Emmanuel V. Remy, president of the Northland Community Council, was among those scheduled to testify last week before an Ohio Senate committee on behalf of a bipartisan measure that would implement some recommendations of the Columbus Education Commission.
Speaking at the NCC's June meeting, Remy said he was willing to throw his support behind H.B. 167 because it represents a beginning in addressing problems with Columbus City Schools.
He also said the bill, jointly sponsored by state Reps. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) and Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus), gives voters final say over whether part of the education panel's findings would become law.
If enacted, H.B. 167 would:
* Require that funds from any levy that might be on the fall ballot be shared with qualifying charter schools.
* Allow the city administration to sponsor charter schools.
* Make the school district's current internal auditor position an independent one.
"We've got problems and they need to be rectified," Remy said after NCC representatives heard a presentation from Ashley Senn, Mayor Michael B. Coleman's community affairs coordinator, on the Education Commission's final report.
"The bottom line is, we've got to do something different and we've got to do it soon," Remy added.
Senn was on hand for the NCC's April meeting to provide information about the 25-member commission, which Coleman and Columbus City Council President Andrew J. Ginther jointly formed in December. She was back for the session last week to provide some details on the panel's findings and recommendations, which were issued April 26.
The four main goals of the report, as outlined in a letter from co-chairs George S. Barrett, Kathleen H. Ransier and Judge Algenon L. Marbley on the commission's website, are:
* School-level excellence and accountability for every school at every level.
* Customized options for every child.
* Opportunities for every student to expand learning using digital resources.
* High-quality early childhood education that ensures every child is ready for kindergarten.
The commission also issued recommendations regarding the development of programs to battle poverty and hunger among children, which can harm their ability to learn, as well as requiring more school choices and replicating the best-performing schools in the district, according to Senn.
"We think it is a well-informed and well-conceived plan," she said.