YOUNGSTOWN Board of education sets aside $3M for scholarship fund

The money will be used to recruit minority students from the city to serve as teachers.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Using money from the sale of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield stock, the board of education will honor an agreement reached a few years ago with the Youngstown Education Association.
Board members unanimously approved a measure at Tuesday's meeting to set aside $3 million from the stock sale to work with the YEA in the establishment of a scholarship and loan program.
Carolyn Funk, district treasurer, explained the money will be placed into an endowment fund for the time being until an educational foundation can be created to disburse the money to scholarship recipients.
By holding the money in the endowment fund, she said, it can begin earning interest and avoid being spent through the operational fund.
If down the road the school system falls into a fiscal emergency, however, the money can be retrieved.
"Anything the board does can be undone," she said. "If a year from now this no longer looks like a good thing to do, the board can undo this."
Recruiting minorities
The establishment of a scholarship fund is part of the master agreement between the board and the YEA to recruit qualified minority students to serve as staff in the years to come.
Although a committee comprised of staff, citizens and board members has yet to determine the precise criteria for the scholarships, the plan is to use the money to pay tuition for Youngstown school graduates who are in their junior or senior year of high school, have been accepted into a school of education, and are willing to commit to working in the city school district for a specified number of years.
While the agreement is part of the master plan, everything was put on hold because of funding, Funk said. The money received from the sale of Anthem stock proved to be the perfect answer.
Kirkmere renovations
In other news, the board approved a report from Hannahan/Strollo & amp; Associates Inc. of Youngstown outlining the proposed renovations at Kirkmere Elementary School on Kirk Road.
While the plans for the creation of a new gymnasium as well as updates to the electrical, plumbing and heating and air conditioning systems were approved, the construction is slated to be one of the last projects in the school system's attempt to upgrade and renovate buildings.
Actual construction will likely not take place for at least two years, the board said.

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