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DurhamBusA number of Caledonia residents hoping to form a school district independent of the Racine Unified School District are one step closer in a long list of hurdles it needs to make that a reality.

The group has collected over 1,000 signatures on a petition asking for the state Legislature to allow Caledonia residents to vote on the question of whether they want an independent school district.

In August, the residents seeking to form the independent school district told the village board that it planned to seek a proposal from the Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance to update a study done in 2008. The group plans to bring forward the Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance proposal to the village board on Dec. 15. Updating the study could cost up to $30,000, and it would be completed by May 1, according to the group’s Facebook page.

“It would put numbers and formal suggestions behind our goals. We know that the numbers will be favorable. Some need to see that,” said Ed Willing, a village board member and member of the citizens group that wants to form the school district. “Our position has been and always will be that it is about the principle of it not just the numbers.”

In August, Brian Dey, a member of the group trying to form the district, said it would need to form a steering committee, ask the village board to back a feasibility study, seek funding for the study, get information out to the community about the results of the feasibility study, gather signatures for a referendum and then ultimately hold an election.

No decisions have been on whether the group will ask the village to pay for the study, Willing said.

However, village president Bob Bradley asked for a meeting between him, Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester), Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), and Rep. Tom Weatherston (R-Caledonia) to see how realistic it was for the state Legislature to pass a rule change allowing community school districts to pull out of unified school districts, Dey said.

“The village would need to spend $30,000, the village wants assurances,” Dey said. 

The private meeting is expected to happen on Dec. 12, Willing said, adding that he would be participating in the meeting as a private citizen and not as a village board member.

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

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