Early Voting, Referendum

Votes are starting to come in ahead of Winona Area Public Schools' facilities referendum Nov. 7.

At an Eggs 'n Issues breakfast organized by the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce, Superintendent Rich Dahman said a number of residents - including himself - have already cast absentee ballots to decide the fate of the district's plan to consolidate and renovate its elementary schools.

Residents who prefer to vote early can do so at district offices, or by contacting the district at 507-494-0861 and requesting a mail-in ballot. Absentee voting will run weekdays through Nov. 6.

The district called a special election to hold the referendum because this is an off-year for local, state and national elections.

School board members also voted to combine polling places as a cost-saving measure, which will send election-day voters to Winona Senior High School, Winona Middle School, Central Elementary School, Goodview Elementary School or Rollingstone Community Elementary School.

At a meeting last week, district officials and school board members suggested the mail-in option for residents who can't make it to a polling place on election day.

If passed, the referendum would result in the closure of Jefferson and Madison elementary schools, and the expansion and renovation of Goodview and W-K elementary schools.

It would also improve the district's bleak financial situation, with the potential to net $1.1 million in annual savings.

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