On Sunday, dozens of community members gathered to hear about both sides of the issue at the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — As the November election inches closer, debates continue for many ballot issues, including the Columbus City Schools levy.
On Sunday afternoon, dozens of community members gathered to hear about both sides of the issue at the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
CCS is asking for voters to support a nearly $100 million levy on the ballot. If passed, it would cost taxpayers about $270 per $100,000 of taxable property value each year.
For this debate, Columbus school board member Michael Cole took on Nana Watson, president of the NAACP Columbus branch.
“Issue 11 is about our children, our community because these are our schools,” Cole said.
Cole said the money is needed to support students inside and outside the classroom. He added the district will soon be in desperate need of money when pandemic relief dollars run out next year.
“That federal appropriation will end, and what essentially will occur is tremendous staff cuts and lost resources,” Cole said.
Watson said her organization is encouraging voters to vote no, as many community members are already struggling to keep up financially, especially older residents.
“Gas is going up, food is going up, utilities are going up, the rent is going up,” Watson said.
Beyond that, Watson said the district is not being transparent with how exactly it’s spending the thousands of dollars it received in pandemic relief.
“We’re simply asking for a breakdown. It’s our money,” Watson said.
Following the debate at the Columbus Metropolitan Library, school district members weighed in on the issue.
“If you’re asking me for more money, show me where it’s going and show me where the money went to that I paid before,” Libby Rand, a member of the Black Women’s Voters League, said.
While Rand opposes the levy, James Ragland, a former Columbus City Schools board member, believes the schools need the additional money for the sake of the students.
“I would just encourage this community to really think long and hard about the negative impact of telling our kids that you don’t support them,” Ragland said.
Voters will have the chance to decide for themselves on the levy in just over six weeks on Election Day.