Caledonia resident Brian Dey explains to the Sturtevant Village Board what steps his group is taking to organize a school district independent of Racine Unified.

 

Sturtevant trustees next month will talk about the possibility of adding an advisory referendum to the April ballot to gauge residents’ support for a school district independent of Racine Unified.

During the Tuesday board meeting, Caledonia resident Brian Dey explained the process the group in that village is using to organize a new school district. He made a similar presentation earlier this fall to the Mount Pleasant Village Board.

Before commissioning a financial study that lays out the potential costs and benefits for taxpayers, Dey said Sturtevant would need to hold an advisory referendum so the board knows if this is even a direction where residents want to go.

“You have to be sure the community wants this before you pay for a study,” he said.

The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance is the group that would put all the numbers together, and Dey said the price for Caledonia could be about $30,000.

Trustee John Johnson noted the biggest hurdle for either of the villages will be overcoming the state law that says even if residents do support an independent school district, the RUSD Board of Education has the final say.

“That’s why the referendum is so important,” Dey answered. “The advisory referendum is the best message to send.”

Trustee Chris Larsen’s Administration, Personnel, Policy and Legal Committee will discuss at the Jan. 13 continual committee meeting placing the referendum on the April general election ballot.

If the referendum is on the April ballot and residents do vote for it, board members would then budget for the study in 2016.

In the meantime, Village Administrator/Clerk Mary Cole will investigate whether or not paying for the study can legitimately fall under the village’s tax incremental financing district.

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