The Save Our Schools Committee of Winona doesn’t know exactly how the Winona public school district should alleviate financial and facilities issues. Committee members are adamant, however, that the district’s referendum isn’t the answer.
Jerry Miller, committee member and former mayor of Winona, says he takes issue with the referendum for at least two reasons: the potential closure of Jefferson and Madison elementary schools, and the roughly $60 million in interest that residents would be expected to pay.
Officials at Winona Area Public Schools say the referendum would help the district out of a precarious financial situation. The district is facing cuts exceeding $1 million each year for the foreseeable future.
Superintendent Rich Dahman, while admitting the plan has imperfections, has touted the referendum’s potential to better serve the district’s current students and families, and its potential to attract new families to the district.
If the referendum were to fail, according to Dahman, the school board would most likely begin working toward some other solution. In recent months, district officials haven’t talked much about the viability of other plans.
Next year’s school board elections could further complicate matters.
Four of the seven current school board members are up for re-election, and the introduction of new members could shift the board’s approach toward facilities.