By Ronda Watson Barber
Columbus School Board President Jen Adair and Superintendent Angela Chapman lied to me. Flat-out lied! We met in January 2023. Both indicated they knew where the problems were in the Operations Divison. They agreed they were looking for a new chief operating officer. Ironically, both refused to accept responsibility for Maurice Oldham’s placement into the interim position. They blamed Dr. Talisha Dixon, although the board voted on the appointment. On Tuesday, they extended Oldham’s tenure as the interim COO.
Operations have a very important role in educating students. They are responsible for transportation, food service, safety & security, and building maintenance. Maurice Oldman has repeatedly failed in leading operations, and the elected board again rewards him with a six-figure salary. What has he brought to the district to improve Operations and, ultimately, the lives of Black families? The education of Black children is too important to leave in the hands of a COO with a track record of failures. I am hopeful this is not by design. Columbus City School students need to get to school on time. The buildings need to be clean, safe, and healthy. The same people in charge will get you the same results. Where’s the accountability?
The elected board rewards failure and then asks Black residents to vote for a yearly $100 million tax levy. How is the money from the last levy being spent? How much is collected yearly from the last 18% permanent tax levy? Are those funds being used wisely?
This board has proven they can not be trusted. They have placed tax-payer-funded expenditures under the cloak of attorney-client privilege so they don’t have to disclose information to the public.
The board and administration have not made Operations a priority. They are reactive instead of proactive. As an advocate for Black businesses, I can’t support the board or the administration’s quest for a tax levy. Black-owned businesses are not a priority. I will encourage my readers to question the board and administration. On second thought, I don’t know how effective the conversation will be as they will smile and lie in your face.
“I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.” James Baldwin.
Just my thoughts…rwb