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La Crosse school referendum campaign makes headlines through much of 2022



A school district plan to merge La Crosse’s two public high schools into one turned into one of the area’s biggest news stories in the past year. 

In November, a referendum for building a new school on Trane Company property was voted down, by a 70 per cent majority.  Much of the opposition came from the north side of La Crosse, where Logan High School would be shut down under the plan.  Retiring city council member Andrea Richmond offered another suggestion.

La Crosse School District Superintendent, Dr. Aaron Engel, takes questions from the audience during an informational session at Longfellow Middle School in late August, 2022, (PHOTO: Rick Solem)

“If the population is declining in La Crosse, I don’t believe it is, but don’t take the high schools and make ’em middle schools,” Richmond said. “Build a middle school.”

The La Crosse district continues to study new options to deal with building costs and a shrinking enrollment, in the wake of the referendum defeat.

Logan High School would have merged with Central in a new building, under the referendum plan defeated in November 2022

Although the referendum lost by a 2-to-1 margin, it did have support from a group called Vote Yes for La Crosse Schools.  Former county board chair Tara Johnson backed that group, saying La Crosse has to get away from the two high school tradition.

“This community may at one time have been a two high school community,” Johnson said in October. “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.”

People who favor the merger idea argued that the current Logan High building would still be used as a middle school, if Logan and Central High were to be moved into one building.

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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