At its September 10, 2009 Board Meeting the Racine Taxpayers Association on a unanimous vote proposed to consider supporting the beleaguered Racine Unified School District request for an increase in taxes, beyond the levy limit, provided all employees of the District agreed to a wage, salary and benefits package freeze.
RUSD spends a quarter of a billion dollars every year in the process of teaching children in the district. Some are not enthralled with the results of its efforts. (Some residents of the Village of Caledonia are even circulating petitions that would allow village residents to vote to secede from RUSD.)
The state of Wisconsin saw fit to reduce state funds to school districts around the state. Many school districts felt they needed those funds, if not more. Now what are they to do?
RUSD Liaison, Jim Morrison, felt district taxpayers should make up the shortfall and has recommended support for a district wide tax increase.
Board Member George Meyers felt differently. "It is well known' that RUSD unions and employees contributed money to the campaigns and voted at the ballot boxes for those very same state representatives who proposed the state funding cuts," Meyers said. "Why should the taxpayers rescue them?"
That is certainly a political consideration, but it turns the RUSD student body into a sort of "political football." What about education?
According to RUSD Superintendent Jim Shaw and RUSD Finance Director Dave Hazen, education in the district will suffer greatly without those funds.
But when the local economy is considered (Racine has the second highest unemployment in the State of Wisconsin) and the fact that RUSD employees were in fact instrumental in getting the legislators elected that perpetrated the cut, why should Taxpayers be handed the bill?
Is there none of that quarter of a billion dollars that can be found to be less than essential?
The RTA Board has taken the middle ground: Let's at least demand a wage freeze; have RUSD employees participate in the belt tightening.
Then let's look at the RUSD budget.
Then, if it is still necessary, go to the taxpayers.