Publisher’s Note: Happy Black History Month!

Columbus City Schools finally releases 2019-2020 LEDE numbers

Happy Black History Month!
By Ronda Watson Barber

Black History Month continues. I have been celebrating the accomplishments of Black folks all month.

  • Did you see Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett fiercely and elegantly defend our Constitution during the second impeachment hearings of the racist Donald J. Trump? She is Black Girl Magic!
  • Did you see Congressman Joe Neguse comprehensively make the case for impeachment?
  • Dr. Michael Obeng rescued the Gorilla Glue Girl and her head harden tresses.
  • Amanda Gorman continues to make her voice heard. The young poet again wowed audiences with her Super Bowl verses.

I have increased my library.  I am reading books by Black authors.  Charles Bow’s “The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto” Stacy Abram’s “Lead from the Outside: How to Build your Future and Make Real Change,” and Eddie S. Glaude Jr’.s “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul.

I salute the sung and unsung folks who are contributing to Make and Be Black History! Salute!

Columbus City Schools finally releases 2019-2020 LEDE numbers.

The state’s largest public school district finally responded to my request for the LEDE utilization numbers.  I forwarded two emails to the Chief Operations Officer to get the information. The district AGAIN failed to meet the 20 percent purchasing goal as stated in the board policy.  The policy states:  The Board affirms its commitment to its “Equity Policy.” The School District seeks to include LEDEs in all aspects of its contracting for construction, professional and non-professional services and procurement of goods and supplies activities by adopting this statement (this “LEDE Statement”). Specifically, the LEDE Statement seeks to achieve the goal of awarding to LEDEs School District contracts and procurements which represent at least twenty percent (20%) of all dollars spent on an annual basis by the School District for contracting and procurement purposes (the “LEDE Participation Goal”). The School District is committed to ensuring that all citizens and/or lawfully admitted permanent residents in the School District community who are qualified contractors, subcontractors, professionals, suppliers and other service providers have a fair and equitable opportunity to participate in the contracting and procurement activities of the School District.

For the school term 2019-2020:

  • 53 LEDE businesses received contracts
  • 32 Black-owned businesses received $8,721,641.37 in contracts
  • 8 white-owned businesses received $9,013,958.69 in contracts
  • The district spent $121,802,261.92 overall
  • $20,021,430.44 was spent with LEDE businesses
  • The total percentage of LEDE spend was 16%

I emailed the Board of Education President asking her to pen a statement regarding the 2019-2020 LEDE spend.  The response appears to be crafted by the communication department. It was the typical pitiful rhetoric provided by Columbus City Schools over the years when questioned about the LEDE procurement numbers.   The response does not deserve publication. 

Are Black LEDE vendors receiving a fair and equitable opportunity in Columbus City Schools? Black LEDE vendors, simply expect the district to live up to the board policy.

Just my thoughts. 

To the litigious: The First Amendment protects several basic freedoms in the United States including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government. It was part of the Bill of Rights that was added to the Constitution on December 15, 1791.  The U.S. Constitution applies to Black Americans as well.  The views expressed in OhioMBE and the media outlets of The 912 Group are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views/opinions of The 912 Group, the editor, publisher, our staff, families, or our advertisers.


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