Thursday, October 29, 2009

School Board Deadbeat In Charge of Finance

As the Cincinnati School Board tries to renew its claim on your property taxes, and even mulls an increase, one of its own members is two years delinquent in paying her own property taxes. How ironic is it that she chairs the CPS Finance Committee?

According to the Hamilton County Auditor, Board Member Catherine Ingram has failed to pay $1,155.99 in property taxes on the house she owns at 250 Dorchester Avenue. Ingram is running for reelection, and the Hamilton County Board of Elections also lists her (p17) at that same address.

Roughly 2/3 of property taxes paid in the City of Cincinnati go to fund CPS, and if you add in other school related levies, you find that about 3/4 of our property taxes go to fund public education. The rest goes to things such as the county general fund, voted levies, and parks.

When asked to comment, Ingram said she dealt with some "personal issues" in 2008 which caused her to fall behind. She insists that her property taxes are currently paid in full, despite the Auditor's records to the contrary here.

COAST is concerned about CPS's stewardship of our tax money, and their seemingly insatiable desire for more frequent and larger levies. If their Finance chair can't manage a $1200 tax bill on her own, how confident should voters be in her ability to chart the financial course of a half billion dollar school district? Or in the need for a levy renewal? Voters deserve to know this before they go to the polls on Tuesday.

2009-10-30 Update: Enquirer story here.


  1. The "personal matters" is that she suffered the death of her child. This is really low.

  2. Sorry for her loss. Perhaps an extended leave of absence from the board would be appropriate to allow her to grieve without affecting all the other kids in the CPS system.

  3. Ouch. Are there any paraplegics COAST would like to pick on? Maybe some brain damaged people?

  4. Scott,

    There's no intention to be cute or funny here. This is VERY serious stuff.

    What's the number one reason people cite when leaving Cincinnati for the 'burbs? The quality of our public schools.

    If you want Cincinnati to be a competitive city, this topic is ground zero. Over 30,000 students depend on CPS to prepare them for life, and we aren't delivering for most of them.

    It's not about revenue. We're one of the most highly taxed counties in the state, and CPS is among the highest in per-pupil spending in Ohio. Yet other districts routinely blow us away on test scores with less than half the money.

    We know CPS is capable of delivering excellence, because some of their schools like Walnut Hills, SCPA, and Clark Montessori are highly ranked nationally. So why is CPS overall such a perennial fiscal and academic basket case? The responsibility for that lies squarely with the board.

    They aren't putting the policies in place to spread excellence throughout the system, and they've failed to manage their spending to contain levies to the rate of inflation.

    If board members are unable to do the very tough work necessary to make our kids all-stars, then they should go. The same way a coach or player should go if a team can't consistently produce. And as Huggins or Pitino can attest, conduct off the field is relevant to the job.

    Cincinnati needs to step up its game, and it starts with this school board election.

  5. Everyone has "personal issues" to deal with. We all still have to pay our taxes. COAST stuck to the issues; it's others who brought these "personal issues" into the spotlight.

  6. Doesn't pay her taxes? That's unthinkable to us. Everyone should pay their taxes and more. Most importantly, we should continue to raise taxes.


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