CPS board to hear update on district's financial future

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education is set to get an update on Columbia Public Schools' (CPS) financial health at its meeting Monday night.

CPS Chief Financial Officer Linda Quinley said the district has weathered tough economic times over the years, but the district has kept within its budget and is expected to break even this upcoming school year. 

In the next five years, however, Quinley said CPS will need around $5.7 million in additional revenue in order to continue to fund current programs without deficit spending. 

"Our challenge is that going forward, our growth and our need of new expenditures is exceeding our expected revenues," Quinley said. 

Columbia's continued growth is the reason the district will need additional funding, Quinley said. 

"Growth comes with costs, and our growth is one of the fastest-paced in the state of Missouri," she said.

Quinley said the district has seen a welcome increase in state education funding, but it is still not enough. 

"The downfall is that state funding isn't necessarily proportionate," Quinley said. "All we can get from the state is a big help."

Quinley said it is up to school board members to decide whether to raise other forms of revenue, such as a tax increase. She said she is optimistic about the district's financial future. 

"We are optimistic that over the next few years we'll see local growth, local improvement that will help the school dollars through taxes," said Quinley. "As a whole, the State of Missouri is likely to experience the same."