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Pro-referendum group promotes $194.7 million building plan to merge La Crosse high schools



The La Crosse School District is getting support for its large building referendum from a citizens group called “Vote Yes for La Crosse Schools.”

Members are urging passage of the $194.7 million plan on the ballot, which would convert a Trane Company office building into a new high school combining Central and Logan.

Former La Crosse County board chair Tara Johnson, working with the committee, said Monday the tradition of high schools at both ends of the city has to change.

“This community may at one time have been a two high school community,” Johnson said on Monday. “We are now a one high school community. That is the reality of birth rates, the reality of enrollments. While the county has grown, other school districts have seen much of that growth” instead of La Crosse.

One organizer of the Vote Yes group, Kathryn Skemp Moran, is a Logan High graduate who attended the school when it had an enrollment around 1,200. She says it’s now down around 700.

“The population (at Logan) has decreased by nearly half,” Moran said. “We are no longer a community that can support two high schools.”

Moran argues that students at Logan and Central have found themselves working together on sports and arts projects, and many of them would like a merger of schools.

Three major problem areas with the current system are deficits, a falling enrollment and maintenance costs.

The Vote Yes group says merging Logan and Central High schools into a new building could save the school system close to $5 million a year.

Yard signs have been posted around the city, calling on voters to oppose the referendum and save Logan High School. The Vote Yes group says Logan — and Central — would still be used as a middle schools if the merger occurs.

More information on the merger can be found here.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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  1. John due

    November 1, 2022 at 6:34 am

    Why not put the middle schools into the exisisting high schools with the high schoolers and get rid of Longfellow, Lincoln and Logan middle

    • Me

      November 12, 2022 at 7:42 am

      Like this!

  2. Ronald Walker

    November 1, 2022 at 7:38 am

    Seems to me if you look back into past articles, someone from the school board suggested that the $5 million in savings the taxpayers would get from construction of the new high school could be put back into the education system.
    If you spend that $5 million how is that considered a savings?

  3. Kathy Abraham

    November 1, 2022 at 7:42 am

    According to Gunderson Health System’s website, the birth rates in 2021 and 2020 had all time record high of births, with the last record high in 2018. Saying birth rates are down is just one of many misinformed statements being spouted by the people who want to merge. Also, Engle doesn’t live in La Crosse, so he doesn’t have to live with any decisions made for the school district of La Crosse, that doesn’t seem right at all.


  4. Paul P.

    November 1, 2022 at 7:56 am

    Originally, La Crosse and North La Crosse, were 2 separate cities. Maybe it’s time they split again.

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