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Racine Unified School District, Wisconsin

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Racine Unified School District
Racine, Wisconsin
Racine Unified School District logo.jpg
District Profile
Superintendent:Lolli Haws
Graduation rate:69.8 percent[2]
Number of schools:34
Budget: $288.9 million
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:Dennis Wiser
Board members:9
Term length:3
Racine Unified School District is a school district in Wisconsin that served 20,395 K-12 students during the 2013-2014 school year.[1] The district improved graduation rates from 66.6 percent during the 2009-2010 school year to 69.8 percent during the 2011-2012 school year.[2]

About the district

Racine Unified School District is located in Racine County, Wisconsin.

Racine Unified School District is located in Racine County, Wisconsin. The county seat is Racine. Racine County is home to 195,041 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[3] During the 2011-2012 school year, Racine Unified School District was the fourth-largest school district in Wisconsin.[4]


Higher education achievement

Racine County underperformed in comparison to the rest of Wisconsin in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 22.8 percent of Racine County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 26.4 percent for Wisconsin as a whole.[3]

Median household income

The median household income in Racine County from 2008 to 2012 was $54,900 compared to $52,627 for the state of Wisconsin.[3]

Poverty rate

From 2008 to 2012, the poverty rate in Racine County was 12.6 percent. During that same time period, the poverty rate was 12.5 percent for the entire state.[3]

Racial and political demographics

Racial Demographics, 2013[3]
Race Racine County (%) Wisconsin (%)
White 84.4 88.1
Black or African American 11.6 6.5
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.6 1.1
Asian 1.2 2.5
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.0
Two or More Races 2.2 1.7
Hispanic or Latino 12.3 6.3

Presidential votes, 2000-2012[5]
Year Democratic vote (%) Republican vote (%)
2012 50.8 47.3
2008 52.7 45.4
2004 47.3 51.4

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[6][7]


The superintendent of Racine Unified School District during the 2013-2014 school year was Lolli Haws. She has served in the position since her appointment in 2013. Haws previously served as an administrator with District of Columbia Public Schools.[8] Haws earned an annual salary of $200,000 during the 2013-2014 school year.[9]

School board

The Racine Board of Education consists of nine members elected at-large to three-year terms. Each member receives $300 per month in compensation.[10]

Racine Board of Education
Member Title Term Ends
Dennis Wiser President 2017
Chuck Goodremote Member 2016
Pamala Handrow Clerk 2017
Wally Rendón Treasurer 2015
Melvin Hargrove Member 2017
Don Nielsen Member 2015
Michael Frontier Member 2016
Julie McKenna Member 2016
Kim Plache Member 2015

The Racine Board of Education consists of nine members.

Governing majority

The Racine Board of Education voted unanimously on 97.3 percent of its votes between January 1, 2014, and August 1, 2014. Every vote recorded by the board passed.

  • When the board did not vote unanimously:
    • Julie McKenna and Kim Plache were the only board members who cast a "no" vote. Each cast a single "no" vote, but on different proposals.
    • Chris Eperjesy, Michael Frontier, Pamala Handrow, Melvin Hargrove, Don Nielsen, Wally Rendón and Dennis Wiser all voted together 100 percent of the time. None of them cast a single "no" vote.
  • Pamala Handrow, Julie McKenna, Wally Rendón and Dennis Wiser voted on every single proposal.

The voting data indicates that there is no clear governing majority or minority faction on the board. No individual board member's voting record differs significantly from that of the other board members.[11]

School board elections

See also: Racine Unified School District elections (2015)

Members of the Racine Board of Education are elected to three-year terms on a staggered basis. Four seats were up for election on April 1, 2014. The 2014 election included a race for an unexpired one-year term. Three seats were up for election in April 7, 2015, and three seats will be on the ballot in April 2016.

Public participation in board meetings

The Racine Board of Education does not maintain published guidelines regarding public participation in board meetings.


The Racine Unified School District's budget is published on its website. Details on the district's revenue and expenditures in recent years can be found in the tables below. The following charts show the percentages of revenue and expenditures by type for the 2014-2015 school year.[12][13]




The district's total revenues decreased by 9.8 percent from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2015. During this same time period, federal and state aid decreased while local aid increased.

Revenue by Category
School Year Local Other School Districts State Aid Federal Aid Other Revenue Total
Total % of Revenue Total % of Revenue Total % of Revenue Total % of Revenue Total % of Revenue
2010-2011 $81,427,173 29.8% $0 0% $159,636,141 58.4% $30,733,650 11.2% $1,696,755 0.6% $273,493,719
2011-2012 $84,623,034 33.1% $0 0% $144,484,182 56.5% $25,563,365 10% $1,151,614 0.5% $255,822,195
2012-2013 $87,546,754 33.8% $0 0% $142,430,737 55% $27,117,989 10.5% $1,741,089 0.7% $258,836,570
2013-2014 $81,767,498 31.3% $0 0% $150,042,331 57.4% $29,061,350 11.1% $724,484 0.3% $261,595,663
2014-2015 $79,896,349 28.5% $0 0% $162,000,571 57.7% $31,878,500 11.4% $7,008,212 2.5% $280,783,632
Averages: $83,052,161.6 31% $0 0% $151,718,792.4 57% $28,870,970.8 11% $2,464,430.8 1% $266,106,355.8


From fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2015, total expenditures for the district decreased 1.2 percent. Expenditures on operational expenses and debt service increased while expenditures on staff expenses and students services decreased.

Expenditures by Category
School Year Staff Expenses Student Services Operational Expenses Debt Service Other Budget Total
Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget
2010-2011 $169,296,056 57.9% $15,817,965 5.4% $93,270,830 31.9% $7,078,268 2.4% $6,909,126 2.4% $292,372,245
2011-2012 $133,866,599 53.5% $13,285,394 5.3% $78,358,139 31.3% $17,169,374 6.9% $7,444,673 3% $250,124,179
2012-2013 $137,225,933 50.1% $14,102,221 5.1% $97,853,777 35.7% $16,233,302 5.9% $8,444,698 3.1% $273,859,931
2013-2014 $147,665,739 48.9% $15,614,041 5.2% $107,798,218 35.7% $21,613,982 7.2% $9,196,472 3% $301,888,452
2014-2015 $149,037,596 51.6% $17,007,565 5.9% $106,377,143 36.8% $6,395,161 2.2% $10,128,300 3.5% $288,945,765
Averages: $147,418,384.6 52% $15,165,437.2 5% $96,731,621.4 34% $13,698,017.4 5% $8,424,653.8 3% $281,438,114.4

Teacher salaries

Teacher salaries at Racine Unified School District are categorized based on higher education achievement and years of service. A teacher with a bachelor's degree can earn higher salaries by pursuing graduate degrees. The salary schedule also accounts for graduate degrees by providing higher starting salaries and greater potential salaries. The following table lists salaries for district teachers during the 2013-2014 school year:[14]

Salary structure
Degree level Minimum salary ($) Maximum salary ($)
B.A. 39,960 44,554
B.A. 12 42,118 47,630
B.A. 24 44,276 56,933
MA 46,434 63,581
MA 12 49,071 66,219
MA 24 51,709 68,856
Ph.D. 54,346 71,494


Teachers in Racine Unified School District are represented by the Racine Education Association (REA). The president of REA during the 2013-2014 school year was Jennifer Levie.[15]

Schools in Racine Unified School District


The district served 20,395 K-12 students during the 2013-2014 school year. The district experienced a 4.2 percent decrease in enrollment between 2009 and 2013. The following chart details enrollment in the district between 2009 and 2013:[1]

Total enrollment
Year Enrollment Year-to-year change (%)
2009-2010 21,308 -
2010-2011 21,119 -0.8
2011-2012 20,854 -1.2
2012-2013 20,715 -0.6
2013-2014 20,395 -1.5

District schools

Racine Unified School District operates 34 K-12 schools, which are listed below in alphabetical order:[16]

Racine Unified School District
Bull Fine Arts School
Case High School
Dr. Jones Elementary School
Fratt Elementary School
Giese Elementary School
Gifford Elementary School
Gilmore Middle School
Goodland Elementary School
Horlick High School
Janes Elementary School
Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary School
Jerstad-Agerholm Elementary School
Jerstad-Agerholm Middle School
Julian Thomas Elementary School
Keith R. Mack Alternative Program at Winslow High School
Keith R. Mack Alternative Program at Winslow Middle School
Knapp Elementary School
McKinley Middle School
Mitchell Elementary School
Mitchell Middle School
North Park Elementary School
Olympia Brown Elementary School
Park High School
REAL Charter High School
REAL Charter Middle School
Red Apple Elementary School
Roosevelt Elementary School
S.C. Johnson Elementary School
Schulte Elementary School
Starbuck Middle School
Wadewitz Elementary School
Walden III High School
Walden III Middle School
West Ridge Elementary School

Academic performance

See also: Public education in Wisconsin
Education policy logo.jpg

Education policy in the U.S.
Public education in the U.S.
School choice in the U.S.
Charter schools in the U.S.
Higher education in the U.S.
State public education information
Higher education by state
Glossary of education terms
Education statistics
See also

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction administers annual Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) tests to students throughout the state. These tests assess proficiency in math and reading among students in grades three through eight as well as tenth grade. WSAS tests also evaluate proficiency in language arts, science and social studies at grades four, eight and ten. The Department of Public Instruction publishes results from WSAS tests as part of each district's Annual District Report Card.[17]

The Annual District Report Card compares district performance with state performance based on four criteria:[17]

  • Student Achievement: This category compares reading and math performance by district students to state and national standards.
  • Student Growth: This category compares year-to-year performance on reading and math sections in WSAS tests.
  • Closing Gaps: This category compares test performance by low-performing groups in the district to similar cohorts across the state.
  • On-Track and Postsecondary Readiness: This category uses benchmarks including ACT scores, graduation rate, attendance rate and math achievement to assess post-graduate preparedness.

Racine Unified School District achieved an overall score of 62.1 during the 2013-2014 school year. The district's overall score led to a "Meets Few Expectations" designation from the Department of Public Instruction. The following tables compare district performance with state performance according to the 2013-2014 Annual District Report Card:[17]

Annual District Report Card Grades, 2013-2014
Category District score State score
Student Achievement 47.0 66.4
Student Growth 57.0 62.4
Closing Gaps 69.6 66.3
On-track and Postsecondary Readiness 74.8 85.3

Accountability ratings for schools in the district, 2013-2014
Category Number of schools Percentage of schools
Significantly exceeds expectations 1 3.1%
Exceeds expectations 2 6.5%
Meets expectations 11 35.5%
Meets few expectations 14 45.2%
Fails to meet expectations 3 9.7%
Alternate Accountability - Satisfactory Progress 0 0.0%
Alternate Accountability - Needs Improvement 0 0.0%

Historical data

The state's Annual District Report Card includes a review of district and state proficiency information in mathematics and reading for the previous five years. This review includes data from the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE) and the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (WAA-SwD) for students from grades three through eight and 10. The following tables compare the district's percentage of proficient and advanced proficient students with state levels from the 2008-2009 school year through the 2013-2014 school year:[17]

Mathematics proficiency comparisons, 2008-2013
School year District proficiency rate (%) State proficiency rate (%)
2008-2009 26.9 45.2
2009-2010 30.5 47.0
2010-2011 28.1 46.8
2011-2012 29.4 48.3
2012-2013 28.8 48.2
2013-2014 28.6 48.8

Reading proficiency comparisons, 2008-2013
School year District proficiency rate (%) State proficiency rate (%)
2008-2009 23.1 35.3
2009-2010 24.1 35.7
2010-2011 23.0 35.7
2011-2012 23.5 36.0
2012-2013 22.4 36.4
2013-2014 23.2 36.7


Changes to employee handbook

In April 2015, Superintendent Lolli Haws proposed several changes to the employee handbook and garnered negative feedback from unions associated with the district. The unions' biggest criticism was that Haws had talked to local media before she had discussed the proposed changes with the school board or staff.[18]

The president of the Racine Education Association called Haws's actions "truly shocking," and said they showed "complete disregard for RUSD educators and our elected officials."[18]

Haws said that district administration is sincerely seeking input on the recommended changes. "My goal is always to be open and transparent with our School Board, our staff and our community,” she said.[18]

Haws tried to discuss the suggested changes with the board the same day she spoke to local media, but the board delayed the discussion until members were given more time to review the recommendations.[19] None of the board members criticized Haws for talking to the media before they had a chance to review the changes.[18]

“I think it’s a great starting point and I hope the unions can sit down and seriously look at it,” board member Don Nielsen said.[18]

The suggested changes included removing advantages for senior applicants when filling open positions, implementing a standard, flat hourly wage for any extra work teachers do beyond their normal work hours to replace the current practice of using salary percentages, offering more personal days each year and increasing financial penalties for teachers who leave their jobs before the school year ends.[19]

Haws said employees will be able to give feedback on the changes but that the changes will no longer be negotiated.[19]

“We don’t believe that this handbook and the language in the handbook should be subjected to any mediated, negotiated, union-like, [before] Act 10 kind of process,” said Haws.[18]

School busing dispute

The Racine Unified School District and Renaissance Schools, a local voucher school, resolved a busing dispute that had Racine Unified threatening to stop busing 44 fourth-and-fifth grade students due to liability issues. Before arrangements were made for the district to continue busing the voucher school's students, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) promised to file a complaint against the district for Renaissance Schools and the families affected.[20][21]

The conflict started when Racine Unified said it would be ending bus services for students attending Renaissance Schools on February 1, 2015, though it had been busing those students since the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. District officials said the reason behind stopping the bus service was that the leaders of the voucher school had deceived them. The Racine Unified bus service dropped off students at their school in Mount Vernon, but Renaissance Schools would later transport those students to a different school in Kenosha.[20]

“Not only was the District misled in order to meet the needs of this private school, but Renaissance School administration also caused liability issues for the District,” said Racine Unified spokeswoman Stacy Tapp. She further explained that the district is only required to drop off students at their school of attendance, but that the district could still be held liable for students' safety while they are transported from Mount Vernon to Kenosha.[20]

“The school district has a legal obligation to transport these children to our school and we intend to hold them to that obligation,” founder of Renaissance Schools Frank Trecroci said.[20]

During negotiations between the two parties, Racine Unified extended its deadline to end busing services to February 27, 2015, and offered $150 to each family affected by the busing situation to help find new transportation. WILL asserted that the district was legally obligated to bus students through the end of the school year.[20]

On February 20, 2015, Racine Unified and Renaissance Schools came to an agreement without going to court. Racine Unified agreed to continue busing the students for the rest of the 2014-2015 school year, and Renaissance Schools agreed to assume liability for students while they are being transported between campuses.[21]

Nearby communities to vote on splitting from district

On April 7, 2015, the villages of Caledonia and Sturtevant took to the polls to have their say on whether or not they would like to secede from the Racine Unified School District and create their own school district. The results, however, indicated the communities were evenly divided on the issue. In Caledonia, 49.85 percent of voters were in favor of pursing a separate district while 47.66 percent were not. Similarly in Sturtevant, 47.50 percent were for the move while 46.69 percent opposed it.[22] The vote was a nonbinding, advisory referendum.[23][24]

Mount Pleasant, another nearby village, did not put the advisory referendum on the ballot. Village Administrator Kurt Wahlen explained that they did not pursue the referendum because current state law prohibits them from leaving the Racine Unified School District.[23] The law allows school districts to veto any secessions, but supporters of a split also pursued state legislation that would eliminate that veto power. State Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-21) attended Caledonia's village meeting to put the referendum on the ballot and said he plans to help introduce that legislation into a bill.[24]

Putting the advisory referendum on the ballot did not cost the villages any additional tax money because they added it to the regularly scheduled spring municipal and school board elections.[24] Village leaders plan to conduct a study to find out how feasible it would be to create a new school district. Caledonia Village President Bob Bradley said such a study would not exceed $30,000 and would follow the model of a similar study conducted in 2007. State law must also be changed in order to allow municipalities to separate from a school district.[23][25]

Complaint against superintendent proven unsubstantiated

Lolli Haws, superintendent of Racine Unified School District, was under investigation after a complaint was filed against her. The complaint was related to an undisclosed incident that occurred when Haws was substitute teaching at Knapp Elementary School in April 2014. Haws explained that she had substituted in order to gain a better understanding of how the administration and the community can support teachers. After experiencing a few difficult moments in the classroom, Haws said she sees the need for proper staffing levels and manageable class sizes.[26][27][28]

The investigation into the incident was conducted by Kenosha County Division of Children and Family Services, in order to avoid any conflict of interest between Knapp Elementary School, Racine Unified School District and Racine County. After concluding their investigation in June 2014, county officials determined the complaint against Haws was unsubstantiated.[26][29]

Contact information

Racine Unified School District logo.jpg
Racine Unified School District
3109 Mt. Pleasant St.
Racine, WI 53404
Phone: (262) 635-5600
Email: info@rusd.org

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "Wisconsin Information System for Education," accessed February 4, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "High school completion rates," accessed February 4, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 United States Census Bureau, "Racine County, Wisconsin," accessed August 28, 2014
  4. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed January 27, 2014
  5. Racine County Clerk, "Past elections," accessed February 5, 2014
  6. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  7. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.
  8. Racine Unified School District, "Superintendent," accessed February 5, 2014
  9. Journal Times, "No. 8: Lolli Haws hired to lead Unified," December 24, 2013
  10. Racine Unified School District, "Board Governance Policy," accessed February 5, 2014
  11. Racine Unified School District, "Board of Education Meetings," accessed August 28, 2014
  12. Racine Unified School District, "Original Budget 2013-2014," accessed August 25, 2014
  13. Racine Unified School District, "Original Budget 2014-2015," accessed December 16, 2014
  14. Racine Unified School District, "2013-2014 Teacher Salary Schedule," accessed February 5, 2014
  15. Racine Education Association, "About the REA," accessed February 5, 2014
  16. Racine Unified School District, "Our Schools," accessed February 5, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "Report Cards," accessed February 5, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 Journal Times, "Union leaders slam Haws for how proposed handbook changes were released," April 15, 2015
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Journal Times, "RUSD: Changes to help students, teachers," April 14, 2015
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 Journal Times, "Busing issue between Renaissance Schools, Unified may go to court," February 17, 2015
  21. 21.0 21.1 Journal Times, "Agreement reached in school busing dispute," February 23, 2015
  22. Racine County, "2ND UNOFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS 04-07-15," accessed April 7, 2015
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 The Journal Times, "Caledonia, Sturtevant looking to ask voters’ opinion on leaving Unified," January 24, 2015
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 The Journal Times, "Caledonia schools vote a go," January 26, 2015
  25. ABC 2, "Caledonia ready for next steps to split from Racine Unified School District," April 8, 2015
  26. 26.0 26.1 620TMJ4 Wisconsin's Radio Station, "Racine Unified's superintendent under investigation," May 19, 2014
  27. CBS58 News, "Racine school superintendent under investigation," May 19, 2014 (dead link)
  28. WISN.com, "Racine Unified superintendent under investigation," May 19, 2014
  29. The Journal Times, "Investigation concludes complaint against superintendent is unsubstantiated," June 20, 2014