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Chamber of Commerce endorses public schools election issues

Friday, March 16, 2012 | 4:36 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Chamber of Commerce has voted to support two Columbia School Board proposals: a property tax levy increase and a bond issue with a debt service levy increase. 

The vote, held among the chamber's board of directors Friday, was unanimous, Chamber of Commerce President Don Laird said.

Both issues are part of a special election April 3, which the board called to submit the two proposals to local voters. 

“We feel public schools are extremely important for Columbia and deserve our support," Laird said. "We feel with the growth we are anticipating they are looking forward, and we feel this is the right thing to do for our community.”

About the proposals

Property tax levy increase: This increase would generate an additional $7.5 million to $8 million per year for public schools, according to a chamber news release, and would require a simple majority vote to pass. According to the release, the money would be used for the following: 

  • Sustain current programs, such as intervention and enrichment programs, including music
  • Maintain and improve class sizes
  • Address classroom technology needs

Bond issue with debt service levy increase: This $50 million bond issue would require 57 percent approval rate from local voters to pass. The money would be divided as follows:

  • $8.8 million toward building improvements
  • $39.2 million toward construction
  • $2 million toward technology

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