Columbia Publc Schools superintendent may retire soon

Email: Chris Belcher says he is eligible, may retire within a couple years

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia Public Schools superintendent Chris Belcher has indicated he may retire within the next two school years.

In an email sent to district faculty and staff on December 10, Belcher noted that he was eligible for retirement.

"I want to share with you an option I am considering. I am currently eligible for retirement (and then some) and am considering retiring at the end of this school year or the end of next school year. I have not made a decision yet. I want to be open about my decision-making process as I consider this and other opportunities that may be available to me. Columbia Public Schools is a great place to work and I have enjoyed my time as superintendent. This will be a difficult decision for me. Thank you for your strong support and professionalism."

Belcher was hired as superintendent in 2009. On Tuesday, a district spokesperson told ABC 17 News the email was simply an act of transparency and the district was continuing "business as usual."

School board president Christine King also told ABC 17 News she thought the email was a respectful move by Belcher toward the faculty and staff.

The timing of the email comes in the middle of the district's extensive 10 year plan for expansion, but district leaders said a change at the top would have little effect on it.

In 2010, the district asked and voters approved a $120 million bond issue to build Battle High School and fund several other projects. In 2012, voters approved a $50 million bond issue to fund construction of a new elementary school.

Another $50 million bond issue is on the table for next April to pay for another elementary school and other improvements.

According to the 10 year plan, the district will ask for $40 million bond measures in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

Belcher was unavailable for comment on this story Tuesday.

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