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The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus

News

School district leaders make case for Issue 57

Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016

Officials from Columbus City Schools touted the district's progress and encouraged voters to support the combination levy/bond issue on the Nov. 8 ballot at last night's League of Women Voters forum.

Board of Education President Gary L. Baker II, Executive Director of Budget and Financial Management Scott Gooding, and Chief Accountability Officer Machelle Kline answered questions at the event moderated by Andy Chow of the  Statehouse News Bureau and organized by the League's Education and Advocacy Committee.

With no organized opposition to the issue, the three administrators answered questions from Chow and the audience about improvements in academic transparency and accountability, a zero-based budgeting approach that justified every district expenditure, maintenance and repair plans for each school building, and plans to hire additional staff to support student success.

Kline promoted the new Digital Dashboards available at http://www.ccsoh.us/ that present everything from enrollment and demographic information, to outcomes for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee and district finances. She also described the district's response to new and often-changing regulations imposed by the state and federal governments, including reductions in funding that is routed to charter schools. Gooding shared efforts by the district to develop additional sources of revenue, including through the sale of decommissioned school buildings.

Issue 57 combines three different taxes -- a bond to improve building safety, one levy for ongoing maintenance, and a second levy for operating expenses for additional classroom staff -- that would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $242 per year. See http://www.lwvcols.org/miscfiles/Columbus%20City%20Schools%20Levy_11082016_v.pdf for the League's analysis and pro/con arguments on the issue.

In response to a question, presenters shared that total voted millage supporting the school district is third lowest compared to a dozen other districts in central Ohio and seventh lowest compared to the top eight urban school districts in the state.