REA and REAA Executive Director Nick Whitman (right) announced this week he was resigning after less than two years on the job. Whitman, hired in December 2007, is leaving Unified to lead a teacher's union in Tampa, Fla. He notified the Racine Education UniServ Council (REUC) of his resignation on Wednesday.
In his letter, Whitman said REUC would work toward hiring an interim executive director while a search is conducted for a permanent director. He also said the Wisconsin Education Association Council will support the local teachers and educational assistants unions in the interim period.
Whitman picked a difficult time to leave. Racine Unified needs to bridge an $8.2 million budget deficit this summer and fall by raising property taxes and cutting services. Unified's Board of Education could raise taxes 12 percent to $8.09 per $1,000 of assessed value to offset the deficit, but the district said in a statement this week it was already working with its labor unions to cut costs.
The district's statement said, in part:
Racine Unified is going to face some tough decisions related to that loss in state aid. However the District’s Board of Education does not have to make those tough decisions alone. Instead, the leaders of the unions representing the various District employee groups anticipate having the opportunity to work closely with Administrators and School Board members to ensure that all options are reviewed and that the budgetary focus remains on improving educational quality as outlined in the jointly created and recently adopted North Star Vision.Whitman is leaving to represent teachers in the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association in Tampa. He'll be executive director of an organization with 15,000 teachers and 8,000 educational assistants. It's the eighth-largest school district in the country.
While the District and Union Leaders began meeting today regarding the budgetary situation, the specifics of those discussions cannot be shared at this time as they may impact contract negotiations.