Columbia School Board to discuss bond issue, collective bargaining

Monday meeting offers last opportunity to voice issues with tax rate increase proposal
Saturday, December 10, 2011 | 4:59 p.m. CST; updated 10:41 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 10, 2011

COLUMBIA — As the Columbia School Board prepares to ask its residents to consider approving a $50 million bond issue with a 52-cent tax rate increase, it will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the District Administration Building to discuss any last issues before the proposal is finalized.

The board has said that if no new money comes into the district, it will begin deficit spending by the 2012-13 school year.

“We need to figure out how we get ahead in this game," school board member Jonathan Sessions said at the board’s special session Tuesday night. “We really need to assess what it's going to take to build a ladder out of the hole we’re in.”

The board will also be revisiting the issue of collective bargaining for district employees, including teachers.

Until a couple months ago, the board was considering two polices, HH and HA, created by the Missouri School Board Association. Policy HH was a plan that would require the district to recognize one or more bargaining groups that would negotiate exclusively with the district.

Policy HA was a less specific policy that provides legal ground rules for districts to negotiate with employee associations. It also outlines election rules for employee groups and recognizes which groups are allowed to collectively bargain,according to a previous Missourian report.

In October, when it appeared the board was going to make a decision about the polices, it instead voted 6-1 to send them back to committee. Following the meeting, the board decided to hire a consultant to work with the district's policy committee to help revise the polices in order to make them more specific to the district.

At Monday night's meeting, the policy committee will unveil the revised policies to the board and the public. The two new policies will be presented to the board for a first reading and will be presented again on Jan. 9 for approval.

The district currently employs a “meet and confer” policy that calls for employees of the district to negotiate their contracts on an individual basis. 

The board will also consider a new name for the administrative building at Monday's meeting. 

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Mike Martin December 11, 2011 | 8:53 a.m.

Schoolteachers, taxpayers bamboozled by CPS budget

I remain concerned about CPS' budgeting, as noted in the above article from three years ago.

History needs to stop repeating here in CoMo -- if I hear one more time that "we need to do better and not make the same mistakes again" with respect to public money, I think I'm going to scream!

From Dec. 2011, about Battle High planning snafus:

"Don Ludwig, a former Columbia Board of Education member now volunteering with the district, supported the idea. 'I agree. We have to do a better job of that,' he said."

From July 2010, about Battle High planning snafus:

"We’re spending $2.9 million that we never intended to spend," Chief Financial Officer Linda Quinley said.

"Hopefully we can learn from this and not make these mistakes again," then-School Board member Ines Segert added.

This 2012 proposal is for an enormous tax and bonding increase, esp. given the $120 million bond issue we just passed.

Much of that money the Board and superintendents have treated like petty cash, splurging on developers' vacant land far out of town and new administrative digs (big developers and top administrators are always the two highest local priorities -- just look around).

None of this is a good sign that history won't keep repeating, esp. given the School Board's insular -- dare I say almost elitist -- culture.

(Report Comment)
frank christian December 11, 2011 | 10:05 a.m.

@ Joy Mayer - recently Mike Wm's complained of an entirely "blue screen" on his monitor. I experienced the same thing last night and again this morning, but it seems to happen only on the Occupy-Nuisance piece that has received so much comment traffic. Thought you should know.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith December 11, 2011 | 10:59 a.m.

@ Frank Christian:

It's reasonable to assume the glitch is technical (and therefore not humorous), but given one of the contexts in which the word "blue" can be used there might also be a humorous side.

I wonder whether Col. Miller might be amused.

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer December 11, 2011 | 1:54 p.m.

@Frank — Wow. You mean your whole screen turned blue? How long did it last? Did it go away on its own? I have absolutely no idea what could be causing that, but I'm happy to look into it. Any details you and Mike could provide would be useful.

I'm not always keeping an eye on the comments (and am headed out in a few minutes for my son's orchestra concert), so if you have something you want to make sure I see, feel free to also email me at We do our best to keep up but I'm sure we miss some, and I'd hate for you to go unanswered.


Joy Mayer
Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin December 11, 2011 | 2:14 p.m.

Maybe the blue screen is trying to tell you guys something. Maybe that tint is a hint.

(Report Comment)
John Schmidt December 11, 2011 | 9:34 p.m.

That sounds like a case of blue walls. I believe it happens when one gets a strong urge to comment but hesitates for too long. Unfortunately protocol prohibits me from prescribing a remedy for the problem.

(Report Comment)

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