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Thursday, February 21, 2008

AMOS endorses CPS levy

UPDATE: The Charter Committee also endorsed the CPS levy at its meeting today, reports President Michael Goldman, despite Charter's recent publicized concerns about the district's financial transparency. CPS board president Eve Bolton and Treasurer Jonathan Boyd convinced Charter that the district is making a "good faith effort" at accountability and openness, Goldman said.

The AMOS Project lent a hand to the Cincinnati Public Schools tax levy campaign today, endorsing the 7.89-mill levy.

In a press release, AMOS president Gregory Chandler Sr. framed CPS' need for more tax revenue as a social justice concern:

“Education is the primary building block for financial security in our society,” Chandler said.

“Low income families in the City of Cincinnati—many of them African American and Hispanic—depend on the public schools to provide a sound educational foundation for their children. These families lack the resources to send their children elsewhere for the kind of education their young people need to become successful and able to provide for their own futures. Therefore, we must support the levy so that Cincinnati Public Schools will have the resources to serve our children in the best possible way.”

The release went on to site recent academic progress by CPS, and acknowledged that the levy will raise real estate taxes substantially. But it's the only funding available until broader state law changes are made, Chandler said. AMOS is a coalition of area churches.

Also today, the Charter Committee, Cincinnati's third political party, meets to weigh an endorsement for CPS. City Council could also act on a similar resolution tonight.


at 12:44 PM, February 21, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got a warm fuzzy feeling reading this. Only question I have concerns how many churchs pay real estate taxes? I have been told that most churchs and schools are exempt from property taxes. Makes sense to me why AMOS would endorse the levy. They don't have a dog in that fight.

at 1:40 PM, February 21, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMOS isn't a church organization. It's concerned socially active individuals. Who pay taxes. And realize that public schools are a public responsibility.

at 3:26 PM, February 21, 2008 Blogger Mark Miller said...

There are two sides to that social justice argument. Poor folks are counting on the public schools to prepare them for the workforce. But many other poor folks are on the verge of foreclosure due, in part, to paying enormous property taxes. The sizeable increase AMOS advocates will put some of those poor people over the edge and cost them their homes.

CPS already receives more tax dollars per student than most districts in the state, so we have to question how well they're spending the money we're already giving them. We see their enrollment going down while their spending goes up, and it starts to look like a sinking ship.

So why should we heap another tax burden on the working folks of Avondale, Bond Hill, Corryville, etc. just so this mess can continue? It seems to me that true social justice requires CPS to get their own house in order BEFORE asking for a larger piece of other people's houses.

Vote "No" on the school levy to make that happen.

at 3:53 PM, February 21, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't throw money at the schools and expect children to become educated based on spending the day in class.
The missing factor is parent responsibility and parent support.
If parents stress the importance of education and make sure their offspring behave in school and study and complete assignments at home, you'll end up with an educated student who can compete.
Truth is---- Parents don't care and use the schools as baby sitters. Parents don't discipline their children and don't instill respect for authority.
I'm tired of footing the bill for the miserable results we see today from CPS.

at 4:24 PM, February 21, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our school funding method has been declared unconstitutional - why hasn't the legislature made a move to correct the problem inthe first place.

Secondly, CPS is a huge, overwhelming and expensive bureaucracy. Much of which should be done by a centralized service provided by the state instead of being done locally and sucking taxpayers dry in the replication of services for accountability, measurement, contracting, etc. Centralizing these administrative functions would greatly reduce the fiscal burden on all of us, make reports uniform and give integrity to the fiscal and administrative functions absent manipulations

at 10:31 PM, February 21, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lack of money is not the problem in Cincinnati Public. The problem is lack of good parents and proper respect toward education. Throwing more money at the schools will improve nothing. NO TO THE LEVY

at 11:16 PM, February 21, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Point about declining enrollment:

Tuition for a child in a charter or private and parochial EdChoice school still comes from the CPS budget.

So declining enrollment does not mean fewer children in the district thus less expenditure. It means that CPS pays out more money to other schools for those children.

When a levy fails and the budget is cut, money going to EdChoice or charter schools stays the same. That means that children in CPS schools suffer disproportionately from a levy failure--the cuts come all on the CPS side not on the charter or private school side.

at 11:20 PM, February 21, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let the state take over the district? Come on. If you think that CPS is a huge bureaucracy you can't seriously believe that letting the state take over would be an improvement.

A state takeover would drive people out of the district even faster. The schools that are working well would have their individual curriculum wiped out - no Montessori, no foreign language, no Paideia - and replaced with a monochrome "state curriculum."

Talk to Cleveland about how well state takeover has worked for them.

CPS is making progress. Children are doing better; schools are improving. But they need public support.

Vote Yes on 10, please.

at 7:18 AM, February 22, 2008 Anonymous these people are amazing said...

But many other poor folks are on the verge of foreclosure due, in part, to paying enormous property taxes.

who would've thunk that a tax cut would solve the mortgage and foreclosure crisis.

at 11:22 AM, February 22, 2008 Blogger Mark Miller said...

Anon 11:16,

You make a great point about declining enrollment disproportionately affecting CPS students vs. voucher kids. But you have it backwards.

Charter and voucher schools generally have lower tuition than CPS's own costs per student. So the district has MORE money to spend on its own schools when parents choose to put their kids somewhere else.

Think about it. If CPS spends $15,000 to educate one student and a charter school comes along who's willing to do it for $10,000, doesn't CPS keep that extra $5,000?

They should have a budget surplus. For an organization with a $428 million annual budget to wind up with a "surprise deficit" of $79 million seems like gross mismanagement. How do you lose track of 19% of your funding?!?

I'd be reluctant to keep giving my car keys to a teenager who racks up a bunch of traffic tickets. And I'm just as apprehensive about giving more money to a school district that can't seem to control its own spending.

If they have a legitimate need, and are spending their current resources responsibly, then I'm happy to support them further. But that's not the picture I'm seeing.

Until they get their act together financially, more money will only prolong the problem.

Vote "No" on the school levy.

at 11:29 AM, February 22, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

More money will not improve the schools. That increase will mostly go to school employees (paychecks)

at 11:38 AM, February 22, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please check out the article in the Febuary 20, 2008 edition of the Western Hills Press concerning the 23 School Districts of Hamilton County. CPS is #12 of the 23 as far as property taxes per property valuation. If someone cares to check the Hamilton Co. Auditors web site, they will notice that roughly 65% of a property tax bill is for CPS. If passed the combine real estate taxes on a house with a value of $100,000.00 would be about $950.00 a half year and about 70% would then go to CPS. I guess we propoerty owners are suppose to just suck it up and go without food, medication etc. so the CPS can contiue to spend more and more per student and so as other within the CPS Admistration can get their out ragious salaries. Then CPS can question why enrollment is down and why there are more and more families moving to another City/County/State.Let's see, can we understand why?

at 2:14 PM, February 22, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your math is incorrect about the charter schools. CPS doesn't get $15,000 per student. And the charter and voucher schools get 250% of what the state gives the district to educate children.

CPS receives about $2000+ from the state in state aid for each child in public, charter, or EdChoice schools. Then the district has to, locally, come up with the $3500+ per child to pay over to those schools. They don't keep anything; they pay all that they get from the state plus what is collected locally.

If what is collected locally decreases, the state doesn't pay more. The difference which is now bigger comes out of what is spent on children in CPS schools.

CPS does not spend $13,000 per child. That's a COAST-sponsored red herring arrived at by dividing the total CPS budget by the number of students in CPS schools. That's factually incorrect, though.

As discussed above, CPS pays the tuition for all children in charter and private and parochial EdChoice scholarships. The money paid out exceeds the money brought in by several thousand dollars. Dollars that do not benefit children in CPS schools.

But the budget also includes money spent on:

special education, physical therapy, and speech therapy at parochial and private schools

tutoring and computers at parochial schools

federal programs such as the school-year breakfast and summer breakfast and lunch programs

transportation to parochial and charter schools

in addition, many of the parochial schools don't accept special ed or physically handicapped children because they're too expensive and difficult to educate. Those children needing more intensive environments come to CPS for their education. Some physically handicapped students require resources by federal law such as an aide, making their education tens of thousands of dollars more expensive than the "average" CPS child.

And in the end, with 65% of the student body in poverty these children really do need more than your "average" Indian Hill student because they have less at home.

The price tag for this levy is high, no question. But the price tag of defeating the levy and living with the consequences of that are much much higher.

Please vote yes on 10.

at 3:25 PM, February 22, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark Miller:
Almost 60 million dollars of the CPS budget goes to paying tuition and transportation for children attending charter, private, or parochial schools.

Charter, private, and parochial schools receive up to $5,565 dollars per student from CPS. The state of Ohio gives CPS about $2200 per child. CPS must pay the balance ($3300) to the charter, private, and parochial schools so this money is not available for the children in CPS schools.

Therefore, children in CPS schools receive less when a levy fails because the state MANDATES that the district pay the same amount to the charter, private, and parochial schools whether levies pass or fail.

at 3:42 PM, February 22, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

CPS is a mess! Vote NO on the tax issue and force that do-nothing Board of Education to pick a good new superintendent.


at 1:31 PM, February 23, 2008 Blogger Mark Miller said...

Anon 2:14 & Anon 3:25,

I agree with you. When a levy fails and payments to outside schools don't go down, CPS has less money. Period. But if CPS had nobody in outside schools, and the same levy went away, they would still have less money. So what's the point?

You seem to be implying that these outside schools are dragging the public school system down. If so, then we ought to fix that. Let's look at the numbers and see. The 2007/2008 Budget is available here: http://www.cps-k12.org/general/Finances/BdgtBk0708/GFDetail.pdf

If we take the grand total and subtract all the things CPS spends on people other than it's own, we should get an idea of what it costs to educate just their students.
Grand Total General Fund Expenditures: $428,245,930
Tuition-State Approved Charters: -$ 44,655,000
Tuition-Ed Choice: -$ 6,500,000
Transportation-State Approved Charters: -$ 2,830,660
Transportation-Non Public Schools: -$ 3,187,210
Out of District Special Ed Transport: -$ 1,578,660
Out of District Other: -$ 3,000,000
MRDD IA's & LPN IA's/Out of District: -$ 10,802,990
Special Ed Service Providers: -$ 5,835,030
Special Ed Support: -$ 16,638,020
Cost of educating only CPS Students: $333,218,360

If we divide that by the number of CPS students (available here: http://www.cps-k12.org/home/FactsAtGlance.pdf) we get:
$333,218,360 / 34,796 students = $9,576 per student.

If Billy goes to a CPS school and Johnny goes to an outside school, Who does CPS spend more money on?
Cost for Billy at CPS School: $9,576
Cost for Johnny at outside school: $5,565
It's even more lopsided when you consider that CPS only pays 59% of Johnny's tuition and the state pays the rest.

If Billy transfers to Johnny's school, then CPS's cost to educate Billy goes from $9,576 to $5,565 and CPS keeps the extra $4,011.

This notion that outside tuition payments reduce resources for CPS students is not only false, it's backwards. Every time someone opts out of a CPS school in favor of an outside school, it leaves $4,011 to be spent on the remaining CPS students!

When our school district advances such a false and misleading analysis, like they do here: http://www.cps-k12.org/general/finances/CharterCosts.pdf, how are we supposed to trust them?

Vote "No" on the school levy.

at 3:14 PM, February 25, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Charter needed an excuse to support a tax hike.

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