Recent Racine School Board candidate Eric Marcus is not going quietly into the night.
Marcus could not overcome the $40,000 in shadow funds from Partners for Progress (investigation into this continues more to come) but he has formed Care, the Coalition to Actively Reform Education.
This is the release sent out about CARE.Educational Reform Group Opposes Referendum
Racine, Wisconsin – April 20, 2006
Contact: Eric Marcus, Coalition to Actively Reform Education (CARE) - 847.668.3915http://home.wi.rr.com/care
The Racine Unified School District is asking the community to exceed spending limits and give them another $6.45 million. The Coalition to Actively Reform Education (CARE) thinks it’s just good money after bad and urges a “no” vote.
Between 2000 and 2005, the number of Racine Unified School District students remained the same while overall school spending in Racine rose from $178 million to $256 million - an increase of 43.8%. At the same time, student achievement on statewide exams and graduation rates continue to be far below state averages.
While asking again for a tax increase, the Racine Unified School District has failed to present a vision for the education of our children, 1-year and 5-year goals or an action plan to improve student performance. CARE has developed a vision, goals and actions for the Racine Unified School District. We want to work with parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders to quickly finalize and begin implementation of this plan.
At its April 3, 2006 Board meeting, the Racine Unified School District acknowledged that it could reduce expenses by over $2 million with no impact on students or teachers. There does not appear to be any reason these cuts could not have been made in prior years. This is not the kind of tax revenue stewardship we deserve.
CARE calls for the Racine Unified School District to present an acceptable plan for our children’s education - including specific and measurable actions for achieving them – before asking the voters for more money. Continuing to ask voters to simply make up deficits is irresponsible. We need to ensure that our spending is focused on providing the best education for our children. We invite the Racine Unified School Board to meet with CARE to discuss cost reductions that would have little, if any, impact on our childrens’ education and would not require a referendum in 2006.
Despite unacceptable student achievement, the top 21 Racine Unified School District administrators were paid $2,497,308 in salaries and fringe benefits in 2004 (the most current state published figures). That’s an average of over $118,919 a year. Racine Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Thomas Hicks, is paid a salary of $140,100 plus fringe benefits of another $53,028 for a total of just over $193,000.While Racine Unified School District teachers will receive copies of their proposed new contract as part of the ratification process, though legally permitted to do so, the School Board insists on keeping those terms a secret from the community which must pay for it.
The June 2006 referendum gives our community the opportunity to tell the Racine Unified School District that we will not give them more tax dollars without effective stewardship for public money and an acceptable plan to improve the education of our children.
CARE, a non-partisan advocacy group formed to improve the education of children in the Racine Unified School District, offers membership at no cost. CARE advocates setting measurable objectives to improve student achievement and graduation rates; establish District accountability with proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars; offer neighborhood schools to all students, decrease average busing times; and provide educational leadership that earns the respect of the community. CARE invites inquiries and membership.