Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Schools budget assumes levy vote

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Cincinnati Public Schools administration Monday night proposed funding some activities — including athletics and bus service — for only half a year, pinning their hopes on a school levy passing in November.

        “Before making a change this dramatic that will affect so many people,” Superintendent Steven Adamowski said, “I think our voters need another chance to pass the levy.”

        The district's board ordered the administration to cut costs after the March defeat of a 6.5-mill levy, which had been expected to bring in an additional $38.8 million in new revenue a year.

3.7 percent increase
        The 44,000-student district will spend nearly $373 million next school year, under a blueprint presented to board members Monday night. That's a $13 million, or 3.7 percent, increase from this school year's budget.

        The increase will go to pay for state-ordered programs and teacher raises.

        Programs hinging on a November levy increase include all extracurricular activities, from high school football to marching bands.

        Bus service would also be reduced. Students eligible for the school bus would have to live 1.5 miles from school, instead of the current 1-mile limitation.

        “I think that we have to recognize this is a difficult budget this year, but it is still responsible,” said Mr. Adamowski.

        “While we are not pleased to have to present a budget with reductions, we are pleased that we have maintained the integrity of our strategic plan.”

30 positions cut
        Board members will discuss the cuts at a special working meeting at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Education Center, 2651 Burnet Ave. in Corryville.

        Other cuts do not hinge on the passage of a November levy. They include saving nearly $3 million by eliminating 29 full-time and one part-time employee from the central office.

        Another $250,000 would be saved by moving students attending Washburn School to Porter/Hays for the 2000-01 school year.

        Mr. Adamowski said this is a cost-saving measure but is also driven by the desire to serve the Washburn students in a decent school building until Washburn is replaced.

        Washburn, in the West End, is recognized as one of the worst facilities in the district.


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