August 5, 2009

Racine Unified receives $1.8 million for construction; lags Kenosha, other districts

Update: The JT reached the district and learned Unified didn't get more money because it hadn't passed a construction referendum. Kenosha Unified did pass a referendum to add on to its Indian Trails High School, so it got more money.

Original post: Racine Unified is in line to receive $1.8 million in interest-free bonds to finance new construction and renovation projects, according to Gov. Jim Doyle's office.

The money comes to Unified through the federal stimulus act and is part of $125.5 million in bond authority for Wisconsin schools.

The news for Unified is somewhat tempered by the money allocated to other districts. Kenosha Unified is set to receive $11.7 million in bonds (plus another $8.5 million for another stimulus bond program), Sun Prairie was given $23 million and West Bend received $12 million. Milwaukee Public Schools received a whopping $72.3 million.

Racine Unified officials were not immediately available for comment.

Here's the press release from the governor's office (which doesn't explain on how the dollar amounts were awarded):
Doyle, Evers announce $125.5 million in bond authority for Wisconsin schools

MADISON — Governor Jim Doyle and State Superintendent Tony Evers today announced allocations for Wisconsin school districts to finance major new construction, renovation, and rehabilitation projects with bonding authority totaling $125.5 million.

The allocations come in the form of authority to issue two special types of bonds authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In contrast to a typical bond, where the issuer pays the buyer interest on their investment, the ARRA bonds provide federal tax credits to buyers, relieving school districts of the need to make interest payments.

“These bonds will help money flow through our economy, supporting jobs, while helping Wisconsin schools repair, improve, and build new facilities where needed,” said Doyle.

“Deferred maintenance has become the norm instead of the exception for Wisconsin schools,” said Evers. “These bonds will help reverse that trend as well as provide for some smart improvements. From weatherizing buildings and repairing roofs to constructing new facilities and installing green energy, schools have plans in place
for projects that will pay back our investment well into the future.”

ARRA authorized schools to issue the bonds through two programs, the Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) Program and the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) Program. The total dollar amount of bonds requested by Wisconsin school districts through both programs was $526.4 million—far greater than the amount the state was allowed to allocate under rules issued by the United States Department of Education. The complete lists of allocations to Wisconsin districts can be found here and here.

Created by ARRA, the QSCB program lets public school districts issue bonds to finance new construction, rehabilitation, or repair of public school facilities, as well as acquisition of land and acquisition of equipment to be used in such facilities. Wisconsin was allotted $170.7 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds. The federal Bonds for Schools law set aside a significant portion of the QSCB bonding authority for the nation’s largest school districts, including $72.1 million for Milwaukee Public Schools. ARRA charged the Department of Public Instruction with distributing the other $98.6 million among the rest of the state’s school districts.

The remaining bonding authority announced today was issued through the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) Program, created in 1997 and expanded by ARRA. School districts with populations at least 35 percent low-income (as measured by eligibility for free and reduced-price school meals) applied for QZAB financing to rehabilitate or repair school facilities. In addition to the ARRA-authorized QZAB funding, a small amount of non-ARRA bonding authority remaining from the 2007 QZAB program is included in today’s allocations.

School districts are allowed approximately two years to issue the bonds. Wisconsin districts will have another opportunity to apply for both types of bonds in 2010, because ARRA authorized both programs through that year. Historically, QZAB has been reauthorized every biennium.

The ARRA also provides funding for special education, services to economically disadvantaged students, teacher quality enhancement, school lunch equipment purchases, enhancing education through technology grants, and other education purposes.


  1. OK - so where was Vos, Mason, Lehman and Turner when this was going down? Why did we get the short end of the stick?

  2. Exactly. Are we utterly unrepresented? Those guys should have been all over this knowing what they know about the dire straits of our schools. Hope they don't pretend to care come election time. It is just sick.

  3. $1.8 Million for Racine and $11.7 for Kenosha isn't "lagging" it is left behind! That is a huge gap. wtf?

  4. Who cares where they were!
    You should be asking the governor that question!
    The money should have been allocated by student population period.
    The weasel governor is the one who must have been giving favors by this unequal distribution of funds.

    And why should anyone have to kiss his a#@ to get equitable and fair distribution, that a-hole needs to go far away!

  5. Stimulus money is going to districts that were heavy Obama contributors. Obviously, K-Town ponied up more cash than Racine.

  6. More evidence that RUSD is run by incompetents, The folks at KUSD simply know how the game is played!

  7. That is exactly the is not a game!! and it is all of our monies!

    Not for a a-wipe favor taking corrupt politician like Doyle to decide!

    He should be behind bars!

    What a crook!!

    Who`s governor is he??? I thought he was the entire states governor??

    I guess not.

    Glad I never voted for him, would rather have a chimp in his place though it would be difficult to distinguish between them either way!


  8. Our representatives, Lehman, Turner and Mason brag about how in touch and control they are in Madison. Well Where the Heck where they? I put just as much blame on these useless jerks as I do Doyle.

  9. We elect representatives for a reason. They are supposed to represent us. Doyle should have never been aloud to screw Racine over like this. CANNOT wait to hear Lehman spin this into a positive. Lordy Lordy.

  10. I am absolutely outraged. They think they can keep raising our taxes to pay for more and more for the schools. They unfairly distribute much needed money and we are supposed to do what? We need to have a real protest and let them know we are sick and tired of the nonsense. I am mad as hell.

  11. What about the private schools - how much are they getting. We pay taxes also.

  12. Good question. I doubt our representatives, senator really care about the private schools, looks like they didn't even show up for dividing up the money meeting on public schools.

  13. Dustin: Can you find out the criteria that was used. If the criteria was at all under Unified's control, this is very disappointing.


  15. Anon 1:38

    You forgot Vos

  16. anon 5:05 - you forgot Vos has no influence while Doyle is in office - LEHMAN, MASON AND TURNER DO!

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  18. Thanks for the excerpt from the JT article, but just go read it on their site:

    We don't want to look like we're stealing from their story, which is well done.

  19. At the Racine Tax Payers meeting Lehman bragged about having all the control and power. He outright explained the republican office holders have their hands tied because of the majorities of the democratic parties.

    They are having a great big party. Must have been at a party when he should have been bringing money to Racine.

    Come election time he will be telling us all about how he will bring money to Racine. Wasn't that Turners bid for mayor? Mason too for that matter. Asleep at the job. Shame.

  20. OK

    I personnally do NOT agree with Lehman, Turner, and Mason on a whole range of issues but this is not their fault.

    In simple terms, this is Doyle's payback for not supporting his choo choo train. Yes, Doyle IS this petty. He IS this corrupt. If you don't believe me research the jsonline story about school funding

    Conservative districts received considerably less in state aid. Racine may not be very conservative, but we have defineately fallen out of favor with Madison.
    If you look at the Racine Journal article

    Kenosha actually received an INCREASE in school state aid compared to the last budget. Racine received $5M less

    So let's add all this up. Kenosha $20M in bonds and $650K more in state aid from one school year to the next. Racine $1.8M in bonds while LOSING $5M in state aid.

    The underlying question is WHY??

  21. Still our representatives, Lehman, Mason, and Turner all brag about their influence in Madison. Lets not forget how un-influential they have been. How they couldn't even get our schools a fair share.

    I will scream out LIAR when they start that nonsense come election time. They will really see some Banners.

  22. Blaming Doyle is so creative. Way to try and save your jobs. You were asleep on the job. Time to redeem yourselves of pack it up.