Columbus Schools, Mayor’s Commission Disagree Over Request To Review Books


UPDATED: Wednesday January 16, 2013 6:32 PM

Mayor Michael Coleman handpicked 25 people to serve on the newly-formed Columbus Educational Commission a little over a month ago.

But when the group offered to review the district's books, the school board balked.

School Board President Carol Perkins said an honest discussion about the commission's request was misunderstood as an attempt to block the review.

When the commission decided to get started, they wanted to review the Columbus City Schools business operations.

It’s a request that Commission Director Eric Fingerhut said he thought would be seen as a matter of course.

“I think it is very appropriate. I think every business would take a look their operations in that regard on a regular basis,” said Fingerhut.

Even one of the co-chairs posted on the commission's website she was optimistic the Columbus Board of Education would support the request.

But at Tuesday night's school board meeting, there were concerns.

“Clarity of the scope of work and how the information would be used,” said Perkins.

Perkins, who is also a member of the Education Commission, said no one ever said they would not cooperate with the commission or block progress.

“Bottom-line is the board wants to be involved in this process and be able to give the commission the information that they are requesting,” said Perkins.

The commission says it will try to answer the questions the board may have.

“The commission doesn't need the permission of the school board to do its work and it will, in fact, do its work,” added Fingerhut.

This doesn't mean the commission has the power to just go through the districts books.

But there is enough information that the commission could do a review without the help of the school board.

Obviously, the review is much better if both groups work in cooperation and both sides say that is what they want.

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