CPS eyeing staff cuts as pandemic-related costs mount

CPS eyeing staff cuts to help close budget gap

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Public Schools leadership is eyeing cuts to employees as the district works through balancing its budget.

The pandemic has cost CPS more than $42 million, CPS board members said during a meeting Monday. In an effort to close the resulting $38 million budget gap, they say millions could be saved by reducing staff, something the district also considered in the summer.

CPS’s 2020 operating budget is $625 million.

The budget gap is due to unanticipated costs arising from remote learning and COVID-19 safety measures, including:

  • $5.3 million for cleaning supplies, PPE and thermometers;
  • $4 million to hire more nurses; and
  • $2.2 million to expand staff at the Cincinnati Digital Academy.

Cincinnati Federation of Teachers President Julie Sellers argues cutting jobs isn’t the solution.

“It isn’t logical,” she said. “There needs to be a hearing on what the impact is going to necessarily be. What are those positions going to be? How are they going to make sure they’re covering classrooms?”

Sellers says the district has faced budget shortfalls before and used staff cuts as a way of solving them, but that this time it’s different.

The district can’t afford to lose more employees at a time when students need more help than ever catching up on work from months of school closures, Sellers argues.

“That’s not going to be the solution to try to solve some of these issues,” she said.

Some CPS parents add their concern about what additional changes could mean for their kids.

“I don’t want anyone else to lose their job, but our kids need now more than ever the support of the school staff, so I think that’s the wrong place to look for cuts,” CPS parent Jenny Spring said.

CPS says they’ll have a more concrete plan I the coming weeks.

A CPS statement reads:

“Like many school districts around Ohio and the country, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) is facing significant pandemic-related costs on items such as technology, sanitization, and transportation. The district is working diligently to get to a balanced budget, as is required, and will continue to discuss this important topic at upcoming board meetings.”

A budget update is expected in November.

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