SCHOOL DISTRICT OF RIVER FALLS
Board of Education Special Retreat Minutes
June 26, 2017
The special scheduled retreat of the River Falls Board of Education was called to order on Monday, June 26, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. by President Johnson Myers in the District Office conference room. It was ascertained that notice of the meeting had been properly posted at the appointed locations, published in the River Falls Journal, and announcements sent to WEVR Radio Station, and the Eau Claire Leader Telegram.
President Stacy Johnson Myers, Vice President Mike Stifter, Clerk Alan Tuchtenhagen (arrived at 6:04 pm), Treasurer Manville Kenney, and members Ramona Gunter, Amy Halvorson and Mike Miller were present. Also present were Superintendent Jamie Benson, Director of Finance and Facilities Chad Smurawa, Director of Buildings and Grounds Art Tobin, Ehlers Financial Advisors Jeff Seeley and Tami Olszewski, Kraus-Anderson representatives John Huenick and Gary Benson, and Administrative Assistant Darlene MacBride. Also present were City Administrator Scot Simpson (arrived at 6:07 pm) and City Councilman Scott Morrissette.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU) RELATED TO ANNEXATION OF MANN VALLEY PROPERTY WITH THE CITY OF RIVER FALLS
The Board previously made a decision to wait until September before voting on whether to proceed with the MOU (or not). The decision to table this item could still be made at that time. A recent preliminary judge's ruling (Summary Judgment) on the matter of litigation between the City of River Falls and the Town of Troy gave a preliminary and tentative indication in favor of the city. The judge's Initial Summary Judgement has three main outcomes: 1- throw out the Town of Troy argument, 2- agreed with the City of River Falls, and 3- what "Near" means in relation to the City's existing property and annexation. The Board agreed to stay the course as originally planned and bring the matter back to the September Board meeting for further action.
Ehlers Financial Advisors Jeff Seeley and Tami Olszewski provided various options of financing for capital improvement needs for the Board to review. Discussion was held on possibly holding a referendum in either the spring or fall of 2018. The advantage to a spring referendum would allow for more favorable project bidding that fall as opposed to the following spring. Seeley reviewed the parameters and steps in the process for holding a future referendum with the purpose to utilize debt defeasances to coordinate the timing of the issuance of any new debt with decreases in existing debt obligations to control tax impact.
FACILITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT and PRE-REFERENDUM PLANS
Kraus Anderson (KA) representatives John Huenick and Gary Benson provided a report related to their preliminary facility needs assessment. They reviewed the guiding principles the District formulated to shape the development of a Facility Master Plan, and to help prioritize facility needs and plan development to best meet community expectations related to school facility quality. KA has worked in the district the last six months reviewing all facilities, surveying and interviewing staff, studying the educational adequacy of each building, and developing options that would accommodate for enrollment growth and providing for facility maintenance. Gary Benson (KA) found a common theme at all elementaries with each one having shared cafeteria space and recommended new cafeterias at each elementary. This recommendation was made back in 2011 and is still a valid need. A community survey would be an important part to the process while providing more perspective to community members. Benson asked that Halvorson, Kenney, and Miller join him and Smurawa on an ad hoc planning committee along with Kraus Anderson representatives to begin narrowing the scope of the District's facility needs and propose for a community engagement process related to pre-referendum planning. The committee would report back to the Board in September.
President Johnson Myers declared the meeting adjourned at 9:16 p.m.
Alan Tuchtenhagen, Clerk
___________________________________ (Pub. 07/27/17) WNAXLP