December 18, 2017 Board Meeting

19 Dec

Lenihan Intermediate School sixth graders spoke to the board about learning language fluency. From left, are Natalie Salas, Elazia Davison, Colten Ricken and Chase Gustafson.

Lenihan Intermediate School presentation

Lenihan Principal Kyle Young and Assistant Principal Liz Jurgensen delivered this presentation to update the board.

“The year has been filled with a lot of new learning,” Young said.

There has been a new focus of trying to get more students connected to the school with one way being the new intramural program. Basketball is the first activity of the intramural program.

“Our goal is to work beyond athletics as we grow this program,” Young said.

Lenihan has also added new leadership opportunities for students to go along with others already established including Ricochet and Teen Outreach Program.  New additions have also been added on the academic side, including ST Math.

“I’ve been really proud of our staff,” Young of putting ST Math into place.

Four Lenihan sixth grade students talked about dimensions of fluency and read poetry examples.


Victoria Johnson

Marshalltown High School senior Victoria Johnson was recognized for being nominated by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst  to be considered for appointment for the United States Military Academy at West Point and by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley to be considered for appointment in the Naval Academy.  Victoria said she wants to study nuclear engineering in the Navy.

For Personnel items approved by the board click here.

Included in the items were two retirements including: Dee Coulter, special education teacher at Miller Middle School who has 29 years of service to the district and Karen Roessler, Title I teacher at Hoglan who has 33 years of service with the district.


Mark Smith

Visit from State Representative Mark Smith
State Representative and Iowa House Minority Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown visited with the board. During the previous meeting, three other legislators visited with the board, Smith was unable to attend then and spoke at the December 18 meeting.

The board presented Smith its priorities. The 2018 legislative session will focus on budget, Smith said. He said the state budget is not in good shape.

The board held a discussion with Smith around various topics including state supplemental aid, SAVE, unfunded mandates, graduation rates, school calendars,

ST Math Update
PK-6 Curriculum Leader Erica Finders and Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this update on ST Math which was implemented this fall in Pre-K through 6.

“Students move through the curriculum at their own pace individually,” Finders said.

Professional Development Delivery Model Calender Survey Update
The district is researching the how professional development is delivered as we develop the 2018-19 calendar. Staff were surveyed for their preference in either keeping the current structure for early dismissals on Wednesday or adding 8 additional full days of professional development.
Director of Communications Andrew Potter presented both staff and parent survey results. Staff in favor of going to full day PD was 54.4 percent while 51 precent of parents also favored this method.
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this pros and cons list of each calendar option. The next step will be to survey staff and parents on whether or not to have a spring break.
This was an information item only as board approval of the calendar will come at a later date.

Application to SBRC
The board approved the Marshalltown Community School District application to the School Budget Review Committee in the amount of $3,020.71 for special education administrative costs associated with River Hills Consortium program for the 2018-19 school year as presented.

Rescinding of Vote on At-Risk Plan
Board member Karina Hernandez sent this letter regarding rescinding her vote on the at-risk plan that was approved by the board at a special meeting on December 11. It was approved by the board

Marshalltown High School Roundhouse Phase II Asbestos Abatement
Director of Buildings and Grounds Chuck Springer presented a bid as asbestos was revealed during the Phase II work.
“We found that have some asbestos containing material on north face of Roundhouse,” Springer said.

The board accepted the bid from Controlled Asbestos, Inc. of Ankeny  for asbestos removal for the Roundhouse Phase 2 Project, at a cost of $13,063.

Board Policies
501.3-E2- Attendance Regulations – One adjustment- on last line referenced an old policy. Approved as amended
502.2 – Search and Seizure- changed number to 502.8- and number changes on cross references- Marked as reviewed.
502.2- E – Search and Seizure Checklist – Number change to 502.8- E- Marked as reviewed.
502.2-R -Search and Seizure- now 502.8R- a number of change in it to mirror IASB policies- To come back before board.
502.3 -Interviews of Students by Law Enforcement and Outside Agencies- Change number to 502.9- title changes, and generally same content with minor wording changes. To come back to board.
502.4 -Physical Restraint (Corporal Punishment) -Change number to 503.5- and title change, from IASB. To come back before board.
502.4-E – Physical Restraint or Physical Confinement Documentation- Change number to 503.5E- Marked as reviewed.
502.5 – Student Appearance –  Change number to 502.1- Change in cross references- Marked as reviewed.
503.1 – Student Conduct- From our policy and IASB policy – (was formerly 502.1)- To come back at next meeting.
503.1R1- Disciplinary Procedures and/or Penalties (Responsibility). Moved from another portion of conduct policy – To come back at next meeting.
502.9 – Gangs- Change number to 502.11 – Marked as reviewed.
502.9-R- Gangs- Number change to to 502.11R. Marked as reviewed.
502.10 – Weapons- Number change to 502.6. Marked as reviewed.
502.11- Violence- Number change – 502.12- Marked as reviewed.
307 – Communication Channels-  New policy – To come back before board
502.4 – Student Complaints and Grievances- To come back before board.
502.8-R-Student Expulsion – Number change to 503.2R. To come back.
503.2- Student Expulsion- Adopting from IASB- New policy, to come back.
503.1-R2- Student Suspension-New policy to come back before board.

NOTE: Next Board Meeting
The next board meeting will be Tuesday, January 16 at 5 p.m. in district offices. This is a move of one day from the original schedule of Monday, January 15 due to the MLK holiday.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The audience at the board meeting and the community members, who listen to the delayed broadcast of board meetings, all received a wonderful gift at Monday’s board meeting! The improved audio and video updates have been completed and were used for the first time.

For years, many have complained about not being able to see or hear what was happening during board meetings. The situation has been remedied. When asked of those sitting in the back of the board room, “Can you hear us?” the answer was a resounding ‘yes!’

May you all have the gift of time and relaxation during the upcoming holiday season. Enjoy your time away from the rigors of the job. Relax and find happiness with your loved ones. No matter how you celebrate the holidays, I wish you a Merry Christmas, Bright Blessings, Happy Hanukkah – Chag Sameach, or Happy Kwanzaa – Heri za!” – Bea Niblock







December 4, 2017 Board Meeting

5 Dec

MHS student displays robot he built and programmed


Marshalltown High School sophomore Keaten Collinson displayed a robot he built and programmed to the school board at the December 4 meeting.

Marshalltown High School sophomore Keaten Collinson presented to the school board a robot he designed, built and programmed.

“He’s really gifted with technology,” said Susan Fritzell, who is Keaten’s Extended Learning Program teacher at MHS.

The robot can be controlled by anyone over the internet. Keaten said he spent a few hundred hours of work on the project both in his Extended Learning Class at MHS and at home.

Keaten will be presenting as part of the district-wide Family Coding Night at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6 at Miller Middle School.

Mrs. Fritzell said she sees great collaboration in her class, especially when it comes to students experimenting with technology.

“It’s really neat that they are teaching each other and encouraging each other,” Fritzell


Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, thanks Sharon Baughman, center and Stacey Mommer for their work on the certified enrollment to receive a Platinum Award.

Recognition- Platinum Award
District Registrar Stacey Mommer and Director of Instruction Administrative Assistant Sharon Baughman received the Platinum Award from the Department of Education for their work on the district’s certified enrollment.

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the two showed significant commitment and effort to achieve this honor.

“This is the top recognition,” Schutte said.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here

Two retirements were shared by Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis.

Larry Kadner – Kadner was a longtime industrial arts teacher before retiring and then coming back two years ago to help fill a need at MHS.

Cindy Wirkler-S he is secretary in Human Resources who has worked for the district for 15 years. A recent Employee of the Quarter award winner, Wirkler’s retirement will be effective at the end of June.

Carpenter Travis James has been named custodial supervisor for the district.


Travis James


Speaking at the board meeting were state legislators, from left Jeff Edler, Dean Fisher and Walt Rogers.

Update from legislators
Three state legislators visited the school board including State Senator Jeff Edler, State Representative Dean Fisher and State Representative Walt Rogers.

The legislators gave an update on the state finances and past and potential legislation. The board and Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte presented priorities for the upcoming session and also had discussed several matters with the legislators. Budget was one of the items discussed.

“We all know that the budget is a driving issue of what we have to do,” Edler said.  

Fisher  said they expect a tight budget yet again. Rogers, from the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area, is  chair of House education committee. He said there are no plans to change IPERS.  “It’s a good program we don’t plan on doing anything (with it),” Rogers said.

Dr. Schutte said extending SAVE is one of the priorities for the district due to facility needs.

“In our district we’ve always had a plethora of needs as well as wants,” Schutte said.,

On the topic of state supplemental aid, Board President Bea Niblock said it is very important to get that number from the legislature in a timely manner.  Several other topics were discussed including collective bargaining, school calendars, underfunded mandates and more.  State representative Mark Smith is expected to speak at the December 18 school board meeting.

IASB Director Vote
The board voted for Mary Poulter from the Colfax-Mingo School District as director for District 5 for the Iowa Association of School Boards

Microsoft Open Value Subscription- Agreement for Education.
Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented this renewal agreement for approval.The cost to renew this year $28,539. The board approved the agreement after a discussion.

At-Risk Budget
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this budget  as a discussion item. It will come up for a board vote during the special meeting on December 11. This is a follow up to information Dr. Stevenson presented at the last board meeting.

Also presenting was Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz, who presented this document on specific figures.

There is an Increase in the budget of $197,000 from the current year, with a potential property tax rate increase of 20 cents. Bartz said that tax rate figure will have more clarity in the spring as they do the certified budget.

As part of this new budget, there will be an opportunity to expand the summer school offerings in the district.

Board Policies
501.1 R-(number change to 501.3-E2)0 Attendance Regulations- Many changed made were already discussed. One item that needs fixed is a reference to a student grievance policy (503.3) that does not exist. Policy will come back before board.
501.2- Non-Resident Student- Minor change to reflect Iowa code student count date Approved as amended.
501.7- (number changed to 604.8) Foreign Students – Approved as amended waived second reading.

The following six policies have been reviewed already this year. The only changes are numbering changes to reflect IASB numbering. All the following six policies were marked at reviewed.

501.10 (number changed to 501.15) – Open Enrollment- Receiving District
510.10-R (number changed to 501.15R)- Open Enrollment – Receiving District Regulation
501.11 – (number changed to 501.6)- Student Transfers In
501.12- (number changed to 501.7) – Transfers Out of Withdrawals
501.13- (number changed to 501.12)- Pregnant Students
501.16- Homeless Children and Youth

Next meetings
A special board meeting will be held on Monday, December 11 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The meeting will include a presentation by the company RSP  and the at-risk budget will be up for approval.

The next regular full board meeting will be a 5 p.m .on December 18.

The board went into a closed session for a quarterly evaluation of the superintendent.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“State Senator Jeff Edler, Representative Dean Fisher and Representative Walt Rogers (Education Committee Chair) met with the board at last night’s meeting.  Representative Mark Smith was unable to attend, but will join us at the December 18th meeting.

This allowed the board, administration, and members of the audience to hear what the legislators held for their visions for the upcoming legislative session.  It also gave the board the opportunity to share our concerns and hopes for the session as well.  The board brought many ideas to the table, including the timeliness of the state supplemental aid and unfunded (or underfunded) mandates.  Discussion was held around the SAVE statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure and collective bargaining.  Other topics were also broached.

Senator Jeff Edler stayed to hear the discussion of our at-risk budget, later in the board agenda.  That allowed him to hear about budget concerns, staff salaries/wages and the tax asking for the district – all good topics for him to hear.

Take the opportunity to visit with your state legislators.  Their work affects our work.” – Bea Niblock


November 20, 2017 board meeting

21 Nov

Fisher students read their short stories at the board meeting


Fisher Elementary School fourth graders, from left, Lucas Hagen, Quinn Eastman and Emerson Eastman talk to their teacher Julie Preston, right, during a presentation to the school board on November 20. Also pictured is school board member Ben Fletcher.

Fisher Elementary School Presentation
Princpal Mark Lee and Instructional Coach Jennifer August presented this overview of things going on at Fisher.
“It’s been a fantastic whirlwind,” Lee said of his first year at Fisher.
The board was then able to catch a glimpse of what goes on during an author party at the school. Three students each from Mary Pepper’s first grade class and Julie Preston’s fourth grade class read their short stories and talked about each other’s work.

!st Grade

Maximus Leger reads to fellow first graders Celeste Heald, left, and Andrea Cabrera at the board meeting.



Director of Foodservice Lynn Large (left) recognized Kendra Bueghly of Farm Credit Services of America for the company’s recent donation of $5,000 to the backpack program. The program  provides food to take home for 200 kids each week.
“One of our missions is nutrition,” Bueghly said.


Dr. Theron Schutte, left, congratulations Lucas Johnson on his coach of the year award for boys golf.

Marshalltown High School boys golf coach and Miller Middle School teacher Lucas Johnson was recognized as he was named Class 4A coach of the year by the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association. Johnson helped guide the Bobcats to the Class 4A title.
“It’s a nice honor,” Johnson said.

The board itself was also recognized for earning awards for their own learning development from the Iowa Association of School Boards. More on the board honor here.

For personnel items approved by the board click here.

Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis pointed out the four current retirements in the district and gave some information on their work in the district including:

Penny Duer – Current Special Education Instructional Coach who has 31 years of service to district

John Fitzgerald – Current MHS counselor who has 38 years of service to the district.

Bev Fisher- Current Miller Middle School math teacher with 19 years of service.

Mark Chardoulias – Current Lenihan counselor with 25 years of service to the district.

“We we miss the individuals greatly,” said Board President Bea Niblock

At-Risk update
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented preliminary information on the at-risk budget. She will come back at the December 4 board meeting with the budget. The board finance committee will meet on November 27 to present clearer budget figures.

First Quarter report
Dr.  Stevenson and Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger presented this document as an update with data from the first quarter.

While some numbers such as chronic absenteeism were not what the district wanted, there were some other numbers that showed promise, including a 11 percent jump in reading proficiency on the FAST test throughout the elementary level.

Behavior referrals were also discussed. The board had several questions for the two and also would like to see the data on how it stacks up to past years and state averages.
More data is expected to be presented to the board in the future.

The following 4 finance items were resolutions for refinancing of bonds and for the Roundhouse Phase II construction project – All were approved by board

  • Resolution Appointing Paying Agent, Bond Registrar, and Transfer Agent, Approving the Paying Agent, Bond Registrar and Transfer Agent Agreement and Authorizing the Execution of Same.
  • Approval of Tax Exempt Certificate
  • Resolution Authorizing the Terms of Issuance and Providing for and Securing the Payment of School Infrastructure Sales, Services and Use Tax Revenue and Refunding Bonds
  • Resolution Appointing A Successor Paying Agent, Bond Registrar, and Transfer Agent; Approving the Paying Agent, Bond Registrar and Transfer Agent Agreement and Authorizing the Execution of Same –

Franklin Elementary and Miller Middle School Easements
Working with Alliant Energy, this agreement allows the company to take above ground power lines below ground at Franklin and Miller,paid for by Alliant-  Board Approved

Board Policies
501- 1R to become 510.3-E2 – Attendance Regulations. Will come back with changes- being reworked again

First reading
705.9- Death of Student, Staff Member, or Board Director. Added phrase at end. Approved, waived second reading

Initial review
501.1-Resident Students- Recently reviewed- marked as reviewed again
501.2- Non-Resident Students- Change to the date in last paragraph- to October 1. To come back as first reading
501.7- Foreign Students- to change number to 604.8- to mirror IASB policy number – Integrate IASB policy and will be run by legal counsel – Policy to come back before board
501.8-Attendance Records – Marked reviewed.
501.9 -Open Enrollment- Sending District- number changed to 501.14 to reflect IASB number – Marked as amended.
501.9-R- Open Enrollment – Sending District Regulation-  Number changed to 501.14R – Phase III references removed. Accepted as amended.

The next regular school board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on December 4 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“It won’t be long and you’ll soon be off and enjoying some time away from the educational setting.  So, let me share with you the quote that I used at the end of the board meeting yesterday.  

“I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.”   Henry David Thoreau

May you, too, be perpetually thankful!  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!” – Bea Niblock


November 6, 2017 Board Meeting

7 Nov

Board learns of personalized learning going on at Miller Middle School 


Miller Middle School student Samya Huerta speaks as part of the school presentation to the school board on November 6. The students talked about a cookbook they are publishing as part of a personalized learning class.

Miller Middle School presentation
This school presentation included students from a personalized learning class at Miller and also featured teacher Lisa LaVelle, Principal Pat Rial and Associate Principal Dave Glenn. The students presented work they are doing to publish a cookbook along with some of the goodies they are working on as part of the book.
The cookbook will feature 169 recipes, many are favorites of the Miller staff. This project is just one of many at Miller where students are learning real-world skills.
“A lot of hands on stuff going on,” Rial said.

For a cookbook order form, click here.


From left, veterans Ross Harris, Chuck Springer and Brian Bart.z

Honoring veterans
Board member Ben Fletcher read the proclamation that honored veterans as Saturday is Veterans Day and three veterans in attendance were recognized including Board member Ross Harris,  Director of Buildings and Grounds Chuck Springer, and Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz.
Other district veterans will also be honored this week by Central Office administrators.


Luke Pedersen and Kassie Wilkins performed a number from the upcoming musical “Cinderella.”

MHS musical sampling
MHS will present the musical “Cinderella” at 7 p.m. on Friday November 10 and Saturday, November 11. Cast members Luke Pedersen and Kassie Wilkins along with vocal director Amy Ose on keyboard presented a number from the show.


District Buildings and Grounds Director Chuck Springer, second from left, recognized the hard work of, from left, Travis James, Todd Goulding and Jennifer Gray.

B&G staff honored
Three Buildings and Grounds staff workers were recognized at the meeting for their help in guiding the department through a leadership change recently. Recognized were Jennifer Gray, Travis James and Todd Goulding.


Marshalltown High School student Nayeli Barajas speaks about the recent Latinx Conference attended by MHS students.

Latinx Conference students recognized
Marshalltown High School students who attended the recent Latinx Conference at the University of Iowa were recognized. A group of them took third place in the history contest while others presented at the conference along with MHS teacher Jocelyn Frohwein.
The group also thanked MHS Principal Jacque Wyant for her support. For more information on the conference, click here.

For personnel items approved by the board click here.
Additions were added to the personnel list including two early retirements from longtime staff members. Special Education Instructional Coach Penny Duer and MHS counselor John Fitzgerald had their early retirement requests approved, effective at the end of the school year.

Iowa STEM Best grant
Marshalltown Learning Academy Principal Eric Goslinga, talked about being a recipient of the STEM Best grant from the state in the amount of $25,000.
“It’s a nice honor for a program of our size,” Goslinga said.
Goslinga said this grant will help MLA increase STEM programming and also will lead to more connections with local businesses, especially as they seek apprenticeship opportunities for students. The board accepted the STEM best grant award.

Title I Chromebooks
Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented bids for 131 Acer Spin Chromebooks,with carts and headphones for TItle I program use. The board approved the awarding of the bids to GovConnections in the amount of $58,072.

Refunding of current bond issues- New bond issue to cover Roundhouse Phase II
Presented by Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz. This item combines the refinancing of current bonds with the sale of bonds for the Roundhouse Phase II project.
The refinancing rates came back better than expected and will allow for a savings of just under $300,000 over five years.
The total sale of bonds is $9.9 million with $5.5 million of that going to the Roundhouse Phase II project and the remaining being refinanced to pay off previous bonds.
The board approved the refinancing and new bond issue.

Application to the School Budget Review Committee for 2017 Modified Supplemental Funding for Increasing Enrollment, Open Enrollment Out and Limited English Proficiency Instruction Beyond Five
Since enrollment is up 23.2 students, the state allows the district to recapture spending authority for these students since money is behind on this, noted Brian Bartz. Approved by board.

Board Policies
(Continue renumbering to bring polices in line with Iowa Association of School Board policies)
500.1- change to 500 – – Objectives of Equal Educational Opportunities for Students- Number change, Reordered protective classes and change in equity director, approved, waived second reading
501.1-(changed to 501.3-E1)- Attendance requirements- Minor wording changes approved, waived
501.3-E 2 (Formerly 501.1R)- Attendance Regulations  – Policy to run by county attorney on chronic absenteeism- To come back before board.
501.5 (Formerly 501.3)- Numbering change- change responsibility to superintendent vs. the board in regards to attendance center assignments- Approved, waived seond reading
501.3-Compulsory Attendance – No recommended changes (IASB format)- new policy- Approved
501.8- (Formerly 501.4) -Attendance Records- Adjustment made on primary responsibility for caretaker of records to principals. Approved, waived second reading
501.9 – Student Absences-Excused -New policy – IASB policy – Approved waived second reading
501.10 -Truancy- Unexcused Absences-New Policy – IASB policy-Approved, waived second reading

705.9 -Death of a Student, Staff Members, or Board Director- Change to be brought back- added “which may include purchase of flowers or a plant.”

The following 400 level policies were reviewed and are in alignment with IASB policy numbers. There were all marked as reviewed.
402.2- Child Abuse Reporting
402.2R – Child Abuse Reporting Regulation
402.2-E – Reporting Child Abuse When Suspected by “Caretaker”
402.3- Abuse of Students by School District Employees
402.3E1 – Abuse of Students by School District Employees- Complaint
402.3E2 – Abuse of Students by School District Employees- Investigation
402.4 – Gifts to Employees
402.5 – Public Complaints About Employees
415.5 – Classified Substitutes

The next regular meeting of the school board  is at 5 p.m. on Monday, November 20 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Our board meeting was filled with students and staff making presentations or being recognized for remarkable things.  What a perfect way to remind the board of the real reason that we are sitting at the table when surrounded with the financial and policy decisions that we must deal with at every meeting.

Al Exito students shared their experiences from a recent Latinx Conference.  Cast members performed a number from the upcoming MHS musical, “Cinderella.”  MMS students brought samples for the board to try from their soon-to-be published cookbook.  Staff members who have served our country in the armed forces were recognized.  Employees from Buildings and Grounds who stepped up and took on extra responsibilities during the search for a new department director were recognized.  And, Eric Goslinga shared the receipt of a $25,000 STEM grant awarded to MLA.  What a night!

Remember the musical performances on Friday and Saturday at the MHS/Community Auditorium.  And watch your emails for a chance to purchase a cookbook from MMS.  The samples that we tasted were great!  Great things are happening in the MCSD!” – Bea Niblock  


Hoglan STEM work in spotlight at board meeting

17 Oct

Hoglan Elementary School fourth graders presented on STEM as part of the school’s overall presentation to the school board on October 16. Pictured are students, from left, Angel Chavez, Anthony Chavez, Millie Heitmann and Sydney Kapayou. At right is STEM specialist teacher Alex Jahnke.

Hoglan Elementary School presentation
Hoglan Principal Amy Williams led this presentation. She said Hoglan has 376 students with 46 percent being English Language Learners and 82 percent as free and reduced lunch. A special STEM program presentation was made by STEM Specialist Alex Jahnke and four Hoglan fourth graders.

The Class 4A state golf champion Bobcats were honored at the start of the meeting. The group won the title at Elmwood Country Club in very wet conditions.


State Champion golf coach Lucas Johnson talks about the team’s accomplishments. Pictured, from left, are Mason Reid, Nate Vance, Tate Carlson, Keygan Hansen, Luke Appel, JD Pollard and Cole Davis.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Public Comment
Several current Marshalltown Schools staff members spoke in favor of keeping the voluntary early retirement policy in place for this school year including Dee Coulter from Miller, Karen Roessler from Hoglan, Matthew Nevins from Miller, Brad Weidenaar from MHS and several speaking via video including: Mark Church from Rogers Elementary, Mary Estrada from Woodbury, Jasmine Hazen from Woodbury, Deb Martin from Lenihan, Jane Boehler, retired Anson teacher, and Bob Gilbertson from Miller.

Marshalltown Education Association President Kate Troskey introduced the MEA leadership team and a few members-at-large.


Every Student Succeeds Act


Dr. Lisa Stevenson

Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this state-provided overview of ESSA – which is a replacement for No Child Left Behind and is still awaiting federal approval.
Iowa’s plan is designed to continue to give equity to disadvantaged students

2017-18 Curriculum Overview
Dr. Lisa Stevenson and Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger presented this document, which outlined the curriculum plans. Dr. Stevenson said several teams are meeting to research curricular needs throughout the district. The board had several questions for the Lisa and Matt.

Cell Phones for Preschool Bus Routes
Dr. Lisa Stevenson said there is a need for preschool bus route monitors to have cell phones to be able to call the Language Line and use a translator. The board approved the purchase of three cell phones.

Certified Enrollment Count
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said it appears enrollment will be up somewhere between 23 and 28 students district wide. The numbers are unofficial as the state is still cross checking students. It could take until November when official enrollment figures are released


Voluntary Early Retirement Program
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte recommended to offer the voluntary early retirement incentive package for the 2017-18 school year to retirees eligible.  The package pays insurance cost for 8 years or shorter after retirement depending on when Medicaid starts for the retiree.
“It helps us to be in a better balanced budget situation,” Schutte said.
Extensive discussion was held regarding this policy and how it provides savings for the district and the need for estimates on what the savings are projected.
The board adopted the early retirement policy for this school year by a vote of 4-2.

Supplement to Agreement for Services with Terracon Consultants Inc.
The board approved this supplement to an agreement with Terracon Consultants related to inspection of the work of the subcontractors related to the base of the Roundhouse Phase II project.

Board Policies

Second reading
414.8 -Absence Without Pay- Classified – Approved as amended

First reading
203.1- Formulation, Review and Revision of Policy- Updated review cycle for board policies- Approved as amended.
414.3- Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – The following five policies were updated with Iowa Association of School Board language and updates with the federal family and medical leave language- All were approved and second reading was waived.
414.3 R1-Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Regulation
4.14.3-R2 –Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Definitions
414.-3-E1-Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave Notice to Employees
414.3 – E2- Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Request Form
414.4 -Classified Employee Bereavement Leave- Funerals-  Phrase changes Approved, waived second reading
414.6- Classified Employee Jury Duty – Title change and section changes- approved waive second reading
414.7-Military Service- Approved with changes
414.10-Classified Employees Immediate Family Illness – Different number of family days -Approved waived second reading
414.11-Classified Employees Personal Leave-  Title addition and change of accrued sick leave maximum to 140 days.- Approved
415.1-Drug and Alcohol Testing Program- Changed phone number – Approved as amended
415.1- E1- New Policy- Drug and Alcohol Testing Program Notice to Employees- Exhibit related to policy which is required by law- approved as amended, waived second reading
415.1- E2- Drug and Alcohol Program and Pre-Employment Testing Acknowledgement Form-  New exhibit,  approved as amended, waived second reading
415.4- Classified Staff-Professional Development Leave- Inserted language from IASB- Approved as amended, waived second reading

Initial reading
The MCSD 500 Series order and IASB order are not inline- so number changes are being made to many polices

500- Students Rights and Responsibilities- Marked as reviewed changed to 500.1
501.1-Objectives for Equal Educational Opportunities for Students- Policy number becomes 500- changes to Director of Human Resources and Civil Rights Office address change- to come back for first reading.
501.1- Attendance Requirements and 501.1R – Attendance Regulations- Tabled for further work to be done by administrators.
501.2- Entrance Requirements – Evidence of Age- new number becomes 501.4- Changes in cross references- Marked as reviewed
501.3 – Attendance Center Assignment- New number becomes 501.5, To come back before board with changes
501.3 Compulsory Attendance- New policy- To come back with changes
501.4 – Attendance Records- New number becomes 501.8 – needs to return to board, added language from IASB policy.
501.5- Resident Students- New number  becomes 501.1-Marked as reviewed
501.6 – Non-Resident Students – New number becomes 501.2- Marked as reviewed
501.9 – Student Absences – Excused – New Policy, to come back
501.10 – Truancy – Unexcused Absences- New Policy- To come back

The next regular  board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on November 6 in the district office board room.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“What a busy board meeting we had.  School reports, curriculum reports, certified enrollment, business contracts, cell phones for preschool buses, and board policy updates.  The board seems to have a full agenda these days.

We also had the opportunity to hear from teachers regarding their feelings about the early retirement policy.  It is easy to say that teachers consider this incentive when planning for their retirement.  Dr. Schutte made a presentation which, based on financial considerations, raised questions in some board members’ minds.  Serious discussion centered around the offering of the early retirement program for the 2017-18 school year or not.  When the dust cleared, the board voted 4-2 to offer the incentive program to teachers, administrators and 12-month secretaries for this school year.

Stay tuned!  The board votes each year before October 30th, as to whether the early retirement incentive program will be offered or not.  See you next October!” – Bea Niblock


October 2, 2017 board meting

3 Oct

Principals Honored as part of National Principals Month


Several of the Marshalltown Schools principals were in attendance at the school board to be recognized as part of National Principals Month. Pictured, from left, Tim Holmgren (Franklin), Mick Jurgensen (Rogers), Liz Jurgensen (Lenihan), Deb Holsapple (MHS), Amy Williams (Hoglan), Anel Garza (Woodbury), Ronnie Manis (Anson) and Kyle Young (Lenihan).

Principals in the district were recognized as part of National Principals Month. Board Member Sean Heitmann read the proclamation for National Principals Month. They were presented a certificate of recognition by Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.

Personnel items
For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Annual Appointments
The board approved the following annual appointments:
– Brian Bartz as Board Secretary for the District for 2017-2018 school year.
– Cartwright, Druker and Ryden as School Attorney for 2017-2018. John Veldey as collective bargaining counsel spokesman.
– Ahlers, Cooney, PC as Additional Legal Counsel for selected legal issues for 2017-2018.
-Designate by resolution the name and location of Iowa located financial depository institution(s) to serve as the official school district depository/depositories

Policy Review Schedule
Dr. Schutte presented the new board policy review cycle, which is built on a five-year review cycle instead of a three-year cycle. Changes were made to policy 203.1 to reflect the change in schedule. Policy  203.1 will come back at next meeting for board approval.

Board Committee Representatives
The board will look through committees and give their top five choices they want to be on to Board President Bea Niblock. Assignments will be approved at the Oct. 16 board meeting.

Boardroom laptops
The laptops utilized by the board at meetings are approximately 6 years old. Director of Technology Josh Wesley proposed replacing them with Chromebooks. The board gave the approval to move forward with Chromebooks.

2017-18 Strategic Plan
Dr. Theron Schutte presented this new strategic plan for the district including the goals and objectives for the next 3-5 years. Past survey research, open forums and a Thought Exchange survey helped shape the direction of the plan.
The plan has five primary goals: student achievement, staff development, communication & engagement, learning environments and resources. The board discussed the plan and gave feedback to Dr. Schutte.
Target dates will be established for action items within the areas. Updates to the board on plan progress are expected 2-4 times a year.
The board approved the plan as presented.

2016-17- Year End Financial Statements
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz presented this document, which overall was a positive report on the financial state of the district.
Total revenues for 2016-17 were at $61,067,587 with toal expenditures are at $61,020,018.
“We are still in a good financial position at this time as far as cash on hand,” Bartz said.
The board approved the financial statements as presented.

Special Education Deficit
Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger said the current special education deficit is at $1.9 million, up from $1.2 million the previous year. Most school districts operate on a special education deficit as funding does not match up with the cost of serving the varied needs of special education students.
“The cost to educate per special ed student continues to rise,” Cretsinger said.
For his presentation document, click here.
Cretsinger asked the board to be able to seek spending authority from School Budget Review Committee for allowable growth and supplemental aid. The levy would be approved by April 15 budget.
The board approved the action.

Title 1 Chromebook RFP
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson and Director of Technology Josh Wesley  presented this item. They sought approval to publish a Request for Proposal to purchase 131 Chromebooks for use by Title I students.
Current Chromebook allocations do not meet the needs of TItle I and there are carryover funds available in the Title I budget. Title I carryover funds will pay for this technology.
Total estimated cost is $59,296 for 131 Chromebooks with licenses, 126 headphones and six carts.
The board approved the publishing of an RFP for the Chromebooks.

Board Room Video Upgrade
This is a continuation from the last board meeting. Josh Wesley requested a video portion to upgrade the board room. Previously, the board approved the audio upgrade portion to upgrade the sound for those in attendance at the meetings and those watching the delayed broadcast. The board approved to upgrade the video system, 4-1, for a cost of $21,195 from local company Mechdyne.

Board Policies

First reading
414.8- Absence Without Pay – Classified – Changes to align with Iowa Association of School Board policy- Changes will come back before board.

Initial Review
203.1 -Formulation, Review and Revision of Policy – T0 be adjusted based on change in review schedule of policies- Marked as amended.
414.10 – Classified Employees Immediate Family Illness- Recommended changes align with IASB language. To come back before board.
414.11 -Classified Employees Personal Leave-  Change number of days that can be accumulated in sick leave from 200 to 140. To bring back before board.
414.12 -Temporary Disability –  Marked as reviewed – no changes recommended
415.1- Drug and Alcohol Testing Program- “Adding superintendent or designee,” change transportation phone number to reflect 641 area code. To come back before board.
415.1- E1- Drug and Alcohol Testing Program Notice to Employees – New policy- To come back before board.
415.1- E2 -Drug and Alcohol Program and Pre-Employment Testing Acknowledgment Form- New policy. To come back before board.
415.3- Relations to Pupils and Public- No changes
415.4- Classified Staff – Professional Development Leave- Changes to reflect IASB language- To come back before board.
801.6- Selection of an Architect-  Policy deleted (not required).

The next regular board meeting will be at 5 p.m on Monday, October 16 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“For a number of years, the district has been without a strategic plan. But, the district now has a ‘road map’ to steer our journey. The board adopted 5 goals last night that make up a living document to give us a direction, a focus, a path to provide students with the best possible educational experience.

Goals surrounding achievement, staff development, communications, learning environments and resources are the basis for the plan. Strategies to accomplish these goals have been identified and metrics have been determined to define the growth that we are making toward the achievement of the 5 goals.

The strategic plan is meant to be a ‘living document’ that can be amended and changed as determined. If we find that the strategies selected are getting us the desired results we will be encouraged, but, at the same time, adjustments can be made if we determine that something is not working as planned. Our district has begun a journey guided by a strong strategic plan.” – Bea Niblock

September 18, 2017 Board Meeting

19 Sep

Newly-elected board members take oath of office

New Board

Board Secretary Brian Bartz, left, gives the oath of office to three of the four newly-elected school board members including, from left, Karina Hernandez, Ben Fletcher and Bea Niblock.




From left, Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte and Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson present awards to Kyley Leger and Ben Cooper for their work on a Vision Marshalltown video on Marshalltown Schools. Both Kyley and Ben are MHS graduates.

Point of Pride Vision Marshalltown video
Director of Communications Andrew Potter along with Vision Marshalltown Executive Director Kyley Leger and videographer Ben Cooper presented this video, produced by Vision Marshalltown, which features the school district.


Kendall Derby was recognized for serving on the board for four years.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.


Charles “Chuck” Springer, new Buildings and Grounds Director

Charles “Chuck” Springer was introduced to the board as the new Buildings and Grounds Director of the district. Springer has lived  in Marshalltown since 2003, previously working at the local hospital and has had a long career working for Aramark.

“I’m really looking forward to this opportunity,” Springer said.
He will start on the job on September 27.

Board room audio and video upgrade
Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented this item, to upgrade the audio and video in the board room for guests in person and those watching on the delayed broadcast.

It was recommended to award Marshalltown-based Mechdyne the bid for the audio and video project.  The board approved the audio upgrade project by a vote of 4-2 for a cost of $16,488. The video upgrade (with a cost of $21,195) received a tie vote of 3-3 and was not approved. Board President Bea Niblock said the item would be brought back  when the complete board was there (Mike MIller was absent at the meeting).

Owner-Contract agreement for Roundhouse Phase 2  Project
The board approved the agreement with Ball Team as part of the Roundhouse Phase 2 project. This was after the board approved bids at the the September 5 board meeting. Dirt is expected to turn on the project soon. The board approved the agreement 6-0.

First reading

414.2- Personal illness- Changes made in cumulative sick leave to 140 days- Approved as amended, waived second reading
414.3-R1 and R2 -Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave Regulation/Definitions – Attorney to review

Initial review
414.3-E1 Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave Notice to Employees – Attorney to review
414.3- E2- Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Request Form- Attorney to review
414.4 – Classified Employee Bereavement Leave- Funerals- Two small changes to make – from 5 to 2 days of bereavement for “Spouses Brothers and Sisters”- To come back before board
414.6 -Jury Duty –  Change to article reference- to come back before board
414.7- Military Service – Attorney to review to come back before board
414.8- Absence Without Pay- Classified –  Title changes to HR director – To come back before board.

Election results
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz reviewed the votes from the September 12 board election. He noted  three candidates were elected to four-year terms including Karina Hernandez, Mike Miller and Bea Niblock and one was elected to a 2-year term, Ben Fletcher.  Hernandez, Fletcher and Niblock took the oath of office (Mike Miller not present). Hernandez is the one new member on the board.

After the oath of office was taken the new board voted on their own leadership.


The board re-elected Bea Niblock as president of the board for the next year.

The board re-elected Janelle Carter as vice president  for the next year.

The next regular meeting of the school board will be at 5 p.m. October 2 in district offices

From Board President Bea Niblock
“If you weren’t at the board meeting to see the latest video in Vision Marshalltown’s Point of Pride video series, you missed a remarkable sharing.

Kyley Leger, Executive Director of Vision Marshalltown, and Ben Cooper, videographer, worked with our own Andrew Potter to create a video of Marshalltown Schools. When you see the video, you can’t be anything but proud of the things that the district has to offer the young people of this community.

It covers many of the programs that only Marshalltown offers, hears from students about their learning experiences and hears from teachers and administrators about how great it is to work in the Marshalltown Schools. We are, definitely, on our way to becoming the best for miles around!” – Bea Niblock