Tuesday, May 22, 2001

CPS budget plan raises spending

Smaller class size among objectives

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Under a proposed budget for Cincinnati Public Schools presented Monday, students will have smaller classes in grades K-3, neighborhood schools will get more money, school facilities will receive more maintenance and per pupil spending will increase.

        Next fiscal year's target budget is $427.9 million — up from $389 million this year.

        That means Cincinnati's 75 public schools will get an extra $38.9 million this fall if the budget is approved. The increase comes from a 6-mill operating levy passed by voters in November.

        “The budget reflects all the commitments made in the levy campaign,” said Superintendent Steven Adamowski.

        “It's all good news in the budget. This is intended to accelerate the trend of upward student improvement.”

        The budget is expected to be final by the end of June.

        Some changes afforded by the 10 percent budget increase include:

        • Class-size reduction in grades kindergarten through three to 18 students — from as high as 30 in some classrooms. The goal is to provide more personal attention to students and improve student literacy by ensur ing children can read well by the completion of third grade. An additional $11.7 million will be allocated for this goal.

        • Increase in per pupil funding by $180 per student from $3,917 to $4,097. This restores per-student funding to the level it was before $10 million in cuts were made in the 1999-2000 budget.The funds were targeted for supplies, textbooks and minor facility upgrades. Total cost will be $9.8 million.

        • To ensure equity between neighborhood and magnet schools, an additional $8.6 million has been allocated to neighborhood schools. The funds will be used to improve literacy and instruction, accelerate achievement gains for students and more.

        • For implementation of the new pilot teacher evaluation and compensation system, the budget provides for professional development. Eight additional consulting teachers will be added to the district to aid about 150 new teachers needed for the K-3 class size reduction. Total cost of this goal is $663,000.

        • An additional $6 million will be allocated for facilities maintenance.

        • For science instruction improvement, the district will allocate $350,000 to purchase and refurbish science kits.

        • An additional $7.8 million is budgeted for charter schools, bringing the total charter school budget to $23.5 million.


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