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Schools as Great as our City!

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Schools as Great as our City!

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  • #548940

    I have three children in ColsCitySchools. I volunteer (too much) in the system. My views align with the observations of derm and jpizzow. Throwing money at struggling schools has not changed them.

    I also find it beyond offensive that the mayor claims that “the schools failed” in this advertisement. Especially after the lovely speech he gave for Gene Harris’ retirement announcement last fall. It leaves me apoplectic.

    #548941

    howatzer
    Participant

    Of the $515 million that the levy is projected to raise, only $42.5 million (< 10%) would go to charters, and these would have to be high-performing and non-profit. Thus, the number of charter schools that would receive funding would be in the single digits. To consider charter funding the most important determinant in not voting for this levy requires a religious level of anti-charter ideology.

    Returning to rationality, how about being against this levy because of the clear incompetence of most of the board and the administration, and the lack of any serious reforms? They’ve made it clear that their response to the data scandal is going to be re-assign/retire their way through it and let it fade in the news cycle. Goode came in with big fan fare as a “kick-ass and take names” reformer, but his actions have been token and it’s clear he’s not going to rattle the cage too much.

    My property tax has already gone up about 25% since 2009 and this levy would bring it pretty close to what I’d pay in a district with excellent public schools. This will seriously factor into my decision to stay or leave when my kids reach school age, and I know I’m not alone in that regard.

    #548942

    dirtgirl
    Participant

    Can I just offer two facts for the discussion?

    1. Last year, Columbus lost $98 million of its $226 million in state education funding thanks to deductions for 14,000 charter school students. This left $128 million for the remaining 52,000 kids.

    This means that the state formula found that Columbus schools needed $3,429 of state money per pupil to supplement its locally-raised tax money to support a quality education, but thanks to the charter school deduction, they only got $2,456 or 28% less than the state said they needed.

    2. 41% of that $98 million in state funding went to charters that performed WORSE on state assessments than the public schools those kids left.

    It’s great if you want to fund choices, but let’s acknowledge that we are already funding them to the tune of $100 million a year, and they aren’t universally better choices.

    I have a hard time understanding why we need to plug in another $8.5 million per year into charters. Why didn’t local officials like the mayor instead fight to get a state law change to redirect some of the existing $98 million in charter school funding away from the poor-performing charters into ones that are high quality?

    (source: Stephen Dyer, “Unfair Funding – How Charter Schools Win & Traditional Schools Lose[/url],” Innovation Ohio, February, 2013.)

    #548943

    NDaEast
    Participant

    Hell no! The arrogance of our political leadership is astounding. Where else in the world do you have a scandal of epic proportions, and then the nerve to go to the voters for a 24% increase in funding. This system is broken, and until these political leaders find the honesty and courage to say so, they don’t deserve another dime. They have not cleaned house, and they continue to lie to the public.

    On the one hand Coleman talks about how they failed us. On the other hand if you look at the school board’s filings for the lawsuits against them, they expect to call witnesses to say what they were doing was o.k. They have one public story, and one private story — and until they can reconcile the two they have little-to-no chance of getting my support. The CCS has not admitted the reality that they cheated and they hurt people. And people don’t like unrepentant cheaters. People need and must expect trust, accountability, and honest from public bodies.

    This school board is absolutely and awfully incompetent. They have broken every rule of crisis management by hiding behind lawyers, holding unlawful non-public meetings, and evading honest questions. You simply can’t do that when you need to regain the public trust.

    The most recent affront is in handling resignation interviews of the data scrubbers through their attorney, rather than through HR as recommended by the Internal Auditor, so that the information is covered by attorney-client privilege and is not a public record like the personnel records of every other public employee in Ohio. They can’t keep hiding things from the public. Bad things happened, and no one will trust you if you don’t admit it, open it up, and let the public see what you are doing differently.

    The school board continues to assert that the schools did nothing wrong. You just can’t keep feeding an addict their drug, and in this case the addiction is to the taxpayers’ money with no accountability.

    I don’t personally have anything against charters — my daughter went to a charter for a year and it was a blessing to our family. But that doesn’t mean I am willing to increase my taxes to pay for them above and beyond their funding under state law. Yeah, they get less state funding that traditional schools — but that is a state issue, not a local issue and I’m not willing to pay more to subsidize — particularly when it comes to support a levy for CCS which is asking for more money for more programs, when they don’t even handle their core business competently. There is a separate policy question of whether charters should get property tax money, and it shouldn’t have been commingled with the issue of whether to fund a CCS expansion. I’m smart enough to figure out how I would vote on an issue without feeling pressured to vote for an expansion of corruption at the same time. The political leaders should have recognized that fact, and separated issues like Mike Wiles recommended. But they don’t listen to Mike, because he is the voice of reason and rationality and they are all nuts.

    The political leaders should have “stacked hands” around a 2-3 year continuing operations levy for CCS, until all these issues are cleared and accountability and trust restored. The nerve of these people to ask for a 24% tax increase now! The rest of us are broke.

    And I’m going to ride this Andy Ginther horse until it falls. Andy Chaired the School Board’s Audit and Accountability Committee in 2004, when two whistle-blowers confided these data scrubbing issues to him. His response was to align with Board Chair Stephanie Hightower to fire the Internal Auditor who was set to investigate those allegations, follow the worthless “investigatory” recommendation of Steve Tankovich who was specifically named by a whistle-blower as a wrong-doer, instead of following the direction offered by the whistle-blower. Then, for two more years he neglected to see that the Board-approved audit of enrollment data was done, which allowed the data scrubbing scandal to continue for 10 years. And now he is supposed to be the answer — providing oversight of an “Independent” auditor — who may very well be investigating the activities he was a part of? Isn’t that at least an inappropriate duality of interest, if not a clear conflict of interest? Who thought that was appropriate? Was it designed to ensure a white-wash?

    And how in the hell is an auditor “Independent” when s/he reports to five politicians, including two who are neck deep in the scandal (Ginther and Perkins). Isn’t an independent auditor one elected by the voters: like City Auditor Hugh Dorrian and State Auditor David Yost? Don’t sell me something that isn’t true — the auditor isn’t “independent,” s/he would be a puppet of politicians. And that was intentional — otherwise the scope of duties of this “Independent” auditor wouldn’t have included policy issues like appropriateness of levies — that is not auditing – that is being a part of making policy.

    And why eliminate the Internal Auditors of CCS, who were the only ones with the courage and integrity to try to slay that monster (former auditor Tina Abdella and now Carolyn Smith). CCS won’t even fund them adequately — they keep asking for more staff and CCS Board says “no.” And CCS board would have budget authority over the proposed “Independent” auditor as well. The CEC did not solve the problem.

    Wanna know how to solve the problem? First, show one or more of the CCS Administrators doing the perp walk on the 6:00 news. Then, put a red phone with a direct line to the County Prosecutor’s office in the office of the CCS Internal Auditor and let everybody know. Problem solved, integrity restored. And it only costs $19.99 a year if you use MagicJack.

    No. No. No. and Hell No. Wrong people. Wrong levy. Wrong time. And don’t come sniveling about “its for the kids.” Adults need to act like adults and come clean, confront the problems, and stop conflating “solutions” without solving problems.

    #548944

    NDaEast
    Participant

    howatzer said:

    Returning to rationality, how about being against this levy because of the clear incompetence of most of the board and the administration, and the lack of any serious reforms? They’ve made it clear that their response to the data scandal is going to be re-assign/retire their way through it and let it fade in the news cycle. Goode came in with big fan fare as a “kick-ass and take names” reformer, but his actions have been token and it’s clear he’s not going to rattle the cage too much.

    My property tax has already gone up about 25% since 2009 and this levy would bring it pretty close to what I’d pay in a district with excellent public schools. This will seriously factor into my decision to stay or leave when my kids reach school age, and I know I’m not alone in that regard.

    +1

    #548946

    lattethunder
    Participant

    jpizzow said:
    It’s a planning issue. Neighborhoods left in neglect will attract a greater number of parents who give two sh!ts about their children’s education. Neighborhoods that invest will attract a greater number of families who do care about their children’s education. Why do you think most of the worst schools in the city are located near some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. Throwing all the money in the world at a failing school in a poor neighborhood is never going to change the outlook of those neglectful parents.

    I am by no means an education expert, but I don’t believe this is true. Schools are funded by property taxes, poor neighborhoods give less money to their schools which leads to poor schools. Also, nothing about being poor means one does not value education.

    The benefit to mixed income neighborhoods is networking. It’s not that poor people learn to respect education because the rich kids do, it’s that networks are important to income (aka getting jobs, getting into schools, whatever) and wealtheir people tend to have better networks than none wealthy people do.

    This is a very topical response, because again, I am not an education expert, but I have never seen data that suggests what you are saying.

    #548947

    NDaEast
    Participant

    And another thing — don’t feed me bullshit about how every Columbus kid will be in an A or B ranked school by 2020. Who wrote that crap and expected us to believe it? We’re in an urban school district, and lots of kids and families have lots of challenges that have nothing to do with the schools but that impact their performance in the schools. Don’t feed the public that bullshit that the CEC “reforms” will change those facts. We’re adults. We understand the issues. Don’t treat us like we’re stupid because you think if we buy it you can get your hands on more of our money. I’m a public school supporter, but I’m not a blind, deaf, and dumb supporter. Fix your problems so those of us who want to support you can support you without feeling screwed. Still steaming in the Near East …

    #548948

    @lattethunder Here’s how it works for CCS: all the local neighborhood money goes into one school system. CCS equally distributes the money to neighborhood schools throughout the city system.

    Schools in Clintonville thrive, other schools in other neighborhoods might not . . . but they all are funded the same way. Clintonville (my neighborhood) tax money doesn’t really stay in the neighborhood to support its own schools in any way.

    And NDaEast: YEAH.

    #548949

    James Ragland
    Participant

    So, again, I am hearing more anger towards the adults who caused the problem, not the kids who attend the schools. If you do not like what the adults did, VOTE THEM OUT. You have an opportunity to do so. You HAD an opportunity to do so before the Dispatch blew this whole thing up, but NOBODY wanted to hear it. People get a sample ballot and elect those who are on it. I cannot in my heart of hearts vote against something that represents opportunity for my children. The campaign should be about the kids, not the adults.

    #548950

    BCNation
    Participant

    There is no way that I can support the “Columbus Charter School” District. I wish there was a stronger “Anti-Levy” campaign to combat this.

    #548951

    Everyone on the ed boards says that the unions agreed to be silent on this. So, I don’t think we’ll see much of an organized/funded anti-levy campaign.

    #548953

    Aaron Marshall
    Participant

    I think that the issues that bedevil Columbus Public go way beyond funding issues.

    I’m torn in this debate because while I want to support Columbus Public schoolchildren (as I was once myself and my step-daughter is currently) I also agree with NDa East Side that the adults running the district haven’t come clean about what happened and I would like to have seen more accountability first.
    As for the charter schools getting funding, these are non-profit public charter schools right? I got no problem with my money going towards good public charter schools such as Metro. It gives parents more choices which they desperately need in non-affluent parts of town. The White Hats are the real problem.

    #548954

    CbusIslander
    Participant

    I don’t usually say much on school issues, we recently moved out of the district because of all the writing on the wall. I don’t know much about charters, but I know they don’t have to meet certain state requirements that of public schools. One example, charters are not required by law to provide needs for special education while public schools do. CPS seems like other oversize districts in the country with being top heavy. Not enough funnels to the student.

    I agree with many on the volunteer and home environment playing a key roll. Family stability also plays a clear roll. As far as this levy, I do find this one to be quite excessive and insulting especially on the heals of such turmoil during the past year.

    My question, why give a shrinking school district more money with obtaining the same results?

    #548955

    NDaEast
    Participant

    pez said:
    The thought of ruining thousands of kids’ educational opportunities and both the city and school system’s reputation over $8.5 million per year, of which most taxpayers portion is a handful of dollars seems silly. The fact is that charters are here to stay and they will continue to receive both state and local dollars regardless of what the vote outcome is.

    Contrary to the logic, the big winners here if this doesn’t pass are the for-profit charter schools. The lack of funding will likely starve some of the not for profit schools out and the resulting further decay of the CCS will drive more students to the for profit schools.

    I don’t have a say in the matter as a taxpayer as I’m not In the Columbus school district, but I support people like James who know that this levy, while it may not be perfect, may help to keep the divide between CCS and the suburban schools from growing even wider.

    “Ruining thousands of kids educational opportunities” is exactly what CCS has done through the data scandal. Saying “no” to a bad levy proposal is not the same as what has been done by many of the same people who are now saying “send us more money, we have a solution.”

    There are a few factual inaccuracies in some of these posts — not picking on this poster. A lot of people talk about “non profit” versus “for profit” charters. Actually, all the charters schools themselves are by definition “non profit,” though some may have “for profit” sponsors (like White Hat). So the policy passed by the Board of Education to only fund non profit charters is meaningless — they are all nonprofit.

    Second, charter schools do not get local dollars. They get state dollars, mostly on a per-capita (per head) basis, though they do not get a facilities payment from the state like traditional school districts do. Nor do they get local property tax dollars. This unprecedented proposed levy would make Columbus the only Ohio city to provide local property tax dollars to charter schools, and theoretically at least it would exacerbate the problem identified by Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling in DeRolph that the state system of funding schools through property taxes is unconstitutional.

    We would, in effect, be double-funding two competing school systems and creating two redundant administrator heavy infrastructures (it takes a lot of administration to oversee state and federal dollars and education standards). The Dispatch got its panties in a bunch when Mike Wiles voiced the true fact that no one at the City of Columbus or on the CEC has ever run a school – so how did they get to be experts so fast? What happened to the Mayor’s Office on Education? — didn’t it fold and collapse several years back? — what were the outcomes? — did it change education in Columbus? Current state law funds charters at a level the General Assembly (in all its wisdom) thinks appropriate. The Mayor and our political leaders asked the General Assembly for its help in picking our pockets to provide more funding for charters — and anyone who thinks this first $8.5M bite at the apple is the last is living in dream world. Passing this levy creates another demand and another constituency for more property tax dollars.

    For the state to MANDATE a local levy to support charter schools is unconscionable. It is the unholy marriage between people on the right who want to privatize everything and do away with unions, and people on the left who despise the non-union charter schools but will support a charter school levy that envisions taking 50% of the remaining CCS kids from union teachers because it is the only way to get corporate support for a 2013 levy that will prevent short-term teacher union layoffs. But that is an invented crisis, because the people would have supported a status quo “do no harm” operating levy for CCS while all the problems got ironed out. Instead, the politicians got greedy and are swinging for the fences. No. No. No. And Hell No.

    #548956

    joev
    Participant

    James Ragland said:
    So, again, I am hearing more anger towards the adults who caused the problem, not the kids who attend the schools. If you do not like what the adults did, VOTE THEM OUT. You have an opportunity to do so. You HAD an opportunity to do so before the Dispatch blew this whole thing up, but NOBODY wanted to hear it. People get a sample ballot and elect those who are on it. I cannot in my heart of hearts vote against something that represents opportunity for my children. The campaign should be about the kids, not the adults.

    If this is true, then there would never be a reason to vote against a school levy. This is a bad levy, mucked up with bad policy. We should not support a bad policy “because of the children.” The children are going to be better served in the long run with good policy. Not a money dump poorly planned band aid.

    What exactly will happen to your children if the school system goes on with its present (generous) funding?

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