The recent annexation by the City of Columbus of the Country Club Shores and surrounding properties sets into motion state statutes that trigger a change in school district boundaries.
State statutes dictate that when a city annexes a territory the school district boundaries shift to the city school system. These statutes also allow the school systems involved to negotiate terms regarding student education, taxing shifts, and community plans. Columbus Public Schools (CPS) and Lakeview Community Schools (LCS) took the opportunity to sit down several times to negotiate what was best for their individual districts, patrons, and the residents of Country Club Shores and other properties affected by the annexation.
As with all negotiations, there are two sides to the story. It is in the best interest of Columbus Public Schools to retain the rights to the Country Club Shores and surrounding properties because property taxes are a more stable funding source than state aid. In addition, CPS is currently educating 21 of the 25 students that live in the neighborhood. Lakeview Community Schools wanted to protect its boundary and keep the district lines as they are currently written. In addition, they will now be more reliant on option enrollment funding instead of the more reliable source of property taxes.
Both school districts spent time talking about wanting to do what was best for the Country Club Shores residents because of the change in taxes in a short period of time. Both also wanted to find a solution that is best both in the short term and long term for each of the school districts. There was no perfect solution, there was nothing that was going to match everyone’s need, and there was nothing that was going to make everyone happy. It just wasn’t possible in this unique and challenging situation to find the perfect solution, but after meeting several times an agreement was reached! Lakeview Community Schools and Columbus Public Schools have agreed to delay shifting Country Club Shores and other properties into the Columbus Public Schools for two years. This will mean the students will not become CPS resident students until the 2021-2022 school year and the tax shift from the LCS rate to the CPS rate will not take place until Jan. 1, 2022. In addition, any families with students currently in a school system will be allowed to finish in that same school system. This solution is not perfect but it definitely shows willingness from both sides to work what was best for their district and the patrons of the annexed properties.
There is often a natural rivalry and competition between school districts in the town of Columbus. For better or for worse that is going to happen with the passion that comes for your home school district and the close proximity we all share. But it was nice to be able to have both districts in this case work together through a challenging situation to not only benefit their own school but have the best interest for all in mind. We would hope you expect nothing different from great public schools.
Dr. Troy Loeffelholz, superintendent of Columbus Public Schools.
Dr. Aaron Plas, superintendent of Lakeview Community Schools.