West Salem committee reviews referendum results - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

West Salem committee reviews referendum results

WEST SALEM, Wis. (WXOW) - The question of the night: What went wrong?

Members of the West Salem School Board and Referendum Planning Committee mulled over what made their $32 million referendum for a new middle school fail Monday night.

The committee plans to release a study asking voters if there was enough information about the cost to update the current middle school, the cost of adding onto the current schools and the cost of interest rates.

They're also looking for feedback about why people said 'no' to the project.

The committee did admit they needed to communicate the facts better. Much of the criticism about the referendum related back to cost, according to Troy Gunderson, West Salem School District superintendent.

He said the planning committee likely didn't explain how much it would cost to update the current middle school and build onto the existing elementary school, versus just building a new school.

An overcrowding problem at the elementary level was a huge motivator for the project.

“There's some communication gaps on why we needed it; the cost of keeping the middle school,” Gunderson said. “What I want to know from the surveys is, 'What do you know about our situation? What information didn't you have? And if you had that information, what situations did you either agree to or disagree to?”

Today's committee also said they didn't explain enough that the West Salem Boys & Girls Club and the West Salem Hockey Association both expressed interest in using the current middle school building.

The idea for a new middle school hasn't been quashed by a 'no' vote. The committee said they'll use the information on those surveys to see what kind of school, if any, the district wants — and what information they need to communicate better.

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