Columbia Public Schools Discuss Financial Future

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public Schools Finance Committee met Wednesday to discuss salaries and schedules, 2011-2012 revenue projections and 2012-2013 revenue assumptions, and 2012-2013 budget considerations - according to the committee agenda.

Discussion of salaries and schedules included that of hourly support staff, such as media clerks, who could see as an average 14.5% salary increase. Also brought up was the notion of standardized contracts for district wide coordinators. At this time, there is no established way of determining those salaries. The common theme amongst the committee was the desire for "equity and transparency" in those salaries. 

This meeting comes one day after Columbia voters approved a tax increase to support Columbia Public Schools. The tax increase passed with a 56 percent approval rate. The 40-cent tax levy increase passed, along with approval of a $50 million bond issue that would add approximately another 12-cent increase.

Though the meeting was close in timing to the vote, the committee really focused on the 2012-2013 budget, since the tax levy and bond issue won't make an impact until the 2013-2014 school year. 

But as Columbia Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Linda Quinley said, "It does allow us to go ahead and talk today about some additional teachers to reduce class sizes next year, and putting back some student support positions that were maybes if we didn't get this to pass." 

"We had aligned ourselves pretty well for next year. This was really crucial for us for the 13-14 year. This year that we reorganized all of the schools and opened Battle High School, we were going to be in some pretty significant funding need if we did not have these additional revenues,"Quinley said. 

To view the complete meeting agenda, click HERE.