Columbia Voters to Decide on Bond Issue, Tax Levy

8 years 2 months 2 days ago Monday, April 02 2012 Apr 2, 2012 Monday, April 02, 2012 12:53:00 PM CDT April 02, 2012 in News
By: Karl Roskamp

COLUMBIA - Residents here will vote Tuesday on a bond issue and tax levy designed to update and improve Columbia Public Schools facilities.

If passed, the $50 million bond would allow for the construction of a new elementary school, which will hold 650 students, a childhood learning center and other upgrades. 

Supporters of the bond issue said that approving it would help increase efficiency, collaboration and supplies.  The bond would also free up several schools that weren't designed to hold pre K children.

The bond would provide nearly $9 million for building improvements such as roofing, foundation and asphalt repairs and fire sprinkler system upgrades.  It would also give $2 million for a wireless network and new servers and nearly $40 million for construction. 

Construction would include the removal of 28 trailers at Shepard Boulevard Elementary, West Boulevard Elementary and Lange Middle School.

The ballot also has an option to increase the tax levy by 40 cents.  The increase would result in $8 million for current programs and staffing due to the decreased state and federal funding. 

But some are concerned that the money will be wasted.

"I've never seen an attempt in 33 years of teaching school where they really tried to stay in budget," Jim Greenlee said.

Greenlee, a former high school and college teacher, added that schools systems will spend the money allotted to them regardless of whether the spending is necessary or not.

The bond issue proposal requires a four-sevenths or 57 percent approval and the levy increase proposal requires simple majority approval.

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