Archive | March, 2016

March 21, 2016 board meeting

22 Mar


Woodbury Elementary School Principal Anel Garza talks during the school’s attendance center update to the board on March 21. Also pictured from left are Julie Thede, Mary Harris and Sue Cahill.

Woodbury Elementary Attendance Center plan
Woodbury Principal Anel Garza, along with staff members Sue Cahill, Jasmine Hazen, Becky Jacobson,  Mary Harris, Gladis Gonzalez, and Julie Thede, presented the annual attendance center plan to the board.

There are 295 English Learner students in the school, which represent 85 of the total Woodbury students. Cahill talked about the dual language program, which has been in place since 2003-04 at Woodbury.

The Woodbury attendance center plan has two specific goals under reading and math. The attendance center plan has five actions to address these goals.

The group also talked about SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol), CLM (Comprehensive Literacy Model), Spanish and English Standards, parent involvement and several other strategies. The group also talked about assessment scores.

Marshalltown High School junior Mitch Eberle was recognized for his achievement of the highest possible composite score on the ACT test. Eberle took the test last fall and earned a 36 composite score. He said he was thankful for all the congratulatory messages he’s received since the news was released.


For personnel items, click here.

Public Comment
MHS senior Nathaniel Harris said he would like the whole district to recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily. He is asking for a policy to give every student the opportunity to recite the pledge. Currently, some schools recite the pledge and some do not. Board President Bea Niblock said board policies will be researched on this matter and it could be brought up for discussion at a later time.

Marshalltown High School Health Careers Club trip
Members of the leadership team of the MHS Health Careers Club took a trip to San Antonio in February. Accompanying the group were MHS Dean of Students Dan Terrones and staff member Meredith Goldman. Both Terrones and Goldman were at the board meeting, along with health careers club students Samantha Lammert and Kyli Jacobsen. The group visited a health careers high school, and the Center for the Intrepid, for burn victims and amputees. The group also visited several tourist sites including the River Walk.

“I’m very proud of the nine students who went on this trip,” Terrones said.

The group is beginning to take steps toward creating a health careers academy at Marshalltown High School, Terrones said. To learn more about the trip, click here.


School Calendar
The 2016-17 school calendar was presented by Director of Human Resources Lisa Koester and was approved by the board. To view the calendar, click here . 2016-17 calendars in both English and Spanish are posted on the Marshalltown Schools website under the “calendars” link.
“The calendar is created by a committee of teachers, administrators and a board member,” Koester said.
School will start on Tuesday, August 23, 2016.

Food Service meal prices for 2016-17
Food Service Director Lynn Large presented the meal prices for 2016-17. Increases were approved of 10 cents for 5-12 breakfast to $1.50 and 5-12 lunch to raise 5 cents to $2.45. Adult breakfast is going up 5 cents to $1.80 and adult lunches remain at $3.50.
Milk is unchanged at 35 cents as is reduced lunch and breakfast prices.
Kindergarten through 4th grade will continue to have meals at no cost in 2016-17 as part of the Community Eligibility Provision, which started this school year.

Budget Reductions for Fiscal Year 2017
A list of $1.46 million in proposed district budget reductions for the fiscal year 2017 was presented to the board by Superintendent Dr. Marvin Wade and the administrative cabinet. To view the list, click here.

These reductions are proposed for three reasons: 1) State Supplemental Aid for fiscal year 2017 has not been established; 2) settlements have not yet been negotiated with employee bargaining units; and, 3) the fiscal year 17 certified budget is scheduled for approval at the April 4, 2016 board meeting.

Dr. Wade said the $1.46 million in reductions prepares the district for what is going to occur budget-wise over the next couple of months, including negotiations and state funding.

Discussion was held between the board, Dr. Wade and several administrators around the reasoning for several of the specific reductions.

The board approved reductions on the list 1-7, 9-13, 16 and 17. The board wanted further information on No. 8 (MHS math tutor), No. 14 (move computer replacement to SAVE/PPEL), and No. 15 (Reduce 25 percent portion of at-risk budget) and did not vote for approval of those reductions.


Rick Simpson and Heidi Pierson talk about the Roundhouse Public Art project. The four finalists are displayed on the board pictured.

Roundhouse Public Art Committee
Heidi Pierson of the Marshalltown Public Art Committee said the selection committee of 15 people has been hard at work researching for this art project to be located at the MHS Roundhouse. It is grant funded through a $250,000 Iowa Great Places grant. There are 4 finalists for the project, which were described in detail by Board Member Ben Stansberry, who is also on the selection committee. They are in the public comment process of the selection. The selection committee will make the decision after input and comments from the community. Buildings and Grounds Director Rick Simpson also was part of this presentation to the board. More information on the project is available at the Marshalltown Public Library.

At-Risk/Droupout Modified Supplemental Amount
Associate Superintendent Dr. Susan Pecinovsky presented documents on the at-risk  budget. She said the goal is to use the funds to help students complete their education. Dr. Pecinovsky outlined the staff in place who are funded by this budget as well as services provided. The board decided to include the proposed $150,000 in at-risk reductions back into the funding.

202.5 – Board of Directors’ Conflict of Interest – Marked as reviewed
202.7 – Individual Board Members – Marked at reviewed
203.1 – Formulation, Review and Revision of Policy – Marked as reviewed
203.2 – Adoption of Administration Rules and Regulations- Marked as reviewed
203.4 – Ad Hoc Committee – Marked as reviewed
603.12 – Internet Appropriate and Safe Use – Changes made will come back at first reading.
603.12R – Electronic Resources and Electronic Mail – Appropriate Use Regulation -Will come back to board as first reading.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The board has begun one of its most difficult challenges. It is engaged in the process of balancing the budget – a balancing act, indeed. This board has diligently looked at past state funding, past tax levies and past budgets; then, future funding possibilities, future tax levies and future negotiation settlements.

Last night’s meeting was the first where board members were faced with the gut wrenching decisions of what to cut from the budget in a possible ‘worst case’ scenario of funding streams. Each item was looked at individually with consideration to cutting those things furthest from touching children.

Please know that the current board members give each suggested cut serious and very deliberate consideration before making a decision. We will continue to give the budget our diligent attention in the meetings to come.” – Bea Niblock


March 7, 2016 board meeting

8 Mar

Marshalltown High School English teacher Jocelyn Frohwein presents a certificate to MHS sophomore Dylan Roseburrough at the school board meeting on March 7. Roseburrough received an honorable mention award from the Belin-Blank Center Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for his short story.

Marshalltown High School sophomore Dylan Roseburrough was recognized by English teacher Jocelyn Frohwein. Roseburrough received an honorable mention for his short story from the Belin-Blank Center Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Dylan said he really enjoys writing and liked this project. To read his story, click here.

“It really helped me grow as a writer,” Roseburrough said. He is currently working on a novel.

Elementary art teacher Maggie Parks talked about her national excellence award from the United States Society for Education through Art. Parks will receive it later this month in Chicago. “We are proud,” Board President Bea Niblock told Parks.

Current Marshalltown High School Dean of Students Justin Boliver has been named Associate Principal at MHS, effective July 1. He will replace Dr. Kenneth Hayes, who is leaving the district for another position.

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

Public comment
Marshalltown High School Student Senate members, Morgan Van Staalduine, junior class president, and Trevor Lewis junior class vice president, said they are helping to organize a community-wide Summer Olympics, which will include swimming, track, soccer, cycling, tennis and volleyball from July 22-24.

“We are doing this to get a positive thing in our community,” Van Staalduine said.

It will serve as a fundraiser for MHS school clubs and provide a to-be-determined donation to benefit the community.

St. Francis Catholic School
St. Francis Catholic School Principal Dr. Matt Herrick talked about the relationship his school has with the Marshalltown Community School District.

St. Francis leaders are in talks to revise its strategic plan, which MCSD will do as well. Herrick said good communication will help align strategic plans. Since most of the St. Francis students end up at Miller Middle School, it makes sense to be on the same page.

“We want to make sure we align and support what you are trying to do,” Herrick said.

Competency-Based Education
Associate Superintendent Dr. Susan Pecinovsky provided an update on Competency-Based Education, which is in year three in the district.

CBE has a goal for creating innovative pathways for student learning that allow for student choice and remove barriers. It’s a way where students advance based on proficiency. District teams continue to work on this initiative.

To view the full report, which includes much of this work, click here. 

Marshalltown Learning Academy attendance center plan
Principal Eric Goslinga presented the annual attendance center plan from MLA, the alternative learning environment for grades 9-12 in the district. A total of 178 students have earned a diploma at MLA the past seven years. Goslinga said many of these students most likely would not have received a diploma if it weren’t for MLA.

Currently MLA is serving 60 students, but there is a plan to expand the number of students they are able to serve, he said.

MLA staff utilize the Competency-Based educational model. Goslinga talked about PELO (Personalized Extended Learning Opportunity) that allows students to tap into their interests in their learning. MLA has received recognition as an exemplar program for disruptive innovation in the area of blended learning.

Medicaid Provider
Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger and Dann Stevens, CEO of Timberline Billing Services, presented a 3-year agreement for Timberline as a Medicaid provider. Third party companies such as Timberline have all the knowledge and skills to help the district receive Medicaid reimbursements, Cretsinger said. Timberline is based in Des Moines. The district pays a fee of 6 percent of the net Medicaid reimbursement retained by the district to Timberline as part of the agreement. The agreement was approved by the board and it will start July 1, 2016.

Special Education Compliance Audit
Cretsinger presented this audit from the Special Education department. Every five years Special Education has to go through an audit from the AEA as required by the Iowa Department of Education. No issues were found in IEPs in this audit, which is good news to report. Cretsinger credited the teachers and other staff for the time and effort put into this great work.

Certified Budget
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz presented information on the 2016-17 certified budget. Bartz proposed an $18.69 per thousand valuation tax rate as a recommendation. The rate recommended is the worst case scenario (highest tax rate) since there has been no decision on additional funding for schools from the state. This rate can be lowered after being published in the newspaper, but can’t be raised. The best case scenario of 2.5 percent growth from the state would push levy rate down to 17.93.  The current tax rate is $18.33.

Board polices
201.2 – Legal Status of the Board of Directors
– Marked as reviewed
201.3 – Responsibilities of the Board of Directors– Marked as reviewed
201.5 – Membership – Marked as reviewed
201.6 – Term of Office – Marked as reviewed
201.7 – Organization of the Board- Marked as reviewed.

Committee reports
Roundhouse art committee – Board member Ben Stansberry gave the update and said they are down to four finalists for this project a major art piece at the Roundhouse. They plan to be on the board agenda for the March 21 meeting to talk more about this effort. The goal is to have a project approved by April 1.

The board then went into a closed session.

Roundhouse roof
After the closed session, the board voted to accept the Roundhouse roof portion settlement as presented. This includes a recovering of the roof at a later date.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Has it been your dream to be a participant or a medal winner in the Olympics? Now is your chance!

Two high school students, Morgan and Trevor, shared plans for a community wide Olympics to be held from July 22-24. At this time, they are looking for sponsors for the event. The Marshalltown Y has already agreed to be a sponsor and will host the swimming events. Watch for further information to be coming from these visionary and energetic young people.

If running, swimming or track and field events are your passions, you’ll want to showcase your talents. Can you see yourself on the steps with other medal winners? Gather your friends and get ready for Marshalltown’s Summer Olympics.” – Bea Niblock