The debate over a $40 million referendum for Monona Grove schools is done, but the problems facing the district remain.
Now the district needs to decide how to solve those problems with overcrowding.
Jenny Capouch, a parent in Cottage Grove, says "we watched the news pretty closely ... We were surprised with the outcome. We thought it would be a closer finish."
Monona Grove Superintendent Gary Schumacher was just as surprised.
He says, "clearly we knew there was a disparity between two communities and how they viewed this issue. What surprised me was the extent to which Monona rejected it."
Voters rejected the district's $40 million referendum 63 percent to 37 percent. The proposal included a new middle school in Cottage Grove, and upgrades to other schools in both communities.
"The information that we received from the hearings and informational meetings seemed to indicate both communities could get behind neighborhood schools, which is what the board put out ... a K through 8 in both Monona and Cottage Grove."
Monona voters rejected the proposal by a wider margin. Ninety percent of those who turned out, turned it down.
Schumacher says, "our student population, we have about two-thirds of kids coming from Cottage Grove, one-third from Monona."
Seventy percent of voters in Cottage Grove approved the measure, but one family in a growing Cottage Grove neighborhood did not.
Capouch says, "we felt there was a better solution to a long term problem."
Short term, the superintendent says Taylor Prairie Elementary in Cottage Grove still is overcrowded. So now the district needs to weigh its options. Schumacher says, "they range from simple things such as dividing classrooms to actually building an addition onto school ... to bringing in modular classrooms." And, he expects board members to call for a study on dividing the district. Schumacher says the board will meet Wednesday of next week.
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