Friday, May 18, 2001

Schools may set minority target


CPS weighs plan on contracts

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Public Schools officials are considering a plan to give minority, women-owned and economically disadvantaged businesses at least 15 percent of the work for the district's $700 million facilities improvement plan.

        Under the proposal, participation for the decade's worth of work would not be limited to local businesses, school officials said.

WHAT'S NEXT?
   The Cincinnati Board of Education is expected to discuss on Monday a plan to give minority-owned, women-owned and economically disadvantaged businesses at least 15 percent of the work for the district's $700 million facilities improvement plan.
    The meeting is 7 p.m. at the Cincinnati Public Schools Education Center, 2651 Burnet Ave., Corryville.
        The district spends about 1 percent of its budget each year — or roughly $5 million — on contracts with minority-owned businesses.

        Over the past school year, officials have said a 1989 school board policy recommending that the district do as much business as possible with those companies needs to be reinvigorated.

        “I believe we should recommend a target to strengthen the policy,” board member Harriet Russell said Thursday before the board's facilities committee.

        In February, school officials announced the district will create a new department as part of the treasurer's office to do more business with companies owned by minorities and women.

        But the proposal for a minimum participation goal for minority- and women-owned businesses has raised ire with one school board member, especially in light of Hamilton County's difficulties in meeting its goal for minority- and women-owned business contracts for Paul Brown Stadium.

        Board member Florence Newell said she was hesitant to set specific percentage goals because:

        • Such goals can be mistaken for a cap on minority-owned and women-owned businesses' participation in the improvement project.

        • Percentage goals should not force the board to hire businesses that are otherwise unqualified.

       



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