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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

CPS's Issue 44 Passes Easily

Issue 44, a large tax levy to infuse money into the Cincinnati Public  Schools and fund a preschool program for 6,000 three- and four-year-olds,  was supported by the vast majority of the school district's voters Tuesday.

With 209 of 226 precincts in the Cincinnati Public School District reporting, 62 percent were in favor of the levy, while 38 percent opposed it.

Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) has not had a new levy since 2008 and school system officials have been told they could be facing large deficits in the near future.

A coalition of educators and social service professionals called Preschool Promise have been working for the past four years on how to pay for plan to pay for preschool for every three- and four-year-old child in the area.

In May, CPS and Preschool Promise came together on a plan they believed would kill two birds with one stone – a $48 million, five-year tax levy that would split revenues between CPS and Preschool Promise. Under the agreement, CPS would get $33 million a year, while $15 million would go to Preschool Promise. The United Way was chosen to oversee the spending of the $15 million.

What was proposed was a 7.93 mill levy for a period of five years that would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $278 per year.

Over 60 organizations in the city came together to endorse Issue 44; and approximately $1.2 million was spent to promote the issue.

Only one group openly opposed the ballot issue – the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST).

COAST spent a minimal amount of money on yard signs and hand bills.

The Great Parks Levy was also passed by voters by a large margin. It had 69 percent support with 535 of the county's 556 precincts reporting. 

A renewal of the Hamilton County Children's Levy also passed easily, with 71 percent support. 

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.