December 4, 2017 Board Meeting

5 Dec

MHS student displays robot he built and programmed


Marshalltown High School sophomore Keaten Collinson displayed a robot he built and programmed to the school board at the December 4 meeting.

Marshalltown High School sophomore Keaten Collinson presented to the school board a robot he designed, built and programmed.

“He’s really gifted with technology,” said Susan Fritzell, who is Keaten’s Extended Learning Program teacher at MHS.

The robot can be controlled by anyone over the internet. Keaten said he spent a few hundred hours of work on the project both in his Extended Learning Class at MHS and at home.

Keaten will be presenting as part of the district-wide Family Coding Night at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6 at Miller Middle School.

Mrs. Fritzell said she sees great collaboration in her class, especially when it comes to students experimenting with technology.

“It’s really neat that they are teaching each other and encouraging each other,” Fritzell


Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, thanks Sharon Baughman, center and Stacey Mommer for their work on the certified enrollment to receive a Platinum Award.

Recognition- Platinum Award
District Registrar Stacey Mommer and Director of Instruction Administrative Assistant Sharon Baughman received the Platinum Award from the Department of Education for their work on the district’s certified enrollment.

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the two showed significant commitment and effort to achieve this honor.

“This is the top recognition,” Schutte said.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here

Two retirements were shared by Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis.

Larry Kadner – Kadner was a longtime industrial arts teacher before retiring and then coming back two years ago to help fill a need at MHS.

Cindy Wirkler-S he is secretary in Human Resources who has worked for the district for 15 years. A recent Employee of the Quarter award winner, Wirkler’s retirement will be effective at the end of June.

Carpenter Travis James has been named custodial supervisor for the district.


Travis James


Speaking at the board meeting were state legislators, from left Jeff Edler, Dean Fisher and Walt Rogers.

Update from legislators
Three state legislators visited the school board including State Senator Jeff Edler, State Representative Dean Fisher and State Representative Walt Rogers.

The legislators gave an update on the state finances and past and potential legislation. The board and Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte presented priorities for the upcoming session and also had discussed several matters with the legislators. Budget was one of the items discussed.

“We all know that the budget is a driving issue of what we have to do,” Edler said.  

Fisher  said they expect a tight budget yet again. Rogers, from the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area, is  chair of House education committee. He said there are no plans to change IPERS.  “It’s a good program we don’t plan on doing anything (with it),” Rogers said.

Dr. Schutte said extending SAVE is one of the priorities for the district due to facility needs.

“In our district we’ve always had a plethora of needs as well as wants,” Schutte said.,

On the topic of state supplemental aid, Board President Bea Niblock said it is very important to get that number from the legislature in a timely manner.  Several other topics were discussed including collective bargaining, school calendars, underfunded mandates and more.  State representative Mark Smith is expected to speak at the December 18 school board meeting.

IASB Director Vote
The board voted for Mary Poulter from the Colfax-Mingo School District as director for District 5 for the Iowa Association of School Boards

Microsoft Open Value Subscription- Agreement for Education.
Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented this renewal agreement for approval.The cost to renew this year $28,539. The board approved the agreement after a discussion.

At-Risk Budget
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this budget  as a discussion item. It will come up for a board vote during the special meeting on December 11. This is a follow up to information Dr. Stevenson presented at the last board meeting.

Also presenting was Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz, who presented this document on specific figures.

There is an Increase in the budget of $197,000 from the current year, with a potential property tax rate increase of 20 cents. Bartz said that tax rate figure will have more clarity in the spring as they do the certified budget.

As part of this new budget, there will be an opportunity to expand the summer school offerings in the district.

Board Policies
501.1 R-(number change to 501.3-E2)0 Attendance Regulations- Many changed made were already discussed. One item that needs fixed is a reference to a student grievance policy (503.3) that does not exist. Policy will come back before board.
501.2- Non-Resident Student- Minor change to reflect Iowa code student count date Approved as amended.
501.7- (number changed to 604.8) Foreign Students – Approved as amended waived second reading.

The following six policies have been reviewed already this year. The only changes are numbering changes to reflect IASB numbering. All the following six policies were marked at reviewed.

501.10 (number changed to 501.15) – Open Enrollment- Receiving District
510.10-R (number changed to 501.15R)- Open Enrollment – Receiving District Regulation
501.11 – (number changed to 501.6)- Student Transfers In
501.12- (number changed to 501.7) – Transfers Out of Withdrawals
501.13- (number changed to 501.12)- Pregnant Students
501.16- Homeless Children and Youth

Next meetings
A special board meeting will be held on Monday, December 11 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The meeting will include a presentation by the company RSP  and the at-risk budget will be up for approval.

The next regular full board meeting will be a 5 p.m .on December 18.

The board went into a closed session for a quarterly evaluation of the superintendent.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“State Senator Jeff Edler, Representative Dean Fisher and Representative Walt Rogers (Education Committee Chair) met with the board at last night’s meeting.  Representative Mark Smith was unable to attend, but will join us at the December 18th meeting.

This allowed the board, administration, and members of the audience to hear what the legislators held for their visions for the upcoming legislative session.  It also gave the board the opportunity to share our concerns and hopes for the session as well.  The board brought many ideas to the table, including the timeliness of the state supplemental aid and unfunded (or underfunded) mandates.  Discussion was held around the SAVE statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure and collective bargaining.  Other topics were also broached.

Senator Jeff Edler stayed to hear the discussion of our at-risk budget, later in the board agenda.  That allowed him to hear about budget concerns, staff salaries/wages and the tax asking for the district – all good topics for him to hear.

Take the opportunity to visit with your state legislators.  Their work affects our work.” – Bea Niblock


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