Columbus School Board Votes To Put Levy On Ballot

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The Columbus City Schools Board of Education voted to place a 9.01 mil combination bond issue/operating levy on the November 2013 ballot.

For the first time, a portion of the money will go to high-performing, nonprofit charter schools.

If the measure passes, the continuing levy would generate approximately $515 million over the next five years and would increase the amount of school property taxes collected by approximately $315 per $100,000 in assessed property value.

Columbus City School Board of Education President Carol Perkins says this levy is important because it is a new start for Columbus City Schools.

"We are talking about real reform here,”  said Carol Perkins “Doing things differently, being able to do and provide the best possible education for all of our students in the city of Columbus"

The district says the levy will:

•        Increase student achievement through the expansion of high-quality pre-school offerings to approximately 4,800 students across the city.
•        Increase classroom technology across all CCS schools to reflect a one-to-one ratio of students to computers at the high school and middle school levels, and a ratio of four students to one computer at the elementary school level.
•        Create an innovation fund to support the District’s efforts to develop and collaborate with public/private partnerships, and to provide funds to be used to replicate high-performing CCS schools.
•        Provide funds to expand enrollment and partnership opportunities with high-performing, not-for-profit community schools.
•        Improve and maintain critical business and academic supports to all District students.
•        Provide funds to enable the District to partner with public and private entities to help recruit, retrain, and train high-quality teachers and principals.

The levy will also fund a new position in the district.  An Independent Auditor who would report to Mayor Michael Coleman, the Columbus City Auditor, the Columbus Board of Education President, the Columbus City Council President and a county probate judge.

“The Independent Auditor position will work to take a look at the financial aspect of the district as well as new community schools,” said Perkins.

Voters, who say they will support the levy, wonder about creating a new administrative position.

“I tend to prefer to have the money go to my daughter's education, teachers and other people who need it. I would need to find out more information before I am completely comfortable with it,” said Todd Collais whose daughter attends a Columbus elementary school.

Others who live within the district say a 9.01-mill property-tax is too steep.

"We have no kids in the school, I have two grandkids in the school, but we are paying off our house, and we can't afford that,” said Kathy Harden.

But one father says he will likely support the levy because he wants a strong school district for his daughter

“I want my daughter to have a good education and I want to support the public schools here so anything I can do to help there is always important,” added Collais.

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