A number of people in Caledonia say they want to create a separate school district independent of the Racine Unified School District. But a number of steps need to be taken that mainly require citizen participation.

The next steps in creating a Caledonia School District would include forming a steering committee, asking the village board to back a feasibility study, seeking funding for the study, getting information out to the community about the results of the feasibility study, gathering signatures for a referendum and then ultimately holding an election, said Brian Dey.

“We’re going to be looking to form a steering committee, which would have six members on it,” Dey said. The group is seeking volunteers and expects to start meeting in October to talk about how they want to form a PAC to start raising money for a feasibility study and get information out to the public. In 2008, the group had a feasibility study done by WisTax, which would need to be updated.

“The whole focus needs to about putting  all of our efforts into step one: finding out how much support we have, but also knowing that this won’t happen without a feasibility study,” Dey said.

But Dey told the village board that when they tried to create their own school district in 2008, it also needed the cooperation of the Racine Unified School District. This time, the group would like to explore changing the process by which communities can leave school districts at the state level.

But Rep. Tom Weatherston said that while he would be willing to look at writing a law that would make it possible for Caledonia to withdrawal from the Racine Unified School District, it wouldn’t be an easy process.

“But I would have to get enough votes to favor one village,” Weatherston said. “If there were several school districts, it would be a no brainer. But if one community want to do it… it’s going to be a tough sell.”

Making a charter school would be easier to do, but the group doesn’t want to do that because they want the tax money, Weatherson said.

Village president Bob Bradley, however, is taking a wait and see attitude on the issue.

“They can move forward without board right now,” Bradley said. “They may look for the board to say, yes we bless it in a resolution for the feasibility study and I’m definitely interested in doing it. But I’m thinking that maybe we need to put it on a referendum to see how much support we have.”

If you are interested in volunteering to work with the group, call Brian Dey at (262) 939-8060.

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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.

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