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Columbus Board of Education Votes to Proceed with Placing a Permanent Improvement Levy and Operating Levy on the November Ballot

August 1, 2023 -- On Tuesday, August 1, the Columbus Board of Education adopted a resolution to proceed in placing a combined 7.7 mill levy (4.7 mill) Permanent Improvement Levy and a (3.0 mill) Operating Levy on the November 7, 2023, ballot in accordance with the provisions of Section 5705.217 of the Ohio Revised Code.

The Board approved the resolution to take the next step unanimously. Members of the Board shared their thoughts on why it’s essential to take the next step and ask Columbus voters to invest in the future of the District’s operations and academic programming.  

Board President Jennifer Adair: “This ask of our community is essential. The operating dollars are essential. The permanent improvement levy is essential. These directly tie back to the education of our child. It’s not fair for our kids not to have what our fellow colleagues in the suburbs are giving their children. Each of us as adults in this community look at our children and say, ‘You should have everything you need to be your best selves,’ and that’s what these asks do. It builds not only a foundation for the future of our district but our children’s literal future. Public education is under attack, and make no mistake; no one is coming to our rescue from the state. No one is giving us a huge check from the state; that’s just not the reality. As your Board of Education, we are going to fight. That’s part of our job…to figure out how to fund education and projects in a way that makes sense and is fair. We know it’s unfair to our community, but I know our community will stand strong with us just as we stand strong with our union leaders, our families, and, most importantly, our students. These financial asks of our community are essential. We need these levies to ensure we have the best educational outcomes for our students. That’s something I know our community will stand behind.”

Board Vice President Christina Vera: “Our kids deserve this, and this is an investment in young people who rightfully deserve all the opportunities we can possibly give them. This is not something we can do alone; this is something we have to do collectively as a community. As an alumna of this District, I have been able to experience firsthand a lot of things we often read about. This is a crucial time for us to say, ‘Let’s do this. Let’s do this for our kids.’ We have the power to do that collectively, together, and I thank you and look forward to getting out into our community to have these conversations. It is a new day in CCS, and together, we can do what needs to be done for the betterment of our kids. This is what Columbus City Schools is rooted in–community.”

Board Member Eric Brown: I strongly support the [levy]. The permanent improvement levy is both smart and essential for our community and school district. This allows for maintenance for our buildings and facilities, and it protects our academic and teacher funding. In the past, the District has been forced to borrow money from its operating budget to pay for repairs, but the [permanent improvement levy] sets up a dedicated fund. We want what’s best for our students and staff, and we need this permanent improvement levy to keep our buildings in good condition.

Board Member Dr. Tina Pierce: “Our unified support for these tax levies will provide essential funding to ensure all students have the same opportunities to learn, grow, and succeed. Please join us in strengthening our District by supporting our students and voting yes.” 

Board Member Ramona Reyes: The reason I live in Columbus is because I truly believe in Columbus. I believe in Columbus City Schools. I am a recruiter of students, our teachers, and everything Columbus City Schools does in this community. You see the results in our mayor, in our commissioners, and in our city council. That’s who we are…we are Columbus. Our graduates are providing and giving back. The only way that can continue to happen is by providing high-level education, paying our teachers, paying bus drivers, and ensuring we have good leadership.”

Board Member Michael Cole: “These dollars are absolutely essential as an investment. These are young people that we are looking at and asking the community to invest in to ensure they are beyond a Portrait of Graduate; they are meeting and exceeding those aims. This is an opportunity to ensure excellence for our children and ensure those who are responsible for them in school buildings or classrooms have the resources and training they need to provide the best. I look forward to knocking on doors, making phone calls, and ensuring this community fully understands this investment that can truly change this community and turn us around. I know this community believes in its school district. I respectfully and humbly ask that you support our collective initiative to ensure this community makes the right, strong, and committed investment in our young people.”

Board Member Carol Beckerle: This feels like an important moment for our community. These levies are necessary, and we wouldn’t be asking our community if this wasn’t the case. This is long overdue, and we’ve needed this for a while. I’m proud to be part of the Board that’s finally putting this forward.

If voters approve the levy, the additional tax shall be on the 2023 tax duplicate for the first collection in the calendar year 2024. The District was last on the ballot in 2016.

To learn more about the District’s financials, visit the frequently asked questions on the Treasurer’s financial page.