By Ronda Watson Barber
I am glad the strike is over. I am so happy Columbus City School children are in class. It is good to see the teachers will be paid better. The Columbus Dispatch reports Columbus City Schools’ teacher pay is lower than their counterparts in the suburbs. Hopefully, better pay will retain and attract better educators.
I still have concerns. The union sent mixed messages. They said they were fighting for better building conditions. I didn’t see that addressed in the approved contract.
Columbus City Schools buildings are in horrendous condition. It appears that the Operations Division, specifically the departments of Capital Improvements and Buildings and Grounds aren’t fulfilling their missions. Why are school buildings bug and rodent infested? Why are there numerous violations cited by the City of Columbus Health Department? Why is there PEELING LEAD-BASED PAINT in classrooms? Why have water fountains been turned off because they have lead pipes? Why doesn’t the plumbing work in some buildings? Why are there numerous work orders that obviously have gone unaddressed? Does CCS have a maintenance plan for each building? The February 2022 board meeting was very telling.
The leadership in Operations has FAILED Black children without penalty. They have no HONOR or integrity. They are tasked with getting children to and from school safely. They are also responsible for maintaining clean buildings. They are failing. They hired unqualified people for vital positions and Black children suffered. They hired people who abused their positions and authority by funneling over one million dollars in contracts to their former employers.
Black children and their education are too important to put in the hands of uncaring, incompetent administrators. I think the same leadership in Operations will get the same unacceptable results. What is the elected school board going to do to ensure that Black students have environments conducive to learning?
Just my thoughts…rwb