LA CROSSE, Wis., (July 18, 2022) – The Board of Education for the School District of La Crosse has voted to place a single capital referendum question on the November 8, 2022 ballot. Residents of the district will vote on the question to build a consolidated high school. With declining enrollment and reductions in state funding, the district faces significant budget deficits. To adjust, the district has cut costs and reduced expenses where it did not impact the ability to educate students. The additional cost savings from building consolidations will keep class sizes small, offer the electives students need, and provide the engaging labs and classrooms that today’s instruction requires.
Over the last two years, the district assessed its oldest buildings, explored dozens of facility options, brought together focus groups and listening sessions, and gathered comprehensive feedback through two community-wide surveys. The idea that emerged from the community to most likely address the district’s budgetary needs and best prepare students for the future was to build a consolidated high school and move the middle schools into the existing high schools.
The referendum question asks voters for approval of general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $194,700,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school building and facility improvement project consisting of: acquisition of land for and construction of a consolidated high school, including a performing arts center, athletic facilities and site improvements; renovations and improvements to the current high school buildings for conversion into middle schools; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures, and equipment.
“As our enrollment continues to decrease, addressing our facility needs must be a priority,” said Board of Education President Juan Jimenez. “This is an opportune moment to re-invest in our students, staff, and community with minimal cost to our taxpayers. The referendum plan addresses our most immediate needs and allows us to improve the educational opportunities of over 3,000 of our students.”
If the referendum question is approved in November, it would represent a school property tax rate increase of $0.08 per $1,000 of property value from the current mill rate (a property tax increase of $8.00 per $100,000 of property value.)
To learn more about the district’s long-range facility planning solutions, please visit www.lacrosseschools.org.