Columbia Schools looking to get ahead on 2019-20 finances

7 months 2 weeks 2 days ago Wednesday, April 03 2019 Apr 3, 2019 Wednesday, April 03, 2019 7:39:00 PM CDT April 03, 2019 in News
By: Michael Van Schoik, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public Schools Board of Education Finance Committee met Wednesday night to review capital budget items to ready schools for the 2019-20 school year's capital projects. 

Chief Financial Officer Heather McArthur said the biggest goal for Wednesday's meeting was to make sure schools are as up-to-date and ready as soon as possible when doors open in August. 

The committee discussed a wide range of projects including school building repairs, technology services, custodial services, and fine arts and school security and safety.

The district's total capital project spending for the 2019-20 school year is just more than $59 million. Included in the revenue is local, state and federal funding, which accounts for about $4.6 million. McArthur said the rest comes from bond funding already authorized by the voters. 

McArthur said the Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee, which also partook in the meeting, determines which facilities are in need of additions or improvements. 

"That is driven by student enrollment needs and where our growth is," McArthur said. 

McArthur said this explains why a new middle school was necessary.

"The overcrowding at Gentry prioritized the need for the new middle school sooner rather than later," McArthur said. 

The new Southwest Middle School represents more than a third of the budget. The cost for the school in this budget year is about $20 million. 

While other projects vary from school to school, some are common across all schools, including a $300,000 project to replace the digital security cameras at all CPS schools in order to enhance school security. 

Other security and safety projects include upgrades at some of the district's older buildings, including Hickman High School, Rock Bridge High School, Blue Ridge Elementary School and Midway Heights Elementary School. 

"We are going to wrap in some security upgrades in those single entry vestibules in those buildings while we are already in those buildings doing other renovations," McArthur said. 

For a more detailed look at the budget, you can visit Columbia Public Schools' website here.

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