Phil Pfuehler has been editor of the River Falls Journal since 1991.
- Member for
- 3 years 9 months
A few weeks earlier the school board seemed gung-ho to set a revamped referendum following on the heels of one that failed in a close vote last spring. Last week, however, board members struggled for 3 1/2 hours with wording and various options before settling on three new referendum questions. Together the three will cost about the same as the last one that came in at just under $39 million. A Madison law firm is crafting the legal language for the new referendum questions. The school board should vote on the finished questions at its next regular meeting Monday evening, Sept. 19.
River Falls police arrested a 26-year-old Roberts man at 3:40 a.m. Sunday at the downtown Holiday store. A clerk there said the man was rude, and opening up and eating packages of beef jerky. Given a chance to pay for this beef jerky consumption, the man allegedly swore at the clerk while paying.
It was bound to happen. Last year's ACTs -- college exam entrance scores -- for the River Falls High School class of 2010 reached astronomical highs. This year came a gravitational rebound. ACTs for the class of 2011 were much lower, especially by River Falls standards and compared to other school districts. "After last year's scores, anything would be tough to beat," said high school Principal Elaine Baumann.
The city's residential parking law again goes into effect for neighborhoods to the north of the university from Sept. 1 to May 31, 2012. Streets affected include portions of Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth, Seventh, Locust, Spring, Lake, Walnut, Elm, Pine, Maple and Crescent. The even-numbered addresses on affected street areas will require permits for daytime parking Monday through Friday.
After a 3-½ hour special meeting Wednesday night, Aug. 24, the school board basically itemized last spring's failed referendum into three separate questions for voters to pick from. While a new referendum date wasn't set, the assumption is that it will be a stand-alone vote Tuesday, Nov. 8. Specific language is being crafted by a Madison law firm. The school board will vote on those specifics at its regular meeting Monday evening, Sept.
River Falls police were summoned to a home in the 100 block of Fremont Street last Thursday night, Aug. 18, because of a concern that a mother with children was smoking pot. After smelling a marijuana odor, officers got the 33-year-old woman to lead them to her kitchen. There, they allegedly found a grocery sack with some pot pipes and marijuana residue.
River Falls High School Principal Elaine Baumann concedes that, "After last year's scores, anything would be tough to be beat." Turns out last year's record-high local ACT score of 23.9 was unbeatable. This year's graduating class tallied an overall ACT score of 22.7 and was down in each tested core subject: Reading, English, Math and Science. Still, Baumann put the new ACT results in perspective: "Looking at the five-year average, last year was big increase, a tough act to follow. This year is more typical." The new River Falls ACTs were the lowest in several years.
River Falls School District gets a year's reprieve. Financial pain from big state aid cuts won't be felt until the 2012-13 school year. When that happens, projections show the district may need to cut a record $1 million to balance the next year's budget. Superintendent Tom Westerhaus said a shortfall of that magnitude will mean eliminating programs and likely increasing class sizes. Result: Teachers, students and parents will be affected. What saved the district for the 2011-12 school year was a federal jobs grant.
A 35-year-old local man kept banging at the door of a house in the 300 block of East Pine Street at 5 a.m. Friday. He wanted in. Those inside the house were scared and wanted him to stay out. River Falls police came to the rescue and handcuffed the man, whom they described as drunk and mostly undressed. His clothes were found strewn in the yard and driveway. The man also had cuts and bruises.
At a special meeting last week, River Falls School Board members quickly concluded that with a few "tweaks" they could turn defeat into victory by holding a slightly revised referendum format in November. Last April, by a narrow margin (51.7%-48.3%), school district voters rejected a $39 million referendum question to modernize, upgrade and add on to the various schools. The overhauls were meant to extend each school's lifespan by roughly 30 years. At last week's special meeting on what to do next, board members decided their original referendum plan remained well-reasoned and economical.