Levy, bond increase on the ballot

A bond increase on the April ballot would help fund a new East Elementary School.

Jefferson City voters will see a tax levy and a separate bond issue on their April 2nd ballots.

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," JCPS spokesman David Luther 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.

"It has to affect the quality of learning and the workload on the teachers and all that kind of stuff," Farrell Roundtree, a grandfather to East Elementary students said.

Doreene Sherrell, who also has a grandchild at East Elementary, echoed a similar sentiment.

"The teachers don't have enough eyes on the children to see everything going on," Sherrell said.

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

However, Luther wanted to emphasize 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, will take over the current East Elementary building.

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

Luther hopes that Jefferson City residents see how important it is to invest time and money in education.

"I know it may sound cliché 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.