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School Issues: Wiles Stands Alone

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott School Issues: Wiles Stands Alone
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The Columbus Board of Education — Front Row: Hanifah Kambon; Carol L. Perkins, President; and Ramona Reyes. Back Row: Mike Wiles; Gary L. Baker II; W. Shawna Gibbs, Vice President; and Bryan O. Steward.

It’s not easy to be school board member, Mike Wiles.

When he submitted a list of people’s names to be on the city school levy committee, not a single Wiles suggestion made the cut.

When Carol Perkins was re-elected in January for another term as board president, the vote that put her in office was 6-1: Wiles was the “one”.

Columbus City Schools has an in-house legal team. Wiles was the only board member to vote against spending $100,000 in school money on an additional lawyer for advice regarding the attendance scandal.

Then he was also the only board member to later vote against sending an additional $175,000 to the same law firm.

There’s actually something more damning than being outvoted 6-1. Ask Wiles, he’ll explain, “There are some motions I have made that didn’t get a second; that, in my mind, is a 6-1 without the vote.” Think about that: stony silence after your best suggestion in a public meeting.

Mike Wiles stands alone.

Even standing alone, Wiles takes the beatings when the school board is criticized for the problems in Columbus City Schools. He understands, adding, “ People don’t take the time to research and find out who on the board is working to change things and who isn’t . . . they lump us all together. “

Oddly, the criticism and the 6-1 votes aren’t even that depressing to the board member. He says the 4-3 votes are the worst, adding, “To be that close to actually getting something done just to watch it fail really gets to me.”

And there have been some 4-3 votes. Back in August, Wiles moved to transfer the responsibility of school data collection and storage from the superintendent to the auditor. Close, but it failed too.

It’s an interesting puzzle. There’s plenty of public criticism for the schools and the board, and yet the members of the board are elected officials . . . elected by the public. Wiles explains, “Board races are generally the most ‘under voted’. That’s where, for example, 1,000 people vote in the election but only 300 vote for school board -meaning 700 people didn’t care enough about the school board to even vote.”

February marks the ten-year anniversary of the late Bill Moss removing his shoe, and relentlessly pounding it on the table in disgust during a school board meeting. Perhaps it’s time to get Wiles a special acoustic shoe.

CLICK HERE for more ongoing information and discussion on Columbus City Schools.

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