Board tours MLA, learns about program

Eric Goslinga, principal at Marshalltown Learning Academy, led board members on a tour of the building before Monday’s board meeting, then shared updates on the program for 2014-2015.

MLA serves students who are identified as At-Risk, with a current capacity of 60 students. This year services were expanded to Grades 8-12 with a focus on competency based and self-paced learning through Personalized Extended Learning Opportunities (PELO).

PELOs are based on learning outside the traditional classroom through independent study, internships, apprenticeships, and online courses. It allows for flexibility for students and focuses on competency and demonstration of new skills.

Currently MLA has PELOs proposed, implemented or in progress in the following areas: AP Chemistry, AP Government, Basic Open Water SCUBA Diving, Red Cross Instructor Training, Microsoft IT Certifications (Word, Excel, game development), and Astronomy.

MLA is also focusing on increased parent and community involvement, including learning contracts with parents of students utilizing PELOs.

“We’re trying to get the home and community more involved in school,” Goslinga said. “Any credit done [through PELO] is done with the full knowledge of the parent. It keeps them engaged that way.”

Goslinga says MLA is changing to meet the needs of a changing society, providing more flexibility and education options rewarding competency and mastery.

Board reviews ACT scores

The Board reviewed 2014 ACT scores Monday night, comparing them to state scores for the past five years.

The composite score for MCSD was 21.3, down from 22.0 in 2013. Iowa also saw a slight decrease in composite score, down to 22.0 from 22.1.

“They’re not where we’d like them to be,” said Dr. Susan Pecinovsky, associate superintendent for student achievement. She told the Board the district would look at previous exams to determine what questions are asked, what responses are students asked to deliver, and how we can better prepare students. She said this could include offering an ACT prep course, which some schools already offer.

In 2014 140 Marshalltown students took the ACT, up from 133 in 2013. Nearly 23,000 students across Iowa took the ACT this year.

Board closes inactive fund, designates funding for activities

The Board closed Enterprise Fund 69, a fund once used for the Caring Connection, and transferred the remaining $43,119.16 to the Cell Tower Revenue fund.

The Board then approved allocating $20,000 to the Marshalltown High School Athletic Department to offset rental costs and loss of concession revenues during Roundhouse construction. The remaining $23,119.16 will be allocated to buildings on a per-pupil basis like the regular cell tower revenue.

The Board also approved transferring $40,000 from General Fund to the MHS Activity Fund to cover a portion of transportation costs. Craig Huegel, MHS Activities Director, told the Board he spoke with other CIML schools and they pay some or all of the activities transportation costs. During the 2013-2014 school year the MHS Activity Fund paid $84,000 for transportation services. Allocating $40,000 alleviates some of the burden, while still holding the Activity Fund accountable for part of the cost.

Preschool playgrounds approved for all elementary schools

The Board approved a $332,200 bid to build preschool playgrounds at the District’s six elementary schools.

Brycon, LLC, was awarded the project, which is scheduled to begin this month and end in mid-November.

Voluntary Early Retirement approved

The Board approved the Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program for 2014-2015.

Eligible staff members have until Feb. 2, 2015, to notify the Superintendent of their intent to participate.


By Dr. Marvin Wade

Monday evening the Board of Education voted to reactivate the District’s Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program for the 2014-2015 school year. Eligible Licensed Teaching Staff, Twelve-Month Secretaries and Administrators now have until February 2, 2015 to notify the Superintendent of their intent to participate in voluntary early retirement at the end of this school year.

To be eligible for Voluntary Early Retirement, an employee must turn 55 before the first teacher contract day of 2015-2016, must have been employed by the District for at least 15 years and must be a regular full-time employee.

Any staff member contemplating retirement is encouraged to examine the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program policy relevant to your employee classification (Licensed Teaching Staff, Twelve-Month Secretaries, and Administrators are Policies 314.1, 407.7 and 413.7, respectively). These policies can be found by going to the District website ( and clicking on “School Board.” There is a link at the bottom of this page for the 300 Series and the 400 Series – where these policies are located.

Change order approved for Roundhouse

The Board approved a change order for phase one of the Roundhouse project anticipated to cost $42,210.

The change order covers additional leveling material for the Roundhouse track area and is needed due to the amount of the track layer removed during asbestos abatement and settling over the 60 years since the original track was installed.

The change order falls within the contingency set aside in the construction budget for change orders.

Board approves next steps toward next phase of Roundhouse work

The Board approved an agreement between RDG and MCSD to move forward with construction documents and planning for phase two of the Roundhouse project.

This is the portion of the Roundhouse project funded through the fundraising efforts of “Renovate the Roundhouse”. The owner/architect contract authorizes the continued construction document development.

Curriculum/PD leaders meet Board

The Board met Curriculum and Professional Development Leaders Shauna Smith and Pam Brewer-Michael Monday night. Both are in new roles as part of the Teacher Leadership and Compensation Plan.

We have no doubt this is the right work at the right time,” said Shauna Smith, who serves as K-6 curriculum/PD leader. Brewer-Michael serves in that role for grades 7-12.

The role of the curriculum/PD leader is to “engage in the planning, development, implementation and impact of curriculum/professional development.”


Initial Review

700 Statement of Guiding Principles, reviewed
701 Financial Accounting System, reviewed
701.1 Depository of Funds, reviewed
701.2 Transfer of Inactive Account Funds, reviewed
701.4 Governmental Accounting Practices and Regulations, terminology changed to reflect changes at the state
703.1 Budget Planning, reviewed

PERSONNELClick here.