May 17, 2021 Board Meeting

18 May

MCSD keeps COVID-19 mitigation strategies in place for remainder of school year
The Monday, May 17 Marshalltown School Board meeting featured an update from Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte on COVID-19 mitigation strategies after major announcements by both the Iowa Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control last week.

“I’m recommending that we stay the course,” Dr. Schutte said of current safety measures, including required face masks, desk shields, frequent sanitation, and social distancing wherever possible, among others. “Our kids and our staff have done an unbelievable job of complying and doing what they need to do to keep themselves, their families and each other safe.” 

The announcement came with just 15 days left in the school year; students’ final day of classes is set for Tuesday, June 8.

Dr. Schutte added there are tentative plans to ease some measures after this school year ends, depending on the situation with the pandemic. One potential change may be to make face masks optional for students in grades 7-12 and their families; no longer using desk shields has also been seriously considered. Changes for younger students are harder to predict, as COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been approved for children under 12 years of age.

A reminder of the two student vaccine clinics the District is hosting this week was also shared. The Friday, May 21 clinic will offer vaccines to Bobcat students ages 12 and older. The Saturday, May 22 clinic will take place at the MHS Roundhouse from 8 a.m. to noon; students from Marshalltown, East Marshall, West Marshall,  and Green Mountain-Garwin public schools, as well as St. Francis Catholic School, are welcomed to register!

Follow-up vaccinations for this week’s clinics are being planned, and students who got a vaccine at the Friday, May 14 clinic will get their second dose on Friday, June 4.

Director of Instruction’s service spotlighted in farewell recognition
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson has made several positive impacts since arriving at Marshalltown Schools in 2016; she was recognized Monday evening as she prepares to take up an administrative position at Davenport Community Schools this summer.

“Lisa is one of the most knowledgeable people I know in education,” said Dr. Schutte, who has worked with Dr. Stevenson for more than a decade at MCSD and Bettendorf CSD.

“I want to thank her for the stellar work that she’s done for the District. As much as I hate to see her go from the District, I wish her the best in the new position that she’s undertaking.” 

Dr. Stevenson said she is proud her five years in Marshalltown, especially amid challenges like the 2018 tornado, the 2020 derecho, and the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t think there’s a place in Iowa that’s in a better position to move forward than we are in Marshalltown right now,” she said, adding she has grown close with the Marshalltown community during her time at the District.

Dr. Stevenson’s resignation was approved Monday and will be effective on June 30.

Miller Middle School teacher Lucas Johnson named Pre-AP National Faculty member
Also recognized at the May 17 board meeting was Miller Middle School language arts teacher Lucas Johnson, who was recently named a Pre-AP National Faculty member. 

Pre-AP National Faculty members are College Board-endorsed educators who facilitate professional learning experiences across the United States and around the world. They’re stewards of the College Board’s mission to clear a path for all students to own their future by promoting excellence and equity in education.

MHS students (from left) Haley Reed, Klaudia Hernandez, and Itzary Avalos give their final student school board representatives update as a group Monday, with Hernandez and Avalos set to graduate later this month. All three have done an excellent job as student board representatives this year!

Student School Board Representatives update
Student School Board representative Klaudia Hernandez, Itzary Avalos, and Haley Reed shared an update on the happenings at Marshalltown High School Monday evening. The update carried extra significance – it was the group’s last before seniors Hernandez and Avalos graduate later this month; as a junior, Reed is set to continue with updates through the end of the school year.

“We hope it’s been a good learning experience” Dr. Schutte said. “We want to wish those of you that are graduating well as you go on to the next step of your journey, and we want to encourage Haley to pursue continuing with us for another year.”

Here are the key highlights from Monday’s student school board presentation: 

  • Bobcat Sports:
    • Girls Track & Field: Student-athletes Lily Duff (discus) and the 4×800-meter relay team of Phoebe Hermanson, Micha Blevins, Grace Rasmussen, and Rachel Smith qualified for state this year
    • Boys Track & Field: Student-athletes Deonte Dean (100- and 200-meter dash), Dwight Joar (high-jump and 100-meter hurdles), and the 4×100-meter relay team of Malachi Holmes, Mannie Kparyea, Jaiden Buchanan, and Dean qualified for state this year.
  • NHS recently designed new Bobcat Pride t-shirts which feature descriptions of the wearers’ important roles or activities (i.e. soccer player, musician, teacher)
  • Important senior student dates:
    • Senior Awards Night is Thursday, May 27
    • Finals week for seniors runs from May 25-27
    • The Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 30 at Leonard Cole Field

District moves forward with relocation, sign-on bonus incentives
Two great employee incentives were approved Monday.

One new incentive offers a reimbursement of up to $2,500 toward qualified moving expenses for new certified teaching staff who relocate to the Marshalltown CSD. Such a move must be made within three years for the relocation incentive to be given. 

New teachers hired in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years who have not yet moved into the Marshalltown CSD are also eligible for this relocation incentive through August 1, 2024!

A sign-on bonus of up to $5,000 for new hires or internal transfers to specific, key certified teaching positions was also approved Monday. The sign-on bonus incentive requires a three-year commitment.

Board stamps approval of official Class of 2021 graduates list
The Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony is right around the corner for hundreds of Bobcat students, and the board approved the official list of students set to graduate on May 30 Monday evening.

The list includes a total of 346 soon-to-be Bobcat graduates. For more information on this year’s commencement ceremony, click here!

Personnel agreements gain board approval
Four District employee salary/benefits agreements were approved Monday, including: 

  • Buildings & Grounds tentative agreement: One-year agreement includes step advancement, longevity, and a $0.05 per hour wage increase for each employee. Also added were new grades for skilled trades positions.
  • Secretarial staff benefits: Approved to use five personal illness days for family members under the same conditions as “family illness days,” as cited in Appendix E of the Employee Handbook.
  • Marshalltown Education Association tentative agreement: Three-year agreement includes step and lane advancement, longevity, and an addition of $140 to the base salary schedule.
  • Administrators, Directors, Building Principals, & Other Professionals salaries & benefits: Changes include a 2.03 percent salary increase, as well as the availability of five more family illness days (deducted from personal sick leave), which can be accessed for extenuating circumstances with superintendent or designee’s approval.

2021-22 MLA student handbook given nod
Next school year’s Marshalltown Learning Academy student handbook gained board approval Monday. The updated handbook had previously been presented to the board, as were the 2021-22 preschool, elementary, Lenihan Intermediate School, Miller Middle School, Marshalltown High School, and Transportation student handbooks.

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

  • 312.1 (new 303.3) Administrative Personnel Employment-Individual Contracts (amended, second reading waived)
  • 403.3-R1 Exposure Control Plan (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 501.3-E2 Attendance Regulations (amended, second reading waived)
  • 707.5 Internal Controls (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 312.3 (new 303.4) Administrative Personnel – Compensation/Benefits (will com back for a first reading)
  • 312.3-E1 (new 303.4-E1) Fringe Benefits-Administrators/Supervisors (marked as reviewed) 
  • 312.3-E2 (new 303.4-E2) Fringe Benefits-Administrators/Supervisors-Request Form (marked as reviewed)
  • 404.1-R1 (new 404.1-R2) Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics Regulation (marked as reviewed)
  • 405.4 Licensed Employee Continuing Contracts (will come back for a first reading)
  • 701.2 Transfer of Funds (will come back for a first reading)
  • 701.3 Financial Records (will come back for a first reading)
  • 706.2 Payroll Deductions (will come back for a first reading)
  • 803.1 Disposition of Obsolete Equipment (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“At Monday’s board meeting, the negotiated contracts and salaries for all sub-groups of employees were approved.

This has been a difficult year for negotiations as the district was faced with budget guarantee due to declining enrollment. Because of that fact, our district received a very restrictive amount of new money. That makes it extremely difficult to give significant raises to all of our employees and show them that they are valued and appreciated.

But, negotiations have been completed. We are ready to issue contracts and move forward to a productive new year serving the youth of our community. Thanks to each of you for the time and effort each of you give toward that purpose.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, June 7, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. The meeting will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

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