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LWV League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area Education Fund
Smart Voter
Hamilton County, OH November 6, 2007 Election
Issue 22
Proposed Tax Levy (Additional)
Cincinnati City School District

29,051 / 42.28% Yes votes ...... 39,652 / 57.72% No votes

See Also: Index of all Issues

Information shown below: Summary | Arguments |

Shall a levy be imposed by the Cincinnati City School District, County of Hamilton, Ohio, for the purpose of EMERGENCY REQUIREMENTS OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT, in the sum of $65,343,626, and a levy of taxes to be made outside of the ten mill limitation estimated by the county auditor to average nine and ninety-five hundredths (9.95) mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to ninety-nine and five tenths cents ($0.995) for each one hundred dollars of valuation for five (5) years, commencing in 2007, first due in calendar year of 2008.

A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage.

Explanation: The last new operating levy for Cincinnati Public Schools was approved in 2000. It generated $36 million annually and was calculated to last four years, but was extended to 7 years. A renewal levy was passed in 2004 which maintained $65.2 million in operating funds and did not raise taxes. A deficit has been projected of approximately $65 million, which has resulted in this emergency levy for operating funds. If it passes, the levy would cost a homeowner of a $100,000 home $300 more per year.

What the Levy will do: This levy adds funds to support operations including basic educational services of Cincinnati Public Schools.

Background: The Cincinnati Public School District (CPS) serves 35,500 students with 62 schools in the City of Cincinnati, Amberley Village, Cheviot and Golf Manor; most of the City of Silverton; parts of Fairfax and Wyoming; and parts of Anderson, Columbia, Delhi, Green, and Springfield and Sycamore townships. The district faces declining enrollment.

Due to HB 920 (rollback provision) and how Ohio funds its public schools, virtually all districts must return to voters every 3-5 years for new operating funds. CPS last did this in 2000. While transportation and staff costs have increased, local and state revenue for the operating budget have only increased 0.17 percent since 1999.

CPS has attained the Continuous Improvement status on the Ohio Report Card. In 2006, CPS adopted a five year Strategic Plan which sets aggressive targets for improved academic results. Additionally the district is halfway through a facilities improvement plan to construct new schools and renovate others. CPS is working with the McKenzie organization to align their delivery of services to the strategic plan.

Arguments Submitted

Summary of Arguments FOR Issue 22:
Proponents say:
  • This levy is necessary to keep the Cincinnati Public Schools educating our communities' children for the future and to enable the district to adhere to its Five-Year Strategic Plan to become one of the best districts in Ohio.
  • The District's aggressive efforts to contain costs- reducing staffing by 1,100 and keeping budgets in line - extended the last levy long beyond its expected life.
  • Expansion of the Montessori program, a Bus Transportation Initiative, and Instructional Support Teams are improving student/teacher options. The new levy monies will ensure that these new programs are continued.
  • Challenges from charter schools, and the voucher program, a sluggish economy and increased costs to do business have lead to projections of severe fiscal problems in the future.

Summary of Arguments AGAINST Issue 22:
Opponents say:
  • There is a need for greater accountability from the administration in spending practices and how they are related to the districts' goals.
  • It appears that the contentious school board and school management have not been working together to solve problems.
  • CPS Student enrollment has been declining for years, yet there does not appear to be a parallel reduction in expenditures. CPS per capita costs appear high in relation to private and parochial schools.
  • Passage of this levy would mean that city homeowners pay 70 percent of their property taxes to CPS; this is too much of a burden for many of the residents of Cincinnati, many of whom do not have children in the public schools.
  Official Information

Hamilton County Board of Elections Results
News and Analysis

"Campaigns & Elections" information and analysis
Partisan Information

Cincinnatians Active to Support Education- For Our Schools Campaign
General Links

Pro-levy - Cincinnati Federation of Teachers
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Created: December 19, 2007 17:42 PST
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