North Woods and Hintgen elementary schools in La Crosse are now the chosen candidates for possible closings to save money during a time of declining enrollment.
On Thursday night, the Facility Advisory Committee (FAC) met for the eighth and final time at the Hogan Administrative Center, and voted 11-5 to consider closing Hintgen rather than Spence.
North Woods had already been proposed for closure at a previous FAC meeting.
School consultant Joe Schroeder of Madison, leading the meeting, said committee members appeared to have come to a consensus that two of the nine public elementary schools should close, North Woods on the north side of La Crosse and Hintgen on the south side.
About 40 to 50 members of the public attended the session. These eight committee meetings are not open for public comment. That happens Nov. 27 and Nov. 29.
An official proposal for closings will be announced next week, after the FAC submits its final report to the school board and school administration.
Study panel member Steve O’Malley spoke before the vote, noting that the La Crosse district enrollment has gone down 20 percent in the last 20 years.
“Whatever decision the school board makes, I’ll respect,” O’Malley said. “They’re the ones that are elected to make this decision, but it is cost-ineffective for us to continue to maintain nine elementary schools.”
North Woods is one of two schools that opened in the 1990s, when the La Crosse district was expecting future growth. No final closing decisions are expected by the school board until early in the new year.