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Amendment Could Clear Way For Takeover Of Columbus Schools

As the legislature continues to hammer out the next budget, an amendment to the House version could open the door for a mayoral takeover of Columbus City Schools. Buried deep in the more than 1,000 page document is a new amendment that would let the state superintendent of schools and a mayor in the district’s largest municipality appoint an academic distress commission, basically a second and even more-powerful school board. But only if the district “is found by the Auditor of State to have knowingly manipulated student data with evidence of intent to deceive.â€? Columbus remains under investigation by the auditor for what he calls widespread attendance recording scrubbing. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman has repeatedly said he’s not orchestrating a takeover of Columbus City Schools. On Wednesday, Coleman's spokesman Dan Williamson said the mayor does not support the budget amendment and is focused on the meaningful work of the Columbus Education Commission. Williamson said the mayor views this latest development as a distraction. The new amendment comes ahead of a townhall meeting Wednesday night for residents to talk about concerns over possible changes in the district.