The La Crosse School District is going forward with a referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot to ask the public on a school consolidation plan.
The, what’s called, “single 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 old Trane Plant headquarters on the southside, while moving the middle schools to the Logan and Central high school buildings.
The price tag amounts to a property tax increase of $8 per $100,000 of property value a year.
The School Board voted Monday night to move ahead with the referendum question, as declining enrollment and reductions in state funding has forced the district into significant budget deficits.
The district noted that it has cut costs and reduced expenses that did not impact the ability to educate students but additional savings from consolidations “will keep class sizes small, offer the electives students need and provide the engaging labs and classrooms that today’s instruction requires,” the district stated in a news release.
This decision 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 formulated results from that survey had 53.25% voting “definitely yes/probably yes.” It was sent to every community member in the school district.
The $194.7 million will go toward:
- Acquisition of land for and construction of a consolidated high school, including a performing arts center, athletic facilities and site improvements
- Renovations and improvements to the current high school buildings for conversion into middle schools
- Acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment.
“As our enrollment continues to decrease, addressing our facility needs must be a priority,” Board of Education President Juan Jimenez said in a statement. “This is an opportune moment to re-invest in our students, staff, and community with minimal cost to our taxpayers. The referendum plan addresses our most immediate needs and allows us to improve the educational opportunities of over 3,000 of our students.”
To learn more about the district’s long-range facility planning solutions, please visit www.lacrosseschools.org.