CPS board approves tax levy renewal, Pride Month, opposes new arming teachers law

Cincinnati Public Schools
Cincinnati Public Schools(WXIX)
Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 9:36 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (Enquirer) - Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education passed a resolution Monday night that sends a $51.5 million, 10-year tax levy renewal to voters in November, according to our media partners at the Enquirer.

The resolution was passed in a unanimous vote. Board member Mike Moroski was absent from the meeting.

The board also unanimously passed a resolution opposing House Bill 99, a new state law that allows teachers to carry firearms at schools with 24 hours of training.  Previously, school personnel had to complete 700 hours of peace officer training. The bill passed the Ohio Senate 23-9 and the Ohio House 56-34, and Gov. Mike DeWine signed it into law on Monday.

School boards will still determine if teachers are permitted to carry guns under the new law. The only individuals currently authorized to carry firearms within Cincinnati Public Schools are Cincinnati police officers and other law enforcement personnel.

Another resolution receiving board approval Monday recognizes June as Pride Month. Several “discriminatory legislative proposals” of late “targeted at LGBTQ students in Ohio” do not align with the board’s commitment and efforts to support diverse students, the resolution reads.

The resolution specifically names House Bill 61, which would prohibit transgender students from participating on teams that match their gender identity, and House Bill 616, which would limit class discussions on diversity, inclusion, sexual orientation and gender identity. The board passed a resolution condemning House Bill 616 in April.

The board “will continue to oppose these political attacks against the LGBTQ community,” the resolution reads.

What does tax levy renewal mean for CPS residents?

The school board determined a tax levy renewal was needed in May in the amount of $51.5 million per year for a 10-year period, starting in 2023. Monday’s resolution affirms the district’s intention of submitting a renewal emergency tax levy for this year’s November election.

The renewal levy would not raise property taxes. It was first enacted in 2008 and is now up for its third renewal.

The board has used five-year levies in the past, CPS treasurer Jennifer Wagner said during a May 9 school board meeting. Extending this levy to a 10-year cycle, as opposed to a five-year cycle, will prevent the district from having three levy renewals in four years between 2027 and 2030.

“That’s what we’re trying to get away from, is that levy fatigue on the taxpayers, the voters, as well as the district,” Wagner said during the May 9 meeting. The 10-year cycle would make for three levy renewals over a seven-year period. “It’s much more palatable, it’s easier to plan long-term and it gives us a little bit more financial stability.”

The district would’ve needed to cut $25 million each year starting in 2024 if the levy didn’t pass, Wagner said.

“It would be very painful and not supportive of student instruction,” she said.

Voters passed a renewal operating levy in November 2020, which raises $48 million annually through 2025. Those funds go towards expanding preschool programs, continuing college and career readiness programs, expanding school options and technology, according to the district’s website.

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