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Columbus School Board Member Resigns With A Parting Shot

Columbus City Schools District Office.
Nick Evans

The Columbus City School Board again finds itself one seat short after Mary Jo Hudson announced her resignation. She argues the school board needs a complete restructuring.

In a resignation letter, Hudson criticized the board’s lack of action in the face of failing schools and aging infrastructure. Hudson called for reforms that would emphasize professional recommendations rather than short term political decisions, and she points to the board’s decision to reject an independent task force’s facilities plan.

“It basically shut off any discussion,” Hudson says. “Shut off discussion, but more importantly, it really disregarded almost all of the recommendations of that task force.”

Those recommendations proved controversial because they would have led to school closures or consolidations in the some neighborhoods. The task force argued pruning was necessary to help get students in modern buildings.

Hudson plans to release a proposal for reorganizing the board in the coming months.

In a statement, school board president Gary Baker expressed appreciation for Hudson service on the board and dedication to students.

"When she joined the Board, I enlisted her to serve as the lead on both our Audit and Finance Committees, and I applaud her work in supporting our culture of transparency and working with colleagues to continue to expand it," Baker said.

The board has no concrete timeline for filling Hudson’s vacant seat, but Baker expects a replacement by mid-January.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.
Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.