Cincinnati Public Schools planned for fallout from casino delay

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - More possible fallout from the delay of Cincinnati's Horsehoe Casino-- this time for Cincinnati Public Schools.

As part of the casino deal, developers were expected to pay 33-percent of their tax revenue to the state. That money would be divided between the 88 counties in the state, the four cities that would be home to the casinos, and all of the public school districts in Ohio.

The Treasurer for CPS told FOX19 that the district was initially promised between three and four million dollars, but now all of that could change since the casino has been put on hold. The news comes at a time when the district is already facing a $65-million deficit and forced to lay off more than 200 teachers.

The Denson children love playing outside almost as much as they love school. Both children attend the same school within Cincinnati Public School District.

Elementary school student Leshe suffers from a hearing loss, but says her teachers have taught her how to overcome her difficulties.

"Sometimes they tell me the word and how to say it and how to pronounce it," said Leshe Denson.

Her mom, Marche', said the thought of more possible budget cuts greatly concerns her. Denson is worried about possibly losing more nurses or teachers.

"My child doesn't have Medicaid or can't go to the hospital, and the only source of them being able to be seen is in school," said Denson. "It's an issue for me, and if there's not enough staff then there's a major concern."

Fortunately, district leaders said they planned for the worst.

CPS Treasurer Jonathan Boyd said the district did not place any of the projected revenue from the casino into their budget.

"Historically, we've seen those types of activities where you know-- you're promised it, you expect it, but you don't want to go out and make spending decisions until you're absolutely sure," said Boyd.

The bad news is that's not the only issue CPS leaders were dealing with right now.

Just days ago, Hamilton County commissioners announced a plan to take money from every township and school district to buy vacant and abandoned properties in the hopes of selling them to developers. If the plan is approved, CPS would have to fork over $700,000.

"We can ill afford to lose $700,000," said Boyd.

We're told that money could be spent to save the jobs of 19 teachers.

"I'm just getting nervous right now thinking about it," said Edward Denson, Leshe's father. "No teachers and no money in Cincinnati?"

On a positive note, Boyd said that if CPS does end up receiving tax revenue from the casino in the future, the district will be able to apply it to the general fund and, perhaps, plug any holes caused by a possible deficit.

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