German Village Gazette

Columbus City Schools

NWCA members disparage proposed levy


Discussion about a Columbus City Schools tax issue on the fall ballot was met with a cold reception at the Sept. 4 Northwest Civic Association meeting.

Many NWCA trustees expressed frustration because of what they said have been broken promises and a general feeling of neglect by school officials.

Ashley Senn, external affairs manager for Mayor Michael B. Coleman's office, presented the civic association with an outline of the 9.01-mill issue that will appear on the November ballot.

Jeanne Ashby, a teacher, said Northwest Side residents supported the previous levy in 2008, but district officials never delivered on a promise to build on addition onto Centennial High School.

Meanwhile, other nearby schools are in need of repair while other neighborhoods seem to be getting much more attention.

"The Northwest schools, we feel, are a red-headed stepchild of the district," Ashby said.

Retired teacher Dave Shaw, who said he will support the levy, said he thinks the so-called data scrubbing, in which employees are accused of manipulating student records to improve their school's standing on state report cards, has hurt the district's credibility.

"To me, all I'm hearing are the negatives and it's going to have difficulty passing," Shaw said of the tax issue, which is expected to raise $515 million annually.

It would cost the owner of a $100,000 house an additional $315 per year, or $26.25 per month.

Senn agreed the district has a PR problem, particularly with the latest state report card, in which the district received four F's, three D's and two C's.

But the mayor is committed to helping improve the situation, in part by re-establishing the department of education in his office, she said.

Kellie Ehlers, another teacher on the NWCA board, suggested if the district did a line-item inventory on how the previous bond-issue money was spent, "perhaps it would restore better faith in the neighborhood."

Senn suggested civic association members save some of their more technical questions for Dan Good, CCS' interim superintendent, who will attend next month's NWCA meeting.


Other matters

In other news from the meeting, the NWCA recommended approval of a new 30-square-foot Huntington Bank sign at Giant Eagle on Sawmill Road.

Huntington has taken over the former PNC space inside the grocery store.