**Editor’s Note: This Letter to the Editor was submitted by Sturtevant Trustee Chris Wright.
A number of people have called to ask me about the referendum that the Sturtevant Village Board placed on the April 7th ballot. I wanted to take a moment to answer that question and also let you know my opinion.
When Sturtevant voters go to the poll on April 7th they will see the following referendum question:
“Should Sturtevant pursue a separate school district, independent of the Racine Unified School District, whose boundaries include the entire Village of Sturtevant?”
The first thing you should know is that it is an advisory referendum. The Village Board is interested in finding out if it is feasible for Sturtevant to form a new school district separate from Racine Unified. However, we realize that we are elected to represent the wishes of all people in Sturtevant not just our own. Because of this we would not spend the money for a study without the approval of the Village. Caledonia has made the choice to ask their residents the same questions. Others have decided to do the study without asking voters, but that is their prerogative. So make your wishes heard.
I will be voting in favor of the referendum. I come to this decision for various reasons. I know that when companies and people look at places to locate one of the big questions is about schools. RUSD has had a history of low scores and financial mismanagement. This has led to decades of deferred maintenance that should have been in annual operations, but were not. Instead we have seen referendum after referendum each with the promise that this would fix the problem. Sadly it hasn’t. We in Sturtevant saw this first hand with our local school Schulte. The playground equipment had reached an embarrassing state of disrepair. It was boarded up in places and parts were missing. Many of the pieces of equipment were likely original to the school construction. It took the efforts of the PTA through countless hours of fundraising and installation to finally get this replaced. RUSD did give $5,000, but the remaining $30,000+ cost was covered by the efforts of the PTA.
Secondly, more and more Sturtevant parents are opting for open enrollment in other districts. My wife and I are one of them. We have noticed that the caravan of people heading west each morning has grown. Why not find a way for people to come home. A new district may just be the way. We won’t know without doing the study. So please vote Yes and give the Village Board authority to investigate a Sturtevant School District.
Furthermore, please don’t believe the misleading information provided by RUSD. They claim that Sturtevant’s taxes will rise 10%. The truth is no study has ever been done to gauge the affect on Sturtevant. This is a completely fabricated number on their part. The questionable ethics of spreading such false and misleading information only makes me support a separate district more.