By Ronda Watson Barber
The Columbus Board of Education has decided to put a tax levy before the voters in November 2023. As a Black business advocate, I can’t support the levy. The elected board and administration continue to disrespect Black LEDE vendors. Why should Black vendors who reside and operate within the school district support a tax increase when district contracts overwhelmingly are given to white companies? Last school term, the state’s largest public school district spent only five percent of its purchasing dollars with disadvantaged businesses. The district spent $332 million overall. Black vendors received only $8 million. Columbus City Schools is the biggest buyer in Central Ohio. They regularly fail to include Black vendors in their purchasing scheme but expect Black residents to vote for tax increases. Unacceptable!
The district has equity and inclusion policies and an Equity Department, but the treatment of Black vendors doesn’t seem equitable. White vendors benefit from the disadvantaged business program in a predominately Black school district.
Until the elected board and administration should a true effort to work with Black vendors, I will not support the tax levy.
Solve Black problems, Get Black Votes!
Just my thoughts…rwb