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      Jefferson City voters to decide on tax levy, bond issue

      The tax levy and bond issue would go toward sweeping improvements to JCPS.

      Jefferson City voters will decide tonight whether or not to pass a tax levy and a separate bond issue.

      The two aim to provide funds for sweeping improvements to the city's public schools.

      The 25-cent levy increase would go toward safety and security, staffing, technology support and transportation services.

      "[If you're in kindergarten] through eighth and you live outside the radius of a mile, you qualify for public school transportation. But once you get to ninth grade through 12th grade it has to be outside 3.5 miles. So we want to shrink that radius to a mile," David Luther, Jefferson City Public Schools spokesman, said.

      The 30-cent bond increase would raise money for construction of the new high school building and a new East Elementary school. These two buildings come in response to calls for help for the public schools' overcrowding problem.

      Linn State Technical College and Lincoln University bought the high school building, Simonsen Ninth Grade Center and the Nichols Career Center.

      Luther said that the district's current vocational and technical programs would continue to exist.

      The new elementary school will be built on property on E. McCarty near Eastland Drive. The district purchased this land three years ago.

      The Jefferson City Academic Center, the district's alternative high school, would take over the current East Elementary building.

      The Miller Building, which currently houses JCAC, would then house other programs.

      Luther said he would never underestimate how the increase, a total of 55 cents per $100 assessed property value, would affect residents. However, he hopes they see it as an investment for the future of the city.

      "I know it may sound clichà but really your educational systems are the backbone of your community. If you have strong schools your community tends to thrive as well," Luther said.