YOUNGSTOWN School board sets goals on hiring

The construction hiring goals are 20 percent each for minorities and females and 50 percent for city residents.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The board of education has set goals for minority, female and city-resident hiring in its $163.5 million schools construction project and will hire an equal employment opportunity officer to monitor the project.
The goal-setting resolution the board passed Tuesday asks the Ohio School Facilities Commission to require each contractor to document good-faith efforts to meet the board's goals of 20-percent minority, 20-percent female and 50-percent city-resident participation in all hours worked on the project.
"We want to make sure to let this community know that we want them involved as much as possible. That's why we said we'd like to get as many residents as possible," said Lock Beachum, board vice president.
Work to be done: The EEO, which will report to the board and the superintendent, will monitor hiring in the project, which will include construction of four new schools, additions and renovations to five schools and renovation of seven schools. Groundbreakings are scheduled for the fall of 2002.
The board passed both resolutions after NAACP and Youngstown Area Urban League representatives, speaking at several board meetings, had expressed concern about whether sufficient steps were being taken to ensure adequate minority participation in the project.
"The percentage goals was something that was talked about in the very beginning of this project. And as the NAACP, naturally, we wanted to see the school board uphold that,'' said Willie Williams, first vice president of the Youngstown NAACP.
Voted against them: Both resolutions passed by a 5-1 vote, with Terri O'Connor dissenting and Gerri Sullivan absent. O'Connor said she voted no because she wanted to see a specific job description, pay and qualifications for the EEO before voting on hiring one and because she thought the board might be inviting reverse-discrimination lawsuits by setting percentages significantly higher than the single-digit percentages set by the state.
Board president John Maluso said the EEO's job description hasn't yet been fully written and the board hasn't yet decided whether the EEO will be an employee of the board or independent contractor.
Beachum said he would prefer that the EEO be an independent contractor. "An independent contractor would have no allegiance to anybody. They're going to look at the situation from an equal opportunity position," he explained.
Resolution on notes: The board also passed a resolution providing for the issuance and sale of $20 million in notes in anticipation of the issuance of bonds to pay the local share of the construction project.
Saying the district has experienced a shortage of substitute school principals for several years, the board appointed Patrick J. Ungaro as a substitute principal for the coming school year.
Before serving 14 years as mayor, Ungaro was with the school district for 18 years, first as a teacher and then as an assistant principal at South High School.
He will be paid $125 for each day he works. Assistant Superintendent Wendy Webb said it's still unclear to which school Ungaro will be assigned.
The board also bought five new 71-passenger school buses from Myers Equipment Corp. of Canfield for $256,940.

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