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SCHOOL DISTRICT OF RIVER FALLS: 3/16/09 Regular Meeting Minutes

Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes

March 16, 2009

The regularly scheduled meeting of the River Falls Board of Education was called to order on Monday, March 16, 2009, at 7:04 p.m. by Vice President Rivard in the River Falls High School Media Center, 818 Cemetery Road. 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.


Vice President Steve Rivard, Clerk Barbara Kolpin, Treasurer Manville Kenney, and members Alan Tuchtenhagen and Stacy Johnson Myers were present. President Dennis Behnke and Board member Rellen Hardtke were absent. Superintendent Tom Westerhaus, Finance Director Chad Smurawa, Director of Academic Services Rick Osterhaus, and Personnel Director Donna Hill were also in attendance.


Rivard congratulated the high school girls' hockey team for winning the state champ-ionship, and he also congratulated the gymnastics team for their second place finish at state along with the two individuals who won the All-Around Title and the Balance Beam title.


Tuchtenhagen moved, seconded by Kenney, that the Board approve the Consent Agenda as presented. Motion carried. The Consent Agenda included the following items:

The minutes from the regular Board meeting of February 16, 2009, were approved along with the minutes of the Public Budget Hearing from March 9, 2009.

Checks numbered 135335 through 136062 had been prepared in the amount of $1,033,912.34, and there were automatic transfers of $491,292.35, $409.42, and $497,480.60 for a total of $2,023,094.71. Check numbers 135511-135513 and 135729-135895 were voided.

Pursuant to Board Policy which references Wisconsin Statutes Sections 111, 118, and 121, approval of the following employment recommendations: 1) the employment of Chelsea Skinner as a full-time long-term substitute Third Grade Teacher at Westside Elementary School effective approximately April 20, 2009 through the end of the 2008-09 school year; 2) the employment of Rachel Gjerde as a full-time long-term substitute Seventh Grade Teacher at Meyer Middle School effective approximately March 23, 2009, through May 26, 2009; and 3) approval of the placement of the following certified teachers on the substitute teacher list:

Cynthia Doyle (Elementary, kindergarten-grade 8)

Amber Dunse (English as a Second Language EC-A)

Jenna Gutzwiller (Regular Education MC-EA, Mathematics MC-EA)

Laura Harsdorf (Regular Education MC-EA, English as a Second Language MC-EA)

Marie Ida (Regular Education MC-EA)

Peter Kolpack (Agriculture, kindergarten-grade 12; Biology/Life Science, gr. 6-12)

Holly Kromray (Physical Education EC-A, Health Education EC-A)

Sara Lessard (Art EC-A)

Cassandra Maxon (Regular Education MC-EA, Eng. as a Second Language MC-EA)

Maria Miller (Mathematics, grades 6-12)

Jenell Neidermyer (Elementary, kindergarten-grade 6)

Amber Roberts (Social Studies EA-A, History EA-A)

Elizabeth Santi (Regular Education EC-MC)

Sheryl Schmit (English EA-A; Theater, grades 5-9)

Whitney Svoma (Regular Education MC-EA)

Laura Vorpahl (Art EC-A)

License codes:

EC-MC Early Childhood-Middle Childhood, birth-age 11

MC-EA Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence, age 6-approx 12-13

EA-A Early Adolescence-Adolescence, age 10-21

EC-A Early Childhood-Adolescence, birth-age 21

Accepted the report from the Business Affairs Committee from Monday, March 2, 2009, of the review of the 2009-10 budget Administrative Reduction Recommendations.

Accepted the report and recommendations from the Educational Program Committee from Monday, March 2, 2009, as follows: recommended Board approval of the recommendations to accept/deny requests for students coming into our district as well as those who have applied to leave; and discussed the ACT Report data.

Accepted the report and recommendations from the Personnel Committee from Monday, March 9, 2009, as follows: review of the Point Committee recommendations, and report of the Executive Session held where no action was taken.


Kolpin moved, seconded by Myers, that the Board approve the Agreement accepting the terms of the $32,000 Kern Family Foundation grant for the high school Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Pre-engineering Program. This is similar to the agreement signed last year for the Middle School program. Osterhaus provided a PowerPoint presentation with an overview of the program and the history leading up to this point. He stated that this would provide a seamless educational process for implementing PLTW for pre-engineering technical careers. Courses are highly motivational, project driven, rigorous, relevant, reality-based, and hands on. The timeline for implementing the entire Program is three years with Intro to Engineering Design starting in the high school this fall. Two new classes will be introduced each year in the two years after next. Staff will be trained, Perkins Funds can also be used, and it should be handled within existing budgets. There will be options for students who don't want to get into the higher math portions of the program that can lead to a technician rather than engineering program. Kolpin talked about the benefit to students. Motion carried.

The report of the 2009 Primary School Board Elections was received, and Rivard read the list of names as they will appear on the spring ballot.

Rivard moved, seconded by Kolpin, to approve the administrative recommendations for 2009-10 budget reductions as presented. (A complete copy is available at the District Office.) Westerhaus presented an overview of the procedure leading up to the reduction recommendations, the difficult decisions that have been made, and the work by everyone that has gone into making the decisions. He discussed some points that were brought up during the public hearing on March 9, 2009: World Languages decisions, transportation questions, energy conservation, the elementary teaching position that was reduced, ways to raise revenue, the volunteer coordinator position, staff freezes, school nurse/health technicians, and administrative costs. He stated that the questions and comments are very helpful, and that some things are being looked at for the next year going forward. Motion carried. Myers thanked the administration for the process that was involved and the hard work. It was very helpful to have all the information and discussion.

Kenney moved, seconded by Myers, to approve the Para-Professional Memo of understanding as presented. Motion carried.

Westerhaus reviewed the Educational Summit Report from January 31, 2009, that will be part of the Strategic Plan packet participants will receive going into the next part of the process in April. A Staff Survey Report will also be included in the packet. Westerhaus reviewed the four questions that were asked at the January Summit and the top items that came out of each category. These same questions were in the Staff Survey. All of the raw data will also be included in the report packet. He reviewed the process so far and expressed appreciation of everyone's hard work. A list of 45 people (with Abby Testa added as the 46th) was presented as the proposed Strategic Planning Committee membership for the April 2-4, 2009 meetings. Kolpin moved, seconded by Tuchtenhagen, to approve the list of 46 people as presented. Westerhaus stated that there will be plenty of opportunity coming up for anyone who is interested in working on the Strategic Plan. Strategies will be identified after the April meetings, and then Action Teams will be formed to address each of the strategies. Those meetings will probably start in the fall and be completed by the end of the year. Motion carried.


An Administrative Negotiations meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 6, 2009, at 6 p.m. in the Central Administrative Office Building, 852 East Division.

An Educational Program Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 6, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. in the Central Administrative Office Building, 852 East Division.

A Business Affairs Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 13, 2009, at 6:00 p.m. in the Central Administrative Office Building, 852 East Division.

A Personnel Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 13, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. in the in the Central Administrative Office Building, 852 East Division.

A Regular Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 20, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. in the River Falls High School Media Center, 818 Cemetery Road.

A Board Reorganization meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 27, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. in the Central Administrative Office Building, 852 East Division.


Westerhaus reported on the following items: the pool drains at the high school are completed and covered as required; he met with Kolpin and Behnke and administrators on the topic of expulsions, how to keep schools clean and also provide other educational opportunities; the school forest access; district website concerns; and the existence of the District Crisis Response Team that meets monthly.

Kolpin talked about the State Superintendent's Business and Information Technology Educational Advisory Council that she is a member of, the focus of the group, the membership from around the state, the current successes, and what the direction is for kids for the future. It meets formally twice a year with ongoing work in between. It is great that our district is represented. Rivard and the Board thanked Barb for her participation on this committee.


Vice President Rivard declared the meeting adjourned at 8:14 p.m.

Barb Kolpin, Clerk