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CPS Board Approves Ballot Language For November Levy

Bill Rinehart

Cincinnati Public Schools will have a new levy on the ballot this fall. Board members gave final approval to ballot language Tuesday for a five-year, 7.93 mill levy which would raise about $48 million a year and cost $277.55 per $100,000 of home value.

Board member Eve Bolton says the levy will pay for things the community has said it wants.

"The top priorities of this particular levy really reflect the top priorities of our folks, which are reinvigorating our neighborhood schools, investing in technology, and limiting the digital divide, and also very frankly, career and college preparedness. And, from the business community, business development. Plus, expanding preschool," Bolton says.

The board passed a resolution setting up a plan to offer expanded preschool if the levy passes.

Board President Ericka Copeland-Dansby says if the levy passes, CPS will expand its preschool program from 1,200 to 1,800 kids, and get help for others.

"We're going to seek a trusted entity. Someone who's a non-profit organization, who's trusted, who has a shared vision mission to oversee the funds that will essentially be what we're calling preschool expansion organization." Copeland-Dansby says that organization will be autonomous, but CPS will have oversight. The preschool expansion organization would have a board of directors including district appointees.

"CPS has been doing preschool for 50 years, and we're really good at what we do. However though, our focus is also K-12. We believe that it would be in the best interest for all involved to allow a trusted entity, someone who's tried and true, someone who, again, has shared mission, and has demonstrated the ability to handle funds."

$15 million of the $48 million raised annually would be earmarked for preschool expansion.

She says the district will submit a request for proposals by next month. The expanded preschool would be ready by January.

Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.