In early 1982, the La Crosse School District was considering more school closings because of declining enrollment. Two elementary schools on the north side, Roosevelt and Franklin, were targeted for shutdown, and 14-hundred people responded by signing petitions to keep them open. Each building was expected to have fewer than 200 students the following fall. School board members did not respond to comments about the proposed closings, saying they wanted to keep their minds open…which led to accusations that the decision was already final. The two schools actually stayed open well into the 21st century, until they were replaced recently by La Crosse’s new Northside School.
The Equal Rights Amendment for women was still being debated around the U.S., as a passage deadline of June 30th approached. The amendment was still three states short of becoming part of the Constitution. Meanwhile, a state ERA for Wisconsin passed in the Senate in Madison by a vote of 28 to 4. Among the opponents was Republican Senator Walter Chilsen, who argued that an equal rights amendment might open the door for more abortions in Wisconsin.
For one week in December of 1982, the #1 song in America was the cheerleading-inspired record “Mickey” by Toni Basil. So fine, 36 years ago, yesterday in La Crosse.