Publisher’s Note: CCS still practicing purchasing restrictive barriers

By Ronda Watson Barber
OhioMBE Publisher

Columbus City Schools is still implementing the restrictive racist barriers the former purchasing director put into place, and a Black administrator and Black board members are okay with it. According to his sworn testimony in a federal lawsuit, the former purchasing director implemented the policy to keep the undesirables out. Who are the undesirables in the predominately Black school district? Why is a Black man aggressively supporting it? Why do the Black board members support the sumptuary policy?

Ohio’s largest public school district requires all vendors to provide general liability insurance and a current W-9 to receive contracting information directly from the Columbus City Schools. CCS is the only Central Ohio entity with this policy to receive contracting information. (Hey Maurice – the demoted and now promoted COO who is most incompetent at his job, which directly impacts the education of Black children- yes, vendors can register with Public Purchase to access contracting information from the district. They shouldn’t have to. Columbus City Schools receives a bunch of tax dollars, and vendors should be afforded this information readily and easily. Vendors should not have to use a third party to receive contracting information from Columbus City Schools. Why do you strongly advocate for a policy that discriminates against Black people? Is white folks lemonade colder too? Aside from collecting a paycheck, what new and novel ideas and approaches have YOU brought to CCS?)

Why does CCS require a current W-9 when the Internal Revenue Service says, “Form W-9 remains valid indefinitely unless until there is a change in circumstances that makes the required information on the form incorrect or unreliable.

Why has CCS not officially reviewed all purchasing registration processes in Central Ohio? Why does CCS have more inactive LEDE vendors than active LEDE vendors? Vendors are usually placed on inactive status when they don’t have a current W-9 and general liability insurance on file.  CCS doesn’t notify vendors who are placed on inactive status. As you can read, district officials didn’t answer questions—more gaslighting from the purchasing department. Ole dopey Maurice should not have hired the current purchasing director, who is the best friend of the old director (accordingly to sworn testimony) and was trained/mentored by the old bad guy. The new purchasing director is still following the wrong policies and examples established by the guy who sued the district for discrimination because he wasn’t rehired when he retired. Some policies just don’t make sense. The Black guy who oversees the department is okay with it all. There has been no ideology change in purchasing, just the continuation of repressive policies for Black people.

  • Why doesn’t the district track the race of all vendors? The district keeps student, staff, and administration demographics, so why not vendors? Response: This type of information is not required nor requested when registering with the Columbus City Schools as a vendor. The current registering process follows the district policy of 4122 – Nondiscrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity.
  • Where are the tax and general liability insurance information of vendors stored? Is it safe? This process appears to be labor-intensive and a security risk to keep this information for ALL vendors interested in doing business with CCS, regardless of whether they have an active contract or purchase order. Response: The documents are stored in the Enterprise Resource Planning Software, Tyler Technology, and Munis Vendor Module and attached to each vendor file.
  • Do you know if the district notifies vendors to forward the requested information yearly? Response: When information or clarification is needed, a single notification request is sent to vendors when the data clarification is required.
  • What happens if a vendor does not return a w-9 and general liability insurance? Are they notified they are placed on inactive status? Response: Once a vendor registers through the Columbus City Schools Vendor Self-Service portal, the vendor information is reviewed for completeness, i.e., commodity code(s), insurance, and W9. The attached PDF titled “Hello Vendor Welcome Email” is tailored to the specific documents or information requested by the vendor.
  • Has the district reviewed other Central Ohio organizations on their registration processes to become a vendor? What were the results? Response: There is no formal District review of other Central Ohio organizations’ vendor registration processes.

Black First! Columbus City Schools is a Black urban school district. The administration and its elected board are embracing purchasing policies established to keep Black people from participating in the purchasing process. The district has an inclusion policy, but disadvantaged businesses only received 5% of the $332,130,966.56 spent last school term.  This is institutional and systemic racism. Can a white man, with the assistance of an “unwoke” Black man, implement inclusion policies when it is counter to his power and position? Any Black administrator or board member that agrees with and supports CCS’ repressive purchasing registration policy shouldn’t be invited to the family picnic and should publicly be called out.

There can be no black-white unity until there is first some black unity… We can only think of uniting with others after we have first united among ourselves. We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves. ~ Malcolm X

Just my thoughts…rwb


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