KUSD School Targeted for Closure

Jan. 22, 2023 8:45p

(WGTD)---Another round of worst-case scenario budget planning is on the agenda for Tuesday night’s Kenosha School Board meeting. And this time one of the targets is an elementary school.

Wilson—on the city’s near north side—would be closed next year under a recommendation from administration, which is trying to deal with what could turn into a $9.6 million budget deficit. According to administration, $1.2 million could be saved by closing the K-through-5 Wilson. At 117 students, the school has the smallest enrollment of any in the district.

Also Tuesday, administration is expected to try again to eliminate district contributions to employees’ health savings accounts. Such a move was rejected by the school board last month on a narrow vote. This time, the district wants to phase out the contributions.

Other cost-savings recommendations include $2 million in district-wide staff reductions, including a $500,000 in cuts at the central office. 

The anticipated financial problems are due to a continuing decline in enrollment and an increase in employee health insurance premiums.

The district’s financial picture could change dramatically for the better if the state legislature approves increases in state aid.

As Kenosha Unified moves forward with budget cuts, the Racine School Board Monday night is expected to take new steps under the district’s nearly $1 billion building modernization and downsizing plan.

On the table is consideration of a $60 million plan to expand and remodel Horlick High School. The project would include demolishing a wing built in 1928, and building a two-story classroom addition for social studies.

Also up for consideration is a $32 million plan to expand and remodel the Mitchell K-through-8. The project as proposed includes building a new gym and music wing, bathroom upgrades and a new middle school entrance.

Work is already underway in the district on a host of other projects, all made possible by a referendum nearly three years ago that squeaked by on just a five-vote margin.