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.

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