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JCPS committee considers tax levy increase to address growth

The Jefferson City Public Schools long range planning committee met to discuss ways to address growth within the district Tuesday.

In the fall of 2014, the committee gave five recommendations to the board of education.

Those included adding a second high school, adding an additional elementary school on the east side of town, redoing boundary lines, making major renovations to the current high school and additions to Callaway Hills Elementary.

The recommendations were put on hold when the district hired a new superintendent, Larry Linthacum, the following month.

But Tuesday, the committee voted unanimously to keep the five recommendations as a long term plan for the district.

The committee proposed asking voters for a tax levy increase to move forward with some of the recommendations.

The tax levy in Jefferson City is currently $3.65 per $100 of assessed valuation, according to Linthacum. The current tax levy in Columbia is $6.11 per $100 of assessed valuation.

“We recognize that most folks think that their taxes, that they’re probably high enough,” Linthacum said. “Nobody thinks that, well I’m not paying quite enough. So we need to show the added value in what that looks like, and we’ll vet that process and communicate that along the way.”

The district has until January to put a tax levy on the April ballot.

The long range planning committee also discussed the possibility of buying some land north of the high school.

The nine lots considered sit between Franklin and Roland streets. It would cost the district $206,500.

Possible options for the land include an alternative setting to suspending students outside of school or an alternative to the ABLE learning center that currently sits on East Dunklin street.

However, some board members present at the meeting raised concerns that there is no defined use of the land. Other committee members stressed the importance of including residents the surrounding neighborhood in the discussion.

The board must make a decision on buying the land by Oct. 11.

The board of education meeting on Oct. 10 is open for public comment on the purchase.

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