Columbia Board of Education Passes Budget with Surplus-Morning Show

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public Schools Board of Education passed the budget for the 2012-13 school year with a 6-1 vote. The board passed a total operating budget of $167 million, almost $9 million more than the 2011-2012 budget.

The budget includes $2 million for technology improvements, including new equipment and about $1 million is going to Battle High School to help the school with its 2013 opening.

In April, voters approved a 40-cent tax levy increase that sent funding to the city's public schools. The tax levy generated almost $7.8 million in revenue. This balanced out the two million dollars the district lost from federal and state funding cuts.

In the new budget, $5.8 million will go toward hiring close to 47 new employees across the district. Almost 33 of those employees will be teachers, and the rest will include counselors, media specialists, psychiatrists and other support staff.

Columbia Public School Board President Tom Rose voted against the budget approval. Rose expressed concerns about budgets in the future years if the 2012-2013 budget was approved.

The board also approved a new set of standards for the English/language arts and the math curricula. Voters also approved a $50 million bond issue in April, but that money will not be used until 2014. The board unanimously passed a proposal deciding which school employees are eligible to vote this fall to change collective bargaining.