April 6, 2020 Board Meeting

7 Apr
Recognitions WEB

Fisher Elementary School, Woodbury Elementary School and Hoglan Elementary School have all offered encouraging messages through videos to students.

Elementary school staff recognized for outreach to students, families through video messages
Students and MCSD school staff were suddenly separated in response to the spread of COVID-19 weeks ago. However, the closure of school did not deter the excellent staff at Marshalltown Schools from reaching out to students and families.

Staff at Woodbury Elementary, Fisher Elementary and Hoglan Elementary made great use of social media to provide encouragement and education to students via video.

“We were brainstorming different ways we could reach out to students everyday … we came up with Daily Woodbury Adventures,” said Woodbury P.E. teacher Sarah Murphy, who led the video project. “It really was a cool way for our staff to come together and provide something for our students.” 

The educational videos are posted to the Woodbury Facebook page daily to keep students engaged and learning during the closure. 

Hoglan and Fisher staff put together heartfelt videos which featured reassuring messages to students. Third grade teacher Hannah Pfantz led the Hoglan effort and Hilary Klyn led the Fisher project.

In addition to the elementary outreach efforts, the board also recognized the crucial role of the district’s four associate principals. This week, April 6-10, is National Associate Principals Week

Board adopts resolutions in response to COVID-19
The board approved giving Marshalltown Schools Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte the authority to continue paying hourly and non-exempt employees throughout the temporary COVID-19-related closure. 

“It’s the right decision to be made at this time,” Dr. Schutte said. 

Director of Human Resources Dr. Nora Ryan presented a resolution which combined several key district policies and procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution, adopted unanimously by the board, addresses emergency sick leave, travel procedures, illness reporting and more.

FY2021 school year budget approved
After a public hearing on the proposed Fiscal Year 2021 school budget received no comments at Monday’s board meeting, the board approved the budget as presented. Some key information items related to the budget include: 

  • 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 property tax rate of $18.34 per $1,000 in assessed valuation. That is the same rate as is in place this year for the district. 

The board also approved an amendment to the current school year budget, which did not receive any public comment at Monday’s public hearing on the matter. 

IDoE WEB

MCSD educators are working hard to ensure students can access Voluntary Educational Enrichment Opportunities during school closure.

Discussion held on continuous learning during school closure
District Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson shared an update on how MCSD educators will offer Voluntary Educational Enrichment Opportunities for the duration of the COVID-19-related school closure, per requirements announced by Gov. Kim Reynolds; that announcement accompanied the closure of schools in the state until April 30. 

“We have decided as a district to move toward Voluntary Education Enrichment Opportunities,” Dr. Stevenson said. “Because they’re voluntary, students won’t be given grades, for example, during that process, but we are going to be engaging with families and engaging with students.” 

Educational materials will be made available for students online. Physical paper packets will also be created and given to students as well. The materials will be sent out by the district beginning Monday, April 13.

Employee master contracts approved for next school year
Several master contracts between the district and various employee groups were approved at Monday’s meeting. Each agreement was for a period of one year. The contracts included: 

Marshalltown Tennis Complex construction agreement approved
A construction agreement with Garling Construction Inc. for work on the Marshalltown Tennis Complex got the board’s nod Monday. Dr. Schutte shared an update on construction plans.

“We had our first pre-construction meeting today, which went really well,” he said. “Garling is looking at starting Phase I construction later this month.” 

Dr. Schutte also said there is potential to complete the entire project earlier if spring sports are unable to continue due to public health concerns; such a situation may mean the project will not have to be done in phases and could be completed sooner. Whether that can happen or not will likely become clearer later in April, depending on decisions regarding school closure and spring sports.

Several Marshalltown Learning Academy students approved for first semester graduation
Hard work and perseverance paid off for several Marshalltown Learning Academy students who earned the credits to graduate during the fall semester of the current school year. They include Jake Ascher, Analisa Balderas, Destanne Campbell, Hunter Diggins, Cesar Ortiz, Madeline Reynolds and Jhair Rodriguez.  

Bus combo WEB

At left: The MCSD bus fleet will have three additions after board action Monday. At right: The three new buses will include shorter seats, increasing aisle space. Shown here is the aisle space on a large school bus in the MCSD fleet.

School bus, Chromebook bids addressed
The board approved a bid for three new buses from Hogland Bus Company Inc. The bid total came to $271,343 and PPEL funds will be used to pay for the vehicles. District Director of Transportation Rex Kozak said the buses will feature seatbelts, as well as a wider center aisle due to the seats being shorter in width.

District Director of Technology Amy Harmsen’s request to seek bids for Acer Chromebooks was also approved by the board. Harmsen said she is seeking those devices as part of the district’s regular Chromebook replacement cycle. The board also gave their permission for Harmsen to seek bids, if needed, on Chromebook models like those being shared with PK-6 students during the temporary COVID-19 closure. 

Communications
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

Policies
First reading: 

  • 402.6 (new 401.13) Staff Technology Use/ Social Networking (Approved as amended, second reading waived)
  • 402.6-R (new 401.13-R1) Staff Technology Use/Social Networking Regulation (Approved as amended, second reading waived)

Initial review: 

  • 401.3 Nepotism (Will come back for a first reading)
  • 404.2 Fraternization (Will come back for a first reading)
  • 407.2 Resignations of Certified Personnel (Will come back for a first reading)
  • 711.1 Student School Transportation Eligibility (Marked as reviewed)
  • 711.1-R1 Student Eligibility for Bus Service (Marked as reviewed)
  • 711.2 Student Conduct on School Transportation (Will come back for a first reading)
  • New Regulation 711.2-R1 Student Conduct on School Transportation Regulation (Will come back for a first reading)
  • New Regulation 711.2-R2 Use of Recording Devices on School Buses (Will come back for a first reading)
  • 711.3 Extracurricular Activities Bus Services (Will come back for a first reading)
  • 711.4 Summer School Program Transportation Service
    (Will come back for a first reading)
  • 711.5 Transportation of Nonresident and Nonpublic School Students
    (Will come back for a first reading)
  • 711.6 Transportation of Non-school Groups (Will come back for a first reading)
  • New Policy 711.7 School Bus Safety Instruction (Will come back for a first reading)
  • New Policy 711.9 District Vehicle Idling (Will come back for a first reading)
  • 711.8 Transportation in Inclement Weather (Will come back for a first reading)
  • 711.9 Transportation Insurance Program (deleted)
  • New Policy 711.10 School Bus Passenger Restraints (Tabled for a later decision)
  • 907 United States Flag Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag (Marked as reviewed)
  • 907.R.1(new 907-R1) United States Flag Procedure for Displaying the Flag and Respect for the Flag (Will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“These times are unsettling. COVID-19 has imposed a new order of how we do things, how we face challenges, and how we try to support each other.

The pandemic brought a new order to board meetings as well. To facilitate the governor’s orders of social distancing and groups no larger than 10, we held our first Zoom meeting. Thanks to CO staff and board members for working together to be visually and auditorily present for each of you.

The work of the board was completed and the public was allowed access as they are when we meet in the board room. Our public forum on the budget was held at last night’s board meeting and the public was given access to make comments then, as well.

Stay safe, stay healthy and support one another!” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, April 20, 2020. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom and a live stream of the meeting will be available via YouTube. 

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