Taking the oath

Hernández joins school board, Niblock remains president

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS The four winners of the 2017 Marshalltown School Board election were sworn in Monday evening as the new 2017-18 board was seated. Karina Hernández, right, will be the new face on the board as incumbents Bea Niblock, Mike Miller and Ben Fletcher retained their seats.

Less than a week after being elected, four members of the Marshalltown School Board were officially sworn in at Tuesday evening’s regular session.

The one new face on the board, Karina Hernández, took the oath of office with returning board members Ben Fletcher and Bea Niblock. Mike Miller, who also retained his seat on the board, was not present.

“Congratulations,” said Board Secretary Brian Bartz after reading the oath of office. He acted as board president as members were sworn in and the president and vice president were selected for the new board.

Niblock retained her role as board president for 2017-18, and Janelle Carter will continue on as board vice president. Each was unanimously approved by fellow members.

Not every item on Monday’s agenda got a unanimous decision. Board members disagreed on the whether to award bids for upgrading the board room audio or audio-video system.

“The main reason we’re requesting an audio-video upgrade is feedback based on the community attendees of the board meetings having a rough time hearing what’s going on,” said district Director of Technology Josh Wesley, speaking of both live audience members and delayed broadcast viewers. “Five vendors attended a pre-bid meeting that was held here in the board room.”

After inspecting the space, all five vendors submitted bids. The lowest bidder for both audio and video upgrades was Embark IT Inc. of West Des Moines. However, Wesley did not recommend awarding them the bid.

“The proposal that Embark IT submitted was primarily a wireless solution with very little long-term support,” he said. “The opinion of the technology department is that a wireless solution for board microphones and wireless video just isn’t reliable enough.”

As such, Wesley said the recommendation was for the board to approve the bids of Mechdyne Corporation.

“They’re providing a reliable, low-cost solution … from a local vendor, with both service and support options,” he said.

For the board room audio-only upgrade, Mechdyne’s bid came in at $16,488. For a video upgrade by itself, the estimated cost was $21,195. The total combined audio-video bid was, therefore, $37,683.

The audio-only bid was awarded to Mechdyne in a 4-2 vote, with Ross Harris and Kendall Derby as the “no” votes.

A separate motion to award a bid for upgrading the room’s video system died in a 3-3 decision, as Niblock, Carter and Sean Heitmann voted in favor and Fletcher, Harris and Derby voted against the action.

“The video motion will come back at another meeting,” Niblock said of the tie vote.

A contract between Ball Team LLC and the district for construction of Phase II of the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse project received unanimous approval Monday.

District Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the district’s legal team received the contract from Ball Team last week and made changes as they saw appropriate.

“It went back to the Ball Team in order to get their signature for approval, which we actually have for this meeting,” Schutte said before the approval.

Gary Schulte of FEH Design said Ball Team must receive a grading permit from the City of Marshalltown before work begins. That is expected to happen within the next week.

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave.


Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com