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Columbia School Board approves two ballot measures for April

Columbia School Board members voted unanimously in favor of an operating tax levy and bond issue Monday.

The board approved a $30 million no-tax-increase bond issue for April. The CPS board packet says the proposal would be used for numerous projects, including $4 million for middle school land, $2 million for middle school design, $11 million for elementary expansion, $4 million for facility needs, $3 million for kitchen expansion and $2 million for roof projects.

The Columbia School Board also approved a 65-cent operating tax levy increase for the April ballot, which CPS says would generate about $14.6 million. The board packet says the money would be used to stop deficit spending, continue current operations, open new buildings and to provide student support. CPS says the funding will also be used to recruit and retain high-quality employees.

Without the tax levy, the school district will be operating at a $5 million deficit the next two school years, according to school officials.

But some residents say the increase is a big request to ask of local taxpayers right now.

“Public employees in Boone County have had a very difficult time for the last 8, 10, 12 years,” Columbia resident Alyce Turner said. “I looked it up today, state employees haven’t had a step increase since the year 2000. And we’re the ones that are gonna be paying this increased tax.”

District voters must approve the tax levy and bond issue in the April election for the issues to go into effect.

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