Election Day: Voters to make a $130 million decision for Jefferson City Public Schools

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JEFFERSON CITY - Today, Cole County voters will decide whether or not to build a new high school and improve Jefferson City’s current high school using a tax levy increase.

The total tax levy would increase by $1.10, raising the tax levy from $3.69 to $4.79.

Superintendent of Jefferson City Public Schools Dr. Larry Linthacum said, if people support the new project, school improvements will begin as early as this year.

 “We will develop a timeline,” Linthacum said. "The renovations at the current high school, we'll start on that immediately. We're looking at this summer." 

Proposition J is a bond measure that requires $130 million to complete the project.

In the bond issue, out of the $130 million, $85 million will go toward building the second high school and $45 million will go toward renovating Jefferson City’s current high school.

Proposition C deals with the funds the school system will need to operate the second high school, as well as cover additional resources, such as: textbooks, laptops, mental health support and a preschool classroom at Callaway Hills Elementary.

Proposition J bond measure would add up to a 65 cent tax levy increase, and proposition C would increase the levy to 45 cents.

Linthacum said if voters decide to vote against the plan, the school board will reach out to the community to come up with alternative ideas.

"From that, determine one of three things. One, the plan is exactly what they wanted and we need to ask them again," Linthacum said. "Two, does it need to be tweaked, or number three, does it need wholesale changes?"

Jefferson City's school board has held more than 100 community presentations on this new plan. If voters support the project, the school system will begin to build the new high school in 2019.