Thursday, June 30, 2011
A Racine Unified teacher says she and her husband would have held off on a second child had they known about the increased cost to their family.
Carrie and Dan Renzulli have always had insurance through Racine Unified even though Dan's employer, a private company, also offers insurance plans. Carrie is a first-grade teacher at Fratt Elementary, and the family's new insurance plan starts tomorrow, July 1 under the agreement the teachers' union struck with the school district in March. They Would Have Waited for a Second Baby She admits they had the "Cadillac" of insurance plans until the switch. During her first pregnancy in 2009, Carrie and Dan paid a $15 co-pay at her first pre-natal appointment and their insurance paid the rest. Now, Carrie is due to give birth to the couple's second baby in October, and their out-of-pocket expenses will rise exponentially. "We have to pay $4,000…
Friday, May 13, 2011
Teaching kids is about more than academics.
During my career, I have often come across vastly different perceptions of what my job as an educator is. The answer to this question speaks to a very key reason why public education is continuously in a battlefield. More specifically, how our community defines what it means to be an educator will greatly impact the kind of education and investment we give our children. First, there is the old-fashioned idea about educators. The tale of nuns walking up and down rows of desks with rulers is a common story from our elder generations. The idea was to “pound” the basics into the students while teaching them to be respectful, orderly, and obedient. Students developed a strong sense of self-discipline or at least that was the hope. This era of …
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The success, or lack thereof, in school is a direct reflection on how much parents support their child's education.
As an educator of students from all different backgrounds and socioeconomic conditions, I can confidently say that parents' involvement in their child’s education is the single most important factor in that child's success. What is parent involvement? Schools emphasize the importance of parent involvement, but parent involvement can mean many different things. Traditionally, parent involvement involves things like chaperoning a field trip, putting up bulletin boards, or assisting with the lunch hour. This is unrealistic for many families. However, parent involvement does not mean the parent has to be in the school building. In fact, the best parent involvement doesn’t require knowledge of subject material or attending school functions. A …
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
A Racine Unified principal thinks our community investment needs to improve if we expect our district ranking and test scores to get better.
Businesspeople know all about the importance of being adaptable to change; hopefully even ahead of game. Racine area children, including my own four, are our future. They will construct our future economy, take care of us when we can no longer, and make up the identity of our community. So, what will the education we give to our children yield for our future? As a community, are we adaptable to our changing economy? What value does our community place on education? When you look at the educational system from the outside, you have to wonder. We spend the lowest amount of our tax dollars for our school system compared to similar Wisconsin districts. Our school buildings are old, and in some cases, we are talking about schools constructed …
Monday, April 25, 2011
Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch wants you!
Your Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch is looking for bloggers, and strong community voices like yours are needed. Are you passionate about something in Your Patch? Contact us. Whether it's food, family, schools, government, business, social issues, shopping, running or hamster training techniques— if it's your thing, we'd like you to consider blogging for Patch. Anyone may apply. Parents, grandparents, favorite aunties, crafters, shopkeepers, baristas, hobbyists, nonprofit organizers, and government officials—here’s a chance to share your expertise and your voice. Don't be shy! Get in touch with us about your idea. We want to hear what you have to say. Patch bloggers are not paid and will own their blogs, so if you are already blogging and …
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Extra class day tacked onto the end of the school year means staff members will receive an extra day of pay.
June 13 will be the last day of classes in the Racine Unified School District. But, the RUSD Board of Education learned Monday that the extra day carries a price tag of up to $478,000. The extra day, which is being tacked on to the end of the school year, is necessary to meet state attendance requirements. The day is necessary because nearly 400 teachers, or 25 percent of the district’s teaching staff called in sick on Feb. 17, forcing classes to be canceled. The incident occurred during heated protests at the State Capitol against Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to eliminate most collective bargaining rights from many public sector employees. Superintendent Dr. Jim Shaw said that because all remaining employees stayed at work, and were paid …
Monday, April 18, 2011
Local credit union looks to help people impacted by the budget cuts.
Educators Credit Union is responding to recent turmoil affecting public sector workers with a series of personal finance workshops in April and May. “We’re focused on helping people in need, regardless of whether it’s teachers, social workers or health care workers and regardless of whether they’re in the public or private sector,” says Jim Henderson, senior vice president-member enhancements. “There are situations where incomes are reduced because of what’s going on with the state budget. The Racine-based credit union’s program, called “We Support Wisconsin Working Families” was launched because of the action taken in the Wisconsin Legislature. The budget repair bill requires most public sector employees to contribute at least 5.8 percent…
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Two Mount Pleasant residents explain their positions.
Voters in the Racine Unified School District went to the polls today, April 5, to cast ballots for a three-part referendum that could fund five new schools, repair and renovate five existing schools, fund more teachers for smaller class sizes, and add $1 million a year to the district's fund balance each year for 10 years.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
District administrators seek to plug $7 million hole in their budget.
The Racine Unified School District’s central office staff will be shrinking as district officials work to overcome an expected “$7 million problem,” said RUSD Superintendent Dr. Jim Shaw. “We’re probably going to have to reduce the amount of staff in central office. To that end, we will be presenting a central office reorganization plan to the (School) Board,” Shaw said that Monday’s School Board meeting. “We want to keep these cuts away from the school as best we can, so that’s why we’ll be starting with the central office.” About 250 employees are assigned to RUSD’s central office—known formally as the Administrative Service Center—although not all are based at 2220 Northwestern Ave. They include administrators, specialists and support …
Friday, March 18, 2011
This candidate profile is the third in a series.
Caledonia Patch started its Racine Unified School District Board of Education election coverage this week with profiles of the five candidates competing for three positions. Each of the candidates were interviewed individually and asked to comment on identical questions. The candidates’ responses will appear over the next few days. Three incumbents and two challengers are seeking three-year terms on the board. Members are elected at-large to the nine-member School Board, which sets policy for RUSD—the state’s fourth largest school district. Pamala Handrow, 59, of 1601 Grand Ave., Racine, is a seeking a second term on the Racine Unified School District Board of Education. She has a lengthy background in youth and social services. Handrow is…