Archive | March, 2019

March 18, 2019 Board Meeting

19 Mar

Miller Middle School Principal Pat Rial talks to the school board at the meeting on March 18. Also pictured are Miller staff, from left, Creighton Jenness, Christine Gilbertson, Jen O’Neal and Dave Glenn.  Not pictured is presenter Lucas Johnson.

Miller Middle School Showcase – Defined STEM presentation

Miller Principal Pat Rial presented along with Miller staff David Glenn, Creighton Jenness, Christine Gilbertson, Jen O’Neal and Lucas Johnson. The group talked about how Defined STEM is a K-12 project based learning solution that provides engaging, authentic lessons built around careers. Cross-curricular projects provide opportunities for students to deepen understanding and apply their knowledge in real world scenarios. It is implemented to all students at Miller and will continue to grow along with Project Based Learning.

Mrs. Gilbertson said their class project was attempting to make ice cream healthy enough for school lunch. She said the students learn real world application skills.

“The kids were excited about it, they got into it,” Mrs. Gilbertson said. “They learned a lot and really useful information as well.”

Mr. Johnson’s composition class had them work as a tour operator to encourage people to come to Marshalltown. Students created a travel blog, a commercial and website. Mr. Johnson said it helped students take a positive approach to the community.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Adding to this list personnel changes: Add resignation of Jolene Kubli – music teacher at Franklin and Rogers- She has been with the district for 13 years.

Student School Board Representative Update
MHS senior Jane Ragland presented the update on MHS including the National Honor Society book drive, Yatnia Hernandez selected for All-State speech, spring sports beginning, the upcoming spring play Sherlock Holmes.


Pictured from left are Dan Terrones, Juliana Ibarra Lemus and Fatima Perez Negrete of the Marshalltown Area Healthcare Careers Club.

Out-of-State Field Trip Request – Marshalltown Area Healthcare Careers Club
Dan Terrones, Dean of Students at Marshalltown High School presented this along with MHS seniors Fatima Perez Negrete and Juliana Ibarra Lemus.

Mr. Terrones said they plan to take 45 students in the club trip to Chicago from April 11-13. They plan to visit the University of Chicago Medicine.

They have learning activities beginning Friday which will include tours and hands on activities, with a learning emphasis in the areas of ER, Diagnostic Imaging and the variety of nursing opportunities. All MHS students attending this trip are pursuing healthcare as their career option. Sightseeing and shopping will round out the experience.

Fatima said she is very passionate about health and nutrition and wants to be a dietician. They are still continuing to do fundraisers and are also supported by Trio, McFarland Clinic Medical Staff and Gear Up. This group takes one out-of-state trip a year. This was approved by the board.

MCSD Digital Learning Plan
This plan was presented by Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Paula Johnson and Josh Wesley

“This has been a group effort,” Dr. Stevenson said.

One of the outcomes by 2023 is to have a living digital learning plan as part of the Strategic Action Plan, Stevenson said. The plan has five areas including leadership, teaching, learning, assessment and infrastructure.

“Our technology is so strong in our district,” Johnson said. “This (plan) will help us drive that technology for the future.”

The group will seek feedback on the plan from district staff and the plan will come back to the board for approval at a later date.

Certified Budget
Paulette Newbold, Director of Business Operations, presented this item.
The proposed property tax rate $18.33 cents per thousand valuation, which is 1.9 percent increase in property tax rate. This is a proposed a 34 cent increase – (24 cents is part of the budget guarantee).

Newbold said the district’s solvency ratio is low and it’s important to get that moving in the right direction. While taxable valuation was up in the district, the future of that looks in jeopardy after the tornado.

Marshalltown ranks as the 9th lowest taxable valuation per student in the state out of 330 districts, making us a property poor district.

The proposed consolidated tax rate is at $40.97, for the consolidated rate it’s a 2 cent increase. This takes into account the county, city, college and other tax rates for a Marshalltown resident.

Lengthy discussion was held with the board regarding the budget.

The board approved the publishing of the school budget summary with a $18.33 tax rate and set a public hearing for the budget on April 8 (special board meeting).

Dental and Vision Rates
Paulette Newbold presented these new proposed rates. The dental increases are due to the fact the plan has been running a 118 percent loss ratio since 2014, Newbold said.

The recommendation is to treat all eligible employees equally, similar to health insurance benefits.   The district will pay for single dental coverage for those eligible and the single dental amount towards family coverage if elected. The district will pay for 50% of single vision coverage for those eligible and the same amount towards family coverage if elected.

There will be a presentation on health insurance at noon on Monday, March 25 at the MHS/Community Auditorium. The board approved the dental and vision rates.

Board Policies
First Reading
405.2 Licensed Employee Qualifications, Recruitment, Selection – Adjusted made- from IASB recommendation – after new collective bargaining law- Approved and waived second reading
405.5 Licensed Employee Work Day – Adjustment made from collective bargaining IASB recommendation Approved and waived second reading
405.6 Licensed Employee Certification and Assignment – Approved and waived second reading
405.7 Transfers – Approved and waived second reading
405.8 Evaluation – Approved and waived second reading
406.3 (new 408.1) Licensed Employee-Professional Growth -Approved and waived second reading
704.5 Tuition Fees – deleted
705.3 Requisition and Purchase Order (old)-deleted
705.3 Payment for Goods and Services – New number from IASB model policy- no changes since last meeting- Approved and waived second reading
705.3-R Payment for Goods and Services – same changes from last meeting- Mark as amended
705.4 Receiving Supplies and Equipment – deleted

Initial Review
201 Elections – policy amendment by IASB – to Come back before board
201.6 (new 202.3)Term of Office- policy amendment by IASB – to Come back before board
202.1 (new 204) Code of Ethics – policy amendment by IASB – to Come back before board
203.6 Legal Counsel – to be deleted – to come back before board
New Policy 207 Board of Directors’ Legal Council -To come back
New Policy 401.6 Limitations to Employment References- To come back
409.3 Licensed Employee Family and Medical Leave -Amended to reflect current practice – To come back
409.8 Absence Without Pay-Licensed- no changed- marked as reviewed
412.4 Annuities-Classified  – Adjustment to align with IASB – to come back
705.1 Purchasing-Bidding – reinserting E-Rate language- To come back
705.5 Approval and Payment for Goods and Services -to be deleted
705.6 Unpaid Warrants- to be deleted
705.7 Special Assessments – to be deleted
705.8 (new 709) Insurance Program (new and old) – 709 – new to come back
705.8-R Insurance Program – Regulation – to be deleted

The board then went into an exempt session for negotiations.

The next regular board meeting is April 1 at 5 p.m in district offices. There will be a special board meeting at 5 p.m. April 8 for a public hearing and approval of the budget.

From Board Vice President Janelle Carter
“I always enjoy our board meetings when we have more emphasis on Education than on Business.  With complicated budgets and difficult decisions, it seems like that has not been the norm lately.  Tonight we had an enlightening program from Miller Middle School on Defined STEM, a project based learning system with lessons built around cross-curricular projects. It sounds like both the staff and the students enjoyed the experience.  That is a win.

A request for an Out-of-State field trip for the Marshalltown Area Healthcare Careers Club to the University of Chicago School of Medicine is now on the docket with more than 40 students planning to go along.  This is another win. As a board member I have watched this group gain speed and was thrilled to see the enthusiasm from the students on their next adventure to the big city and to a first class university.

For the board’s perusal tonight was the rollout of the Digital Learning Plan for the District. Planning to get the most out of technology is another win.  This plan is a great start to using technology to drive instruction and achievement.

We wrapped up the night with the 2019-20 budget proposal, which has now been approved to go to a public hearing on April 8th.   With a difficult budget year behind us, the board supported a budget to help us recover from a loss of students, mainly due to the tornado, control fund balances to maintain cash flow and improve solvency.” – Janelle Carter

Click here to view the entire video of the Board Meeting

March 4, 2019 Board Meeting

5 Mar

Marshalltown High School students Eli Thiessen and Carissa King presented “You’re the Top” from Anything Goes to the school board on March 4. This performance helped them reach all-state status at a recent state large group speech contest.


MHS students Carissa King and Eli Thiessen performed “You’re the Top” from Anything Goes for the board. This presentation helped land the duo all-state honors in state large group speech. They are the first all-staters in large group speech from MHS in several years.

Personnel items
Miriam Rodas, Substitute Bus Driver for Transportation; Effective February 21, 2019
Tesha Ham, Para Educator – Media Specialist at MHS; Effective March 15, 2019

Joy Reynolds, Food Service General Worker at Miller Middle School
Replaces: Candice Buckley
Salary: $11.67/hr for 6 hrs/day (Step 1, Grade 2)
Start: February 25, 2019

Morgan Gardalen, Assistant Girls Soccer Coach at MHS
New Position
Salary: $3,569/2018-2019 Season
Start: March 18, 2019

James Khile, Substitute Teacher
Salary: $115/day
Start: February 19, 2019

Susan Pollpeter, Substitute Teacher
Salary: $115/day
Start: February 22, 2019

Briana Riddle, Special Education Teacher Level I at Fisher Elementary School
From: Preschool Teacher at Fisher Elementary School
Elimination of Preschool Position
Start: 2019-2020 School Year

Teresa Bellus, Custodian at Central Office
From: Custodian at Miller Middle School
Replaces: Hester Fisher
Start: February 25, 2019

Leah Barkema, Science Teacher at MHS
From: Science Teacher at Miller Middle School
Salary: BA/6
Start: August 21, 2019

Lilly Robinson, Food Service General Worker at Lenihan Intermediate School
Change of Location, Salary, and Hours
From: Hoglan Elementary: $12.20/hr for 4 hrs/day (Step 2, Grade 2)
Salary: $11.88/hr for 3.75 hrs/day (Step 2, Grade 1)
Start: January 19, 2019

Amanda Zubrod-Torrez, Food Service General Worker at Miller Middle School
Change of Salary
From: $12.52/hr for 6 hrs/day
To: $13.27/hr for 6 hrs/day
Start: January 19, 2019

Public Comment
Two teachers spoke up with concerns on the insurance plan.

Student School Board Representative Update
MHS students America Dominguez and Jane Ragland gave the update at MHS including MVP (Mentors in Violence Prevention), state speech, show choir, Composition II classes, National Honor Society book drive and upcoming events.

Canvas-Learning Management System
Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Director of Instruction, presented this item as a request for approval for us to use with three different groups- licenses for students and staff at MHS and MLA; and Miller courses for high school credit and the third group is all teachers. This program helps  “track and monitor learning,” Dr. Stevenson said. Benefits of a Learning Management System.
The board approved the Canvas subscription for $14,600 for year one.

2018-2019 School Calendar & Weather Related Lost Instructional Hours Update
Dr. Theron Schutte, Superintendent, presented on the make up time for the five days missed due to the weather.
The board approved extending the school year for students by three days from Tuesday June 4 to Friday, June 7 and to extend teacher work day and last teacher day will be Monday, June 10.
The teacher contract has been extended 15 minutes from Mondays to Thursdays beginning March 5 for March, April and May.
The district is looking into future professional development for paraprofessionals.

Bus Bids
Transportation Director Rex Kozak recommended purchasing two 77 passenger gas buses and a 35 passenger gas bus from Hoglund Bus Company of Marshalltown in the amount of $233,572.
“As we continue to look at our fleet we are looking to get 15 years of age per bus,” Kozak said “…and we have some buses that are hitting that 15.”
The board approved the purchases.

Request to Publish Copier RFP
Director of Technology Josh Wesley sought board approval to publish an RFP for a new copier lease agreement. Our current agreement expires in July of 2019 with Advanced Systems Incorporated. The intent will be to request additional functionality for color printing, robust print auditing software and functionality to support Chromebooks. The board approved the publishing of an RFP.

E-Rate Update
Josh Wesley provided updates on the received proposals for 27 edge switches and 4 core switches for the e-Rate 2019 funding year. The board approved to award Heartland Business Systems the bid for 4 core switches and 2nd Gear for 27 edge switches. After the  E-Rate discount, the cost is $9,439 for the edge switches and $7,263 for the 4 core switches.
The board approved the purchases.

Budget Guarantee Resolution
Paulette Newbold, Director of Business Operations, presented this document.
This is a mechanism to provide cushion for school districts experiencing declining enrollment- which applies to MCSD since enrollment was down 93 students.
Out of 330 school districts in Iowa, 35 percent will be on the budget guarantee next year.
This is will be part of the proposed budget at the March 18 meeting. The board approved the budget guarantee resolution.

Insurance Recommendation
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said this work has been started last fall.
“We knew that there was some rightsizing that needed to be done,” Schutte said.
At the end of the day ultimate goal is to do the most good for the most employees, Schutte said.
Dr. Schutte said we all realize the district needs to do a better job of educating all of our employees on their options.
Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold and Mark Becker of Becker and Associates also presented.
With claims costs outpacing premium deposits, that is a major concern.
“The trend that we are on is not sustainable,” Newbold said.
Newbold then went in depth going through this presentation on how employees on each plan would be affected by the changes. (We will send the video of the board meeting to all staff of this presentation when it is available.)
“We will be working closely with Mark and his team on helping to educate all of our staff regarding their options and different tools available to help them in making those decisions,” Newbold said.
The board approved the insurance recommendation as presented.

Board Policies
Second Reading
204.10 (new 213-R1) Community Participation in Board Meetings – No changes from last meeting – Approved

First Reading
312.3-E1 Fringe Benefits-Administrators/Supervisors – Updated with changes made two years ago. Approved as amended and waived second reading.
New Policy 400 Role of and Guiding Principles for Employees – IASB policies- Adopt and waived second reading
New Policy 411.4 Classified Employee Licensing/Certification – Tabled
New Policy 508.1 Class or Student Group Gifts- Adopt and waived second reading
706.2 Payroll Deductions – Adopt IASB policy- Approved and waived second reading
New Policy 712 Technology and Data Security – Approved and waived second reading
New Regulation 712-R1 Security Requirements of Third Party Vendors Regulation – Approved and Waived second reading
704.4 Gifts, Grants, and Bequests – Mirrors IASB offering, Approved as amended and waive second reading
704.5 Student Activity Fund- Mirrors IASB offering, Approved and waive second reading

Initial Review
405.2 Licensed Employee Qualifications, Recruitment, Selection – Added sentence from IASB- Will come back
405.5 Licensed Employee Work Day – IASB adjustments – no to master contract- to employee handbook- TO come back
405.6 Licensed Employee Assignment- IASB adjustments – To come back
405.7 Transfers – IASB Adjustments – To come back
405.8 Evaluation – iASB Adjustments  – To come back
406.3 (new 408.1) Licensed Employee-Professional Growth – IASB adjustments – To come back
704.5 Tuition Fees – To be deleted
705.3 Requisition and Purchase Order (old) – To be deleted
705.3 Payment for Goods and Services (new) – new policy – IASB policy- To Come back
705-3-R Payments for Goods and Services – Changes to tipping being reimbursed- To Come back
705.4 Receiving Supplies and Equipment – To be deleted

The next regular meeting will be at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 18

From Board Vice President Janelle Carter
“The board meeting kicked off with an energetic performance by Carissa King and Eli Thiessen who performed their All-State Speech number from the musical theater piece “You’re the Top” from “Anything Goes.” This was a wonderful show of talent from our honorees!

The meeting turned back to more serious discussion with the purchase of new buses, requests for copier leases and technology equipment, showing that we still have one foot in the paper world and one in the electronic world yet today. Approved was the Canvas management system for on-line learning, a great new area of learning for our students and staff. Approval for winter complications to the calendar were made for our seemingly never-ending winter of 2019!

The health insurance plan design was approved for the employees of the district following a final in-depth presentation and discussion of the plan adjustments, rates and premium cost sharing. This comes after many months of work to most effectively bring the plan back into solvency and simultaneously have the least negative impact on some and with a positive impact on the majority. The work is not done, as the education will be provided to support this important piece of the benefit package to maintain a strong level of health protection to our staff.

The quote for tonight: “No winter lasts forever; no spring skips it’s turn” by Hal Borland. It has truly been a long arduous winter, but spring will be here soon!”  –  Janelle Carter