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SCHOOL DISTRICT OF RIVER FALLS: 4/27/09 Special Meeting Minutes

Thursday, June 11, 2009 - 1:09am

Board of Education Special Meeting Minutes

April 27, 2009

A special meeting of the River Falls Board of Education was called to order on Monday, April 27, 2009, at 7:03 p.m. by Superintendent Tom Westerhaus in the District Office Conference Room, 852 E Division Street. It was ascertained that notice of the meeting had been properly published in the River Falls Journal and an announcement sent to WEVR Radio Station.


Board members Rellen Hardtke, Manville Q. Kenney, Barbara E. Kolpin, Stacy Johnson Myers, Alan Tuchtenhagen and Mike Miller were in attendance along with Superintendent Tom Westerhaus, Academic Services Director Rick Osterhaus, Director of Personnel Donna Hill and Technology Supervisor Brian Dado. Board member Dennis Behnke arrived at 7:08 p.m.


Recently elected Board members Kolpin, Tuchtenhagen and Miller signed their official oaths and the Clerk will attest to these signatures.


Westerhaus opened the nominations for the office of president. Manny Kenney nominated Dennis Behnke for the office of president. Westerhaus declared nominations closed after three requests for further nominations. Kolpin moved, seconded by Miller, to elect Dennis Behnke as president. Motion carried unanimously. The meeting was turned over to President Behnke.

Johnson Myers moved, seconded by Kenney to nominate Hardtke for the office of vice-president. No other nominations were received. Motion carried unanimously.

Kenney moved, seconded by Behnke, to nominate Barb Kolpin for the office of clerk. No other nominations were received. Motion carried unanimously.

Kolpin moved, seconded by Miller to nominate Manny Kenney for the office of treasurer. No other nominations were received. Motion carried unanimously.

The newly elected officers signed the official oaths of office and the Clerk attested to the signatures.

The regular monthly Board meetings will be held the third Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the High School Media Center, and the Board Reorganization meeting will be held on Monday, April 26, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the District Office Conference Room, 852 E Division Street.


Superintendent Westerhaus presented two handouts from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB). He asked how the Board would like to function for the coming year and how administration could help the board. Behnke suggested the possibility of creating a Board Governance committee. This committee could cover how the board wants to conduct business as well as cover Strategic Planning.

Behnke asked for volunteers for committee appointments. Hill reminded the board that policy directs personnel committee members to be on the negotiating team. Membership appointments to the subcommittees are as follows:

Business Affairs Committee: Manny Kenney (Chair), Rellen Hardtke, Mike Miller.

Educational Program Committee: Dennis Behnke (Chair), Stacy Johnson Myers, Alan Tuchtenhagen

Personnel Committee: Stacy Johnson Myers (Chair), Dennis Behnke, Alan Tuchtenhagen

Governance Committee: Barb Kolpin (Chair), Rellen Hardtke, Mike Miller

Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) Delegate: (Jan 21-23, 2010)Mike Miller

WASB Delegate Alternate: Alan Tuchtenhagen

WASB Public Policy Correspondent: Dennis Behnke

Building Site-Based Council Representatives:

River Falls High School: Dennis Behnke

DeWayne R. Meyer Middle School: Mike Miller

Renaissance School: Manny Kenney

Montessori School: Barb Kolpin

Greenwood Elementary School: Rellen Hardtke

Rocky Branch Elementary School: Stacy Johnson Myers

Westside Elementary School: Alan Tuchtenhagen

Business Education Advisory Committee Representative: Mike Miller

Annual CESA #11 Convention Delegate: (meets June 1, 2009): Manny Kenney; Alternate: Rellen Hardtke

Diversity Issues Plan Task Force Representative: Rellen Hardtke

Food Service Advisory Council Representative: Stacy Johnson Myers

Kids Club Advisory Council Representative: Alan Tuchtenhagen

Recognitions for Accomplishments (co-chair with Supt): Rellen Hardtke

River Falls Cable Communications Advisory Committee Representative: Alan Tuchtenhagen

River Falls TIF/TID Joint Review Committee Representative: Manny Kenney

Special Education Advisory Council Representative: Stacy Johnson Myers

Title I Reading Advisory Council Representative: Barb Kolpin

Vocational Agriculture Advisory Council Representative: Alan Tuchtenhagen

Tuchtenhagen felt that at least initially, everyone should attend the Governance meeting. A good time for that meeting might be 6 p.m. prior to the full board meeting. It was suggested that Ed Programming and Personnel meet the first Monday of the month while the Business Affairs committee meet the second Monday.

Much discussion was held on the history of committee structure and the possibility of changing it. Miller asked for clarification of what the functions are of the committees. Behnke gave a history of the Board's past functioning - basically the nuts and bolts are discussed at the committee level, then the three committee members make recommendations to the board. Previously committee members gave a recap to the Board, then most everything was covered again at the Board meeting which led to long meetings. A few years ago, the Board started using a consent agenda. The committee may decide to remove an item, or any board member can request an item be removed from the consent agenda and be placed on the action agenda. Committees can only make recommendations to the Board where final decisions about any topic are made. All board members are welcome to attend any committee meeting. It is possible for a committee to turn down an item of business, but any board member can request an item be brought forward to the board meeting.

Tuchtenhagen felt the WASB discussion questions are good questions for the Board. The other item to think about is Westerhaus' request to change the committee structure. Westerhaus has observed that this board is able to work well with each other. Do we commit ourselves to every Monday night and continue with the same structure or maybe stack the meetings up? Who puts items on the agenda? Behnke explained that each committee has a calendar of when items should be dealt with so they are handled at an appropriate time but any board member can request an item be placed on the agenda.

Consensus was that there should never be items "to be presented" on the action agenda because members do not have enough time to research those items. Hand-outs should be discouraged because absent members do not always receive them.

Other points of discussion were:

• More presentations and recognition of staff and/or students (such as MMS Students of the Month) should be encouraged at meetings.

• WASB recommends that the Superintendent be the spokesperson for the Board outside of meetings. (The Board runs a risk of sending mixed replies - it's not improper to respond but administration needs to be allowed to respond first). Board members need to be sure their response indicates it is "their individual response". Following the Superintendent, the Board spokesperson should be the chair and is responsible to speak on behalf of the board.

• There should be a podium for public presentations.

• The meeting location was also discussed. Administra-tion will evaluate alternative meeting places to determine if another location would be better suited for holding board and committee meetings.


Hardtke moved, seconded by Myers, that the Board approve the treasurer's bond for the School District at $3,000,000, as recommended. The district's current insurance pays $3,000,000 per occurrence with a $2,500 deductible. The internal control is at a high standard that emphasizes segregation of duties, lessening the risk. Motion carried.

Kenney moved, seconded by Hardtke, to approve the First National Bank of River Falls as the financial institution to retain all checking activity and for investment funds due to their advantageous interest rate. No fees are charged to the district. In the past, the district had accounts at several banks; consolidating all the accounts has allowed the district to receive a better interest rate. Motion carried.


Each Board member signed a statement indicating awareness of the contents of the Code of Ethics for Local Government Officials.


The Board recognized visitors Rollie Janetski and Marcia Pharis and commended their faithful attendance at the Board meetings. Janetski wondered about the recent Journal article that suggested an ad hoc committee revisit the Academy building situation again and asked how many times do we have to revisit that? The district does need to be aware of the situation when going forward in the Strategic Planning process.


Four Board members who plan to be present to distribute diplomas this year are Barb Kolpin, Mike Miller, Dennis Behnke and Stacy Johnson Myers. The graduation ceremony is to be held Sunday afternoon, June 7, 2009, at 1:00 p.m. in the River Falls High School Gymnasium.


An Educational Program Committee Meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 4, 2009, at 6:00 p.m. in the Central Administrative Office Building, 852 East Division.

A Board In-service is scheduled on Monday, May 11, 2009, at 7:30 p.m. in the Central Administrative Office Building, 852 East Division.

A Personnel Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at 7:30 p.m. in the Central Administrative Office Building, 852 East Division.

A regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 18, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. in the High School Media Center, 818 Cemetery Road.


Motion by Kenney, second by Hardtke, to set the annual meeting date for Monday, August 17, 2009, at 8:00 p.m. It will be held in the River Falls High School Media Center, preceded by the regular monthly Board meeting at 7:00 p.m. and a Special Board Meeting in the High School Office Conference Room at 6:30 p.m. to go over procedures of the Annual Meeting with the parliamentarian, chairman and attorney.


President Behnke declared the meeting adjourned at 9:18 p.m.

Barb Kolpin, Clerk