A Tale of Two Municipalities

By: Justin Williams
By: Justin Williams

Amy Guenthner explains, "Two towns, one district and I think it'll be that way, so we have to come together and agree on something."

Good luck!

Clair Oren asserts, "Taxes keep goin' up every year, every year, now they want another increase, it'll be about $300 more, so that's why I'm against it."

But Guenthner continues, "To us it's just one of the sacrifices that we make, for children—our children and the rest of the children in the community."

Residents of both the city of Monona and the town of Cottage Grove currently share the Monona Grove district. Tuesday night, they share a vote on two critical school referendums.

Monona Grove School District Superintendent Gary Schumacher explains, "One is a 39.9 million dollar building referendum that would renovate and upgrade three of our existing facilities—two in Monona and one in Cottage Grove and then, secondly, to build a new fifth through eighth grade middle school in Cottage Grove."

The potential construction of this school, Schumacher says, is where much of the opposition lies.

"There is support in both communities and I suppose there's opposition in both communities, but if you drive around, it sure appears that the communities are split."

Oren says, "The younger people get wage increases, us people on fixed income and social security, we don't get any wage increases."

And, again, Guenthner counters, "Cottage Grove is not getting any smaller. In the long–run there's no fix except for supporting it and getting a school out here, and fixing the middle school in Monona."

Meanwhile, Schumacher says he expects the tally to be too close to call.

"What's been frustrating is that there doesn't appear to be a clear–cut, widely–accepted way with how to address that."

Except for tomorrow's vote.

The second referendum involves covering annual operating costs for the items involved in the first referendum.

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