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Columbia voters pass $80 million school bond issue by a landslide

Addition and renovation at the Career Center
Addition and renovation at the Career Center


17,724 voters in Columbia voted in favor of an $80 million bond issue to fund the construction of a new $25 million elementary school in south Columbia.

Since passed, the bond issue will fund the construction of two elementary schools, renovations to the Columbia Area Career Center, an addition to Battle Elementary School and other capital improvements without increasing taxes.

These funds will be issued in two $40 million increments, the first in 2022 and the other in 2024.

According to the district, 1,000 more students on top of the over 19,000 now are projected to enroll in the next five years. This expansion is part of a 10-year plan to address the projected growth.

Superintendent Brian Yearwood says the passage of the bond shows that the community continues to demonstrate support for the schools and the benefits this money will have on students.

"It gives us that great big refresh now moving forward with the support of a community that will definitely be beneficial to our scholars to teach us to our staff, and of course show the strength that our school board has in being able to work with our community and be able to move things forward for the education of our scholars," Yearwood said.

Yearwood told ABC 17 News that in 10 years, he anticipates that the district will be well over 20,000 students if not more.

"We must prepare for that. We can't wait until we're there with the numbers to say okay, now we need a building and because of our long-range planning, we are prepared for the growth that we see coming. We work with our demographers, we work with architects and we are definitely planning ahead. The school board has that foresight to plan ahead to say 'Yes, we need buildings in Columbia," Yearwood said.

5,698 votes were against the bond. Both candidates elected to fill the school board seats, Suzette Waters and incumbent Blake Willoughby voted in favor of the bond passing.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia Public Schools
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Chanel Porter

Chanel joined ABC 17 News in January 2021 after graduating from Penn State University. She enjoys traveling and a daily iced coffee.


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