Archive | October, 2017

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