Publisher’s Note: Misplaced Priorities: Why Columbus City Schools Isn’t Ready for a $100 Million Levy

By Ronda Watson Barber
OhioMBE Publisher

I am totally against the Columbus City Schools’ upcoming tax levy. The district has yet to prove it is a good steward of taxpayer funds, and they have the nerve to ask the Columbus community for 100 million dollars a year in property taxes.

CCS recently removed legislation for board consideration. Someone in the administration thought it was a good idea to contract with the Columbus Crew to provide unspecified student services. The unbid contract was worth $175,000. Someone in Angela Chapman’s administration thought it was a good idea to propose spending $175,000 with the wealthy owners of the Columbus Crew and Cleveland Browns while a tax levy was on the ballot.

If Columbus City Schools has $175,000 to spend with the same people that are paying $230 million to their perv quarterback, perhaps the administration and elected board should consider funding band instruments for students at Medina Middle School or the band trip for the Mighty Marching Panthers with district resources. District resources should go to services that directly impact students. Students in Columbus’ poorest neighborhood should not fundraise to participate in the arts or other enrichment activities. The same people proposing a tax levy should actively contribute to the fundraising efforts of these deserving disadvantaged students.

The administration and elected board need to be more in touch with their stakeholders. The disrespect and arrogance for the families and community they have sworn to serve are fully displayed. The elected board believes putting a tax proposal on the ballot is a good idea. They haven’t considered that increased property taxes will cause hardships for many families, particularly older residents and those on fixed incomes. They have yet to vocally advocate to the Columbus City Council to refrain from providing multi-million multi-year tax abatements that defund public education. Unfortunately, the board and the administration have not considered the last public relations fiasco that occurred during the selection process for the current superintendent. Trust and credibility were lost when the board spent a quarter million taxpayer dollars under the veil of client privilege.

Until the administration and elected board can present a comprehensive plan on district cost-cutting measures, including eliminating departmental and staff redundancy, I will not support the effort to extort additional funding from Columbus residents.

Just my thoughts…rwb


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