Archive | March, 2020

March 24, 2020 Special Board Meeting – Marshalltown School Board approves tennis and pickleball facilities bid

24 Mar
Tennis Courts 1 WEB

The tennis courts at Marshalltown High School are in need of renovation and replacement.

After several months of planning and discussion, the Marshalltown School Board approved a bid for work on the tennis complex at Marshalltown High School during Tuesday’s special board meeting. 

Garling Construction Inc. was chosen to complete the work. Additionally, the City of Marshalltown will join the district and the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation in financially supporting the project after a city council decision on March 23. 

“I’m very thankful the City Council was willing to revisit and unanimously approve this collaborative project with the Marshalltown CSD and the Martha Ellen Tye Foundation in reconstructing the tennis courts that are located at Marshalltown High School (MHS) so that we can once again have a high quality facility, with the appropriate amenities for participants and spectators! Once constructed, I’m confident this facility will encourage youth interest in tennis and pickleball as fun, life-long physical activities and that Marshalltown will become a very popular centralized site to host future Iowa and Missouri Valley sanctioned tournaments for youth and adult competitors.”

The project is set to be divided into two main phases, including: 

  • Phase I

MCSD will be responsible for the planning, design, and construction costs for six new tennis courts to the south of the existing eight courts on the Marshalltown High School campus. Three new lighted pickleball courts will also be installed to the east of the existing tennis courts, thanks to the help of the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation, which donated $150,000 toward the pickleball courts. 

  • Phase II

MCSD will be responsible for the planning and design of and will share the construction cost with the City of Marshalltown on renovating the eight existing tennis courts into six new tennis courts, adding a restroom facility, a storage facility, installation of lighting for the six new tennis courts of Phase I, and an adjacent parking lot off of South 2nd Avenue. 

The full details of the 28E agreement between MCSD and the City of Marshalltown can be found here. The total project bid tally can be found here

March 16, 2020 Board Meeting

17 Mar
School board 1 WEB

MCSD Lead Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford, left, and Marshall County Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson, right, discuss the district’s Pandemic or Infectious Disease Plan at Monday’s meeting.

School board approves MCSD Pandemic or Infectious Disease Plan
Marshalltown Schools is closed until April 10 in response to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus after Marshalltown School Board action Monday. The board also approved the district’s Pandemic or Infectious Disease Plan as another key step in response to the pandemic. 

“I think taking the most prudent, proactive actions will help Marshalltown mitigate what otherwise could occur,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. 

The full plan includes strategies to prevent and reduce the spread of infectious diseases in school facilities, procedures for canceling school due to an infectious disease outbreak, and considerations for reopening schools. 

Stopping germ spread, frequent hand washing and staying home when sick are among the strategies outlined in the plan. 

Marshall County Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson and MCSD Lead Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford spoke about the importance of having a plan in place and why it is so crucial to take steps toward preventing and slowing the spread of pandemics. 

“This is a very fluid situation. It’s not just changing daily, we’re looking at things hourly,” Tool-Crawford said. “We will make it through this. This is uncharted territory for all of us.” 

For more information on the district’s response to COVID-19, click here

School board 2 WEB

The successful Lenihan intramural program was spotlighted at this week’s Marshalltown School Board meeting, and several staff members talked about the program’s growth. Pictured, from left: Sue Cahill, Matt Butler, Casey Moberly and Kyle Young.

Lenihan showcase includes info on Computer Science is Elementary grant, intramurals
Lenihan Intermediate School students have excellent opportunities in multiple areas of education thanks to new programming led by dedicated staff. 

One of those opportunities, intramural activities, was launched in 2018 and student participation has continued to grow. Sports include golf, basketball, soccer, volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, tennis and much more. In addition, Lenihan students can also take part in coding and Makerspace intramural activities, bolstering their computer science and creativity skills. 

The students’ computer science education is further enhanced by the $50,000 Computer Science is Elementary state grant, which was awarded to Lenihan and five other schools statewide last spring. 

For more information on the Computer Science is Elementary grant program, click here.  

Public hearings set on 2020-21 certified MCSD budget, current year budget amendment
District Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold and the entire Finance Department have been hard at work preparing a certified budget proposal for the coming 2020-21 school year. The board approved a public hearing on the budget proposal for 5 p.m. Monday, April 6 in the board meeting room in the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. 

Here are some highlights from the presentation

  • Next year’s state supplemental aid increase of 2.3 percent equates to about $158 more in state funding per student than the current year. That brings the district cost per pupil up to $7,069. 
  • The estimated budget proposes a school district property tax rate of $18.34 per $1,000 in assessed valuation. That is the same rate as this year.

The board also approved setting a public hearing for an amendment to this fiscal year’s budget. That public hearing will also take place during the board meeting April 6. 

D.A.R.E. program discussed

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Deputy Tim Hungerford, left, has been teaching D.A.R.E. in at MCSD since 2005

Marshall County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Hungerford shared background and information on the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program at MCSD. Hungerford said D.A.R.E., which has been taught in Marshalltown since 1998, has had a positive impact on many students. 

He said D.A.R.E. teaches students about making good decisions when it comes to avoiding drug and alcohol use, resisting peer pressure, and preventing bullying. 

Check out Hungerford’s presentation on the program here

Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here.

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here.

First reading: 

  • 104 Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Policy (approved, second reading waived)
  • 104-R1 Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Investigation Procedures (approved, second reading waived)
  • 402.2 Child Abuse Reporting (approved, second reading waived)
  • 403.3 Communicable Diseases-Employees (approved, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 604.3 Program for Talented and Gifted Students (approved, second reading waived)

Initial review:

  • 401.1-R Grievance Procedure (deleted)
  • 402.6 (new 401.13) Staff Technology Use/Social Networking (will come back for first reading)
  • 402.6-R (new 401.13-R1) Staff Technology Use/Social Networking Regulation (marked as reviewed) 
  • 403.6 (new 403.5) Substance-Free Workplace (marked as reviewed)
  • 403.6-R1 (new 403.5-R1) Substance-Free Workplace Regulation (marked as reviewed)
  • 403.6-E1 (new 403.5-E1) Substance-Free Workplace Notice to Employees (marked as reviewed)
  • 710.2 Free or Reduced Priced Meals Eligibility (marked as reviewed)
  • 906 Unmanned Aircrafts-Drones (Bea Niblock) (marked as reviewed)
  • 906-R1 Unmanned Aircrafts-Drones Regulation(Bea Niblock) (marked as reviewed)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“We live in challenging times. Every day brings something new to the table as we face the COVID-19 pandemic. Our country has not been faced with anything of this nature for over a hundred years.

We ask your patience and calm as our administration and board grapple with the changing factors day by day and hour by hour. Decisions were made regarding the school calendar during the board meeting and by the end of the board meeting, the ‘landscape’ had already changed.  

Be kind to yourself and reach out to help those who need it. Don’t allow the restrictions of the pandemic to harden and close you, but to bring out your compassion and caring. 

‘Helping others in need is not only a responsibility of life, it is what gives meaning to life. – Mollie Marti’” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, April 6, 2020 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S.Third Ave.

March 2, 2020 Board Meeting

3 Mar
Bowling WEB

The state 3A runner-up MHS Boys Bowling team was recognized at Monday’s board meeting for their accomplishments this season. Head coach DJ Wilder, center, spoke about the team’s appreciation for the community’s support.

MHS Boys Bowling Team recognized for impressive state performance
Members of the Marshalltown High School Boys Bowling Team and head coach DJ Wilder came before the Marshalltown School Board Monday for recognition. The team had an impressive showing at the 3A state-level competition late last month, placing second overall as a team. 

Individually, MHS senior Lucas Kramer took home first place in the state meet. Team member Logan Proffitt earned a sixth-place individual finish. 

“The support we have from the entire town … honestly, it’s kind of insane,” Kramer said. 

That support was evident at Wayward Social during home meets, when the venue filled with Bobcats fans eager to cheer on the bowlers. 

Wilder said he is incredibly proud of both the boys and girls bowling programs, both of which had strong seasons.

“It’s been a great experience over the past few years, and I’m looking forward to doing it some more,” he said. “I expect us to be right back in this same position this time next year.” 

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said he was proud to see the Bobcats well-represented at the state bowling meet. He said the boys and girls bowling teams display extraordinary camaraderie and praised the coaching and development of young bowlers.   

“Congratulations on a phenomenal season,” Dr. Schutte said. 

Board approves generous donation from the Brown family
Craig and Michelle Brown made a generous donation to the MHS boys and girls track programs for warm up attire. The family gave $4,029 and the donation got the board’s approval Monday. Craig and Michelle are the parents of late MCSD student Corey Brown. 

Nora WEB

Director of Human Resources Dr. Nora Ryan presents details on the new employee handbook at Monday’s school board meeting.

MCSD Employee Handbook approved
After months of intensive work, Human Resources Director Dr. Nora Ryan brought a comprehensive MCSD Employee Handbook before the board Monday evening for approval, which the board granted. 

“It’s applicable to all staff members,” Dr. Ryan said. “It covers a lot of basic practices and policies that we have here.” 

She said the Human Resources Department worked hard to gain feedback from several employee groups before finalizing the handbook that was brought to the board. 

Licensing purchase to save money on technology
Director of Technology Amy Harmsen recommended the board’s approval of 1,380 Google licenses for Chromebooks due to a licensing price increase. Harmsen explained the licenses enable management for the Chromebooks that are purchased annually according to the the district’s Chromebook replacement cycle. As a result of the board’s approval of the licensing on Monday, Harmsen said savings of around $18,000 are likely as the board considers the purchase of the Chromebooks.

Board takes action on the MCSD self insurance plan
The school board approved changes to the district’s self insurance plan for the current school year. The approval includes a 10 percent increase for the health plan. 

Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold explained how the insurance plan will include a new HMO Employee+1 option and adds coverage for routine vision exams to both the HMO and PPO plans. 

Additionally, the approval means the district’s fully-insured Avesis vision plan will change to a materials-only vision plan with voluntary employee participation. The changes approved Monday will not impact dental insurance costs or plan design. 

Newbold said one long-term goal related to district insurance is to improve the financial health of the plan. For more details on the district’s self insurance plan, as well as background on changes made to the district’s insurance last year, click here

Student school board WEB

Student School Board members Mia Barajas, left, and Diana Sanchez, right, share updates from around the district with Marshalltown School Board members.

Student School Board Representative update
Student School Board Representatives Diana Sanchez and Mia Barajas shared these updates from around the district at Monday’s meeting. Highlights include: 

  • Students Teaching and Empowering Philanthropy (STEP) students have made their final grant decisions, and six area non-profits will receive checks on March 24. 
  • The MHS Prom is set for Saturday, April 25 and will feature a “Roaring ‘20’s” theme. Final decoration choices will be decided this week, and students have been talking to a DJ and photographers in preparation for the big night. 
  • Students in the Science Bound program took a trip to Iowa State University for Science Bound Saturday last weekend. They participated in a writing workshop and several other learning activities with students from across the state. 

Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here

First reading of:

  • New Policy 401.9 Employee Political Activity (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial review of: 

  • 104 Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Policy (will come back for a first reading)
  • 104-R1 Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Investigation Procedures (will come back for a first reading)
  • 401.1 Equal Employment Opportunity (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.2 Employee Conflict of Interest (marked as reviewed)
  • 402.2 Child Abuse Reporting (will come back for a first reading)
  • 403.3 Communicable Diseases-Employees (will come back for a first reading)
  • New Policy 604.3 Program for Talented and Gifted Students (will come back for a first reading)
  • 905.7 Motorized Vehicle Use of School Property (deleted)
  • 905.9 Smoking and Tobacco Use on School District Facilities (marked as reviewed)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“It is the time of the year when board members are involved in making difficult budget decisions – including curricular purchases, insurance rates, negotiations, and tax rates, just to name a few.  

Fiscal oversight is one of the major responsibilities of the board. It is a hard job to make finite dollars stretch into an infinite number of needs for the district. The very small state supplemental aid received annually makes the board’s job even more difficult. And the low state aid received over the last 6-8 years only compounds the problem.

Fiscal oversight is taken seriously by this board. The board listens and hears what individuals say. It is, indeed, a tenuous balancing act.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, March 16, 2020 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S.Third Ave.