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Mayor Michael Coleman Expected To Talk Schools In State Of City

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman tonight is expected to use part of his annual State of the City address to talk education. A commission he appointed in December, which has the backing of major companies, is expected to make a series of recommendations for Columbus City Schools. The tension between the mayor's education commission and the Columbus Board of Education grew when the commission asked the board to delay the search for a new superintendent. The commission wants the board to hold off until the mayor's panel makes recommendations. School board members were not happy. Board President Carol Perkins says the board's goal is to hire a new superintendent by the end of June. "This is something that the board feels very strongly because it's our job. This is our job to hire, retain, select our three direct reports, one of which is superintendent." Says Perkins. The mayor's education commission has no legal authority, but it's director Eric Fingerhut says the pending change in school administration leadership was part of the reason Mayor Coleman appointed the panel last December. "The timing of the decision by Superintendent Harris to step down." Says Fingerhut Superintendent Gene Harris says she will retire from the district's top post on June 30th. Both the commission and the school board will be listening carefully to what the mayor says about the process tonight.