Racine Unified School District, Wisconsin
|Racine Unified School District|
|Graduation rate:||69.8 percent|
|Number of schools:||34|
|Website:||School Home Page|
|Board of Education|
|Board president:||Dennis Wiser|
- 1 About the district
- 2 Superintendent
- 3 School board
- 4 Budget
- 5 Teacher salaries
- 6 Schools in Racine Unified School District
- 7 Academic performance
- 8 Issues
- 9 Contact information
- 10 See also
- 11 External links
- 12 References
About the district
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. During the 2011-2012 school year, Racine Unified School District was the fourth-largest school district in Wisconsin.
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.
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.
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.
Racial and political demographics
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.
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. Haws earned an annual salary of $200,000 during the 2013-2014 school year.
The Racine Board of Education consists of nine members elected at-large to three-year terms. Each member receives $300 per month in compensation.
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.
School board elections
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.
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|
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|
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:
|Degree level||Minimum salary ($)||Maximum salary ($)|
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.
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:
|Year||Enrollment||Year-to-year change (%)|
Racine Unified School District operates 34 K-12 schools, which are listed below in alphabetical order:
|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|
- See also: Public education in Wisconsin
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.
The Annual District Report Card compares district performance with state performance based on four criteria:
- 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:
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:
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.
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."
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.
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. None of the board members criticized Haws for talking to the media before they had a chance to review the changes.
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.
Haws said employees will be able to give feedback on the changes but that the changes will no longer be negotiated.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
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. The vote was a nonbinding, advisory referendum.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
- List of school districts in Wisconsin
- Racine Unified School District elections (2015)
- Racine Unified School District elections (2014)
- School Board Elections portal
- Racine Unified School District
- City of Racine, Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
- Wisconsin Association of School Boards
- Racine Education Association
- Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "Wisconsin Information System for Education," accessed February 4, 2014
- Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "High school completion rates," accessed February 4, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Racine County, Wisconsin," accessed August 28, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed January 27, 2014
- Racine County Clerk, "Past elections," accessed February 5, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
- 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.
- Racine Unified School District, "Superintendent," accessed February 5, 2014
- Journal Times, "No. 8: Lolli Haws hired to lead Unified," December 24, 2013
- Racine Unified School District, "Board Governance Policy," accessed February 5, 2014
- Racine Unified School District, "Board of Education Meetings," accessed August 28, 2014
- Racine Unified School District, "Original Budget 2013-2014," accessed August 25, 2014
- Racine Unified School District, "Original Budget 2014-2015," accessed December 16, 2014
- Racine Unified School District, "2013-2014 Teacher Salary Schedule," accessed February 5, 2014
- Racine Education Association, "About the REA," accessed February 5, 2014
- Racine Unified School District, "Our Schools," accessed February 5, 2014
- Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "Report Cards," accessed February 5, 2014
- Journal Times, "Union leaders slam Haws for how proposed handbook changes were released," April 15, 2015
- Journal Times, "RUSD: Changes to help students, teachers," April 14, 2015
- Journal Times, "Busing issue between Renaissance Schools, Unified may go to court," February 17, 2015
- Journal Times, "Agreement reached in school busing dispute," February 23, 2015
- Racine County, "2ND UNOFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS 04-07-15," accessed April 7, 2015
- The Journal Times, "Caledonia, Sturtevant looking to ask voters’ opinion on leaving Unified," January 24, 2015
- The Journal Times, "Caledonia schools vote a go," January 26, 2015
- ABC 2, "Caledonia ready for next steps to split from Racine Unified School District," April 8, 2015
- 620TMJ4 Wisconsin's Radio Station, "Racine Unified's superintendent under investigation," May 19, 2014
- CBS58 News, "Racine school superintendent under investigation," May 19, 2014 (dead link)
- WISN.com, "Racine Unified superintendent under investigation," May 19, 2014
- The Journal Times, "Investigation concludes complaint against superintendent is unsubstantiated," June 20, 2014
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