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Technology Improvements Could Cost CPS $50 Million

Cincinnati Public Schools (screenshot from Apr. 14, 2021 meeting)
Here's how much concurrent learning could cost the school district.

Nearly $50 million could go toward improving concurrent learning systems throughout Cincinnati Public Schools. This comes from a draft of the fiscal year 2022 budget that will be presented May 19.

Roughly $39 million would be for installing new technology and the remainder of the budget would tackle many ongoing payments such as training, devices and internet services. An earlier estimation said it would cost between $23-53 million for such learning improvements, which would allow staff to work with students who are virtual at the same time they work with students who are in the classroom. Concurrent learning is expected to be available for all students in spring 2022.

The high price tag raised some eyebrows. Board Member Melanie Bates questions whether it would be effective.

"What kind of assessments are being given to our students now based on this almost entire year of being remote? Because we may be investing $50 million in a system that doesn't produce results," Bates said.

Board Member Mike Moroski worries about "missing the mark again," regarding other school districts moving away from remote learning for the next school year.

"If this had happened 10 years ago and COVID happened, a lot of the conversations and trauma we experienced last year would've been a moot point because we would've had this built out," Moroski said.

Cincinnati Public Schools will have classes in-person five days a week next year and will include options for remote learning. According to survey results from March, 67% of parents expressed some level of comfort with their children returning to five days of in-person learning in the fall, compared to 26% who did not.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.