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July 20, 2019

Jamie Taylor/River NewsAndi Seidel, far left, and Nancy Nebgen, far right, received certificates of appreciation from School District of Rhinelander superintendent Kelli Jacobi and RHS band director Constance Piasecki at Mondayís Board of Education meeting.
Jamie Taylor/River News

Andi Seidel, far left, and Nancy Nebgen, far right, received certificates of appreciation from School District of Rhinelander superintendent Kelli Jacobi and RHS band director Constance Piasecki at Mondayís Board of Education meeting.
6/20/2019 7:30:00 AM
School board moves to improve financial literacy of RHS grads
Decision puts district more in line with state standards

Jamie Taylor
River News Reporter

Starting with the 2020-21 school year, Rhinelander High School students will be required to take a half-credit personal money management class in order to fulfill their graduation requirements, the School District of Rhinelander Board of Education decided Monday.

Previously, students had the option of taking the half-credit class or an economics course to satisfy state graduation requirements. That changed in 2017 when Wisconsin Act 94 was passed.

The new law requires school districts to adopt academic standards for financial literacy into their curriculum for students in kindergarten through grade 12, according to superintendent Kelli Jacobi.

"This is something that there has been a lot of discussion about," Jacobi told the board. "The teachers in these areas understand the need to meet this goal. The economics class does not meet all of the standards that are required for the personal financial literacy, and to include them did not always make sense in the economics curriculum."

She said the implementation of the change was delayed until the 2020-21 school year to ensure that no incoming junior or seniors was "caught in not being prepared for this change."

"It shouldn't effect any of our students," Jacobi said.

Judy Conlin, chair of the instruction and accountability committee which passed the change onto the full board on June 10, said the district has been working to educate students on personal financial literacy long before it was a state requirement.

"That's why both options were available at that time," Conlin said. "Now they get more detailed information in the literacy class, and so it was decided it makes a better option to make sure that all students have a really solid financial literacy basis."

In addition to the personal money management class, economics, business and accounting classes will still be offered for students, however economics will now be counted as an elective that does not count toward the graduation requirement, Jacobi explained.

The proposal received unanimous approval on a voice vote.

In other business, the board also unanimously approved a 2.44 percent wage increase for support staff for the 2019-20 school year. The increase is the same as the Consumer Price Index.

"The professional employees were done at the last meeting, and the support staff is always done at the following meeting," Jacobi said. "We want them to know as soon as possible that they would see a small increase as well."

At the beginning of the meeting, two long-term RHS band volunteers, Nancy Nebgen and Andi Seidel, were presented with certificates of appreciation by Jacobi and retiring band director Constance Piasecki.

"I know everyone in this room knows the value of volunteers to our teachers and students," Piasecki said. "From a high school band prospective, I can tell you they were crucial to the success of the program. These two ladies walked through the high school band doors about 10 years ago. They already had years of volunteering with their kids when they were young at the elementary schools and for their sports and their clubs. So when they got to my door, they had a wealth of knowledge on how to get things done, an ambition level that was beyond compare and an incredible love for each and every student."

Attempting to calculate just how much the two women have helped the band program "would be impossible," she added.

"While I've been lucky having really good volunteers over the years, these two stand out in so many ways," she said. "They even stayed with the program long after their children graduated from RHS, thankfully."

She said Nebgen will be stepping down after the Fourth of July while Seidel will stay around for the 2019-20 school year to train her replacement.

Jamie Taylor may be reached via email at

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