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Business leaders back Mayor Coleman's education reform

Posted by Kitty McConnell on August 23, 2013

Mayor Coleman’s Education Commission gained a strong ally today as the Columbus Chamber officially announced its support of his proposal for Columbus Public Schools reform. The Chamber voted yesterday on a resolution in favor of the appointment of independent auditor and $9.01 million Columbus Public levy.

The resolution frames the problems at Columbus public as an economic issue, citing quality education as vital to Columbus’s continued economic development.  The Chamber says that the additional levy revenue is necessary to “enact the comprehensive strategy which was unanimously supported by the Education Commission.”

Thought the levy would increase taxes on local business, Columbus Chamber CEO Michael Dalby said in a press release that the funds are best viewed as an “investment” in future business owners and employees.

Columbus business leaders have been involved in education reform from the beginning; the executives on the Columbus Partnership have held meetings on the topic and met with city officials to voice concern over the state of Columbus’ public education.

Columbus Partnership President and CEO Alex Fischer is a member of the Education Commission board. In an interview with Columbus CEO last October, Fischer said Partnership members were “concerned that we’re not doing as well as we think we could be doing” in public education.

“That’s why we’re happy to be partnering in support of Mayor Coleman as he takes a fresh look at Columbus City Schools,” said Fischer. “But it’s beyond simply the city of Columbus. We operate in a region and we have to think about the ecosystem in Central Ohio. That is really everything from pre-K to workforce training as adults and everything in between.”

The levy and auditor will be up for vote on the November ballot. 

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