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LWV League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area Education Fund
Smart Voter
Hamilton County, OH March 4, 2008 Election
Issue 10
Emergency Requirements of the School District
Cincinnati City School District

Proposed Tax Levy - A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage

49771 / 52.0% Yes votes ...... 45925 / 48.0% No votes

See Also: Index of all Issues

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis |

Shall a levy be imposed by the Cincinnati City School District, County of Hamilton, Ohio, for the purpose of PROVIDING FOR THE EMERGENCY REQUIREMENTS OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT in the sum of $51,500,000 and a levy of taxes to be made outside of the ten-mill limitation estimated by the county auditor to average seven and eighty-nine hundredths (7.89) mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to seventy-eight and nine-tenths cents ($0.789) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for five (5) years, commencing in 2008, first due in calendar year 2009?

Impartial Analysis from League of Women Voters

In 2000, voters approved the last new operating levy for Cincinnati Public Schools. It generated $36 million annually and has provided that funding for over seven years without renewal or replacement. A renewal levy that passed in 2004 did not raise taxes and maintained $65.2 million in operating funds. In 2007, in an attempt to maintain operations at current funding levels, a 9.95 mill operating levy was put on the November, 2007 ballot. It was defeated by the voters. The Board of Education (both the retiring Board and the newly elected Board) voted on two separate occasions to place this 7.89 mill emergency levy on the March 4, 2008 ballot.

What the Levy Would Do:

If approved, the 7.89-mill levy will raise $51.5 million annually for five years starting in January, 2009. Of that sum, $18.3 million would restore some of the $54 million in cuts that have been planned since the failure of the levy attempt in November 2007. The remaining monies would be used for teachers, textbooks, and classroom needs; they would also support Community Learning Centers and other learning services for students, families and teachers. Additionally passage of the levy will enable the District to plan its 2008-09 budget (which must be adopted by June 30) based on sound figures. Passage may also help the District avoid falling into fiscal emergency, a state designation for districts with severe financial problems. If approved, it will cost the owner of a $100,000 home in the school district approximately $240 in property taxes.

Proponents say:

1. Passage is critical to the continued improvement of Cincinnati s schools. CPS is now the top urban district in Ohio; its graduation rates have gone from 51% to nearly 80%; the district has attracted positive national attention for its innovation and achievement.
2. Changes recommended by a management consultant are being instituted and will make the district more efficient and align central office to better support the Strategic Plan goals.
3. Passage will provide financial stability and permit sound fiscal planning for the long term.

Opponents say:

1. There is a need for greater accountability from the administration as to its spending practices and how they are related to the district's goals.
2. Student enrollment has been declining for years, yet there does not appear to be a parallel reduction in expenditures.
3. The district should not seek new monies until an ongoing financial analysis and efficiency audit are completed and the results are made public.

  Official Information

Hamilton County Auditor Tax Analysis

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Created: July 31, 2008 16:23 PDT
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