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CPS Board approves reductions to assistant principal and manager positions

Cincinnati Public Schools Education Center in Corryville.
Jennifer Merritt
Cincinnati Public Schools Education Center in Corryville.

The Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education voted to cut a dozen assistant principal and program manager positions during a special meeting held Wednesday night.

Most of the eliminated positions were assistant principals of culture and community which worked in several high schools around the district. Other cuts included elementary assistant principals at Hartwell, Westwood, Roll Hill, and LEAP Academy. CPS' English as a Second Language (ESL) manager position was also cut.

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Several people during public comment spoke out against the cuts, particularly against eliminating the ESL manager. Sarah Madrigal, a social worker in the English Learners (EL) office at CPS, says getting rid of the manager position will only make things harder for English learners in the district who already face many challenges.

"I feel very strongly that CPS isn't doing enough work to support its EL students," Madrigal told the Board. "Instead of creating programs that actively include them, more often than not EL students are an afterthought."

Interim Superintendent Shauna Murphy reassured the speakers saying that even though the ESL manager and other assistant principal positions will be cut, the district still plans to maintain many of the services those positions provided.

"The services will continue. It may look different than what it looks today, but we are all committed to continuing the services," Murphy said.

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With Wednesday's reductions along with other smaller cuts, the district is moving closer to closing its budget gap. With an additional $4 million in revenue coming from tax increment financing next school year, the current budget gap now sits at just above $13 million.

The board is aiming to close the gap by the end of June, though it's possible it may not meet that deadline. Over the next several weeks, the board says it will continue to consider additional personnel cuts.

"This is going to be hard," Board Member Brandon Craig said. "We've got a budget hole that we have to fill. There are not many good options left on the table to put up. All of the options are going to cause pain to somebody."

The board will meet again to discuss the budget Monday.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.