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Racine Unified administration may endorse school building closures tonight
Racine Unified

Racine Unified administration may endorse school building closures tonight

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RACINE — Racine Unified administrators presented a new long-range facilities master plan to the public in October, and warned that the district would likely be closing some school buildings in the future.

Officials later said that recommendations regarding which buildings to close and other facilities-related changes would likely come in December. Shannon Gordon, Unified’s chief operating officer, is scheduled to announce the facilities recommendations during a School Board work session set for tonight.

The facilities plan is the most comprehensive study of Unified’s buildings, their conditions and their education adequacy that has been completed in at least 20 years.

The plan rated Unified buildings based on facilities condition index, which weighs necessary deferred maintenance of a building against its estimated replacement value. It’s generally accepted that a building with an FCI of 60% or more isn’t worth further investment. There are nine Unified buildings with an FCI of 58% or more.

Some of the schools in the worst shape are among Unified’s oldest, including Janes Elementary, 1425 N. Wisconsin St., built in 1857, with an FCI of 64%, and Red Apple Elementary, 914 St. Patrick St., built in 1874, with an FCI of 60%. Janes has an enrollment of 283, while Red Apple’s is 411.

However, it is noteworthy that the school with the highest FCI of 67% is North Park Elementary, built in 1952. North Park, 4748 Elizabeth St., Caledonia, has an enrollment of 311. One of the district’s oldest schools, Julian Thomas, 930 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive — built in 1857 with an addition in 2000 — had the fourth-lowest FCI at 6%.

“We know that we don’t have a budget that would support either continuing to maintain these 1857 buildings or quite frankly some of them from the 1950s either,” Gordon previously said.

RUSD administrators said they did not want to disclose the recommendations prior to the meeting.

Could some Racine schools close? Recommendations expected in December

The School Board does not take votes during work sessions, so decisions regarding the recommendations will likely not be made until the board’s next business meeting, at the earliest. That meeting is set for Dec. 16.

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Reporter

Caitlin Sievers covers education in Racine County with a primary focus on Racine Unified School District. Before moving to the Racine area she worked at small papers in Indiana, Illinois and Nebraska.

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