Red Wing High School students now have an extra incentive to take college-level classes.

On Monday, Red Wing School Board members decided grade-point averages should also be bumped for students taking advanced placement courses. In August, board members altered the school handbook to allow class rank increases for students taking the harder courses.

The GPA change takes hold beginning with the 2009-10 school year.

School Board member Dave Jonas said data indicated the majority of AP students receive less than an A in the classes.

"I think we can encourage more kids" to take rigorous classes by rewarding their GPA, he said.

Monday's move multiplies grade-point scores for students taking those classes by 1.1, meaning a B would be worth 3.3 on the grade scale, not 3.0. GPAs are among several initial criteria college admissions staff look at when accepting applications.

A survey of Red Wing students, parents, community members and staff revealed overwhelming support for the change. Among the respondents were 130 students -- 114 of whom backed the proposal.

The change was supported by 80 percent of all respondents.

"These are pretty overwhelming statistics in my book," School Board member Perry Sekus said.

All School Board members voted for the change, though some said the issue highlights a larger problem: There is no state or national GPA standard for colleges to consider.

School Board member Stephen O'Keefe said there should be other incentives for taking the harder classes.

"The reward comes in that they're better prepared for college. That's the reward," he said.

Red Wing High School Principal Beth Borgen -- who supported the boost in class rank, but not GPA -- said there should be no administrative problems for school staff to calculate the numbers next year.

She advised board members not to put the change into effect until the 2009 school year.

If the school were to retroactively reward current AP students, she said it might mean backlash from students who would have taken the courses if a grade incentive were in place. Borgen said that could mean lawsuits.