Caledonia is poised for growth and is trying to bring jobs into the community, which is predicated on having a strong educational system.

This is the heart of what Caledonia village trustee candidates Eric Butcher and incumbent Kathleen Trentadue have focused their campaigns on for the trustee No. 2 spot. The election will be held Tuesday, April 5.

Here’s how these candidates responded to our questions:

 

Name: Eric Butcher

Age: 38

Address: 2631 Stonebridge Drive

Profession, Education Background: Residential Real Estate Appraiser, some technical college.

Why are you running for this seat?

Because I think its important for the future of the families and the children of the Village to have their own school district that will be accountable to them. Because I think its important the members of the board who have been voting against the wishes of the residents are held accountable. Finally after attending several board meetings its apparent to me that its time for some fresh blood and new ideas on said board.

Do you support exploring a separate school district? Why or why not?

Absolutely! The voters of our Village voted to pursue a study examining the feasibility of creating our own school district. Unfortunately the majority of the village board including my opponent have chosen to ignore the voters. Instead they have pursued a study with the Villages of Mt Pleasant and Sturtevant which has now stalled in Mt Pleasant due to a procedural error. Then just last week those same members of the board who have blocked an independent school district study, embraced a plan presented by RAMAC involving a model from Nashville for all of RUSD.

This is a slap to the face of all of those residents who have worked towards the goal of a Caledonia school district and the voters who backed their efforts nearly a year ago. Having an independent school district is crucial to keeping and attracting families and businesses in Caledonia. It will give the residents of our village direct control over the schools their children attend as well as how their property tax dollars (currently RUSD is the largest contributor to our tax bills) are spent when it comes to education. It’s extremely unusual for a community of our size to not have its own school district. As a real estate appraiser I can attest to the negative impact this has on our properties values. I see no good reason for Caledonia to remain in RUSD at this time.

Name three great things about your community that you hope to build on.

I think we have wonderful parks in our Village taking advantage of our River and Lake frontages as well as our green spaces. I’d like to make sure they stay that way and when fiscally prudent expand on them. Speaking of fiscal prudence Caledonia currently has one of the lowest property tax rates in the region, maintaining that is a major priority. Finally the continued expansion of water & sewer service to the Interstate is of great importance economically for the Village and the entire region, its continuance is vital

Name three challenges your community is facing and your ideas for overcoming them.

I think convincing our local, regional and state leaders of the importance of allowing us to pursue our own school district is a major challenge. Pursuing the feasibility study would go a long way to showing them we are serious about this issue and we aren’t going away. Maintaining adequate fire and police service while also keeping our property taxes low and village finances in order. Cooperation with our neighbors will be key in this regard. Finally finding the balance between needed economic growth while still maintaining our valued open green spaces. This means listening to all residents concerns involving future development

What do you think our regional leaders can do to encourage job growth?

Not to sound like a broken record but improving the Racine area educational options by allowing the Villages to pursue their own districts would be boon the region as a whole by increasing the appeal of the surrounding communities. Making sure that water and sewer service expansion to I-94 is of great importance for the same reason. Finally making sure our taxes are low and competitive in comparison to our area competitors is also very important.

If you could implement one idea – no matter how crazy it might sound – what would it be?

Well I don’t think its crazy to implement a Caledonia school district…actually I think its crazy not to!

 

Name: Kathleen A. Trentadue

Age: 66

Address: 4344 State Road 31 Racine, WI 53405

Why are you running for this seat?

To continue the import work of our Village.

Profession, Education Background:

14 years on the Caledonia Storm water utility. past president . 4 years on the Village board. ARRT M St. Lukes School of Radiology. UW Parkside BA. Gateway Tech. Associate degree in early childhood development. Blue print reading. Racine Railroad Quality Control.

Do you support exploring a separate school district? Why or why not?

Not at this time. There is a law in Wisconsin that would not allow separation from RUSD without their permission. We have met with RUSD on several occasions. They do not support separating. The board is supporting a Racine County Educational Plan that will help to raise the standards of education in our community. However, when the law is changed I would support looking into this idea further.

Name three great things about your community that you hope to build on.

1. The rural character which gives us many recreational opportunities with a safe eco-friendly environment.

2. Our infrastructure. Doing more preventative maintenance.

3. Our storm water management.

Name three challenges your community is facing and your ideas for overcoming them.

1. Presently we are in need of a new Village hall. This is a top priority in my concerns. It has been on and off the agenda for many years and I would like this project to keep moving forward.

2. Getting village employees up to competitive wages.

3. Getting a sustainable tax base for the Village in developing our I-94 corridor TID with future sensible business development.

What do you think our regional leaders can do to encourage job growth?

Need to research more on this.

If you could implement one idea – no matter how crazy it might sound – what would it be?

To make Caledonia a friendlier place for businesses to set up.

 

 

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.