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YOUNGSTOWN SCHOOLS Charters to cause loss for district



Published: Wed, September 25, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A ceremonial groundbreaking for Taft Elementary School will be at 10 a.m. Oct. 8.

By PETER H. MILLIKEN

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The exodus of its pupils to charter schools likely will result in a loss of about $10 million for the Youngstown City School District this year, about $2 million more than last year's loss, Carolyn Funk, district treasurer, told the board of education.

Because the district loses about $6,700 in combined state and local funds annually for each pupil who leaves to enroll in a charter school, the figures indicate the exodus of about 1,400 pupils.

The school district's budget this year is about $95 million, she said Tuesday.

The charter school movement, which began here in 1998 with the establishment of Eagle Heights Academy and Youngstown Community School, has proliferated with the establishment of Summit and Legacy academies, the Mollie Kessler School and a host of Internet schools, Funk said.

The city school district is still responsible for transporting pupils at its expense from their homes to charter schools, she said. Charter schools are publicly funded schools operated by private organizations.

As pupils have transferred to charter schools, the city schools have been reducing staff and payroll expenses by not replacing many of those who resign or retire, she said. In addition, "We've been deploying staff differently, and allowing class sizes to shrink, so that we're very nearly at the 15:1 ratio that the state recommends for K-3 classes," she said.

Contract awarded

The board awarded a $199,277 contract for asbestos removal and demolition of Taft Elementary School to William Pizzuto & amp; Co. of Youngstown -- the lowest of six bidders. Pizzuto's bid was substantially lower than the estimate of $267,084, which was contained in the board's resolution.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for Taft will be at 10 a.m. Oct. 8, and Anthony DeNiro Jr., executive director of business affairs, said the building should be demolished by Dec. 15. Taft students will remain in the Bennett School building until the new Taft Elementary School is completed in 2004.

Pizzuto was also awarded the contract for asbestos removal and demolition of Harding Elementary School, which is to be demolished by the end of November. As is the case with Harding, the Taft boiler is to be removed and stored at the bus garage as a spare in case it is needed for another school.

Both projects are part of the district's $182.5 million, six-year school construction and renovation project.

The board also bought three new 71-passenger school buses at $51,737 each from Wise Bus Sales of Cleveland -- the lowest of five bidders. The buses are to be delivered next spring. The board owns a fleet of 80 buses.




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