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2016-17 RUSD Budget Keeps our Commitments to the Community: Educational Excellence, an Efficient Budget and Stable Property Taxes


2016-17 RUSD Budget Keeps our Commitments to the Community: Educational Excellence, an Efficient Budget and Stable Property Taxes
By: Superintendent Dr. Lolli Haws & RUSD Board of Education President Dr. Mike Frontier 

2016-17 is poised to be one of the best school years yet for students in Racine Unified School District. In addition to several new programs and academic enhancements, Racine Unified is proud to open three new schools on time and under budget, begin a new Montessori program and launch the Academies of Racine at Case, Horlick and Park High Schools.

With these exciting improvements underway, the great news is that that we can also keep our commitments and maintain a stable school district tax levy. With this budget, RUSD homeowners can expect a decrease in their 2017 RUSD tax bill.

On Monday, Aug. 15, at 6 p.m., the Board of Education will hold its annual public budget hearing, an opportunity for the community to provide input on the 2017 budget. Please attend and lend your voice to the discussion of this budget process.

The 2017 budget funds several priorities to advance the quality of our schools while reducing taxes:

Academic Achievement, Innovation & Transformation

  • A new Montessori Program for 3- and 4-year olds at Goodland Elementary.
  • Expanding the Parent-Child Orientated Classroom (P-COC) program for 3-year-olds to Goodland Elementary.
  • Increasing full-day four-year-old kindergarten classrooms, ensuring greater success and readiness in kindergarten.
  • Remodeling of the Sturtevant Sportsplex to open a new, expanded REAL School in fall, 2017. In partnership with Gateway Technical College, REAL School will become a 6-12 hub for engineering, technology, manufacturing and college-bound science and math courses.
  • Launching the Academies of Racine at Case, Horlick and Park High Schools with the freshman class of 2020. The Academies will provide students with career and post-secondary planning, courses and internships to develop the skills they’ll need to become productive citizens in our community and beyond.
  • New math curriculum and teaching materials, grades kindergarten through Algebra II.
  • Investing in specialized teacher training for more Advanced Placement high school courses and new Project Lead the Way engineering, science and math courses at middle & high schools. 
  • Maintaining low class sizes across the District.
  • Salary increases to attract and retain talented employees with competitive compensation.

School Climate & Culture

  • Partnering with the Racine Police Department to offer an innovative community policing model in secondary schools ensuring a proactive response to student behaviors.
  • Expanding mental health clinics to Knapp and Fratt Elementary Schools.
  • Adding three intensive behavior needs classrooms at elementary, middle and high school to provide alternative setting support for special education students who have been identified as requiring an alternate specialized program for addressing significant behavioral needs.

RUSD’s Referendum Commitments

  • Increasing Deferred Maintenance Budget: The Board has committed to increasing our budget for maintaining facilities each year so when the referendum ends, the District can fund facilities needs without another referendum. Over two years, we have increased the facilities maintenance budget from $600,000 to $1.2 million. 
  • Student Technology and Security: Approximately $1 million will be invested in student technology, career and technical education equipment and security upgrades.
  • Major Maintenance Project: The Board will consider replacing Jerstad-Agerholm’s antiquated heating system, possibly to include air conditioning. This would be funded through performance contract financing that uses energy savings to pay some costs of the new HVAC system.

Stable Taxes

  • The 2017 budget projects a $.60-$.80 property tax decrease for residents. For the owner of a $100,000 home, 2017 taxes will be reduced by $60-$80. RUSD’s tax levy will continue to be lower than almost all neighboring and similar-sized Wisconsin school districts.

The 2017 RUSD budget will improve our school system and offer the community a conservative, efficient and priority-focused fiscal plan. We will sustain our forward momentum to Raise Racine and ensure quality schools in our community. We invite you to join the discussion. Share your input on the RUSD budget August 15.