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CPS budget amount set, now comes balancing act

Faced with an estimated $14.8 million dollar budget gap,  the Cincinnati school district is asking the public for ideas on reducing costs and raising revenue.  Superintendent Mary Ronan says the general fund budget for next school year totals $474 million.  Now the challenge is to balance the spending plan by the end of next month as required by law. 

Ronan says the shortfall is because of state funding.

"We believe we are now back up to what we were getting in 2007," she said.  "The last several years we saw significant cuts from the state."

While she's thankful the district is back up to what it was getting seven years ago, she points out the district's expenses-- such as transportation, gas costs and utilities--have gone up.

Closing school buildings and laying off teachers aren't in the picture, but Ronan says several administrators are not being brought back.  In the past ten years, CPS has eliminated more than 1,500 positions, closed 20 schools, streamlined support services and reduced other costs.

CPS held a public meeting Wednesday night, seeking ideas for closing the budget gap.  There will be another meeting  6 p.m. Tuesday at the Mayerson Academy, 2650 Highland Avenue. 

The district is also conducting a budget survey on its web site through Monday.