The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus will sponsor a forum May 29 intended to put the focus on children when it comes to the issue of education.
The forum, entitled "Columbus City Schools: Where Do We Go from Here, What Will Be the Impact on Our Kids?" will be held in the auditorium at the Main Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
Light refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m. with the panel discussion followed by a question-and-answer session running from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The event is being convened in response to a report issued by the Columbus Education Commission, according to Kay Skopin, vice president of the League's local chapter.
"We felt that was something that citizens would be interested in," Skopin said. "Citizens will be obviously impacted by this, so their engagement is very important to the League of Women Voters."
While the title for the forum is admittedly a little long, Skopin said it was chosen because the event seeks to draw attention to the impact any changes in the local education system will have on children.
"That's what we wanted it to be -- not about the people involved but how this will make changes with the children's learning," she said.
The panelists will include Eric Fingerhut, the education commission's executive director; Columbus City Schools Board of Education President Carol Perkins; Rhonda Johnson, president of the Columbus Education Association, the union that represents teachers in the district; and Karina Brown, president of Clintonville Go Public.
The nonprofit organization was founded to encourage parents to send children to schools in the neighborhood and to encourage more community involvement.
"We thought we were very lucky to have gotten everyone," Skopin said. "They all agreed to come."
"We were thrilled to be part of the panel and represent the parent community," Brown said.
"We're always happy to come and talk about community involvement, how we can leverage community involvement in our public schools, and also share that parents are paying close attention to what's happening in public schools.
"We're glad to be a part of the conversation."
Mayor Michael B. Coleman and Columbus City Council President Andrew J. Ginther convened the education commission in December to make recommendations for changes to public education in the city.
Those recommendations were issued April 26. They included, among a host of other things, offering affordable pre-kindergarten to all children and providing all students and teachers with access to laptop computers, tablet computers or other devices.
The format for the May 29 event at the library will involve a brief introduction of the panelists with Fingerhut providing a summary of the commission report, according to Skopin.
All four of the invited participants will then be asked how they feel about implementing those recommendations.
"We'll ask them to kind of prioritize what recommendations they feel should go on right away from their perspective," Skopin said.
"Some of the goals are very long-term," she said.
"This is a process, so having these stakeholders weigh in on how these move forward is important."
The evening will conclude with questions from those in the audience.