Columbus voters to decide $14 million bond issue

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COLUMBUS, Ks. — Voters in the Columbus School District could soon be deciding a $14 million bond issue.

If passed, this project would add four storm shelters to their high school, reorganize students and also shut down Highland Elementary.

Brian Smith, Superintendent, Columbus School District, said, “Really we’re focused on school safety and security and becoming more efficient with the school district going forward.”

A new bond issue for the Columbus School District is hoping to fix a couple of things.

Starting with better safety measures at the Central Middle School campus, as many classroom doors lead outside.

“What we’d like to do is make that campus safer by enclosing everything and also building storm shelters.”

The $14 million project would also expand Columbus Unified High School by building four new classrooms that will double as storm shelters.

Right now, the only school that has a shelter is Park Elementary.

“In this building, we do have storm shelter, so we know when I see a storm brewing in Labette county headed this way I have a place to put the students, where I feel like we’re all safe. And that’s what I’d like to have on every campus.”

This plan also comes with the promise of reorganizing students.

7th and 8th graders would be relocated to the High School.

And 2nd and 3rd graders would move to Central Middle School.

“We’d take that and try to use that combination to become more efficient in staffing.”

With that reorganization, Highland Elementary would be closing its doors.

But that hasn’t stopped the community from being interested.

“There has been some positive buy in from the community.”

And with that hefty price tag, the school board is hoping to hear from stakeholders to reach a solution.

“So we have to consider our tax payers here.”

If the board approves, voters would decide on the issue in June.

If passed, the project will be phased out over the next year and a half.

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