One of the elementary schools being considered for closing in La Crosse received a vote of confidence from its very first principal.
Jane Morken was in charge of North Woods International School when it opened in 1992.
North Woods is now on the list of city schools that might be shut down to cut costs.
Morken told the La Crosse school board Monday that there were specific reasons why that building was placed on County Highway B.
“It was put there because of the space, not because we thought it was gonna grow there” Morken told the board. “It was created as a solution to the imbalances in our schools, economic, demographics and overcrowding.”
North Woods and Southern Bluffs were built at the same time, and many students were bused to the schools under a plan for socioeconomic balance throughout the district.
Citizens, who opposed the busing plan and the balance policy, organized a recall drive, which led to the removal of four school board members in a 1992 election.
The La Crosse School District is under financial pressure to close an elementary school or two, because of high costs and falling enrollment.
The district has declined by nearly 1,800 students since 2003 because of declining birth rates and the growth of rural populations.
Last summer, the district closed Lincoln Middle School, which is over 100 years old.
“From my perspective,” Morken said, “(a study) committee was given a narrow parameter of considerations — close a school on the north side, close a school on the south side.
“Why not three? Why not two? Why not two on the south? Why not build a new school? Why not move the boundary between Logan and Central, if enrollment demands it? We’ve done it before.”
Morken argued that schools are being “pitted against each other.”
North Woods, along with Emerson School on Campbell Road, have been mentioned as likely candidates for closing before next fall. The district is expected to make a decision on the future of North Woods and other schools within a few weeks.