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The push for Caledonia, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant to fund a study looking at how they might pull out of the Racine Unified School District took a step forward. An Ad Hoc Committee, which had two board members from each community, learned at a meeting held Wednesday that the comprehensive study would cost about $45,000. Kevin Wanggaard, a Caledonia village board member and ad hoc committee chairperson, said he thought the cost of the study was within the range that he was thinking. “I didn’t think it would be a $100,000, but it’s certainly less than the $30,000 we were looking at with an individual study,” Wanggaard said. “With this comprehensive study though we’ll be able to look at all the options. And the way the committee worked in getting questions set up worked out really well.” Caledonia and Sturtevant in April narrowly voted to approve an advisory referendum to start pursuing an independent school district. Caledonia asked its board to fund a feasibility study this summer, but it was shot down 4 to 2. Sturtevant village board promised to budget for a study in 2016 if the referendum passed. However, Mount Pleasant did not put the question on the ballot this spring. But Caledonia village president Bob Bradley formed the ad hoc committee to look alternatives. The proposed joint study introduced at the ad hoc committee would look at:
  • Three separate K-8 districts and a unified high school
  • Three separate K-12 districts
  • Caledonia as its own district; Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant as a second district
  • One new unified school district
Each village board will still need to approve a resolution authorizing the $15,000 expenditure for the Wisconsin Taxpayers’ Alliance (WisTax) to do the study. Sturtevant trustee and ad hoc committee member Chris Larsen said he will schedule a special finance committee meeting for Tuesday before the board meeting to recommend funding the study not to exceed $16,000. We’ve got messages into Gary Feest and David DeGroot, who serve on the Mount Pleasant village board and the ad hoc committee, to find out when they will be introducing their resolution. Caledonia already included a $30,000 expenditure in their proposed budget. If the three communities fund the study, the work will begin and it is expected to take about six months to complete. Wanggaard was optimistic about getting the study funded and he looked forward to seeing it completed. “I think when people look at this, they will be able to see the benefits of whether we should separate from the (RUSD) district or keep with our current district,” Wanggaard said. “We have to effect change and work to achieve that for our communities and unified’s got to do that too. They are trying, but they are going to have to try a little harder.”    

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In addition to our education features, we’ll be kicking off a series of stories highlighting how parents, students, and educators are adapting to the impact of COVID-19 on education. If this is important to you, please consider donating to our education reporting fund. https://business.facebook.com/donate/1846323118855149/3262802717172659/

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.