YOUNGSTOWN SCHOOLS Board to map out strategies at Feb. retreat

The board voted to sell some $6.8 million in Anthem Inc. stock.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The president of the Youngstown Board of Education wants the board to conduct a retreat focusing on strategies for escaping from academic emergency.
Lock P. Beachum Sr., retired principal of East High School and board president, said the retreat should be a day to a day and a half during February, preferably in Youngstown.
"I want an action plan of moving the school system out of academic emergency, and I want time lines set," Beachum said Wednesday. "We can get out of academic emergency. Cincinnati did it. Youngstown can do it," he added.
Some improvement: On its 2002 report card, released earlier this month, the district met five of the 27 proficiency test, attendance and graduation performance standards, up from four the previous two years, but it still remains in academic emergency and could face a state takeover if scores don't improve.
Although he's not satisfied with the report, Superintendent Benjamin McGee has said the district was close to meeting a sixth standard and improved in 18 of the 27 categories since last year. The district must meet eight standards to leave academic emergency and enter the academic watch classification.
Selling stock: The board also voted to sell the $6,836,178 worth of Anthem Inc. stock it received when the company recently began publicly trading its stock, and Treasurer Carolyn Funk said she'd invest the proceeds from that sale in funds that hold government securities. The board will decide at a later date how to use the money, which was generated by the board's health insurance policies with Anthem.
The board authorized McGee and Beachum to negotiate a contract with Alfonso Curry Jr. as equal employment opportunity officer for the district's $172.9 million school construction and renovation project, subject to board approval. Curry had a similar title at Tartan Textiles, which closed its operations here last year.
The board also approved adding a $28,875 replacement of the Wilson High School band room roof to an $884,279 program of roof replacements to be undertaken this summer at various schools, bringing the total cost to $913,154. The Wilson band room roof leaked during a heavy rain last fall, causing damage to many music instruments and necessitating costly repairs, said Anthony DeNiro, executive director of school business affairs.

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