Professional Development

Cutbacks Hover Over Teacher Programs in Cincinnati

By Julie Blair — March 17, 1999 3 min read

Some of the nation’s most innovative teacher-quality programs could be in jeopardy as decisionmakers for the Cincinnati public schools scramble to identify $20 million to cut from next year’s budget.

Nationally recognized programs that train teachers, mentor new educators, and provide professional development are all vulnerable as administrators look for ways to slash $10 million permanently from the 1999-2000 budget, said Jan Leslie, a spokeswoman for the district. An additional $10 million in per-pupil spending must also be eliminated. Where those cuts will be made is being left up to principals and could be reversed if a new funding source is found.

‘Looking at Everything’

The school board made the decision to reduce the $380 million budget earlier this month following an Ohio Supreme Court ruling prohibiting school districts from issuing debt beyond the current fiscal year, said Dick Gardner, the treasurer of the Cincinnati schools. In the past, the 47,000-student district in southwestern Ohio has overextended itself by taking out bank notes and creating a large debt.

The school board had contemplated asking voters to approve an increase in the property tax this May, but it decided the measure would fare poorly at that time. A referendum will likely be on the ballot in November, when more voters are expected to turn out.

“There has been no decision [on cutting teacher-quality programs] yet, but folks are looking at everything,” Ms. Leslie said. Decisions are likely to be made this week, she added.

A letter the district sent last month, however, informed the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers that the acclaimed $3.7 million Career in Teaching program would be retooled and its funding slashed 25 percent, said Tom Mooney, the president of the American Federation of Teachers affiliate.

The union and the district have worked cooperatively to forge and carry out the initiatives designed to improve the quality of teaching.

The career program has prepared more than 400 educators to become master teachers since it was launched in 1990. About 265 lead teachers earn annual stipends of $4,500 to $5,500 to train other educators.

“We shouldn’t allow this sudden financial blip to cause us to dismantle more than a decade of progress on raising professional standards,” Mr. Mooney said.

The district’s peer-assistance and -evaluation program could also be a casualty. The program, which cost the Cincinnati system $1.5 million this school year, pays experienced educators to advise and evaluate all new teachers as well as struggling veterans. During the past school year, about 15 percent of the 213 teachers evaluated received less than satisfactory ratings. The district offers such teachers support to improve their performance. If they don’t progress adequately, they are removed from the classroom, which has happened to more than 70 teachers since its inception a decade ago.

Meager Staff Development?

The district’s lauded professional-practice schools, considered the cornerstone of the teacher-preparation program, are also in trouble, Mr. Mooney said. The district budgeted $218,000 for the program this school year.

A partnership with the University of Cincinnati’s college of education, the professional-practice program offers yearlong internships to fifth-year student-educators at 10 local public schools. University students spend time in the classroom teaching while earning a teaching certificate and a master’s degree. More than 100 students participated this year, said Arlene Mitchell, an associate dean for academic affairs.

Ninety-eight percent of the students who participate in the professional-practice school receive job offers in the Cincinnati district or surrounding ones by graduation.

If the programs are cut, Mr. Mooney said, only “an infinitesimal amount of money” will go into professional development.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 17, 1999 edition of Education Week as Cutbacks Hover Over Teacher Programs in Cincinnati


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
Interactive Learning Best Practices: Creative Ways Interactive Displays Engage Students
Students and teachers alike struggle in our newly hybrid world where learning takes place partly on-site and partly online. Focus, engagement, and motivation have become big concerns in this transition. In this webinar, we will
Content provided by Samsung
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Educator-Driven EdTech Design: Help Shape the Future of Classroom Technology
Join us for a collaborative workshop where you will get a live demo of GoGuardian Teacher, including seamless new integrations with Google Classroom, and participate in an interactive design exercise building a feature based on
Content provided by GoGuardian
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Professional Development Whitepaper
Proven Credentialed Digital Professional Development Open to All Teachers
This paper focuses on the Verizon Innovative Learning project; their partnership with its nonprofit partner Digital Promise; how their pr...
Content provided by Verizon
Professional Development Quiz Quiz Yourself: How Much Do You Know About SEL Inclusivity?
Quiz Yourself: Is professional development SEL inclusive for educators?
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Professional Development Whitepaper
Developing Professional Practices to Improve Student Outcomes Through Professional Learning Communities
This paper outlines the most effective ways for educators to develop their professional practices and improve student outcomes through pr...
Content provided by Learning Ally