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Mount Pleasant trustees will listen to a presentation Monday from Caledonia resident Brian Dey about separating from the Racine Unified School District.
Dey and other Caledonia residents are exploring the feasibility of establishing a school district separate from RUSD, and Dey was asked to visit Mount Pleasant because trustees and some residents there are also interested in a potential new school district.
“I’ve not been shy about my opinion that Racine Unified isn’t cutting it,” Mount Pleasant board member David DeGroot said last month after hearing Dey’s presentation to the Caledonia board. “At the end of the day, we have folks interested in moving here but our school district is a problem.”
The biggest hurdle to a new school district – whether Caledonia goes it alone or with neighboring villages – is changing the state statute that says the larger school district has to approve the move. Dey and community leaders like Caledonia Trustee Ed Willing are reaching out to state lawmakers to try and get a new bill introduced that would leave the decision in the hands of voters.
Limiting resident input to public comment
Mount Pleasant trustees Monday will also discuss changes to village ordinance that limit resident input during board meetings to the public comment period at the beginning of meetings.
The way current village ordinance reads, residents can address a point not on the agenda during public comment, but trustees cannot engage in discussion while a citizen is speaking. Residents can have the opportunity to participate in agenda discussions after trustees have finished talking if the meeting chair – typically the village president – recognizes them.
Since Mark Gleason was elected president in 2013 he has not allowed residents to participate in the discussion of agenda items, but public comment would remain a fixture at the top of board meeting agendas.
“I believe in public comment because it’s healthy, but past meetings were free-for-alls without any decorum,” he said. “It’s important to have … meetings that are civil and orderly with staff and trustees available after meetings.”
The matter was held over for two weeks because some trustees feared residents didn’t have enough information about the change and believed citizens should have more time to become familiar with the issue.
Mount Pleasant trustees meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Village Hall, 8811 Campus Drive. Call (262) 664-7800.