Onalaska residents voted to increase property taxes to make some changes and improvements to the district. All three referendum questions passed, and now the school district begins the planning process.
The district is very excited to have the referendums pass again. It means they won't cut any positions for a few more years, they can make upgrades to their technology, and remodel Northern Hills and Irving Pertzsch Elementary schools. All that planning begins today.
Fourth grade teacher Natalie Glass is excited for the changes to come at Northern Hills Elementary.
“A classroom that has walls and a door. Just a good educational setting for students so that they can learn at high levels,” Glass said.
Right now, two other classes have to walk through her classroom to get to their own.
“If we actually have a learning environment for the kids where they can learn and not hear other things going on around them, that’s what I'm looking most forward too,” Glass said.
Now that all referendums have passed, the Onalaska school district is eager to start the planning.
“We worked with the architects. We've been on the phone with the architects already,” Fran Finco, Onalaska school district superintendent, said
Some plans even began last night after all the votes were counted.
“He’s already looking at what the plans (are) going to look like,” Finco said.
One project that still needs finalization is the remodeling of Northern Hills.
“We have to decide how we're going to add on to the school, where we're going to add on to the school, are the classrooms going to be up and down or are they going to be on a single story?” Finco said.
Construction will be taking place outside while class is in session, but Northern Hills Principal Curt Rees says that’s OK.
“We'll have construction going on all year long, but you know kids like construction,” Rees said.
And Glass agrees.
“Kids are so resilient I think they'll be fine with it, but it's going to be chaotic. I have a feeling it's going to be something more to get used to. In the end, the final product will be worth it,” Glass said.
The architects remodeling Northern Hills will be at a board meeting already on Monday. Superintendent Finco said they hope to have a shovel in the ground by the fall.
Residents won't see their property taxes won't go up until next year.