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The exterior of south Columbia's John Warner Middle School, which is CPS' 7th middle school (2021 file photo courtesy of CPS' Michelle Baumstark)

Columbia’s explosive growth is major factor in CPS’ April $80-million bond issue

The exterior of the John Warner Middle School, which is CPS’ 7th middle school in Columbia. (2021 file photo courtesy of CPS’ Michelle Baumstark)

Columbia Public Schools (CPS) voters will be casting ballots in April on an $80-million bond issue, which would fund the construction of a new $25-million elementary school in south Columbia.

CPS Superintendent Dr. Brian Yearwood notes the district works with demographers, and that a new development with about 500 new homes will be built near the John Warner middle school property.

“We must not have overcrowded classrooms. We must have environments where our scholars are able to learn without having to be pushed into a classroom that is crowded,” Dr. Yearwood says.

The bond money would also provide about $2-million for safety and security enhancements at CPS, including construction of additional secure vestibule single points of entry for buildings that don’t currently have them.

Fast-growing CPS is now Missouri’s fifth-largest district with about 18,500 students, and Superintendent Yearwood expects that to grow to 20,000 in the next decade. That’s the main reason the new elementary will be built on the Warner property.

“This projection in mind we must ensure that our spaces are conducive to learning, teaching … where the teachers can actually be able to rotate around the room,” says Yearwood.

CPS enrollment has increased by more than 1,500 in the past decade. Dr. Yearwood outlined the bond issue in-detail, during a Friday presentation to the Columbia Pachyderm club at Dickey’s. If approved, the bond issue would also fund a $15-million addition and renovation at the Columbia Area Career Center.

Passage requires 57 percent approval, which is a four-sevenths majority.

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