La Crosse Schools look to referendum to fund more safety components
LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - On April 1, voters in La Crosse will go to the polls and decide whether to make another major investment in the school district.
The schools are asking for another five-year, nearly $21 million operating referendum, after a referendum of the same amount expires this June.
That means property taxes would not increase.
"Hello, may I help you," came a voice from an intercom outside State Road Elementary School.
"Until she responds, nobody can get in the building," said Jason Showen, building and grounds manager for the La Crosse District.
Before guests are granted access to elementary and some middle schools, they're screened by the front office. It's a system funded by the district's current referendum.
Some schools, like State Road, also got a new entryway.
"Instead of (people) doing what they could in the past, which would be to go directly into the school, now these doors would be locked and the visitor would have to come in through the office," Showen said.
Updates to State Road Elementary came with the 2008 referendum. So did updates for most elementary schools.
Now the district is asking for another 5-year referendum that would fund three components: educational programs, technology, and building safety and maintenance.
This time around the safety component will fund more building and entryway remodels, security for the high schools, extra video surveillance, and upgrades to make buildings more handicap accessible, according to Showen.
"When things happen, (like the shooting at) Sandy Hook, it kinda of heightens your awareness and makes you really take a strong look at what do you have in place to provide for the safety of our kids," said State Road principal Dave Gluch.
Gluch said thanks to the new security systems, he knows his students walk the halls safer.
"You'll always have to prepare for the worst situation," he said. "I think as a district we've been really proactive in that."
That's why the district hopes voters approve the new referendum April 1.
"It's a barrier between someone who wants to cause harm, and our children," Showen said.
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