From: Greg and Jackie Gabbert
Yes, the only logical way to vote is “no” regarding the $82 million-plus bond facilities referendum — or, to put it correctly, $145 million-plus when you factor in the 25-year span of the bond repayment term — to update three schools (Washington-Kosciusko, Goodview, and Rollingstone).
Washington-Kosciusko (W-K) school was built in 1934, so it is approaching its centennial birthdate. When it was built it was a thoroughly modern facility for its time. Today, it is sadly lacking in not only technology, but also ventilation, handicap-accessibility, playground area with green space, parking, etc.
W-K is slated to receive $24 million to meet the expansion to house 575 students. There are currently 281 students attending in kindergarten through fourth grade. There will be $11 million-plus spent on expansion to a building that, for the most part, is landlocked in its current footprint. I could not find a figure for how much of that gift would catch up for deferred-maintenance items.
Don’t get me wrong; I feel Winona needs a good elementary schooling the vicinity of W-K as shown by the current 96 percent capacity rate. Eliminating a fairly good facility in Jefferson School so students can be crowded into W-K and Goodview goes against the die of neighborhood schools and small classrooms with low student-teacher ratios. Logically, it is time to build a new school to replace W-K and attract those families that want the best for their children’s education.
Regarding the future of Rollingstone School, one only needs to examine superintendent Dahman’s comments asserting that although Rollignstone is included in the referendum, the other two schools are large enough to house the entire W-K population. Is Winona going to have two supersized elementary schools in its future?
Polling locations have changed to include only Winona Senior High, Winona Middle School, Central, Goodview, and Rollingstone. Your “no” vote is needed to send this back to the School Board to reconsider what the Facilities Planning Commission spent two years recommending. If you can’t make it, request an absentee ballot by calling 507-494-0861. If you don’t vote, don’t complain.