Municipal elections are Tuesday, and there are a few education issues on the ballot. Paul Cushing, Jonathan Sessions, Joseph Toepke and Helen Wade are the four candidates running for three spots on the Columbia school board. Voters in Hallsville and Sturgeon face similar races for their school boards, and in Ashland, eight candidates are running for three vacant school board seats. The Harrisburg school district is asking for a $2 million bond issue for security and technology improvements.
Leaders of the Columbia public school district plan to seek another $50 million bond issue in April, followed by new $40 million bond proposals every two years until 2020.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reports the $50 million bond issue on the April ballot will require a 4-cent tax increase. The subsequent $40 million bonds in 2016, 2018 and 2020 would require no tax increase.
The Columbia Board of Education has approved construction to begin on a nearly $19 million project to build a new elementary school northeast of Columbia, adjacent to Battle High School. The board approved a bid by K&S Construction of St. Louis, the lowest bidder for the project. The original budget for the project was $12 million but the board increased that based on the projected need for capitalized interest and collective bond premiums.
Columbia’s Frederick H. Douglass High School celebrated its largest graduating class since the building reopened as a desegregated high school in the 1980s.
“This day, we celebrate the triumph and determination and hope of, hear this number, people, 72 graduates,” Douglass principal Eryca Neville announced to a roaring auditorium, packed full of proud family and friends.
The Columbia Board of Education debated a major change for one of its elementary schools at last night’s meeting. Lee Expressive Arts Elementary School, located in the heart of downtown Columbia, is attempting to follow the example set by Ridgeway Elementary and become an autonomous school operating within the Columbia Public School District.
Lee parent Candace Sall said she is excited for the changes to come.