April 1, 2008

Racine Unified referendum passes

Racine Unified voters passed the district's 5-year, $16.5 million referendum. The final vote was 11,434 to 9,638, a decent margin for the district's first request from voters since Superintendent Tom Hicks left.

The proposal's best selling point may have been this list of how the money will be spent. With the public skeptical of how much teachers and administrators are paid, the list clearly showed the money would go to maintenance projects.

This type of clear planning may be Unified's best chance of getting future referendums passed. Dave Hazen, Unified's finance director, said Monday that the district is already working on long-term plans to assess Unified's needs and to provide that information to the public.

It's also interesting to note that around the state, it appears maintenance and operating revenue referendums are passing. Germantown rejected a $16.5 million proposal to build a new elementary school, but otherwise, voters are approving money to help districts cover revenue shortfalls and address maintenance issues.

We'll have a clearer sense of this in the morning, but right now, the only school referendum I saw go down was the Germantown vote.


  1. Guess I'm a bit cynical about this, but I'm guessing that RUSD will get starting on planning the next referendum and will present it in a similar format. If they rig it right, they can spend their whole annual budget on salaries and benefits and push all maintenance to referendum each year.

  2. If that were the case, I would never ever vote in favor of RUSD. I wasn't going to, but after thinking about it I felt the schools no doubt are in dier need of maintenance.

  3. The people of Racine actually care about where children spend 8 hours of their days? I'm happily surprised.

  4. I am a teacher in RUSD and I get to teach in a room that was built in 1935.

    I am so sick of hearing how the "evil" RUSD is already planning another referendum or whatever else the district will be accused of. There are many, many educators and administrators (including myself) who care deeply about the students we work with every day.

    What makes me sick is that the last new school to be built in this community was Gilmore Middle School in, what, 1973! We have jails that are nicer than the room I teach in every day. My room has carpet that is 20+ years old with long strips of duct tape covering all of the places the seams have come undone. Ceiling tiles need to be replaced and paint is chipping everywhere. My room is freezing in the winter and boiling in the warmer months. And, yet, the public expects perfect results and test scores.

    Why shouldn't I expect a decent salary and benefits? What is the value of a good teacher? Would you value me more if I could play quarterback for the Packers?