RIVER VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Thursday, February 19, 2004
Regular Meeting
Middle School Library
7:30 p.m.

 Board Members present: Anderson, Nelson, Taylor, Pitts, Roske, Pronold, Caraway, Limmex, Peach, Megan Sipes (Student Representative)
Board Members absent: N/A
Administrators present: Benson, Hoffman, Mahoney, Kaukl, Palm-Leis, Richardson
Others:   Todd Miller, Bob Holding, Marcie Holding, Don King, Marty Grell, Sue Gereau, Nick Ehlinger, Matt Snow, Michael Langer, Virginia Jordan, Robert Jordan, Jason Hollenberger, Jim Moody, Bill Kraemer, Jennifer Kraemer, Wolfgang Iausly, Jan Anderson, Sallie Jacobsen, Michael Frank, Bridget Roberts, Carolyn Zignago, Jim Krey, Geraldine Perkins, Vickie Bedard, Sue Kleinschmidt, Ann Bullock, Everett Bullock, Michael Whaley, Wanda Kratochwill, Kathy Ragan, Daniel Studnicka, Renee Tertin, C. Wyman, Jill Reimann, Vera Denu, Kim Russell, Herman Kaldenberg, Rob Russell, Michael Maestri, Jim Neider, Joseph Jennings, Fred Gruber, Andrea Jennings, Joannie Harrington, Joyce Portz, Jean Alt, Dennis Crowley, Eric Ferguson, Charlene Puskala, Susan Kilmer, D. Schoenberg, Rose Ellen Schneider, Steve Emerson, Karen Steindorf, Julie Kuhse, Paula Wedige (Administrative Assistant), David Giffey (Home News)

Anderson opened the meeting.  He noted that the meeting had been properly noticed and notice had been provided to the appropriate media and each School Board Member.  Pitts moved to proceed with the legal meeting.  Taylor seconded.  Motion carried.

Board Training Opportunities
Nelson provided information on a “Legislative Day” workshop on Wednesday, February 25 and an upcoming “Fair Labor Standards” seminar in Green Bay, Waukesha, and Menomonie.

Student Council Report
Megan Sipes reported on the February 7 Snowball Dance and the student council exchange with Prairie du Chien.

Audit Report
Mahoney noted that the audit results for the year ended June 30, 2003, confirmed compliance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.

Referendum Update
In light of the February 17 referendum failure, the administration provided the Board with a recommended list of budget cuts for 2004-05.  This list was derived from the list of potential cuts approved by the Board on November 6, 2003, in the event the referendum failed.  Benson explained that although the referendum was for $1,500,000 over two years to maintain services and programs, budget cuts would need to total $500,000 in year one and $500,000 in year two.  Anderson asked for public comment.

Wolfgang Iausly commented that the referendum was not necessary and that fringe benefits and insurance costs should be less expensive.  He believes cutting academics is irresponsible.  Todd Miller stated that we are being penalized by the state funding formula and thinks the referendum failed because people have reached the limit to pay property taxes.  Michael Langer noted that it was a political chess move to ratify the contract before the referendum.  Bill Kraemer stated that he realizes cuts have to be made but asked the Board to keep core programs and reluctantly stated that co-curricular and sports should be first to go.  Benson noted that the Board would not take action on cuts at this meeting and encouraged the public to call Benson or the Board to share ideas.  Dennis Crowley stated that he believes another referendum is an insult to those who voted “no” on February 17.  Eric Ferguson encouraged the Board to maintain academics over sports.  Pronold asked that we all work together to keep the schools running and work together for kids.  Herman Kaldenberg objects to the cost to provide benefits.

2004-05 Budget Overview
Mahoney noted that all current programs are in the budget for 2004-05 since there have been no cuts at this point.  Mahoney clarified that a portion of fund balance is being used for the 2003-04 school year, and he noted that it has consistently been recommended to use some more fund balance over the next two years as part of the budget deficit solution.  Mahoney explained that fund balance is used for and affects three areas:  1) for cash flow since state aid does not coincide with our expenditures; 2) to gain a strong financial rating in the event we need to borrow; and 3) in case of a major problem with facilities or mechanical equipment.  Mahoney added that to spend fund balance down to a low balance would be ill advised and that keeping a strong fund balance has served us well in the past when we received a good bond rating to build the high school addition and to refinance older bonds. 

Band Trip to New Orleans During Spring Break
Matt Snow, High School Band Instructor, informed the Board of an upcoming trip to New Orleans by students  who are involved in the high school music department.  He reported that 54 students and 11 chaperones would be taking the trip at no cost to the district.

Set Policy Committee Meeting
A Policy Committee Meeting was set for March 11 at 6:45 p.m.  The Budget Committee will also meet on March 11 at 6:30 p.m.

Consent Agenda:  Checks, Invoices, Receipts – January 2004; Open Session Meeting Minutes – January 8, 2004, and January 22, 2004
Roske moved to approve the consent agenda items as submitted.  Pronold seconded.  Motion carried.

Consideration & Action, In the Event the February 17 Referendum Fails, on a Resolution to Exceed Revenue Limit in the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 School Years
No discussion or action on this item.

Consideration & Action, In the Event the February 17 Referendum Fails, on a Resolution Providing for a Referendum on the Question of the Approval of a Resolution to Exceed Revenue Limit in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 School Years
No discussion or action on this item.

Consideration & Action on Resolutions Accepting Gifts
Anderson noted that at a prior Board Meeting, Herman Kaldenberg offered a check for $47.45 and challenged community members to follow his lead and voluntarily donate to the district a percentage of their income to take care of the budget shortfall without state dictation.  Anderson voiced concern that the acceptance of this gift implies that the district agrees with Kaldenberg’s proposal to employ an alternative approach to taxation.  Limmex moved to not accept the $47.45 check from Herman Kaldenberg.  Peach seconded.  Roll call vote:

            For the motion:  Anderson, Caraway, Limmex, Nelson, Peach, Pitts, Roske, Taylor
            Against the motion:  Pronold
            Abstain: N/A
            Absent:  N/A

Polled vote was 8-1 in the affirmative to not accept the check.  Motion carried.

Roske moved to adopt the Resolution Accepting Gifts of ceramic supplies valued at $175 from Shelly Ankner.  Taylor seconded.  Polled vote was 9-0 in the affirmative.  Motion carried.

Taylor moved to adopt the Resolution Accepting Gifts of $500 to the art department from the Sauk County Art Association.  Roske seconded.  Polled vote was 9-0 in the affirmative.  Motion carried.

Caraway moved to adopt the Resolution Accepting Gifts of 15 small engines valued at $1,875 from MATC and Briggs/Stratton/Toro.  Roske seconded.  Polled vote was 9-0 in the affirmative.  Motion carried.

Consideration & Action on Resolution Authorizing Teacher Contract Renewals
Roske moved to adopt the Resolution Authorizing Teacher Contract Renewals for 2004-05.  Caraway seconded.  Benson clarified that the approval of contract renewals does not mean teachers cannot still be issued layoff notices for 2004-05.  Preliminary notice of layoff must be issued by April 20.  Polled vote was 9-0 in the affirmative.  Motion carried. 

Consideration & Action to Adjourn to Closed Session Pursuant to Wisconsin Statute 19.85 (1)(c) for 2003-05 RVEST Collective Bargaining Update; Update on Grievance; Teacher Complaint Update; Discussion of District Administrator Performance Evaluation; Discussion of Teacher Evaluation and Extension of Probationary Period; and 19.85(1)(f) for Update on Employee Health Matter
Pronold moved to adjourn to closed session at 8:32 p.m. pursuant to Wisconsin Statute 19.85 (1)(c) for 2003-05 RVEST collective bargaining update; update on grievance; teacher complaint update; discussion of district administrator performance evaluation; discussion of teacher evaluation and extension of probationary period; and 19.85(1)(f) for update on employee health matter.  Taylor seconded.  Polled vote was 9-0 in the affirmative.  Motion carried.

 At 8:45 p.m., and prior to the Board beginning closed session, Senator Dale Schultz arrived and answered questions from the Board and others still in attendance.  Schultz commented that he doesn’t foresee upcoming funding relief for school districts.  The legislature is focusing on growth in Wisconsin—tax revenues are not coming in.  Schultz stated there are few in the legislature who want to tax more.  He believes education is a priority and new monies went into education, but not enough.  Schultz feels a request from districts for flexibility concerning educational finance would be well received.

Schultz and others left at 9:10 p.m. and the Board proceeded with the closed session agenda.

Submitted by Paula Wedige For Deborah Nelson, School District Clerk

03/10/08 pw