As a candidate for the Racine Unified School Board, I feel the board needs to be more informed both fiscally and operationally while making its decisions. At the Jan. 24 board meeting, the board did not give the virtual school proposal the serious consideration it deserved. The change to a new vendor at a $200,000 basic cost over five years was approved without knowing or considering many details. Currently the district is paying $300 per course. The current annual cost, student completion rates or quality of the two systems was not known.
The new contract will call for $40,000 annually, $35 per class hour taken and provide a teacher for contact and liaison. Other expenses would include the new virtual learning administrator, equipment, administrative help and equipment maintenance, not just $40,000 annually.
Returns could come from reduced in-house teaching (reduced classes) and flexibility in class scheduling. This could be major.
The approval by the board did not require or request any reporting back on progress, just an open approval and checkbook. The board had no more information to make an informed decision than they did when they approved the referendums.
I've never seen an answer to the question: How you have a tax rate of $114 per $100,000 of value on a proposed $87 million referendum and the same $114 rate on a later approved, much larger $128.5 million referendum? It was noted at the meeting that the district now doesn't know what the rate will be.