Despite lay offs TFA circling in Cincinnati

Cincinnati public schools are experiencing the full impact of the recently passed budget and it's provisions. The district reduced its general fund budget by $8.6 million to $458.6 million this year due to state funding cuts, and the end of 2012-13, the state will have reduced its funding to CPS by $55 million.

Naturally this is causing serious budget problems for a well performing large urban district, including lay-offs that were announced earlier in the year

Cincinnati’s School Superintendent announced Friday more than 200 staff positions will be cut next year to help the district balance its budget.

Mary Ronan said in a release the reductions include 158 teachers, 33 central office employees and 17 additional school-based workers.

According to the same article, CPS has been closing schools and reducing staff for the past decade. Since 2001-2002, more than 1,100 positions have been eliminated and 17 schools have been closed.

To alleviate some of this pressure, CPS has a permanent levy on the ballot this November. Polling shows this levy to be neck and neck.

But another provision in the state's budget is also rearing its head. Teach for America (TFA).

Teach for America wants to put its teachers in Cincinnati Public Schools, possibly as early next year.

But both parties must agree. So far, the district has remained non-committal.

"We're really just looking to see if districts are interested in partnering," said Ben Lindy, who is on Teach for America's site development team.

Lindy made a pitch to CPS board Wednesday. It was the first such outreach in Ohio since Gov. John Kasich signed a law in April allowing TFA to locate here.

It might raise some eyebrows, that at a time when the district is having to lay off highly qualified and experienced educators and their support professionals, TFA is circling with promises to fill classrooms with their under prepared, inexperienced amateurs. As we wrote a short time ago, it is literally harder to become a casino card dealer in Ohio than it is to be a TFA recruit.

Cincinnati would be better served passing their levy and ensuring that they continue to have classrooms staffed with experienced professionals that have helped guide CPS to its current creditable performance levels.