Columbus City Schools elections (2013)
Method of election
What was at stake?
Columbus City Schools
Three seats were up for election on the Columbus Board of Education. Michael D. Cole, Ramona R. Reyes and Dominic Paretti defeated Mike Wiles, Beverly J. Corner and Hanifah Kambon to win three at-large seats on November 5, 2013. The district faces a debate over a proposed increase in property taxes and a state investigation into attendance practices that could lead to reduced state funding.
About the district
- See also: Columbus City Schools, Ohio
Columbus lags behind the rest of Ohio in terms of median income and poverty rate while outpacing the state in higher education attainment. The 2010 U.S. Census found that 32.3% of Columbus residents over 25 years old held undergraduate degrees compared to a 24.5% rate for the state of Ohio. Columbus had a median income of $43,348 in 2010 compared to $48,071 for Ohio. The poverty rate for Columbus was 21.8% in 2010 compared to an 14.8% rate for the rest of the state.
Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.
Method of board member selection
The Columbus Board of Education consists of seven members who are elected at-large to four-year terms. There was no primary election on September 10, 2013 and the general election was held on November 5, 2013. Three seats on the board were up for election in 2013 and four seats will be on the ballot on November 3, 2015.
Candidates for the Columbus Board of Education must be 18 years old, a resident of the district and not hold city office concurrent to board service. The Franklin County Board of Elections required a $30 filing fee as well as at least 300 signatures by the filing deadline on August 7, 2013.
- Michael D. Cole
- Graduate, Ohio State University and Seton Hall University
- Co-founder, Thoth Communications, Inc.
- Beverly J. Corner
- Graduate, Cornell College and Ohio State University
- Hanifah Kambon
- Graduate Ohio State University and University of Dayton
- Educational trainer
- Dominic Paretti
- Graduate, University of Cincinnati
- Legislative aide, Ohio State Legislature
- Ramona R. Reyes
- Graduate, Ohio State University
- Human resources specialist, Nationwide Insurance
- Mike Wiles
- Driver, On Demand Storage LLC
- Veteran, U.S. Navy
|Columbus Board of Education, At-large, 2013|
|Nonpartisan||Michael D. Cole||23.5%||32,756|
|Nonpartisan||Ramona R. Reyes Incumbent||18.6%||26,016|
|Nonpartisan||Mike Wiles Incumbent||14.9%||20,791|
|Nonpartisan||Beverly J. Corner||14%||19,586|
|Nonpartisan||Hanifah Kambon Incumbent||12.9%||17,986|
|Source: Franklin County Board of Elections, "November 2013 General Election Official Results," accessed December 13, 2013|
Candidates received a total of $19,520.49 during the election, according to the Ohio Secretary of State. Dominic Paretti and Ramona R. Reyes were the only candidates to file financial reports and received $12,520.49 and $7,000 for their campaigns, respectively.
The Franklin County Democratic Party endorsed Michael D. Cole, Hanifah Kambon, Dominic Paretti and Ramona R. Reyes in September 2013. The Columbus Dispatch endorsed Michael D. Cole, Dominic Paretti and Ramona R. Reyes on October 30, 2013.
|Columbus Board of Education, At-large, November 8, 2011|
|Nonpartisan||Carol Perkins Incumbent||29.3%||64,332|
|Nonpartisan||W. Shawna Gibbs Incumbent||29%||63,589|
|Nonpartisan||Bryan O. Steward||26.8%||58,778|
|Source: Franklin County Board of Elections|
Note: Incumbent Gary Baker won the fourth seat as a write-in candidate by garnering 17,400 votes against seven other write-in candidates.
What was at stake?
Incumbents Hanifah Kambon, Ramona R. Reyes and Mike Wiles ran for re-election to the board in 2013. They competed with challengers Michael D. Cole, Beverly J. Corner and Dominic Paretti in the November 5, 2013 general election.
On October 25th, 2013, Kambon was reprimanded by the Ohio Ethics Commission for conflict-of-interest charges dating back to 2011. She agreed to repay the district $11,750 related to four contracts held by her husband's firm, Visionary Leaders Institute. The district established contracts with the firm in 2010 to supply training materials and workshops to staff members. Kambon was not found to have knowingly broken ethics rules though she received payments of $1,085 from the firm while the contracts were valid.
A major issue in the school board campaign was the property tax changes embodied in Issue 50. This proposed tax levy would add $0.90 per $100 of assessed property value to support renovation and maintenance in the district. A portion of this tax levy totaling about $8.5 million per year would be earmarked for charter schools with high performance indicators. Mayor Michael B. Coleman and other community leaders held a rally on September 9th to support the levy while no board members spoke during the event. Voters rejected the tax levy with a 69% majority.
The district also faces an ongoing investigation by the Ohio State Auditor regarding attendance practices during the 2010-2011 school year. An investigation by state officials as well as the FBI looked into the practice of "scrubbing" or removing students with frequent absences from school to skew test scores. The state investigation is currently looking into allegations of grade adjustments and other practices by district employees with subpoenas issued in July 2013. The district could lose state funding related to student performance in the 2010-2011 school year if the investigation reveals grade and attendance manipulation. On October 22, the board unanimously voted to create new attendance policies that would require court hearings and district investigations into student whereabouts before removal from attendance records.
The following dates were key deadlines for the Columbus Board of Education elections in 2013:
|August 7, 2013||Last day to file nominating petitions for local nonpartisan races|
|October 24, 2013||Filing deadline for pre-election expense reports|
|November 5, 2013||Election day|
|November 26, 2013||Certification of election results by county officials|
|December 13, 2013||Filing deadline for post-election expense reports|
Additional elections on the ballot
The Columbus Board of Education elections shared the ballot with other local measures. Residents of Columbus voted on three City Council seats as well as candidates for City Attorney and City Auditor. Four seats on the Franklin County Municipal Court were up for election on November 5, 2013. The ballot featured Issue 50, which would add $0.10 per $100 of property valuation over the next 36 years for new construction and $0.80 per $100 of property value for ongoing maintenance costs. Issue 51 asked voters to determine if the school district should create the position of Independent Auditor. Municipal issues on the ballot included four bond issues for city services and 21 issues dealing with alcohol sales at local businesses. Voters rejected both proposals on November 5, 2013.
- Columbus City Schools, Ohio
- List of school board elections in 2013
- Franklin County, Ohio ballot measures
- Financial policies, education standards at stake in November school board elections
- School board election wrap-up: Incumbents re-elected overwhelmingly in November 5 elections
- School board elections review: Voters opt for experience over new blood in nation's largest school districts
- U.S. Census, "Quick Facts: Columbus," accessed September 13, 2013
- Franklin County Board of Elections, "Past Election Results," accessed September 13, 2013
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
- Franklin County Board of Elections, "2013 Candidate Data," accessed September 16, 2013
- Ohio Secretary of State, "2013 Candidate Guide," accessed September 16, 2013
- Ohio Secretary of State, "Elections & Voting: Campaign Finance," accessed December 20, 2013
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Democrats endorse 4 for 3 Columbus school-board seats," September 13, 2013
- The Columbus Dispatch, "For Columbus school board," October 30, 2013
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Write-in Baker, 3 ballot candidates win Columbus school-board seats," November 9, 2011
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Columbus school board member Hanifah Kambon reprimanded in ethics probe," October 26, 2013
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Rally kicks off push to pass levy for city schools," September 10, 2013
- Franklin County Elections, "2013 Election Results," accessed November 5, 2013
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Subpoenas show Columbus City Schools probe has grown," September 15, 2013
- WOSU, "Columbus City Schools Adopts New Attendance, Withdrawal Policies," October 24, 2013
- Ohio Secretary of State, "2013 Election Calendar," accessed September 12, 2013
- Franklin County Board of Elections, "2013 General Issues Filed," accessed September 16, 2013