‘Good news’ on Phase II bond

School board approves chromebooks purchase, sees preview of upcoming fall musical

“We had good news come back on the bonds with the lower interest rate and more savings.”

Marshalltown Schools Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz said a new, combined bond, including the amount for Phase II of the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse project, will offer savings over the next several years.

The total bond amount approved at Monday’s Marshalltown School Board meeting was $9,914,000, with $5.5 million for Phase II.

“$5.5 million of the $9.9 million is used for Roundhouse Phase II; the balance is just refunding old bonds at a lower interest rate,” board member Mike Miller summarized.

Bartz said the district chose to go with 1.98 percent interest, adding that the low rate will offer unexpected savings. The call date on the interest is July 1, 2023.

“J.P. Morgan-Chase (and Co.) had six options that we could choose from,” he said. “These rates actually came back better than what was anticipated; we were thinking the savings could be around $250,000-$270,000 — with these interest rates, the savings would be just under $300,000 over the five years.”

The board unanimously approved the $9.9 million bond in a resolution; in a separate motion, they also voted to authorize the combination of older bonds into the new bond.

Also approved Monday was the purchase of Title I chromebooks for use in elementary school buildings.

“Marshalltown is seeking approval to purchase 131 ACER spin Chromebooks with headphones and carts to support those chromebooks,” said district Director of Technology Josh Wesley prior to the board’s approval. “They would be used in K-4 classrooms for Title I purposes.”

Out of the 11 vendors approached for bidding, two responded.

“The way our process works is the tech department keeps a list of vendors that we normally do business with,” Wesley said. “There were 11 vendors that we actively reached out to … only two vendors responded back; I do believe that’s due to the very low margins in chromebooks.”

GovConnection Inc. was awarded the contract in the amount of $58,072.84; that figure was close to the $59,000 price estimated prior to bidding. Wesley said the district has had good experience with the company.

Miller Middle School students showcased their culinary skills at the meeting as well. Several of seventh-grade teacher Lisa LaVelle’s students presented on the personalized learning project “Miller Staff Cookbook.”

“This is [LaVelle’s] personalized learning class, and they had the great idea of making a Miller Cookbook, and they’re going to talk about some of the items you guys have tried out tonight,” said Miller Principal Pat Rial.

The students presented a variety of the foods they had made, from ham balls and cottage cheese fruit salad to Hershey brownies and banana parfaits. The complete cookbook includes 169 recipes, and will be on sale soon for $10 each.

The board also witnessed a sneak peek of the upcoming MHS musical adaptation of “Cinderella.” Cast members Kassie Wilkins and Luke Pedersen performed a scene from the show, with co-director Amy Ose on the keyboard.

The musical premieres 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at the MHS/Community Auditorium.

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave.

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