October 5, 2020 Board Meeting

6 Oct
CFMC Executive Director Julie Hitchins (right) presents a $9,000 check to MCSD Transportation Director Rex Kozak (left) at Monday’s school board meeting. The grant funds will go toward the partnership between MCSD and Marshalltown Municipal Transit (MTT) for student transportation services. Also pictured is MTT Director Kevin Pigors (center).

MCSD awarded Community Foundation of Marshall County grant for student transportation services
The Community Foundation of Marshall County presented a $9,000 grant for student transportation services at Monday’s school board meeting. 

The grant was funded through generous donations to the Marshall County Disaster Recovery Fund, and it will support the partnership between the MCSD Transportation Department and Marshalltown Municipal Transit to ensure Bobcat students get to and from school safely and effectively. 

Marshalltown Schools thanks the Community Foundation of Marshall County for helping meet Bobcat students’ transportation needs! We are grateful to have excellent partners in the CFMC and Marshalltown Municipal Transit. For full details on this generous grant from the CFMC, click here

Proposed Marshalltown High School, Anson Elementary improvement projects discussed, public hearing set on proposed bond issue
Next steps are being taken on two major project proposals at District school buildings after board actions at Monday’s meeting. 

Air conditioning (HVAC) at Marshalltown High School was one of the project proposals discussed; that proposal currently includes alternate bids for fire sprinkler and LED lighting work. 

“This has been a priority for the district for a long, long, long time,” said District Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. 

The second proposed project focuses on improvements at Anson Elementary School. That project would include significant HVAC improvement work, as well as enclosing open-air classroom spaces and potential lighting upgrades. 

The board gave its approval for the District to move forward with initial work on the proposals. Dr. Schutte said project contract language is being worked on, and the finalized contracts will come before the board for approval at a future meeting.

A public hearing on a proposed $10 million bond issue to fund the two project proposals was set for 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2. 

District to pursue grant for tornado safe room
A presidential disaster declaration brought millions of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dollars to the state after the August derecho, and some of those funds must be used to help  increase preparedness for potential future incidents.

On Monday, the school board approved the pursuit of a FEMA grant for the construction of a tornado safe room at the MHS Sports Complex. The grant would cover 85 percent of the construction costs for a tornado safe room facility. 

When not being used for an emergency, such a facility could potentially provide space for a team room, concessions, restrooms, an officials room, and/or a first aid station. Dr. Schutte said the grant is set to be awarded in the late winter or early spring of 2021; if MCSD were to receive the grant, he said the proposed projects at MHS and Anson Elementary would be prioritized before starting work on a tornado safe room.

Marshalltown School Board member Sara Faltys reads the board’s declaration of National Principals Month at Monday’s meeting.

Important work of school principals, custodial staff recognized
October is National Principals Month, and the Marshalltown School Board recognized the District’s exceptional team of school principals Monday evening. 

Board member Sara Faltys read aloud a board resolution recognizing National Principals Month, and the District’s principals were commended for their incredible service to Bobcat students and families, especially during the challenging time of the coronavirus. 

Last Friday, Oct. 2, was National Custodial Workers Recognition Day, and the board recognized the incredible work of the District’s custodial staff. MCSD custodial employees have stepped up deep cleaning and sanitation efforts since the pandemic began, and they play a vital role in ensuring student safety and security every day. 

Board accepts $70,000 USTA grant for Marshalltown Tennis Complex project
The Marshalltown Tennis Complex is getting closer to completion every day, and the school board approved a $70,000 United States Tennis Association (USTA) grant which will go toward project construction costs. 

The District is also pursuing a USTA Missouri Valley Section grant for $10,000 to go toward increased tennis curriculum and supplies in physical education classes. The District recently received a similar grant, which brought new, high-quality tennis equipment to each school building. 

MHS senior and Student School Board representative Klaudia Hernandez discusses her selection to the state Board of Education Equity Committee.

MHS senior Klaudia Hernandez’s selection to state Board of Education Equity Committee highlighted
MHS senior and Student School Board Representative Klaudia Hernandez was recently selected as one of seven students statewide to sit on the state Board of Education Equity Committee.

Klaudia will provide an important student voice as the committee discusses how best to provide equity throughout Iowa’s public school system.

Return to Learn update shared with board
Since classes started on Sept. 8, Marshalltown Schools has seen a very few COVID-19 cases reported among staff and students. In his Return to Learn update to the board Monday, Dr. Schutte credited MCSD students, families and staff for their observance of the multiple safety rules put in place this school year, including social distancing and face covering requirements, among others.

“I am extraordinarily proud of our community for doing everything they’ve done to bring the positivity rate to a point that I would have never thought possible back in early August,” he said. 

The District began the school year by giving students and families a choice of learning models, including fully in-person learning for PK-6 students and a hybrid learning model for 7-12 students; both groups had the option to learn in a fully-virtual model. 

The hybrid model is set to be revisited at the end of the first quarter, and Dr. Schutte said he will closely monitor the District’s and Marshall County’s positivity rates as the colder months arrive. He said the District’s learning model recommendation for the second quarter of the school year will depend on public health data and information, with the need to balance student achievement and the health and safety of students, staff, and the larger Marshalltown Community.

Student School Board representatives update
Student School Board representatives Itzary Avalos and Klaudia Hernandez shared an update from Marshalltown High School with board members. The students discussed recent “senior nights” for extracurricular activities, Homecoming festivities, and several upcoming events, including the 2020 Blood Drive on Wednesday, Oct. 21 and Thursday, Oct. 22.

MHS Parking Lot improvement project statement of completion approved
The board approved an official statement of completion from Manatts Inc. regarding the Marshalltown High School parking lot project. The project saw improvements made to Bobcat Boulevard, the auditorium and band parking lots, and the school drive area. 

Part II of Jamie Vollmer’s book “Schools Cannot Do It Alone” discussed
Board members and administrators discussed Part II of Jamie Vollmer’s book “Schools Cannot Do It Alone” at Monday’s meeting. 

Part II describes the history of public schooling in the United States, including how changing economic circumstances and the dawn of the Knowledge Age have impacted students’ academic needs. The discussion was accompanied by a video from Vollmer on the same subject matter.

The Monday, Oct. 19 board meeting will include a discussion on Part III of “Schools Cannot Do It Alone.”

District Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger shares recent legislative decisions and findings regarding dyslexia Monday.

Dyslexia legislation and supports the topic of presentation
District Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger shared a presentation on legislation and research related to dyslexia. He cited the work of an Iowa Department of Education task force which focused on studying the condition and how to best support students with characteristics of dyslexia.

Superintendent and school board goals approved
The 2020-21 school board and superintendent goals got the board’s nod at Monday’s meeting. You can see this school year’s goals 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 Wednesday, click here.

First Reading

  • 200.2 – Powers of the Board of Directors (approved as amended)
  • 204.9-R1 Board Calendar (approved as amended)
  • 209.1 Development of Policy (will come back for a second reading)
  • 209.2 Adoption of Policy (will come back for a second reading)
  • 209.3 Dissemination of Policy (will come back for a second reading)
  • 209.4 Suspension of Policy (will come back for a second reading)

Initial Review – 

  • 203.2 – Adoption of Administration Rules and Regulations (will come back for a first reading)
  • 203.4 – Ad Hoc Committees (will come back for a first reading)
  • (New) 208-E1 – Ad Hoc Committees Exhibit (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Last night’s meeting saw the board approving the process of providing air conditioning at the high school. As Dr. Schutte said, it’s been a very long, long time since discussions were begun about finding the most cost effective way to do this.

The board approved the beginning work on architectural plans for AC at the high school and Anson Elementary, enclosure of open space classrooms at Anson and the construction of a tornado safe room at the sports complex. In addition, the board approved setting forth the process of bonding for the entire project.

The health and safety of staff and students will be enhanced by completion of these proposed projects.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. The meeting will be held in-person with social distancing and other safety measures in place. The meeting will be available to watch via YouTube live stream.  

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