The debate over closing two La Crosse elementary schools is drawing in more parents living nearby.
Many families living in the North Woods neighborhood are speaking out about proposals to close that school, which opened 30 years ago.
UW-La Crosse professor Barrett Klein was among the North Woods neighbors who likes what the school near Highway 16 has to offer.
Speaking on WIZM’s La Crosse Talk, Klein said the financial or instructional reasons given for wanting to close North Woods don’t make sense.
“They’ve got a great little forest with a creek nearby,” Klein said. “Inside, it’s a gorgeous building with wide spaces. The art room is beautiful, the music room is full of instruments from around the world, so there are qualities there both aesthetic and related to love of life or biodiversity, with a garden that they tend.”
Nese Nasif is another UW-L professor, among the North Woods parents hoping to keep that school open.
“Energy efficient, it’s high capacity, it has so much storage which is necessary for elementary schools,” Nasif told WIZM’s Mike Hayes. “So much green space for kids.”
At community meetings, citizens have taken at least one straw vote to single out North Woods as a school that could be shut down.
Spence and Emerson also have been identified as elementary schools to be considered for closing.
La Crosse School District Superintendent, Dr. Aaron Engel, will be on La Crosse Talk PM on Thursday to talk about the final report from the Facility Advisory Committee (FAC), which met for the eighth and final time on Nov. 2.
Engel explained last month on WIZM that North Woods was selected to close partly because of its location.
“ It’s out in the country,” Engel said. “It’s on the edge of the city. So it’s not where kids live. There’s only about 60 students that live within two miles of that building. And so there’s a lot of busing that goes out there and families aren’t able to be quite as connected to that as a result because they can’t walk to school.”
The other elementary voted unofficially to close by the FAC was Hintgen over Spence.
The committee determined a north-south plan for closing those two elementaries.