VOTE NOVEMBER 8, 2022Referendum Information
Strong Schools = Strong Community
A great education prepares our kids for a successful future. We must ensure our schools are up to date and are able to provide the basics, while also offering the collaborative and engaging educational experiences our students need to be successful in tomorrow’s workplace.
Our students today are the builders, entrepreneurs, and leaders of tomorrow. Providing the best possible education is crucial for our kids’ future so that our whole community is successful.
Investing in a new high school and upgrading middle school facilities by moving into our current high schools will improve the learning environment for half of our 6,000-plus students. This plan allows us to remove $18.5 million in maintenance expenses and reduce operating costs by $4.5 million a year. Savings that can then be reinvested in our students and teachers.
Most importantly, this plan allows the school district to continue to provide small class sizes, and modern learning labs while providing the educational, elective, athletic, and extracurricular opportunities that our 6-12 students deserve to prepare them for the future.
If you have any questions or concerns not addressed on our web page, please feel free to contact us using this form.
The School District of La Crosse is at a critical point. We must make changes to our facilities to provide our students the learning opportunities they deserve while addressing the aging buildings, declining enrollment, and budgeting challenges the district faces.
After 20 years of declining enrollment, caused by changing local demographics and lower birth rates, and reductions in state funding we are facing significant budget deficits now and into the future. Six of our buildings are over 80 years old, getting more expensive to maintain, and do not meet today’s needs.
To adjust, we have cut costs and reduced expenses where it did not impact our ability to educate students. However, we can no longer afford to heat, clean, and maintain all 15 of our buildings and keep the great opportunities we have for our kids.
Over the last two years, we assessed our 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 for a consolidated high school and moving our middle schoolers to our existing high schools emerged from our community as the one most likely to address our budgetary needs and best prepare our students for the future.
We examined 11 different sites for a consolidated high school considering size, location, availability, environmental concerns, and reuse of an existing facility. Only one 40-acre site in the city was available and we were able to secure the right to purchase the Trane Headquarters site if a referendum is passed.
Building a new consolidated high school opens the current Logan High School and Central High School buildings to better serve our middle schoolers in grades 6-8. Transitioning our middle school students to the high school buildings is an immediate improvement to their educational experience with access to additional space and programs.
The plan will provide modern classrooms and labs for collaborative, flexible, and hands-on learning and increased options and opportunities in all aspects of the student experience – academics, arts, athletics, and extracurriculars.
It will give us the ability to offer electives students are asking for and need while increasing opportunities, labs, and courses to explore career and technical education fields – preparing our students for the jobs of tomorrow.
Community Information Sessions
Join us at a community information session to learn more about the November 8 referendum.
Community Survey #2 Results
Community Survey #1 Results
Full District Facility Study Report
La Crosse Schools Population Study
What factors are causing the declining enrollment? How much does open enrollment affect these numbers?
Demographics is the major cause for decreased enrollment – families having fewer children, current housing/neighborhoods are not attracting families with children, and housing stock not turning over. The open enrollment out of the district has not been a major cause of the decrease.
How do you know student enrollment will continue to decline?
A 2020 University of Wisconsin Applied Population Lab study showed a decline in student enrollment in all five of their modeling scenarios over the next ten years. The County’s land use projections for 2030 in their Comprehensive Plan indicate an increase in the population of just 150 total people for the City of La Crosse, Town of Shelby, and Town of Campbell.
Why was the Trane Headquarters site chosen?
After evaluating 11 potential sites within the community, the Trane site was the best location for many factors, such as size, location, availability, no known environmental concerns, and reuse of an existing facility. A 40-acre site is the minimum acreage needed for a high school of this size. Other possible sites were too small, unavailable, in a flood zone, or had environmental concerns. The reuse of the existing building lowers costs and is more environmentally friendly than building entirely new.
Does the Trane Headquarters site have any historical and/or environmental concerns? Will this limit or negatively impact site development?
We are aware that there is a historic cultural area located at the Trane site and we are working with the MVAC at UWL to take the appropriate steps. Based on the information we have at this point, we do not believe that this will affect the planned development of the site.
If the district has already purchased the Trane site and building, why are you asking the community for their input?
The District has not purchased the building and property, they have an agreement on the right to purchase. This agreement is contingent on passing a future referendum – no purchase will occur without a successful referendum.
Are other sites being considered?
Not at this time. After evaluating 11 potential sites within the community, the Trane site was the best location for many factors, such as size, location, availability, no known environmental concerns, and reuse of an existing facility.
The Trane building was built in 1967 – why is the district investing in older buildings instead of building new?
The Trane building is in good condition and suitable for remodeling to meet future needs. The reuse of an existing building will lower construction costs and is environmentally friendly.
Will the new building have environmental “green” architectural features?
The budget currently includes a geothermal heating/cooling system and a solar panel system to generate electricity. Other energy-efficient features that will be planned into the design are LED lighting, occupancy sensors, natural lighting, and more.
How will the new high school ensure all students feel welcome?
A new high school will be built with a cohesive school community in mind. Spaces will be created to allow students to gather in smaller groups and multiple areas of the building will be utilized for lunch. Teachers and advisors already create connections within our existing high schools and will continue to do so in a new building.
Will transportation be provided for students/families to the new and relocated facilities?
Yes, the district will work with our school bus partners and public transportation to determine necessary routes and shuttle services to serve high-need areas within the community and students located outside a determined radius of their school.
How long will it take for high school students on the Northside to get to the new high school?
Students would transition from an average walk time of 16 minutes to an average bus ride time of 20 minutes on three bus routes. For students, parents, and guardians that currently drive to Logan High School, the average drive time to school will increase by about eight minutes.
Will neighborhood / community services that exist continue and will transportation be provided to these services in their new locations?
Yes, current neighborhood and community services will continue to be provided. Transportation needs will be evaluated based on participant location and service/program location.
Will the new locations allow and/or encourage students to walk/bike to school?
The existing high schools that would become middle schools already facilitate walking/biking to school. The new high school location is in the same neighborhood as State Road Elementary which also has safe routes to school. The district will work with the city to further review safe routes to the various locations. Projects may require added crosswalks and/or connections to existing sidewalks.
Will all practice and competition fields be located at the new high school site?
The plans are to provide practice space for all sports/activities at the site of the new school. Outdoor competition venues will continue to be evaluated as plans are developed to determine if improvements are made to current site facilities or if competition facilities are able to be provided at the new location. Initial plans include using the Logan football field and Copeland Park baseball fields for competitions.
Will combining high schools reduce opportunities for students?
We already coop 40% of our athletics and many of our other clubs and activities, like drama, combine high schools as well. One high school will improve access to our programs and the quality of our teams as well as allow for new activities such as boys volleyball, la crosse, and others.
Will the Boys and Girls Club still have space?
Yes, the District will continue relationships with our community partners.
Will the current high schools support middle school student needs and programming? Will changes be made to the current high school buildings and sites?
The current high schools will be an immediate improvement on the current middle school buildings. Some cosmetic changes will be made to the high school buildings to make them feel more like middle schools but not much more will be needed.
With middle schools moving to the existing high schools, some spaces will not be equal to current middle school amenities (for example the auditorium at Logan MS vs. the auditorium at Logan HS). What will be done to provide equal spaces when converting the high schools to middle schools?
The conversion of the high schools will not require additions to either building. In general, the spaces at the high school will be immediate upgrades over the current middle schools. For spaces that do fall short, the district will work with staff to find opportunities to address needs via the use of available space and/or amenities.
What will happen to the middle school charter schools that exist within the District?
The District intends to maintain the Charter schools and will work to find accommodations. The District will work with the Charter school boards and staff to identify the best location(s) as well as anticipated space needs.
What will the transition plan look like for middle school moving to the two high school buildings?
If a referendum is successful, the planning, design, and construction of the project will take approximately 4 years. During this time, the district will work with the staff and community on a transition plan for the middle and high school students to the new configuration.
What will happen to the existing middle school sites?
The existing middle school sites will be redeveloped to meet the community’s needs. The process will involve collaboration with the city, neighborhood associations, and community members to determine the best use of the properties.
Will teachers, administrators and other staff lose their jobs with the consolidations?
No, reduction in staffing will be as part of natural attrition due to retirements, relocation, new jobs, etc.