Smart Decision 2014: Ballot items draw in divisive crowds

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COLUMBIA - From teacher evaluations to criminal history in child sex cases, items on Wednesday's ballot have divided mid-Missouri voters.

Last week KOMU 8 News previewed some of the issues in a series of newscasts. A proposed amendment that would use standardized test scores to evaluate teachers garned the most engagement on our website and most opposition in our viewer polls.

"I'd like to know who is evaluating the people who come up with the crap that teachers are having to teach," said Jim Foster on the KOMU 8 News Facebook page. "I think we all need to look higher up instead of blaming our teachers."

Those in favor of the amendment, which also caps teacher contracts at three years, argue it creates accountability for bad teachers.

"It's my opinion, anyone who does not do their job as expected, should be terminated and not be allowed to continue on in that position," said Dick Adams. "Only in government is failure rewarded."

Of our KOMU 8 News viewer polls, a proposition that would raise development fees in the city of Columbia split voters the most.

Edward Ricciotti agreed with the 43 percent of poll respondents in favor of a fee increase.

"Housing is already unaffordable," Ricciotti said. "The developers want the taxpayers to continue to subsidize their low quality developments at the expense of other city infrastructure and services."

Columbia City Council member Michael Trapp voted to add the proposition on the November ballot. Trapp said the added fee would redistribute road construction funding to businesses that create city traffic.

"One of the ideas is that when we build a new subdivision or a new commercial center is that it puts more traffic on the roads and we have to find a way to pay for those roads," Trapp said.

An amendment that would allow prosecutors to use a suspect's criminal history in child sex cases also garned attention on our website last week. Of our poll respondents, 69.6 percent voted in favor of a change in the law while 30.4 percent voted against the amendment.

Polls will open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day. Click here for voter registration information and tune into KOMU 8 News on election day for full election results coverage.

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