The ongoing controversy about the future of some schools in Winona continues.
While the district has proposed to close some schools in the area, one group is offering a proposal to keep the schools open. Save Our Schools is a local organization that has been watching the issue of school closure for a long time. On Tuesday, they proposed a referendum they say would keep the schools around while saving money and keeping families in the district.
The district recently held a bond referendum calling for the closure of Jefferson and Madison schools. It was voted down overwhelmingly by people in the community. Now, a new proposal for a ten year, 30-million-dollar capital project referendum is being offered by Save Our Schools. Emilio DeGrazia of Save Our Schools says the proposal will keep the schools around, which will prove to be an important asset to Winona.
"We think they are schools within neighborhoods, and we think neighborhoods that are viable, that is safe and vibrant and active in the community, are best-served by the presence of schools," says DeGrazia.
The district's original proposal would have cost 82-million-dollars. After it was voted down by around 90-percent of voters, Save Our Schools representatives feel their new proposal will have support in the community, but they're uncertain where the district stands.
"We will be meeting with a couple board members in the next couple days and we hope to meet with the superintendent very soon," DeGrazia explains, "And I think part of the information we're going to convey is we are ready to launch a highly visible public campaign to encourage them to take our proposal very seriously."
The district says closing schools will save money and that saving all of the elementary schools isn't likely. Save Our Schools says under their plan, taxpayers would pay three-million-dollars a year for a decade, and wouldn't be required to pay any interest.