Monday, June 27, 2005

Bring CPS Up To Lakota Standards

It looks like my focus for the next several months is going to be on education and school funding. Perhaps that's why the story "Money transfer to Lakota explored" caught my eye.

Anyone who has ever stepped inside one of Lakota's buildings knows they look more like a brand new junior college campus than a typical Cincinnati Public Schools high school. Yet even though Lakota has some of the best facilities imaginable, people like Republican Butler County Commissioner Mike Fox is looking for ways to pump even more money into the schools.

Here's what Fox is trying to do:

Butler County Commissioner Mike Fox will sit down with officials from Lakota schools today to discuss how a West Chester tax district could benefit the struggling school district.

The meeting follows a work session held by township trustees last week to discuss how to use millions of dollars generated by a tax increment financing district that surrounds Union Centre Boulevard.

One possibility: Use some of the money to pay $400,000 a year to the Lakota School District.

Fox says he has fought since February 2004 to convince school and township officials that money generated by tax increment financing could be used to help schools, possibly even fund buildings, but his ideas were ignored.

I'm certainly not mad at Fox for trying to get more money into the Lakota schools. In fact, I think more leaders need to come up with creative ways to fund schools in Cincinnati. If education is as important as we say it is, we ought to fund it in a better manner and let Cincinnati's children know that they are just as good as the children of West Chester, or anywhere for that matter.

West Chester Twp. at epicenter of growth
Technology moves to head of class this school year


comello said...

I totally support getting more money for CPS. However, this is a partial solution, because we all know that more money does not equal better schools. In fact, I believe CPS spends over $7,000 per year per student. I just did a google search and could not find the numbers, but I think the average in Ohio is about $5,000 per student. Some parochial schools do much better with much less.

CPS is in the middle of one of the largest spending sprees, rebuilding almost every school. Meanwhile, several programs are getting great results in dismal buildings (Sands (especially when it was in the west end)SCPA, among others). But some programs that are in newer facilities are failing.

The crux of the problem is that success breeds success; and a successful program attracts parents whose children are likely to succeed. This is why property values remain high when located in a good school district, and this is why a few magnet schools in CPS attract the better students, while the rest of CPS struggles with below 50% graduation rates and low attendance etc...

Anonymous said...

Nate wrote, "If education is as important as we say it is, we ought to fund it in a better manner and let Cincinnati's children know that they are just as good as the children of West Chester, or anywhere for that matter."

But they're not -- they've already been written off by their own parents.

The people who live in school districts like Lakota actually value schools, and they understand that for their kids to continue to prosper, they need to support the public schools.

How do they do this? They work. They own their property. They don't sit on their asses and collect checks from the government for squeezing out illegitimate children. So they have something to contribute -- their taxes -- which their local governments prioritize for use on schools. In Cincinnati, by contrast, there is a huge, unproductive underclass that owns nothing and makes nothing. Ergo, nothing to tax.

So the question then becomes whom to tax. There's a declining property base. (See above for the reasons.). Taxing the incomes of workers is not the solution. That double taxes city residents who are also homeowners and makes the economic environment less conducive to new business. And workers who live outside the city shouldn't have to pay more taxes just so that the large, lazy underclass in Cincinnati can sit on its ass and bitch that we're not throwing money down the rathole fast enough.

Anonymous said...

To Anon - Excellent post. You hit all of the nails on the head. Why people like Nate can't understand the basic simplicity of all this is beyond me. Maybe the truth just hurts too much.

Anonymous said...

The last two posters are perfect examples of the "I got mine" school of thought. You'd be failures in any society because you don't fundamentally believe in the common good. If it weren't racially diverse America, you'd find some sticking point in a region in France or Germany, or anyplace. Something to justify your not paying taxes and keeping your lawn perfectly manicured with harmful chemicals and anything else you deem "good" and acceptable.

Here's another simple formula which you can probably understand if you have 2.2 children on their school's sports teams: the overall quality of play is improved when the better athletes (read: more advantaged, not smarter......)are paired with the average - a rising tide floats all boats. So you ran away from Cincinnati rather than stay and make life better for everyone. Where will you run when your commute on I-75 is unbearable? When more people come to your suburb and crowd you out. When your children get asthma from the car fumes. Soon you'll be midway between Cincinnati and Chicago and maybe you'll be eligible for double taxation.

Speaking of which, I think it's interesting when people are interviewed in the paper about school tax levies in the more affluent suburban environments and they are incensed at having what amounts to a $200.00 a year increase on a half million dollar house. You had good schools in Cincinnati if you had cared to share those natural gifts you purport to have, to help maintain them. So you moved away to build new ones and face the same situations.

And that probably means drugs, too, even if everyone within spitting distance of you is lily white. Do a little research (not a Fox news outlet, of course) on the crack/cocaine epidemic of the 80s which started in LA thanks to Ronald Reagan and Richard Deutch (CIA) and was deliberately targeted in a poor Black and Hispanic neighborhood to raise funds for the Contras. You didn't care then, so let's hope the menace of drugs doesn't now claim your own.

Wake up. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. And besides that's a very lonely way to live. And you can only die once. What are you afraid of? Or perhaps more accurately, what are you overly proud of? A huge mortgage?

Anonymous Also

Anonymous said...

I was the first Anon poster. I don't have a mortgage -- I worked by tail off to provide for my family. My kids go to schools I support by high property taxes, which I am proud to pay. If, on the other hand, I didn't give a damn about my kids' schools, I'd live in the city. But I shouldn't have to pay *more* just so you -- and others who don't contribute to society -- can pay *less.*

Anonymous said...

As a grad. of a Cincinnati Public school, I can tell you its not all about the money. Even though I am white, I would not agree with the racist comments mentioned here. What I will agree with is the cultural mindset of many parents in the Cincinnati School district.

Far too many times I saw parents who took no interest in their childrens education. They never went to a Parent-teacher talk, an open house, etc. How can a child think education is important when their own parents don't even have a GED.

Many will disagree with me, but its not a money problem but a cultural problem with some in the Cincinnati Community. Too much attention is given to gang banging and such and not enough to fostering a "family" unit.

comello said...

Actually, the first two anonymous posters mention "underclass" not race, and I think that some are reflecting their own bias. By the way there are black students at Hamilton, Fairfield, and even Lakota schools.

Anonymous said...

"Underclass" is a socioeconomic term. It is not racist. The underclass in Cincinnati that Nate expects us to subsidize more than we do now is white and black. Whites sitting on their butts while their kids fail are just as damaging to the school system as similarly situated blacks. They're the ones who sold their kids out by taking it easy. It's not the fault of suburban homeowners whose property taxes pay for their school and who are typically much more engaged in their kids' education and upbringing.

Anonymous said...

I am the second anon poster. I live in Cincinnati. I pay HUGE real estate taxes of which over 50% goes to fund failing schools inahbitated by kids who don't give a shit, parents who don't give a shit, and a public education system that doesn't give a shit but always has it's hand out. Yeah, it pisses me off. Every dollar of my taxes that goes to Cincinnati Public Schools (far more dollars tha if I moved to the burbs) is a dollar down the toilet.

Anonymous said...

This is "Anonymous Also". It's true that I leapt to the conclusion that the two Anons. were being racist (sorry, Hometown), it's just that the actual population statistics will probably bear out that, Blacks are disproportionately affected.

However, what I was getting at, theoretically rather than directly, (sorry again), is that money ISN'T the answer entirely. Caring is. And community caring, as well as one's own 2.2 kids.

American culture allows so much individual freedom that we have to rely on individuals to do the right thing to get the cultural base stabilized so that we can all prosper.

I'm not advocating a totalitarian regime, God knows, but a little more support in the way of children's health, job creation, a decent public transportation system, et al., might allow some people (and eliminate the excuses for others who are lazy....)to get a leg up in society. And let those artificially lowered fuel prices float up too. Force the politicians to deal with public transportation. I resent having to own a $15,000 hunk of metal just to get to a crappy job. Who wouldn't?

Anons. - Did your parents care? Sure. If they hadn't, you might be in the same boat, and be thankful that someone like me volunteers to teach you to read, and to put a kiss on your forehead once in awhile. Hope doesn't have a price.

Since this is a Black blog, I do feel obliged to say that I am white.

Thanks for the forum, Nate.

Anon. Also