Solutions to code, school woes

July 6, 2008 

Houses

North Columbia had more code violations for boarded-up and abandoned houses in 2007 than the rest of the city combined. A city-sponsored task force examining code enforcement will present its list of recommendations to City Council in August. Some ideas include:

• Require landlords to have business licenses. It’s easy to spot the decaying houses, but finding their owners is a challenge. Business licenses would make it easier for the city to find owners when their properties violate city code.

• Have the city’s community safety officers, who function as security guards under the Homeland Security department, trained to spot and write code violations.

• Change state law to streamline the process the city has to go through to condemn a house.

Schools

For North Columbia schools struggling to meet minimum state academic-performance standards, help might be on the way

Richland 1 school trustees and City of Columbia leaders visited Mobile, Ala., on a fact-finding mission earlier this year. They hope they can borrow ideas from that Southern city on how it has been able to help struggling students do better in class and — importantly — on annual tests.

— Adam Beam and Bill Robinson

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