RUSD is asking for $1Billion over 30 years and has a “policy” that they’ll keep the tax rate stable.

Don’t reward bad school leadership with a blank check. Do your homework. Vote NO.

There’s nothing binding the district to keeping its word. District leadership has shown itself to be irresponsible with spending and debt.

RUSD gave an undisclosed amount to the Ford Foundation for the Academies model. I asked how much money they were going to put toward “expanding the Academies model” as they’ve advertised and how they know it’s been successful. They said 30% of funding! They still haven’t released any externally validated proof to justify that the Academies model is a success. Nobody will tell me how much money could go to the Ford Foundation in the future.

The district’s graduation rate is less than 75%. The last state school report card earned RUSD a rating of “meets few expectations” or 53-62% — what would usually earn a grade of D or F on most sensible grading curves.

They’re saying this is about buildings and STEM to “right-size” the district, but they’ve taken on more debt in the district, administrators’ salaries have grown and student enrollment is down.

The administrators are pushing this decision at the last minute on Racine’s taxpayers after one public hearing a week before the state went into shutdown.

While they’ve been making 40, 60 and even 80 dollars an hour, plus benefits? It’s about time they spend more than $100 per student on technology. while administrators can make $150,000 per year.

I have no problem continuing to fund RUSD at the present level.

Administration and the board needs to adjust their priorities, decrease administrative salaries and get rid of the idea of expanding the Academies to other grades until they have externally validated proof it has worked. I’m not saying don’t fund them. I’m saying they don’t need more. They need to do better with what they have.

It’s not that we shouldn’t put money toward poorly performing schools. Investment in improving assets is important. When we put money toward roads, they get better. Spend more on water main repairs and the water mains get fixed.

We’ve given more and more money to RUSD. It’s been mismanaged. Fix the management problem: provide accountability, transparency and better planning. Two years is enough time to have made improvements. I haven’t seen evidence of those at the district level.

The RUSD referendum PAC is also deleting comments that disagree with them. RUSD’s profile wall doesn’t allow unmoderated comments. I won’t dwell on the question of whether this represents a restriction of free speech by a government entity, but they had one public listening session a week before our lockdown began … when many of us who had been following the COVID-19 developments internationally and domestically were already social distancing.

Again, this isn’t all-or-nothing. They’re at a current tax levy rate. Keep it there, for now, lower administrative salaries, scale back 30% for Academies expansion, host more hearing sessions virtually over summer & put a new referendum on the ballot in Fall.

That would be the respectful and responsible thing to do. Not that I’m holding my breath.

Don’t reward bad school leadership with a blank check. Do your homework. Vote NO.

Nicholas Ravnikar