Program forces more young people to leave, some say
Future teachers say they don't blame districts for turning to retire-rehire.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Angela Speece doesn't think many of her fellow education majors at Youngstown State University will be staying in the Mahoning Valley after they graduate.
"They're afraid they're not going to be able to get jobs," said Speece, a 21-year-old senior from Ellsworth.
Mary Lou DiPillo, associate dean for YSU's college of education, noted that education majors like Speece are more likely to find jobs in growing areas like North Carolina, Florida and Nevada than they are in the Mahoning Valley.
"It's really tough around here right now," she said.
Some local school officials also have expressed concern about the number of young teachers leaving the Valley because of a lack of available jobs in the area. The officials add that some districts might be driving away young teachers by giving available jobs to retired teachers through a process known as retire-rehire.
Poland Superintendent Dr. Robert Zorn said concern about a lack of jobs for young teachers is one reason his district doesn't allow retire-rehire.
"A lot of youngsters can't get jobs ... we've got a mass exodus of kids going to North Carolina, as everyone knows. They can go to North Carolina and get jobs," Zorn said. "If you look at the number of retire and rehires in a district, they've already had their turn."
Can't blame districts
Both Speece and Greg Gahris, a 41-year-old education major from Port Clinton working toward a second career in teaching, said they don't blame districts for turning to retire-rehire to save money. Gahris said he believes problems with the state system of funding education are forcing districts to try retire-rehire.
"If Ohio was funded better, or we could afford it more, it would be a different situation," Speece said.
About 300 school tax issues are expected to appear on the ballot in Ohio on Nov. 2, more than in any other election at least the past 20 years.
DiPillo noted that in their classes, education students are encouraged to build strong relationships with communities where they work as "those are the people that vote for your levy.
"You have to know how to work with parents and work with the community. These are the people you have to turn to and ask them for money," she said.