HomeLocal NewsCommunity InformationCommunity DirectoryNew BusinessRelated Web Sites
Current News
Search Archive
Full Story
Monona Grove School District Press Release
1/10/2006 - Ken Dahl, Cottage Grove Economic Development Corporation
Copy of a press release from the Monona Grove School District

In January, a citizen group, Monona Grove Preserve our Partnership (POP), brought the Monona Grove School Board a petition signed by more than 1,000 voting-age residents of our school district. This resolution called for a district-wide middle school in Cottage Grove and the upgrade of elementary facilities in Monona at a total cost not to exceed $30 million, and the Monona Grove School Board has set forth a $28.7 million referendum that meets these specifications.

While the board was heartened by this grassroots effort to bring together citizens of both Monona and Cottage Grove, we did not choose to support their proposal for this reason alone. In fact, the Monona Grove School Board supports this referendum proposal because it is a sensible and affordable option that meets the needs and circumstances of our unique school district for the following reasons:

• The MG POP proposal, and board’s referendum, acknowledges the changing student demographics of the Monona Grove School District. Currently, nearly two-thirds of our students live in Cottage Grove. We expect this trend to continue. Within 10 years, we project that three-fourths of our student body will reside in Cottage Grove. The Monona Grove School Board does not believe that renovation of facilities in Monona for attendance by the students of Cottage Grove is sensible. We believe that if modern and expanded middle school space for our middle school students is needed, it should be built where most of those students live. The unilateral proposal brought forth by a small group of Monona residents to build an $18-$22 million 5th /6th grade intermediate school in Cottage Grove would require an expensive, $8-$12 million renovation of Winnequah Middle School for our 7th and 8th grade students. The construction of the 5/6 school, coupled with this extensive Winnequah middle school renovation, would be just as, if not more, expensive than the board’s referendum, and has the disadvantage of continuing to bus an ever-increasing numbers of children from Cottage Grove to Monona.

• The POP proposal, and the board’s referendum, does not add an additional building to our district. Elementary children would be moved out of Nichols to Winnequah; the total number of buildings in the district would remain at six. Since each schoolhouse needs custodians, librarians, secretaries and other staff, adding a seventh building to the mix is very expensive. The construction of a 5/6 building, or an elementary building in Cottage Grove (as suggested by yet another small group of Monona citizens), would necessitate the continued operation of Nichols school, resulting in operating costs twice that of the board’s proposal. In short, the 5/6 building proposal is just as expensive to build, and costs twice as much to run. In addition, the construction of a 5/6 or elementary building in Cottage Grove will add yet another transition for those young children as they move to a new building every two years. The alternative -- elementary attendance areas -- adds even more operating expense to the district.

• The POP proposal, and the board’s referendum, provides millions of dollars to rehab and renovate Winnequah for Monona elementary children in grades 3-6. Maywood school received a new roof and other upgrades several years ago and is in good physical shape, and thus minimal work is needed to keep that building operating for Monona’s youngest children. In Cottage Grove, the move of the 5th graders to the new building alleviates crowding in the elementary facilities.

• We are two communities, separated by geography but united by a common school culture, history and the deep personal and family relationships that have evolved over the past 50 years. This issue is about much more than where to build a new school. It is about preserving a high quality school district for both communities. The POP proposal honors the unique nature of our district by asking each community to send its students to the other community for a portion of their secondary education while keeping our youngest children close to home.

Monona Grove School Board Nancy Allen Kathy Bultman Mike DuPlayee John Kitslaar Phil McDade Mary Possin John Weinberger

Copyright © 2001, Cottage Grove Economic Development Corporation
Your use of this site constitutes your acceptance of the LEGAL RESTRICTION AND TERMS OF USE www.cottagegroveonline.com Privacy Statement.
We give special thanks to our Sponsors that have helped fund the development of CottageGroveOnline.