KUSD School Board approves closures for five elementary schools, Lincoln Middle School

A somber feeling filled the auditorium of Indian Trail High School and Academy Tuesday night after the Kenosha Unified School Board voted 4-3 to close Lincoln Middle School.

Lincoln teachers, staff, students and alumni walked out in silence, with the exception of one member, who said, “We’re still Lincoln.”

Lincoln Middle School was one of several schools targeted for closure for the 2024-25 school year. Also on the closing list were five elementary schools — Stocker, Vernon, McKinley, Jefferson and EBSOLA-Creative arts — the relocation of Washington Middle School to the EBSOLA building and reducing the Reuther High School staff by 10.

The district is estimated to save $8 million from its decisions, as it faces at $15 million deficit in 2024-25.

The board’s only unanimous decision of the night was to close the elementary schools. In its decision to close Lincoln, School Board members Mary Modder, Rebecca Stevens and Todd Price cast the dissenting votes.

Board members Eric Meadows, Kristine Schmaling, Todd Battle and Board President Yolanda Adams voted in favor of the motion, citing fiscal responsibility, among other factors.

“We are here to make the decisions that will make sure that we have a viable school district in the near future,” Adams said. “The administration went with recommendation that affected the least amount of students. That doesn’t mean no students are being impacted.”

The decision came after other failed motions to avoid closing Lincoln, and lengthy discussion, with Price, Stevens and Modder wanting to delay the decision, while other board members did not.

“If we keep running a deficit, every student is going to be losing more resources,” Meadows said. “We can’t keep kicking the can down the road.”

In another 4-3 vote, the board approved reducing 10 Reuther High School positions, while keeping the school open. Modder, Adams, Stevens and Price voted in favor, while Meadows, Schmaling and Battle cast the dissenting votes.

Following the announcement of the closures, the district will communicate changes with families about boundary adjustments, school options and other decisions.

The district will also inform staff of non-renewal in a specified timeline starting at the end of January.

A number of buildings were proposed to shift purpose during closures, such as moving the Even Start program, a newcomer program and PK-5 dual language program into the Stocker building. Other proposed shifts included moving Dimensions of Learning Academy and Early Learners into Brompton and combining KTEC East and West in Lincoln Middle.

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