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La Crosse School Board approves altered referendum

By Leah Linscheid, llinscheid@wkbt.com
Published On: Jan 14 2014 06:43:12 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 05 2014 11:54:27 AM CST
New Referendum Wouldn't Raise Taxes

WKBT, News8000.com

LA CROSSE, WI (WKBT) -

The La Crosse School District is asking voters for nearly $21 million over the next five years - but that's the same amount residents are already paying.

La Crosse School Board members unanimously approved a $20.875 million five-year operating referendum - or about $4.175 million a year.

Members originally looked at a $ 23.750 million referendum at their December meeting. That measure would have raised taxes by about $15 on a home worth $100,000. After receiving some negative feedback from community members, they ultimately cut down their request by about $3 million.

"When it was discussed in the community, we were having difficulty getting support, and rightfully so," said member Connie Troyanek of the original referendum. "In this day and age, it's difficult to have any of our taxes, property taxes especially, be increased."

The newest proposal comes with a much smaller price tag - it wouldn't raise residents' property taxes by a single cent.

"This resolution doesn't have any impact on our taxes, either raising it or lowering it," Troyanek said. "The tax impact is neutral."

The referendum is essentially an extension of the one currently in place in the district, approved by voters in 2008. Although the totals are the same, administrators have allocated more money toward educational programs and staff, while decreasing the amount spent on building maintenance and technology. Altogether, $3.35 million would be spent on programs and teachers, and $412,500 each would be spent on maintenance and technology.

Projects like providing iPads for the entire district's students and improving school security are among those to be funded by the referendum. 

April's ballot will be the third in a decade that has included a referendum.

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