Mayor Ginther Discusses Improving Education, Revitalization In Address

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Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther gave his first State of the City address tonight highlighting a city of great achievement and touting a number of successes.

But he reminds people there are a number of challenges ahead.

The mayor wants to give the city's youngest citizens a better shot at success.

It was the mayor’s big night, but Northland High school Senior and basketball standout Seth Towns got the resounding standing ovation.

"Thanks to his work ethic, and talent on the basketball court, Seth has the kind of opportunity that many of us could only dream about," Mayor Ginther said.  

Seth is still letting it all soak in.

“Definitely didn't expect this at all,” Towns said.        

He understands how he 'fits in' with the mayor’s vision, and how others see him as a shining example.

Watch The Full State Of The City Address

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

“People don't think of an inner city kid going to a school like Harvard, and that's one of the main reasons I picked it, is you know, to be different, to defy normality,” Towns said.   

“Every family, in every neighborhood should be able to share the success story, that is Columbus,” Mayor Ginther said.

The mayor focused a great portion of his speech on early childhood education.

"Quality Pre-K is not daycare,” Ginther said. “It is an education experience all of our children deserve to have.”

“We don't do enough in our state to make sure that every child has access,” Columbus Director Of Education Rhonda Johnson said.

Johnson, a former classroom teacher, now the city's director of education, says providing universal access to Pre-K has been her focus since she accepted her position in 2014.

“Making sure that all children who have access to high quality Pre-K have the opportunity to do that,” Johnson said.  

In fact, Mayor Ginther says Ohio ranks 36th in the country in access to Pre-K for four year olds. 

And he says the state can do more— and is asking the state of Ohio begin to treat Pre-K as an essential part of elementary school education by making state resources available for all kids.

Ginther also announces $27-million in improvements to the Linden neighborhood. The Hilltop will see $34-million in upgrades.