The 7.7 mill levy for Columbus City Schools, which will appear as Issue 11 on the ballot, would add $269.50 in taxes for every $100,000 of a property’s taxable value.
While Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has endorsed the levy, another local group said it cannot support it.
The Equity Now Coalition penned a letter Monday to the Columbus Board of Education that said coalition members are strong proponents of the district, but the board needs to build back trust with the community.
The coalition wanted the current levy pulled from the ballot, citing lack of transparency as a big reason.
“We’re not aware of what’s going on, what the situation is, but you come and ask for those dollars,” Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Equity Now Coalition Jerry Saunders Sr. said. “It’s a difficult time with inflation and all that’s going on so we’re just trying to be supportive in a way of just being reasonable about what we feel is practical and reasonable.”
He and other coalition members asked the board to look at ways to reduce costs and asked Columbus School Board President Jennifer Adair to step down.
Saunders said he is not encouraging people to vote no on Issue 11, but right now he is not confident it will pass, especially with the amount of money the district is asking for and the last report card score.
“As a community, we’ve got to hold ourselves more accountable because our public school got a grade of two and sometimes Ds and Fs,” Saunders said. “From my perspective, and some of the other member’s perspectives, we can no longer accept that. We’ve got to make some changes.”
But from the time Issue 11 was announced, Ginther said he has been in favor of the levy and believes the rest of the community should be too.
“I think (Columbus City Schools Superintendent) Dr. (Angela) Chapman is a brilliant leader and we are going to do everything we can to help make her successful. We’re supporting this levy for three reasons: teachers, kids and community,” Ginther said.
He said the community needs to help the new superintendent be successful and passing the levy will do that, even if it means raising taxes.
“I choose education, I choose investment, I choose young people, I choose the future,” Ginther said. “I am a resident of the Columbus City Schools district. This will impact my property taxes and I’m supporting it because I believe in the future of this city.”
If the levy passes next month, property taxes will rise for people living within the school district and CCS would get close to $100 million a year.