"I’d love to get rid of them at all the schools," CPS board member said about classroom trailers -- in 2003
COLUMBIA, 2/23/12 (Beat Byte) --
Classroom trailer elimination
was a top Columbia Public Schools priority in 2003; this April, it's a top priority again
, as school officials seek $50 million in bond debt
and one of the largest property tax hikes in recent memory.
"The district has about 160 classroom trailers
," Deputy Superintendent Jacque Cowherd
said in 2004. "Smithton Middle School
has 16 trailer classrooms, Lange Middle School
has 12 and Gentry Middle School
" the Columbia Tribune
"We’ve got more mobile home classrooms at the middle-school level than at any of the other schools," then-School Board member Elton Fay
said. "I’d love to get rid of them at all the schools, but right now at the middle schools that’s our biggest concentration."
To help replace trailers in 2004, voters approved $22.5 million in bond debt,
following like clockwork an every-two-year pattern
of escalating bond debt that, if current plans hold, will saddle the district with $220 million more
In 1998 voters approved a $19.9 million bond debt; in 2000, $35 million; in 2002, $23.8 million; and in 2004, $22.5 million. The pattern skipped a year, then resumed in 2007 and 2010, with voters approving $180 million in bond debt, called the largest such package in state history.
To unstall them, district administrators and School Board members raised taxes last August by an amount allowable under state law without a vote. "Air-conditioning projects initially were
part of the 2010 bond issue, but
the majority of the first chunk of the bond funds...are going toward costs for Battle High School," Dr. Belcher said at the time
That move, of course, broke a long-standing District promise not to raise taxes, but to use bond funds to pay for the projects.