MINORITY HIRING Youngstown schools seek meeting with contractor
Voters will be asked to approve a bond issue in November.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The city school board wants to meet with a contractor involved in the district's $200 million schools construction project to discuss claims that the company isn't trying to meet minority hiring goals.
Hively Construction Co. of Canfield has "not hired any minorities at all. Not one," in connection with the project, Al Curry, the school district's equal employment opportunity compliance officer, told the panel Tuesday.
Hively was hired by the district as general contractor for construction of West Elementary. A Hively representative was unavailable after the meeting.
Part of the deal
All contractors hired to work on the schools project agree as part of their contract with the district to make a good-faith effort to achieve hiring goals of 20 percent minorities, 20 percent women and 50 percent Youngstown residents, Curry said.
The contracts also allow the school board to demand to appear before it any contractor accused of failing to make a good-faith effort to meet the hiring goals.
Curry told the board that Hively officials have led him to believe they have no intention of hiring any minorities for the project. He said he has sent Hively a certified letter notifying it of the board's wish to meet with the company, but he has received no response from it.
The school board does not have the power to fire a contractor for not trying to meet the goals, Curry said.
Will be monitored
Monitors will begin examining school construction sites to determine if contractors are trying to meet hiring goals. The board agreed to hire the Youngstown Urban League to do the monitoring. The one-year contract will not exceed $28,000 and will be paid from school funds.
Contractors already submit labor reports specifying the number of minorities, women and Youngstown residents on the job. The monitors will help verify the accuracy of those reports, though Curry said he has no reason to suspect the ones submitted so far have been inaccurate.
Voters will be asked in the November general election to approve a 0.5-mill, 23-year bond issue that will raise $4 million through property taxes toward the school construction and renovation project. The board agreed Tuesday to put the measure on the ballot. It wouldn't cost taxpayers any additional money, school officials say.
The $4 million is needed for the largely state-funded project because it grew in cost to $200 million when the Ohio School Facilities Commission determined that several buildings originally scheduled for renovation should be replaced. The change created a $4 million funding gap.
Closing that gap with the proposed 0.5-mill bond levy wouldn't cost taxpayers additional money because of better-than-expected interest rates on a $33 million bond voters approved in November 2000 to help pay for the district's funding share. The original issue has been paid down more quickly than anticipated, leaving room for the district to borrow more without actually having property owners pay additional taxes.
South Side school
The board approved contracts for building the new Williamson Elementary on Williamson Avenue on the South Side. Site preparation work already has started. The school is to be completed by November 2005. The contractors receiving the work and the contract amounts are:
UMurphy Contracting, Youngstown; general trades, $3.8 million.
UW.T. Leone's Tri-Area Electric, Youngstown; electrical, $683,823.
UYork Mahoning Mechanical Contracting, Youngstown; heating, ventilation and air conditioning, $769,000.
UKomar Plumbing, Youngstown; plumbing, $263,663.
UProut Boiler, Heating, Welding, Youngstown; fire protection, $88,255.
UStone Creek Interior Systems, Columbus; casework, $147,500.
UBrookside Lawn Service, Medina; landscaping, $24,865.
UJohnson Controls Inc., Youngstown; temperature control systems, $136,000.