Members of the union that represents 4,000 Columbus City Schools teachers took to the streets of downtown Columbus this morning to protest the practice of granting tax abatement’s that the union says deprives the district of badly-needed revenue.
Teachers say their students deserve the best and city top officials along with district leaders need to work harder in making that happen.
More than 1,000 Columbus City Schools teachers made their voices heard loud and clear and chants for change rang out throughout the streets of downtown.
Marching to City Hall and the headquarters of CoverMyMeds, presenting them with a giant “tax bill.”
“In July of last year, Columbus City Council and the Columbus School Board approved a massive 100 tax-abatement for this company up to 77-million dollars,” said Columbus Education Association president, John Coneglio.
Marisa Keith is an art teacher at North Linden and Maize Elementary schools.
She says she’s pushed around an art cart for the last four years because she doesn’t have a classroom.
“For a lot of my students the only reason they come to school is because of art, music and gym,” said Keith.
The Columbus Education Association representing 4,000-plus CCS teachers claims the tax-break drained the district of a projected $55.6-million in property tax revenue, costing the district more than 600 additional teachers and educational tools.
The city’s Department of Development Director Steve Schoney says property tax abatement would financially help the schools not hurt them.
“When the project opens and they are paying income tax-revenue, in one year the schools will get over 600,000 a year, that’s nearly 20 times what the schools are getting today from that property,” said Schoney.
The CoverMyMeds building is currently generating $32,000 for Columbus City Schools on the parcel where the firm intends to build.
“Once the abatement burns all the school will get is $3.4 million a year.”
The union will continue negotiations with the school board on April 29th.