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Kasich signs Columbus Schools reforms

 
Kasich signs Columbus Schools reforms
Posted Monday, July 15th 2013 @ 4pm  by WTVN Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Gov. John Kasich was met by a crowd of protesters outside the Columbus school where he signed a bill that makes major reforms to the Columbus City Schools.

Allowing public school levy funds to be used at district-sponsored or partnered charter schools is one of the biggest changes. It's something that drew the ire of some protesters.

"This measure is further targeting Columbus Public Schools for privatization, for underfunding of our public schools and for a general taking away of democracy in our communities," said Molly Shack of Columbus, one of dozens of protesters outside Indianola Alternative School. "There's no question in my mind that this has a race component to it. This is a racist issue."

The bill also authorizes a November ballot issue that would allow voters to decide whether or not to create an independent auditor for the district. They would be able to review district finances and investigate wrong-doing. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman would also be permitted to sponsor charter schools with city council approval.

"This represents another step forward in a reforming education system in Ohio that I don't think has even hit its stride," said Kasich.

He praised efforts in Cleveland and Columbus to reform schools and hopes it's the beginning of reforms all across the state.

"I hope we're going to see it in Youngstown. It's contagious. I know we're going to see something in Cincinnati and in many of the districts of suburban Ohio, in rural Ohio, in urban Ohio," he said.

Coleman says Columbus is scoring well in every ranking when it comes to quality of life, but the schools are lagging behind.

"We need to fix it. We have to fix it. This bill is part of the fix," he said.

He says this is a major part of a Columbus plan to fix education in the city. Coleman says every child in the city deserves the change to get a quality education no matter where they live or how much their parents make.

A school panel looking at what the November ballot issue should be has suggested a 9.01 mill levy. It would cost a property owner about $315 per $100,000 in property value. It would bring the total levied payments to the Columbus City Schools to $1,643 per $100,000 of property value.

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