Referenda calling for separation from Racine Unified School District pass in two villages – what’s next?

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CALEDONIA/RACINE (WITI) -- It passed by a hair, but it passed. Voters in Caledonia and Sturtevant said on Election Day Tuesday, April 7th they want to separate from the Racine Unified School District.

The referenda passing means means the majority of voters in Caledonia and Sturtevant want to start their own school districts in each community. The process could take years. For example, in the Green Bay area, it took a district of 2,000 students three years to get through the process.

The Racine Unified School District has 21,000 students.

"We didn`t want to spend the time if the people were not behind it. People are saying 'okay, yeah, check it out and if it's cost-effective, economical and it will help keep Caledonia sustainable,' because that`s our main goal," Kathleen Trentadue, trustee for the Village of Caledonia said.

Sturtevant's referendum passed by just six votes.

"We have parents that already choice out and there is some dissatisfaction with Racine, and we wanted to see if we could do something better by just doing our own smaller district," Chris Larsen, trustee for the Village of Sturtevant said.

The first step is research to determine whether this is a viable option. That study will cost money and will need to be factored into the budget.

"Estimates I`ve seen in the $20,000 range, but that is based on an older estimate," Larsen said.

Because everyone agrees this will be a long process, Racine Unified School District officials say they're not overly concerned at this point. The Racine Unified School District's Board of Education hasn't met to discuss what this would mean for Racine.

"We would have to take a long look at it to see how the taxes would all shake out, how funding would shake out, splitting resources up," Board of Education President Dennis Wiser said.

In the meantime, Wiser is encouraging everyone in their own community to do their own research.

"I would just urge them to come to school board meetings and see the reports from the department chiefs because I think they will hear some stuff that`s better than some of them would anticipate," Wiser said.