The Onalaska School District's referendum vote is right around the corner. Wednesday we toured two of the elementary schools that would be remodeled.
The Onalaska School District's referendum vote is right around the corner. Wednesday we toured two of the elementary schools that would be remodeled. Irving Pertzsch and Northern Hills elementary schools would be remodeled if the third part of the referendum passes, but the remodel isn't the only place the district is asking for help.
Onalaska's referendum will be the only item on the ballot in Onalaska on Feb. 18. The district will be asking for help in three areas.
"Were at the end of an operations referendum that was passed in 2011 that gave us extra money to run the schools. So we either need to ask the community for more money or we need to cut $2 million out of our budget," Onalaska Superintendent Fran Finco said.
In 2002 they were forced to cut slightly more than $1 million and lost 27 positions. The first part of the referendum would avoid those tough cuts. Part two funds new technology which is an area the district has been lacking.
"It hasn't been enough over the last four or five years. We continue to go backwards," Finco said.
The third part of the referendum is funding to make changes at Northern Hills and Irving Pertzsch elementary schools.
"First we would just have to add a lot more space. We're at capacity and we're crowded in a few areas and we just need to add more classrooms, and redesign our kitchen, our cafeteria. Those would be some of the big ones," Irving Pertzsch Elementary Principal Curt Rees said.
At Northern Hills, classes are stacked on top of one another.
"We have several classrooms right now where you have to walk through one if not two different classrooms to get to those spaces," Rees said.
The kitchen and lunchroom are actually in the hallway.
"All of our food is prepared at our central kitchen and then brought over here. We would just like to have the ability to do our food prep here in the building. It certainly saves cost from transporting food back and forth," Rees said.
"Architecture doesn't fix everything but it gets you in the right direction to make sure we meet the needs of all of our students."
Finco said that if all three parts of the referendum pass, taxes will go up about $65 on a $100,000 home.
If you have any questions about this referendum there are two open house dates. Both Irving Pertzsch and Northern Hills will host an open house Thursday and Saturday this week.