Council Continues Efforts to Prepare Students for Success
[COLUMBUS, OH] Council vote to support and expand safe, equitable learning environments and provide wraparound services for Columbus children brings the total two-month investment in education to $15.5 million.
On Monday, October 5, 2020, Columbus City Council passed ordinance 2232-2020 to fund a strategic plan to define a pathway for success that ensures Columbus children are ready to enter kindergarten. The legislation authorizes Future Ready Columbus to work with the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy to audit residents’ access and perceptions of early childhood education opportunities.
“Childcare should be treated like the vital infrastructure that it is, and the pressures put on providers and parents during this pandemic make it abundantly clear that maintaining the status quo is not acceptable,” said President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown. “This study will help us address the gaps in the childcare system and support the needs of every family and every child in our community.”
The study will integrate the research with the City’s birth-to-five strategic plan. The total expenditure is $119,467.
The legislation continues the efforts of President Pro Tem Brown, Councilmember Shayla Favor and Councilmember Rob Dorans to place the health, safety, wellbeing and technological needs of Columbus’ children to the forefront of future investments.
Last month, Council passed ordinance 2024-2020 to install and upgrade school zone flashing beacons at 36 local schools. Led by Councilmember Favor, chair of the Public Service Committee, the project will enhance pedestrian safety for elementary, middle and high school students and families during school arrival and dismissal times.
“Providing safe walking and biking routes to school is essential to student success,” said Councilmember Shayla Favor. “The flashing light beacon system installation aligns with the City’s Vision Zero efforts to eliminate serious crash injuries and will make significant strides towards keeping our students safe and secure on the way to school.”
The legislation allows the Department of Public Service to order the necessary parts. The overall project expenditure is $527,651 and is expected to be completed by October 2021.
In July, Council passed ordinances 1796-2020 and 1793-2020 to provide a total of $8.65 million in CARES Act funding to Columbus City Schools to purchase 20,000 Chromebooks for students. The funding also allocated funds to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the Franklin County Educational Service Center to provide broadband internet access to 10,000 Columbus students. This increased student access to virtual and blended learning opportunities.
“In uncertain times, we have a responsibility to provide confidence where and when we can," said Councilmember Rob Dorans. "Stability in education for every child is a non-negotiable. By providing 20,000 Chromebooks to those enrolled in Columbus City Schools, we are strengthening connections and setting up students for long-term success.”
Finally, wraparound services ordinance 1762-2020 authorized a contract with the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services to provide $6.2 million in federal CARES Act funding for childcare providers. The funds are being distributed to eligible providers in Franklin County through monthly grants to support their ongoing operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Council’s going to continue pushing to ensure our kids are able to make the most of this school year,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “I’m proud to stand alongside my colleagues as we vote to prepare students for success.”