The Cincinnati Public Schools are looking at how to operate with $43 million less next year, approximately ten percent of the estimated $450 million budget.
"We'll begin to look at how we're going to close that budget gap and we will be looking at layoffs in March and April," said Mary Ronan, Superintendent. Last year's budget was cut by $7.7 million and this year's by $27.3 million.
Due to the economy and insufficient revenue from normally reliable sources such as property taxes, school officials are asking the public to help them decide what should be cut. A survey is posted online at the CPS web site which asks people questions such as should they cut textbooks, busing, technology, sports, clubs, advanced placement and preschool classes. The survey also addresses issues such as whether staffing should be cut or altered like teacher's aides, office support staff and salaries and benefits for teachers, administrators and staff.
"Yes, we want input from everyone in the City of Cincinnati. We'd like 30-40,000 responses. We want to know what people want, what people think," said Ronan.
Only one school has been closed so far, Quebec Heights. But the survey also asks if CPS should close schools where test scores are lower than the state's minimum and schools which are under capacity.
Ohio state law requires that all public schools operate within their budget. "We have to decide what should go, what should stay and how we're going to restructure and reorganize to get the work done with fewer people. We'll take everyone's input but the bottom line is we have to have a balanced budget by the end of June," added Ronan.
You can view and take the CPS survey here.