The Racine Taxpayers Association, through its representatives, including Lou Handziak, John Haumersen and Jim Morrison, have been involved with this commission for roughly two years. RTA has been involved because we believe that something must be done to turn this district around. We believe the commission is on the right track, but is not ready for prime time--the proposed fall referendums. Therefore, the RTA will be recommending to the board of education in the near future that action on the proposed referendums be postponed for at least a year while the commission, including RTA members, continues with its work. Here are the reasons:
1. RUSD does not have a business plan in place as to needs, costs and proposed measurable results.
The referendums represent a tremendous cost to the Racine area which is very hard hit by the business recession.
Therefore, RTA must be assured to the greatest degree possible that Unifiedís plan is well developed.
Don Botsford, Dennis Kisley, Nancy Meinholz
2. To this end, RTA has asked RUSD managers to identify a school district comparable or even similar to RUSD which has used successfully the approaches planned by Racine Unified.
6. A major recommendation is that all referendum questions pertaining to operating referendums must have sunset clauses of three to five years.
This assures that the public will have periodic reviews at the polls to assure the programs are earning their keep.
As present day voters, we do not have the right to saddle future voters with unending costs.
James Shaw, RUSD Superintendent
7. Unified officials always talk about the need to recruit better teachers, but there is nothing in the current plans to show that Unified has the will to terminate underperforming teachers on the payroll.
Unified says it will provide coaching and assistance to help underpar teachers, but there is nothing that effectively says that Unified will terminate teachers who continue to underperform.
In summary, RTA ís position is that with many open questions and little sound evidence regarding the success of RUSDís proposals, RTA cannot support them at this time.
More study and actions are needed from Racine Unified.
Another year is needed before RUSD proposes any referendums.