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Columbus School Improvement Initiative Has Few Details

No Mayoral Takeover Planned

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman said he will lead an initiative to bolster Columbus City Schools as it enters a leadership transition following the announcement Thursday that its superintendent will retire. City officials could not provide an outline of the so-called "community initiative led by the city" to improve Columbus City Schools.

"I think where we want to go though is we want to identify those big ideas that lead to change overtime," Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman said.

Coleman heralded schools Superintendent Gene Harris' accomplishments during her tenure and acknowledged the challenges of leading an urban district. But Coleman suggested the district needs to catch up with the city he says is undergoing a "renaissance." Enrollment Decline The mayor pointed out district enrollment has declined almost 20 percent since 2004 and that some of its students are ill-prepared at graduation time. Coleman contends he has not lost confidence in the school system, but he said he needs to provide it leadership. "We have a community expectation that this is not something you defer to the school system that we all have to take ownership. That we all have to take ownership, and that it's everybody's responsibility to educate our kids," he said. "That's what this initiative is all about. Is there a lack of leadership in the district? I'm not saying that. I'm saying I'm going to provide leadership." Coleman emphasized he will only lead the improvement efforts, and he will not take charge of the district.