Wednesday, March 17, 2004

City schools, parents talk about roles


District wants involvement but still must be accountable

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A parent group for Cincinnati Public Schools is concerned that parents will lose decision-making power if the district limits input from external groups.

However, district officials said Tuesday that they will continue to seek parental feedback in school decisions.

Members of the parent advisory group, Cincinnati Parents for Public Schools, attended a press conference Tuesday held by a coalition of church leaders, business groups and residents who said they would withhold support for upcoming levies unless the low-performing, 38,800-student school district changes how its operates.

The coalition of longtime school supporters, including members of the Baptist Ministers Conference and the Cincinnati Business Committee, wants more decision-making authority for the district's superintendent and principals, a new salary system for teachers that pays them based on how well they teach rather than seniority and more participation by minority contractors and workers in the district's $1 billion construction project.

During the press briefing, board members Melanie Bates and Rick Williams said too many school groups make decisions that affect student achievement, but those groups aren't held accountable. They said the groups limit the authority of the superintendent and principals to improve student achievement in the district.

Members of Cincinnati Parents for Public Schools worry the district wants to limit input from parents, who are part of school decision-making councils. The councils, made up of teachers, community members and school staff, give input on budgets, curriculum and principal candidates.

If the district plans to reorganize the decision-making councils, the parent group wants to know now, said Carolyn Turner, the group's executive director.

District Superintendent Alton Frailey also said he supports parental participation.

"We need to have a conversation about who makes decisions and who is accountable for those decisions," he said. "My administration is trying to reach out to more parents than those traditionally involved."

E-mail jmrozowski@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
Sister urges suspect to call
Shooting suspect fits the theory
States duelin' on the river
Humble bread pan preserves Irish heritage
Warren Co. joins E-check foes
Unwitting scalper gets invited back

IN THE TRISTATE
Mom fights for coverage
City schools, parents talk about roles
Deputy residency back to arbitrator
Radio broadcast results in indictment
Kings to ask residents about levy
Three businesses move to suburbs
Death of 6-year-old ruled a homicide
Mason plans for parks
Mercury emissions standards called insufficient
Brothers' actions called heroic
Transsexual's case against warden can move forward
War just another bend in couple's road to future
Williamsburg schools levy back on ballot for Aug. 3
Yavneh travelers undeterred by Mideast violence
Neighbors briefs
Public safety briefs

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Korte: Records tiff exposes rift with caucus
When he's not suing them, Chesley is suing for them
Good Things Happening

LIVES REMEMBERED
Clifford Williams owned pharmacy in Avondale

KENTUCKY STORIES
Covington tries tax amnesty
Council rejects Dilcrest office
Building fees go up in Boone
Building plan debated
Council to vote on beer