Monday, July 23, 2001

CPS to end nursing classes

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Despite a board of education mandate to continue an adult education nursing program, Cincinnati Public Schools has been unable to justify its cost and will end the program July 31.

        In April, the board voted unanimously to have CPS's licensed practical nurse and nurse's aide programs reinstated and directed the administration to ensure their success.

        Now, two board members say they are dismayed the district failed to find a way to make the nursing programs self-supporting.

        “There's a much higher demand than we have supply” for LPNs, board member Harriet Russell said. “I can't understand the rationale in dropping the program.”

Focus on K-12

               Superintendent Steven Adamowski has said he wants to focus spending on K-12 education for the district's 42,600 students.

        The 52-year-old licensed practical nursing program, housed at the Queen City Vocational Center in the West End, has graduated about 4,000 students over the years, said Roberta Russo, director of nursing. About 300 people are on the waiting list, she said.

        The program's current 24 students will graduate, but no new students will be accepted.

Many dropouts

               The LPN and nurse's aide programs at the vocational center were canceled earlier this school year because the administration said the LPN classes were $300,000 in the red and had a dropout rate of 60 percent. LPN tuition is $6,856 per student for 45 weeks, Ms. Russo said.

        CPS Associate Superintendent Kathleen Ware said the administration doesn't want to double tuition to make the program cost-effective.

        CPS spokeswoman Jan Leslie said the district now offers high school students courses preparing them for health occupations at The High School for the Health Professions at Hughes Center and that there has been discussion to offer the programming to adults.

        Cincinnati Federation of Teachers President Sue Taylor said in a letter to board of education President Rick Williams that a CPS former treasurer had data indicating the LPN program was solvent.

        “Had the district not canceled the program during the 2000-01 academic year, enrollment of students would have generated the revenue necessary for the LPN program to have operated within its own means,” Ms. Taylor said.

        But Ms. Russo said the administration was not collecting the necessary financial aid reimbursements.

        Meanwhile, Mr. Williams said there was no time frame specified to keep the LPN adult-education program going and it might eventually be reinstated.


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