RF SB takes on policy updates, job descriptions and more

By Andrew Harrington
Posted 6/5/24

The River Falls School Board tackled a lengthy agenda during the May 20 meeting, discussing topics of job descriptions, salary increases, policy verbiage changes and more.

The board heard a …

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RF SB takes on policy updates, job descriptions and more


The River Falls School Board tackled a lengthy agenda during the May 20 meeting, discussing topics of job descriptions, salary increases, policy verbiage changes and more.

The board heard a first reading of a policy that would provide class ranks based on grade point average to UW system universities. While the board removed the class rank system in the past, this would not bring it back as a whole, but instead identify the top students for the “sole purpose” of the university programs.

“We previously did have a class rank policy, but it was taken off the books when we got rid of class rank at the high school,” Director of Academic Services Nate Schurman said. “We have to have a policy to identify students in the top 5 and 10%.”

A pair of the state’s programs have brought a need to identify students’ rank based on cumulative grade point average.

Schurman went on to explain that under the UW’s guarantee system, students in the top 5-10% of their class would be guaranteed a spot at some of the system’s schools. The percentage would differ by the school, but if it is met, the guarantee would be there. The students would still have to apply to be admitted.

Under the UW’s Direct Admit system, students in the top 5% or 10% would be informed through a notice if they would get into some of the UW system’s schools without applying.

If approved, students would need to sign-up to participate in the program.

“We’ve developed a policy of identifying the top 5% and 10% for the purposes of this process,” Board Vice President Alan Tuchtenhagen said. “We haven’t redeveloped a class rank process that every student will be ranked again.”

Obligation bonds

The board unanimously approved a resolution establishing parameters for the sale of not to exceed $28 million general obligation promissory notes.

“Our team has worked really hard to initially provide a really conservative estimate when we were communicating the referendum,” Director of Finance and Facilities Lynette Coy said. “We are happy to say that we underpromised and we’ve overachieved.”

Members of the board said they underpromised due to potential market fluctuations, and the hope to avoid returning to the community with the knowledge that the referendum was not enough.

Coy said the market is in a period of inversion, where short-term interest rates are higher than long-term interest rates. Coy said this could be a good time to take advantage of the markets as they have the opportunity to earn more on district investments than what is spent from borrowing.

“We want to, of course, minimize our interest costs,” Coy said. “We want to maximize our interest earnings, and we’re in a position to do that.”


The board heard presentations on Greenwood and Montessori Elementary with an update on goals.

Greenwood’s goals were decreasing the percentage of students that are some/high risk on the FastBridge Math test by 3% from fall 2023 to spring 2024, improving staff members’ ability to identify and VABB (validate, affirm, build and bridge) common cultural behaviors by June 2024 and strengthening character education to include new programs and an increase in student involvement/ownership.

Testing is still in progress, but the current results have looked “promising.” Time from the school’s inservice day in April was used to educate on common cultural behaviors, with all staff participating. The final goal was met by focusing on character traits in morning announcements and character council as well as recognizing students that meet the Character Trait of the Month.

Montessori’s goals were Montessori Peace Education, increasing reading achievement by 3% from fall to spring measured by the Fastbridge Reading Assessment and meeting the state standards in curriculum alignment.

The peace education goal was met with a variety of programs including a monthly No Place for Hate assembly. To address reading growth, staff have held an English-Language Arts (ELA) inservice, identified missing ELA materials and identified and referred students for special education evaluations. Inservice was also held for lesson planning to ensure alignment to state standards.

Other business

  • Approved increases to meal prices in the district. Elementary breakfast saw a five-cent increase to $1.70, while middle school and high school breakfast and lunch, elementary lunch and adult breakfast and lunch each increased by 10 cents.
  • Approved a sale/disposal plan for a house on the bus garage property. The district is seeking someone to purchase the house with an Aug. 30 deadline for removal. The home would need to be moved by the buyer, as the land will remain bus garage property. The home’s address is 807 W. Locust St.
  • Recognized Eileen Brownlee for legal counsel to the River Falls School District and Lilliana Ehresmann and Anika Hovland for service as 2023-24 Student Board Representatives.
  • Heard a summary of the five-year pupil nondiscrimination report. Director of Student Services Mark Inouye said perceptions of discipline in different groups and demographics is something the school district needs to continue to explore.
  • Approved the first reading updated verbiage to the student publications and productions policy. One of the largest changes came in the form of the added sentence: “Building principals, teachers, or supervisors must approve all productions prior to being selected for a public student performance. Publications will be approved in the same manner before being posted publicly.”
  • Approved “modest” changes to the summer school employee handbook including attendance policy changes and rate of pay standardization.
  • Approved modifications to the River Falls 4 Children coordinator, software and staff development facilitator, software and database facilitator and computer workstation technician job descriptions that made the descriptions more accurately reflect the duties.
  • Approved sending letters of intent to all of the district’s support staff. The letter is sent annually and outlines salary and allows the staff to sign on for the coming year.
  • Approved support staff salary schedule and collective bargaining agreements with drivers and teachers that include pay increases around 4% across the board.
  • Approved 2024-25 supervisor contracts with the average salary increase being 4.24% and administrator contracts with the average increase being 4%.
  • Held first readings to lay the groundwork for the upcoming policy work. The policies saw “no substantive changes” according to Board President Stacy Johnson Myers and instead made adjustments to keep the policies relevant to the current board.
  • Approved second readings of professional staff time schedules and job sharing.
River Falls School Board, job descriptions, salary increases, policy verbiage, River Falls, Wisconsin