CINCINNATI – Three new people and an incumbent will help guide the future of the Cincinnati Public Schools system.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting the four winning candidates in the CPS board race are incumbent Melanie Bates with 18 percent of the vote; Ericka Copeland-Dansby with 15 percent; Elisa Hoffman with 14 percent; and Daniel Minera with 11 percent.
Nine candidates ran for the school board's four open seats. The Hamilton County Board of Election website reported 29 percent turnout in all county races.
Fixing the lowest performing schools, expanding preschool offerings and expanding and improving the district’s Community Learning Centers emerged as top issues this campaign season.
In an October voter forum, each candidate presented their platform.
Bates, a board member since 2002, announced a bold objective. “We are going to be the best district in the country,” she said. Twelve years ago, few would have believed that the school district would undergo a $1 billion capital project to transform its buildings, she said. There’s no reason the district can’t continue improving dramatically, she said.
Copeland-Dansby, director of resource development with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati, promoted a four point plan that she said will help lift up the poorest schools when elected: equity in education; excellence in the classroom; preparing students for 21st century jobs; and empowering parents and the community.
Hoffman, who has worked in education for 17 years, said CPS’s graduation rate of 66 percent was unacceptable on the campaign trail. Outcomes could be improved with more interaction with parents, an increase in the number of high-quality preschools and a better system of hiring new teachers as Baby Boomers retire in large numbers, all issues she said she would work on if elected.
Minera, a native of Guatemala and the only man running for the board, said poverty was the overarching problem that leads to poor outcomes in school. He wants a broader range of secondary services to help students perform, including Spanish translators for the growing number of Latino families entering the school system.