League of Women Voters of Winona host forum on proposed $9.4 million referendum

Election day is right around the corner. And, like always, there are some tough choices for voters.

In Winona, the school system is asking residents to approve a $9.4 million referendum. A decision put front and center in a debate Wednesday night.

If passed how will this impact district members?

The short answer: property taxes would go up for district residents. We’re talking anywhere from 1.6 to 5.5 percent depending on the value of their homes.

But what would they get for all that money?

To explain, district representatives, along with advocates on each side of the issue, answered questions and debated in an educational forum put on by the League of Woman Voters of Winona.

“The league of woman voters of Winona is very pleased to have the opportunity to share this information because it most important to us, that everyone, age 18, who is a citizen does exercise their right to vote,” League of Woman Voters of Winona board member Lynn Theurer said.

There’s a large list of priorities for the district, however urgent matters on the top of the list include increased security, accessibility for those with disabilities and building maintenance.

Those in favor of the referendum feel if those issues aren’t addressed, they’ll become bigger problems as time goes on.

Those against are concerned about the increased spending and that the district’s priorities are not the most urgent problems.

“I think the community has a big decision to make. It’s not a slam dunk for the vote yes,” Winona city council member Paul Schollmeier said. “They have to work hard. Many of us in the community are undecided at this point which way they’ll vote.”

A much larger spending referendum failed last year and the district subsequently closed two schools.

Voters go to the polls to make their choice – along with many others – on Nov. 6.

Beret Leone

Beret Leone

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