Columbus School Support Union Campaigns Against Take Over

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The union, representing the city's school bus drivers, school aides and school maintenance workers, has launched a campaign against what it calls a "power grab" by corporations to take over control of Columbus City Schools.

Their concerns are currently being aired in a radio ad that is running on several local radio stations.

The ad is courtesy of the, "No School Takeover Coalition,” which is made up of members of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees.

"These corporations have been planning on this for years, now it is in Columbus,” said Samuel Gresham, Jr., co-chair of No School Takeover Coalition

Sam Gresham says while the Columbus Education Commission may have been formed to examine ways to improve Columbus schools - there are signs it’s moving towards a corporate takeover.

Gresham said a recent amendment to the Ohio House, Amendment 1622, demonstrates the outside interests affecting Columbus City Schools.

He said it would create an appointed five-member academic distress commission for any school district that has been found by the Auditor of State to have knowingly manipulated student data with evidence of intent to deceive.

In addition, Gresham says one of the  proposals the Columbus Education Commission is considering , is to create an  independent auditor who would monitor the finances, performance and data of Columbus City Schools to strengthen public confidence in the system.  This auditor would be jointly chosen by five elected officials who include the mayor and school board president.

"Don't take away our rights” said Gresham, “don't do this to us. Would you do this in your community ?"

Columbus Education Commission Director Eric Fingerhut says no corporate takeover is in the works.