Without debate, the Columbus Board of Education Tuesday decided to use $870,000 of its general-education funds to pay off a debt to National Public Radio secretly run up by by the district’s public radio station WCBE.

The transfer was approved as part of a 7-0 “consent agenda” omnibus vote that approved dozens of district initiatives. A background memo from Scott Varner, the district’s executive director of strategic communications who oversees WCBE (90.5-FM), to Superintendent Talisa Dixon notes that “the board may be asked again to supplement the station’s budget through the general fund.”

The station was thought to be self-supporting through fund-raising drives, but district officials learned earlier this year that NPR, which provides WCBE its national news programing, had been accepting partial payments from

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