At the final two informational meetings before the upcoming referendum, a wide range of issues were addressed as the plan faces questions and scrutiny from the community.
Tuesday’s meeting at Winona Middle School questioned the fate of the district’s STEM program after the planned closure of Jefferson Elementary School, and the chance of rising transportation costs. In answer to those, Superintendent Dahman said the STEM program would soon be district-wide, and that transportion costs look to remain stable. Attendees asked about the possibility of the district building a brand-new elementary school.Superintendent Rich Dahman said the district has been unable to find a site that was both up for sale and conducive to a new school.
At Wednesday’s meeting at Ridgeway Elementary School, one attendee questioned the logic of increasing the capacity of an already cramped W-K Elementary. Another asked whether Winona Senior High School needs another gymnasium given the school’s declining enrollment. And another was upset about the lack of polling places.
When it comes to W-K, Dahman said the district is committed to expanding the current site by purchasing adjacent properties, and that the city might be open to closing streets around the school, limiting traffic. He said the high school is in desperate need of gym space to accommodate the many sports teams and community groups that use the current gym. And on the issue of polling places, Dahman said the school board decided to have fewer polling places to save money, and that people who can’t make it to their polling place can still vote absentee or by mail.
The district has no more public informational meetings before the referendum Nov. 7.
However, Dahman said he’ll be meeting with various community groups over the next couple weeks, and that residents’ questions can be directed to district offices.