La Crosse school board approves 2% raise for teachers

The Board of Education also approved resolutions to go to referendum this fall.
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 9:26 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - After months of negotiations between the School District of La Crosse administration and its teachers, the La Crosse Board of Education voted Monday night to approve a 2% salary increase.

The motion to approve the 2% raise passed 8-1 during Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

During discussion before the vote, multiple school board members said that they had to work within the budget, and some laid the blame on the state legislature for failing to provide school districts the funding and ability to go over certain limits in order to keep up with the rise in costs due to inflation. Board members also spoke in support of educators in the district, saying that the vote did not reflect how they felt about their performance.

Superintendent Aaron Engel said that 2% is as much as the district could afford at this time, as the district is projecting a $2.4 million budget deficit for the 2022-23 school year due to declining enrollment.

The La Crosse Education Association advocated for a 4.7% increase, the maximum allowed under state law, as a means of keeping up with inflation. Several districts large and small across the state have enacted 4.7% wage increases in recent months.

The board also approved resolutions authorizing bonds for and holding an election on a $194.7 million referendum, passing each of the measures 8-1. The money would merge Central and Logan high schools into one new building and consolidate facilities in the district in an effort to save on operating expenses. After extensive research and facilities planning, the referendum will now move to voters this November.

“As our enrollment continues to decrease, addressing our facility needs must be a priority,” Juan Jimenez, Board of Education President, said. “The referendum plan addresses our most immediate needs and allows us to improve the educational opportunities of over 3,000 of our students.”

The full Board of Education meeting is available on the School District of La Crosse website.

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