Resolution passes to create Kenosha school district
The Kenosha City Council passed a resolution (which is not law, but a statement of intent or a directive) to encourage the electorate to create a new city-wide school district and to encourage the Wisconsin legislature to allow for election of school board members from voting districts. This resolution was originally sponsored by Alderpersons Anthony Nudo, David Bogdala, Steve Bostrom, and Ray Misner. Alderpersons Jesse Downing and Lawrence Green signed on as sponsors at tonight’s meeting.
(Please refer to an earlier story on this subject by clicking here: http://www.kenowi.com/2011/05/26/aldermen-draft-resolution-to-create-kenosha-school-district/1052).
Alderperson David Bogdala started off his comments responding to a comment that this resolution was a “power grab” for the City Council/City Hall. He said that this was not the case; this was a grass roots effort. The resolution merely wants to be the voice of the citizens of the city of Kenosha, Kenosha County, Gateway, and the school district. Citizens have reviewed their tax bills and then have expressed their concerns to their alderpersons. Bogdala stated that he supports the teachers who will be out of employment at the end of the month. This resolution merely provides a voice for the citizens.
Alderperson Jan Michalski said that he doesn’t doubt the sincerety of the sponsors; he’s heard complaints about how the KUSD operates and teacher’s pay. He stated that he wasn’t sure that the sponsors did their homework and research, however. “It’s too much like trying to unscramble an egg. If we broke off, how would that play out?” He stated that, before he could support the resolution, he’d have to have a look at some concrete research. “Where would the schools be located? Pleasant Prairie and Somers have no high schools.”
Alderperson Anthony Nudo said that he was concerned about the city of Kenosha, and not Pleasant Prairie and Somers. One specific item that this resolution addresses is the recommendation about forming voting districts for the school board. “The KUSD is not a unified district; it’s a common school district.” What this means is that at-large elections are held for three different municipalities. Parents call their alderperson for school issues, not their school board member because they don’t know who on the school board represents them. ”It’s extremely confusing,” he said. He also refuted Michalski’s assertion that there was no research done. “The research has been done. This is not a new concept. There have been splits in other school districts in the state.”
Alderperson Ray Misner is encouraging constituents to take action. “Come educated when you walk into the polls to vote.” We need to hold the school board members accountable. This would give the constituents more power. He spoke of his children losing their favorite teachers. “There has been no sacrifice on 52nd Street (at the Educational Support Center). A new system is needed to hold people accountable. Citizens can make change.”
Alderperson Anthony Kennedy commented on the fact that two gentlemen spoke during the citizen’s comments portion of the meeting. Lou Rugani, his constituent, and Jeff Cassidy, his friend. Each gave their opposing views. Kennedy said that the “lack of respect for the process is appalling.” He said he believes that this body is “grandstanding.” “You can make any elected official listen by voting them out.” He accused the sponsors of the resolution of “starting fires, starting problems, then putting out (fixing) the problems,” thereby touting their accomplishments. “KUSD is at war with the city. We need cooperative forms of government. We need to leverage our strengths against our weaknesses.” He stated that he will not be supporting this resolution. “There is power in the vote, and there is power in participation.”
Bogdala spoke again, stating that the “current system is broken.” “You’re saying that the problem doesn’t exist. Ask the 200 teachers who are losing their jobs. I didn’t start the fire. And, I’m not afraid to jump in and help them out.” This resolution provides a voice and a push from the citizens. Alderperson Steve Bostrom said that “this was very simple. Do you support taxpayers? If you do, then you support this resolution.”
The resolution passed with a roll call vote of 11 to 3, with two abstentions (the two alderpersons who are KUSD teachers, Daniel Prozanski and Michael Orth).