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Members of the Racine Unified Board of Education Monday passed a resolution asking the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to back the district’s efforts to keep the district together.
The move, as reported by The Journal Times, is a first step by the BOE to block Caledonia – or the other villages – from separating from RUSD.
Currently, a new school district can only separate from an existing, larger district if the school board of the larger district approves the move. Organizers in Caledonia are pushing Madison lawmakers for legislation that would put the vote for a new district in the hands of voters through a referendum.
“I’m disppointed that the RUSD Board and President Wiser not only disregard the wishes of the four communities seeking this change, but is actually working to block our efforts to return power back from his board to our villages,” Caledonia board member Ed Willing said. “This movement is snowballing, and I have every confidence that we will succeed. President Wiser’s best course of action would be to embrace whatever improves education for half his district. Instead, he seems to be protecting his reputation in what will be left after these new districts are formed. We are excited, he should be too.”
Sturtevant Trustee Chris Larsen supports the creation of a new school district and that any separation decision should be in the hands of the people.
“I feel the a binding referendum by the citizens trumps the vote of a non-functional, out-of-touch bloated school board,” he stated. “RUSD has had fifty years to get it right. They have not. It’s time for a different approach.”
Suellen Smith Krahn, though, believes Racine Unified faces challenges that require the support of the community. She and her children all attended Unified schools, and Krahn said she plans to teach in the district after she graduates from Carthage College.
“I can’t change my students parents or home life, but I can be the person who inspires them and cares for them and allows them to see what the can become,” she posted on Facebook.
Willing applauded Krahn for her dedication but said the real issue is choice, and it’s time for Caledonia – with or without the other villages – to have its own school district.
“We need more like you then. In every school,” he wrote. “We are literally losing residents every month to other districts. They are selling their homes and MOVING. It’s not a debate. We are getting our own districts. Period.”
Caledonia resident Brian Dey is scheduled to give a presentation to the Mount Pleasant Village Board on Sept. 22 and to Sturtevant trustees in October.