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Fall referendum option authorized by La Crosse school board, at last meeting before 3 newly elected members take office



La Crosse’s school board has taken care of one piece of old business, before three new board members are sworn in this month. On Monday, the board voted to have a funding referendum on the November ballot, which would help finance proposed school consolidations.

While there was talk of postponing that vote until the new members take office, current board member Juan Jimenez said it’s time for a decision on the referendum question.

“The longer we prolong that,” said Jimenez, “I think that is where, like Miss (school board president Annie) Baumann said, creates animosity. That’s what creates distrust. I think the humane thing is to make a decision today, and move forward with it, today.”

Scott Neumeister of the board argued for giving the newer members a voice in the decision. “We have three new board members coming on, and I really believe that they should have the opportunity to be part of this, because they’re gonna have to be the ones to also help sell it to the public,” said Neumeister.

The board which has been in place since the 2023 election has been debating school consolidations for a full year. On Monday, the board voted to schedule a fall referendum on borrowing $53 million. The money could assist efforts to merge Emerson and Spence into one school, as well as combining State Road and Hintgen.

Monday’s meeting was the last full session for board members Baumann, Brad Quarberg, and Jeff Jackson, who all chose not to run for re-election this spring. Newly elected members Tim Alberts, Adam Manka, and Jim Bagniewski will be sworn in at an organizational board meeting next week.

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. walden

    April 16, 2024 at 1:59 pm

    This started out as an exercise to save $2 million a year through school consolidation. But now we we are told we have to spend $53 million instead. Who else but the School Board and School District of La Crosse could come up with such a scam.

    • Bob N.

      April 17, 2024 at 10:17 am

      What I like about their system is Baumann, Quarberg and Jackson voted to put the 53 mil on the ballot, leaving Alberts, Marka and Bagniewski to figure out how to pay for it if it passes.

      Lame ducks have power, man.

      • Walden

        April 18, 2024 at 10:47 am

        It was also lame duck school board members that voted to close Lincoln Middle and extend Engels employment contract.

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