Northwest News

NWCA meeting to feature interim school leader


J. Daniel Good, interim superintendent for Columbus City Schools, is scheduled to be the guest speaker at the next meeting of the Northwest Civic Association board of trustees.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, in Room 213 at Meadow Park Church of God, 2425 Bethel Road.

Good took over the 50,000-plus student district July 1, following his retirement as superintendent of Westerville City Schools.

He held that post for 51/2 years, and spent the four years prior to that as head of Wooster City Schools.

The 51-year-old replaced longtime Columbus City Schools Superintendent Gene Harris, who retired at a time when the district was in turmoil over alleged manipulation of attendance records and grade scrubbing.

"I think this is a good opportunity for people to ask questions," said John Ehlers, president of the Northwest Civic Association Board of Trustees.

Good's office asked for time for him to address the NWCA trustees meeting, according to Ehlers.

Good was initially to have been on the agenda for the NWCA's September session, but then his schedule changed and he was unable to make it.

"October worked out well for both of us," Ehlers said.

Good's appearance, during which he will undoubtedly touch upon the two levy issues voters in the district are being asked to approve in November, will serve as a "good preview" of a candidates' night event the civic association is putting on in conjunction with the Franklin County Consortium for Good Government.

That event is planned from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 16 at Centennial High School on Wednesday, Oct. 16, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The event is nonpartisan and NWCA officials expect all registered candidates for Columbus City Council and the Columbus City Schools Board of Education will attend, according to the civic association's website.

The audience will have the opportunity to meet the candidates and to ask questions of them, the website said.

Ehlers said he anticipates Good will not only field questions about Issues 50 and 51, but also hear concerns very specific to people living on the Northwest Side.

Issue 50 is a 9.01-mill combined bond issue and operating levy, with 1.01 mills for a bond issue to pay the local portion of a state-district construction program for new and renovated school buildings, and 8 mills for operating revenue.

Passage of the issue would raise $76.5 million a year for the district and cost homeowners $315 per $100,000 in home value annually.

Issue 51 would create an independent auditor. The district's auditor position currently is an internal one.

"On one hand, we're very fortunate to have one of the best high schools in Columbus in Centennial, and we've got a number of other good schools, grade schools and middle school, as well, but one of the concerns is on facilities," Ehlers said.

When the main focus of a school district's leaders is on ailing and failing schools, "sometimes the quality of facilities takes a back seat, and I think the people in Northwest Columbus are concerned that their tax dollars are used locally for their schools," Ehlers said.

"There are different kinds of needs," Ehlers said.

"The needs for an academic program are different from the needs for sustaining a facility," he said.

"This is one of the things I think people in Northwest Columbus want to find out about."