La Crosse School Board votes to move forward with $194.7 million school consolidation referendum question – WIZM 92.3FM 1410AM

The La Crosse School District is moving forward with a referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot to ask the public for a school consolidation plan.

The, so-called, “One Capital Referendum Question,” will ask the public whether to invest in a $194.7 million school referendum package, which will go toward building a new high school on the former Trane factory headquarters on the south side, while moving the middle schools to the Logan and Central high school buildings.

The price is equivalent to a property tax increase of $8 per $100,000 of property value per year.

The school board voted Monday night to move forward with the referendum question as declining enrollment and reduced state funding have forced the district into large budget shortfalls.

The district noted that it had reduced costs and expenses that did not impact the ability to educate students, but that the additional savings from the consolidations “will reduce class sizes, provide electives that students need and will provide the engaging labs and classrooms that today’s education needs.” the district said in a news release.

The move comes after two years of building assessments, dozens of facility options, as well as multiple focus groups and listening sessions and a community-wide survey.

The results formulated from this survey had 53.25% “definitely yes/probably yes” votes. It was sent to all members of the school district community.

The $194.7 million will be used to:

  • Acquisition of land and construction of a consolidated high school, including a performing arts center, sports facilities and site improvements
  • Renovations and improvements to current high school buildings for conversion into colleges
  • Acquisition of furniture, fittings and equipment.

“As our enrollment continues to decline, meeting the needs of our facilities must be a priority,” Board of Education President Juan Jimenez said in a statement. “This is an opportune time to reinvest in our students, staff and community with minimal cost to our taxpayers. The referendum plan meets our most immediate needs and allows us to improve educational opportunities for more than 3,000 of our students.

To learn more about the district’s long-term facility planning solutions, please visit www.lacrosseschools.org.

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