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Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education Initiatives
Board Approves Anti-Racism Policy
The Cincinnati Public Schools' Board of Education approved a policy on December 16, 2020, that outlines the district's views on racism, stating that CPS rejects all forms of racism as destructive.
The policy aims to eliminate all forms of racism from CPS, including removing disparities in student discipline rates, and participation in Advanced Placement classes, athletics and gifted services, and in hiring and employee training.
CPS formed an Anti-Racism Working Group that used community feedback to create the final policy. The group includes students, parents, staff and a wide range of community leaders. Organizations represented include the African American Chamber of Commerce, All In Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati Preschool Promise, Closing the Health Gap, The Urban League, YMCA and the YWCA.
The Cincinnati Board of Education approved a groundbreaking District Equity Policy on April 11, 2016, designed to ensure that Cincinnati Public Schools fully embraces the value of diversity in its operations while eliminating practices that perpetuate disparities among students and schools.
The Council of the Great City Schools, a national urban education group, praised CPS for taking the historic step.
"The policy puts the district at the forefront of urban school systems across the nation that are both improving the quality of their instructional programming and ensuring greater equity and access to all the resources that the school district offers," said Michael Casserly, Executive Director of the Council of the Great City Schools. "The work should pay long-term dividends for the school system, the city of Cincinnati, and, most importantly, our urban children."
The policy commits the school board to ensuring that the principles of fairness, equity and inclusion are fully integrated into all of the policies, programs, operations and practices guiding the 34,000-student public school district, the largest in Southwest Ohio.
It also obligates the district to eliminate any policies, structures and practices that “perpetuate inequities and contribute to disproportionality of access and outcomes.” In addition, the policy calls for equitable distribution of financial, capital and human resources through Cincinnati Public Schools' annual budget allocation process.
The policy directs the superintendent and district treasurer to develop a plan with clear and measurable accountability standards and procedures to be shared with the public and submitted to the Board annually for approval. The Board will review implementation of the plan by all district departments and school sites at least semi-annually.
CPS Board Affirms District's Commitment to Providing Safe, Supportive Environment For All Students
On March 6, 2017, the Cincinnati Public Schools' Board of Education passed a resolution confirming CPS' support for all students regardless of immigration status.
WHEREAS, the Board of Education recognizes that federal law and U.S. Supreme Court Case, Plyer v Doe, 1982, guarantee a free public education to all students, regardless of their immigration status; and
WHEREAS, the District embraces the diversity that results from educating students with diverse backgrounds, including students from other countries whose families have migrated to Cincinnati to make this city their home, students who have come to Cincinnati for the purpose of receiving medical care for themselves or family members, and students whose families are refugees; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Education recognizes that its policies to provide equity and excellence in education, to prohibit discrimination and harassment, to ensure a safe learning environment, and all other policies of the Board of Education, apply and benefit all students, no matter the students’ legal immigration status as required by federal law;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Education reaffirms its commitment to ensuring a high quality education for every student, regardless of students’ legal immigration status. The Board directs the Administration to take all necessary steps to ensure that the District’s immigrant students are educated in a safe and secure environment.
State Report Card
The Ohio General Assembly is currently considering legislation that would revamp the state’s School Report Card. The Cincinnati Public School District Board of Education is working with committee members to evaluate the current system.
Tax Abatement Agreement
Board and City Exploring New Tax Abatement Agreement
Cincinnati Public Schools’ Board of Education wants to assure that any new tax abatement agreements with the City of Cincinnati give the school district its full share of property taxes.
A 1999 Tax Abatement Agreement is expired December 31, 2019. CPS' primary goal as a new agreement is negotiated is that the district be made whole for the property taxes dismissed by abatements and exemptions, said Dan Hoying, CPS' Legal Counsel.
On May 8, 2019, the CPS Board held a public hearing on the expiring Tax Abatement Agreement.
"The health of the city is directly linked to the health of our public schools," Jones said. "A critical aspect of our long-range financial planning is support of local property taxes….It is our obligation and responsibility to ensure the long-term financial stability of this school district — the largest school district and the 16th-largest employer in our region."
CPS has grown by 4,400 students over the past five years, Jones noted.
- April 27 Board of Education Meeting — Unsigned Tax Incentive Agreement
- Letter to Cincinnati City Council Wednesday, December 18
- Statement from Superintendent Laura Mitchell Friday, December 13
- Background Points about Tax Abatement Impacts
- 1999 Tax Abatement Agreement
Property Taxes Support Public Schools
The issue is how much property tax will be paid by owners of new and existing development and how much of that money Cincinnati Public Schools receives.
Public schools in Ohio are funded primarily through property taxes. As an enticement to developers, city and county governments can offer to abate (waive or cut back) the amount of property taxes owed annually on a neighborhood or a piece of property. Tax abatements are covered under Ohio law as Community Reinvestment Areas (CRAs) and Tax Increment Financing (TIFs).
The 1999 Tax Abatement Agreement took effect when the city and Hamilton County were planning construction of two sports stadiums on Cincinnati’s riverfront.
Hamilton County agreed to contribute an amount equal to the property taxes foregone by exemptions offered on the new stadium properties — then estimated to be around $5 million per year. The city and county also agreed to pay an additional $5 million per year to CPS for capital improvement needs.
The city also agreed to cover the cost of school nurses (provided by Cincinnati Health Department), school crossing guards and school resource officers (Cincinnati Police officers). Due to economic downturns, the city stopped paying for school nurses and crossing guards about 10 years ago, leaving CPS to pick up the costs.
School nurses annually cost CPS about $1.6 million, and crossing guards cost about $700,000 annually.
PowerPoint from May 8, 2019, public hearing — Explanation of 1999 Tax Abatement Agreement and proposed revisions