The unofficial school levy campaign
In addition to the standard pro-Issue 10 yard signs, backers of the Cincinnati Public Schools tax levy are blanketing the city with 8,000 other yard signs, which conveniently don't mention the 7.89-mill property tax hike.
The red-and-white signs have large lettering that reads "I am Cincinnati Public Schools," with four adjectives in smaller text -- "proud," "prepared," "successful" and "empowered."
Under a 2002 out-of-court settlement reached with the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, CPS can't use its own property for any political statement, including pro-levy signs.
But the "I am Cincinnati Public Schools" signs don't include an overtly political statement, and then are fair game to go anywhere on CPS' wide array of properties throughout the city.
The local chapter of Parents for Public Schools spent more than $5,000 to produce the signs, said chapter board president Pam Green. They're part of a year-long district campaign that uses similar phrasing, she said, and not intentionally meant to coincide with the levy campaign.
"This was discussed before we even knew the levy was going to be on the March ballot," Green said, adding that she hopes people will keep the signs up even after March 4.
But Green acknowledged the signs could help the levy effort, and she said she thinks more people would vote for the levy if they took heed of the sign's message -- that CPS is important to the entire city, not just families with current students.