MARSHALL - Thirteen action items and a presentation by fourth-grade teachers Vicki Myers and Kala Kopitski topped the conversations at the Marshall School Board meeting Tuesday.
One of the 13 action items, all of which were approved, was the authorization of a roofing project at Marshall Middle School.
"We had set in motion this project at MMS," Marshall Superintendent Klint Willert said. "We went out and solicited bids and got estimates, but the bids came in way over our budget target, so we went back to the drawing board."
Willert noted that the decision was made to select one vendor - TSP - to do professional research and make recommendations to the district.
"Ron Halgerson from TSP came out and addressed the scope of the project," he said. "He found that there's a newer product, a 90-millimeter adhered ballasted system, out there. It's not a floating system. It will flex some, but there's a marked difference from the traditional rubber roof system."
Willert pointed out that a built-up roof system is preferred and that ideally, the project would be completed by August of this year. The cost of exploring multiple options and recommendations is to be capped at $30,400. The actual project, which includes five roofs at MMS, is estimated to be close to $500,000.
"We have budgeted $100,000 over five years in our capital outlay budget," Marshall Business Director Bruce Lamprecht said. "We've explored a lot of options, and we want the best bang for our buck. The roof system TSP is recommending has a 30-year warranty."
School calendars and make-up days were also discussed and approved.
"This next school year, we had three potential snow days built in," board member Karen VanKeulen said. "It was a good process. I'm happy with the calendars. It was a nice compromise all the way around."
This year's snow days will not be made up by students.
"The conversation has been shared and reviewed through the administrative team," Willert said. "But school will conclude when it was originally scheduled to. Teachers will make up those days, so as to complete their contracts. The process meets the state law requirements, so I feel good about the plan."
VanKeulen asked if there had been any feedback about the decision among district staff, and Willert noted that he had not heard anything negative about it. The decision actually allows staff the opportunity to box up some things, especially the libraries at West Side and Park Side, where moving projects are taking place, he said.
"The extra days would give us a jump-start out there," Willert said.
The board also approved the addition of three community service board members, including Craig Schaefer, for a second term, and newcomers Kari Loft and Scott Voss.
The Milroy tuition agreement for secondary students was another action item that the board approved on Tuesday. The process is done every three years. When asked, Lamprecht noted a minor change in time in addition to a slight increase in payments to Milroy were the only changes that had taken place.
"The administration fee we pay to Milroy changed from $2,000 to $2,500," he said.
The board approved the change in date of the regular school board meeting in April. The April 21 meeting will now be at 5:30 p.m. on April 15.
Though no action took place, the board also discussed whether or not to continue having student representatives on the board. The decision to continue or not will be made in the near future, but many of the board members, including VanKeulen, expressed their approval for the matter.
"I like having the students here," VanKeulen said. "I think it's a very positive experience."
Kopitski and Myers engaged the board with a presentation about the fourth-graders experience with iPads in the classroom. The two teachers share a set of student iPads after receiving them as part of a TIGERSS (Technology Integration Generating Education and Real Student Success) grant from within the district.
Part of the presentation included a video of students explaining how they used the iPads for certain projects in the classroom. The iPads were used for math division, creating Excel documents and PowerPoint slide shows, geometry pie charts, research and much more. The teachers noted that one of application favorites for students is Toontastic, which allows students to add story elements like setting, rising action and so on, to create cartoon characters.
"They love that," Myers said.
Board chairman Jeff Chapman asked the teachers if they preferred the iPads over laptops for the fourth-grade level and found that the iPads were a better fit for that age of students.
"I really like the iPads to be honest with you," Myers said. "I was worried about students dropping them, but they're so easy to handle. You have to be really structured in your classroom because they're only 9- and 10-year-old kids."
Having complete access to add appropriate apps was one feature that the teachers appreciated.
"One click and you're in an app," Kopitski said. "I like that this age has access to apps instead of the Web."