By Aurora Boothby
In the time of a housing crisis, an unfulfilling education system and increasingly unattainable living standards, the subject of a school levy does not have an easy middle ground. The students of Columbus City Schools deserve an education that will benefit them to the fullest degree, and the Columbus community has chosen this as the priority. Even with pushback from taxpayers who were concerned about the extra amount of money that will come out of their pockets with the passing of the levy, the prioritization of a sufficient education and schooling environment was proved to be a priority.
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the world’s mental health, and the mental health of students is no exception. When in-person socialization and instruction paused for a year, so did the normal development that kids usually experience while attending school. Brookings has stated in a journal article that schools are experiencing staff shortages, higher absence rates and higher rates of behavioral issues. In the article, Brookings also states that student academic performance has decreased since the pandemic. Insufficient learning environments worsen the issue, and cutting the positions of the faculty members who are there to help students would increase poor behavioral and educational outcomes. Cutting positions would have also led to more people being out of work, and therefore leading to more issues with people trying to make ends meet.
It is very understandable that some in the Columbus community were hesitant to vote yes on a levy that will cost them even more money in an unforgiving economy. These students deserve to spend their time in a learning environment that is fully beneficial to them. The truth is that these students spend most of their days in these school buildings. If they aren’t at school or their home, there’s a good chance that they’re at a school-sponsored event or activity. They deserve proper mental health care access. They deserve to learn in buildings that are suitable for people to spend 7+ hour days in. They deserve sufficient student and family support, and so much more.
It is hard and unfortunate that in order to achieve these wins for students and teachers in Columbus, the citizens have to pay a price. As someone who went through the pandemic as a student who got to return to a new building with things such as an improved athletic program and some new staff members, I can confidently say that the cost is worth the benefits that this levy will have for Columbus students. With all of the valid economic concerns that are expressed when it comes to passing something that will increase the amount that taxpayers are paying, the Columbus community still chose the importance of education for its students and teachers, showing that sufficient education truly does matter. Once again, as someone who attended their school district for their entire K-12 career and didn’t experience all that came with the passing of the levy until my senior year, I can say confidently that the city of Columbus made the right choice of investing in their children’s education system.
Aurora Boothby is an intern with EtS for the Fall 2023 semester. She is currently a sophomore at The Ohio State University, majoring in English and plans on attending law school after undergrad.
Leela Bhowmilk and Ryah Mcadams are juniors at Worthington Kilbourne High School and are writing interns for Erase the Space.