Sunday, October 12, 2003

7 on ballot for 3 CPS board seats

District suffers after lowest ranking

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Seven people are vying for three open seats on the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education at a critical time for the struggling school district.

Election Guide 2003 provides an early look at the Nov. 4 vote with help on getting you registered, lists of area candidates and the latest campaign news. And there's more to come, including candidate profiles - as we get closer to Election Day.
Board members will preside over the 41,000-student district at a time when the school system is ranked in "academic emergency," the lowest of five state rankings for student achievement. The year before, the district had been rated in "academic watch," the second-lowest category.

Superintendent Alton Frailey said the new board, school district and community must work toward a shared vision of how to improve student performance.

"There's an issue of having a true consensus in the community as to the future direction of the school system considering our consistent low ratings in the state accountability system," he said.

"It needs to be a communitywide value and there has to be a willingness to work together as a school community to improve the academic performance of our students."

The next board also will be charged with overseeing the biggest public works project in Cincinnati history - a nearly $1 billion project to renovate or replace every district school over the next decade.

Three incumbents are running for second terms:

• Florence Newell, associate professor at the University of Cincinnati.

• John Gilligan, University of Cincinnati College of Law lecturer and former Ohio governor.

• Rick Williams, president and CEO of the Home Ownership Center of Greater Cincinnati.

Challengers on Nov. 4 are:

• Alan Coleman, retired Cincinnati Public Schools teacher.

• Derry Hooks II, retired Cincinnati Public Schools teacher.

• Robert Killins Jr., supervisor of corporate contributions and community relations at Procter & Gamble.

• Roy McGrath, self-employed accountant.

One of the board's biggest issues is parental involvement.

"The biggest thing is the development and implementation of community learning centers (in the new schools) and making sure parents and community are part of development and sustainability process," said Carolyn Turner, executive director for Cincinnati Parents for Public Schools.


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