Our Opinion: Property purchases worth probing
Jefferson City Public Schools is wise to consider buying tornado-damaged property near Jefferson City High School as a way to plan for future expansion.
As we recently reported, the district said it’s in the early stages of looking into the possibility, and doesn’t have a specific plan for how the properties could be used or a set budget for purchasing them.
Not everyone is excited about the idea.
Some people have criticized the district on social media, suggesting it would be taking advantage of the property owners. But about 60 percent are landlords, and some area residents have asked the district if it is interested in buying some of the land.
The district has said it would pay fair market value. And no one is being forced to sell their property. It would just give the owners an option they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
Other criticism has surrounded the fact that voters in 2017 passed a large property tax increase to fund a second high school, which should take space pressure off JCHS.
Honestly, that was one of our first reactions too. Doesn’t building a new high school stave off JCHS expansion for awhile?
But we realize the school is “landlocked” by not currently owning land for expansion near the existing high school.
JCPS said the property purchases would be to “expand the school’s activities facilities.” We presume that means athletic fields and possible parking, the latter of which has always been at a premium in the area.
In 2016, the district backed away from plans to buy nine mostly vacant lots north of JCHS after public opposition, including some who said the district didn’t come express their intentions sooner.
This time, the district has come to the public in the early stages to express its intentions. So let your school board representatives know how you feel about the issue, and let us know at email@example.com.