Prop. 2 Could Affect Columbia Public School Funding
COLUMBIA- Columbia Public Schools could see a cut in funding if Proposition 2- the electric bond issue, is approved after the April vote. Currently the school system receives funding from Ameren tax dollars, but once the city owns it, those dollars will go away.
Columbia Public Schools and Columbia Water and Light have been working together to formulate a plan to help ween the school system off the funding if the bond is approved. The plan will phase the school system out of the funding over the next five years. To do this, Water and Light will transfer around 1.5 million dollars out of its payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) to the General Fund, to Columbia Public Schools.
Ryan Williams is the Assistant Director of Columbia Water and Light. He said the the public school system would eventually have to deal with the cuts in funding regardless, once the lease on the Columbia Energy Center expires in 2017.
"The county has known all along since the Columbia Energy Center has been built that the tax revenue from that would eventually be going away," Willams said.
The only change is that the Columbia Public School District may have to deal with it sooner if the proposition is approved in April.
Michelle Baumstark from Columbia Public Schools said the district is supportive of the electric bond issue.
"I think there are benefits and I think the district is aware of what those benefits are for the city and certainly we want to be good citizens just like any other individual is and want what's best for Columbia," Baumstark said, "What's best for Columbia is usually best for Columbia Public Schools."
If the bond is approved in April, the city would purchase the Columbia Energy Center at the end of May.