Kenosha Unified School District facing tough decisions regarding Rightsizing process

Multiple schools set to close due to declining enrollment, budget concerns

By Jeffrey Zampanti

Multimedia Journalist

KENOSHA, Wis. — Kenosha’s Brandon Morris works out of Bradford High School as a graduate specialist for the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha.

And while he isn’t a Kenosha Unified teacher, he senses their tension.

“I know the teachers have some concerns as well as administration,” Morris said. “Am I going to have a job? Do I need to stay in this field?”

The tension stems from Kenosha Unified’s recently announced Rightsizing process.

Due to declining enrollment and schools operating at low capacity, Kenosha Unified is preparing to consolidate schools, change school boundaries and potentially merge programs starting in 2024-25.

Sixteen of the district’s 21 elementary schools are operating under the recommended 80-percent capacity, according to Kenosha Unified.

Ultimately, schools must close.

“These are really weighty decisions,” Kenosha Unified Superintendent Jeffrey Weiss said. “However, the cost of inaction is a heavy price, if we don’t take action.”

Weiss said the district is projected to start the 2024-25 school year with a deficit more than $10 million.

“In order to make up that budget deficit the district will have to look at programs and staffing,” Weiss said. “We’ll have to look at everything in order … to balance our budget.”

Morris said he understands the district must make tough decisions regarding expected closures and cutbacks.

Parents, teachers and staff remain concerned about what schools will close and how many.

“I think the community is concerned that they’re going to be closing some of the inner city schools,” Morris said. “And then where and how are those students going to get to school moving forward.”

Kenosha Unified holds its fifth and final community engagement session regarding its Rightsizing process 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Bullen Middle School.