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Interested In Local Government? Apply To City Council School

Jay Hanselman

Later this fall, some Cincinnati residents will be attending City Council School. 

All nine seats on Cincinnati City Council will be on the ballot in November 2021, and right now five of those seats are held by members who cannot seek re-election because of term limits. 

The 2021 election will also return council to two-year terms instead of the current four-year terms, which have been in place since 2013.

Action Tank is sponsoring City Council School with support from The Haile Foundation and the Seasongood Good Government Foundation.  Action Tank is a think-tank committed to partnering with artists to research, organize, educate and advocate for equitable policy in the Cincinnati area.

"The idea is that it's a course for people who want to run for council, or people who just want to be stronger advocates for their communities," said Action Tank Executive Director Ioanna Paraskevopoulos. "To get a real apolitical, nonpartisan course on the nuts and bolts of how to be an effective legislator."

The school will educate potential candidates with several goals:

  • How local government works
  • How to navigate the bureaucracy
  • How to identify and make the best use of available information and legislative tools
  • How to manage city council responsibilities
  • How to staff and manage a council office

The new program is similar to School Board School, which focused on recruiting people to run for the Cincinnati Public Schools Board. 

"We would love it if someone from City Council School ended up getting elected," Paraskevopoulos said. "But we also think that if that doesn't end up happening this year, we'll still be better off as a city if we have people who are more familiar with City Hall or advocating for their neighborhoods and communities."

Applications for City Council School will be accepted starting July 6. The deadline to apply is Aug. 21. Candidates will then be interviewed, and selections will be announced Sept. 28. About 20-25 people are expected to be in the class.

There will be information sessions about the program on July 11 and August 13.

The actual sessions will begin in October and conclude in February. Those will include workshops, tours and panel discussions with people who have a role in shaping local policies and outcomes.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.