The Superintendent of the Cincinnati Schools recommended a budget for the 2007-2008 school year that is lower than the current budget by about $308 thousand dollars. This budget will mean that the Cincinnati Schools must continue to curb their spending, and direct the majority of the funds towards the educational basics: teachers, supplies and buildings. This budget focuses support on the Cincinnati Schools’ five year strategic plan. This plan was unanimously approved by the Board of Education in April. Cincinnati Schools believe that if they direct resources to the best teaching practices, then academic performance of students will improve. The budget also means the Cincinnati Schools need to balance a reduction in staffing.
The Cincinnati Schools made a commitment in 2004 that they would undertake efforts to lower costs dramatically, and to make sure staffing was in line with enrollment. Personnel cuts were made in the 2007-2008 General Operating Budget to make sure that this goal was accomplished. The new budget also reflects reductions in spending that are non-personnel related. It includes operational costs that the Cincinnati Schools made possible by closing two elementary schools and merging two others.
In order to achieve this budget and to make it workable the Cincinnati Schools used a zero-based budgeting process again this year for expenditures which were not personnel related. Each expenditure had to go through a justification process to ensure that it was necessary to support operations and education. By using this method the Cincinnati Schools were able to offer a slightly lower the budget without jeopardizing vital functions.
Through these measures, the district is able to keep spending slightly below last year’s. The cost-reduction measures also make it possible for Cincinnati Schools to extend the life of its most recent operating levy. The Cincinnati Schools approved a levy in November 2000 that was supposed to last for four years. But without further cost cutting procedures there will be shortages in the 2008-2009 school year. The recommendations show the Cincinnati Schools’ commitment to supporting the strategic plan through better academic processes and better management efficiency. There were several priorities to be implemented through continued, redirected, or grant funding. Federal funding for Cincinnati Schools will now be pooled with the general operating fund to support better strategic planning which will do away with the need for duplicate bookkeeping.
The Budget Commission of the Cincinnati Schools contributed greatly to the development of this budget. Also, an advisory group of parents, teachers, and administrators provided information, ideas, and feedback to ensure that despite the budget cuts the education of the children of Cincinnati Schools would not be adversely affected.