School Board Looks To Expand
Terry Pipes teaches her sixth grade reading classes in a trailer. She likes the space, but the extra room comes with its own set of challenges.
"There are some drawbacks. Weather is definitely a factor. For example, on Monday, a week ago when our doors were frozen and we couldn't get in. If you can't control or have bad heating or air conditioning problems, those things are problems," Smithton middle school teacher Pipes said.
But solving those problems will cost the school board millions. Superintendent Phyllis Chase discussed three options to deal with the needs of the Columbia Public School District. These options are there to fix problems such as overcrowding which leads many students to end up in trailers.
The first option is to have three bond issues totaling $180 million over the next seven years. The second option also raises $180 million with just two bond issues. The last option includes a tax increase and three bond issues totaling $295 million. According to Chase, the plan is solid.
"Each facility has been evaluated from an engineering standpoint, as well as an educational adequacy standpoint, as well as a community involvement standpoint," Chase said.
The school board discussed all three options at its meeting Monday night. Board members voted unanimously for the first option, three bond issues over the next seven year.
This funding option goes to voters for approval in April. The plan calls for building a new high school, 2-3 elementary schools and air conditioning schools that need it.