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Enrollment continues free fall in Youngstown public schools

Published: Fri, September 18, 2009 @ 12:08 a.m.

By Harold Gwin

The city district has lost about 270 students since the 2008-09 school year ended in June.

YOUNGSTOWN — There are some 10,000 school-age children living in Youngstown, but fewer than 6,500 are in Youngstown City School District classrooms.

Preliminary fall enrollment numbers show Youngstown had 6,493 students as of Wednesday. The official count for state subsidy support won’t be done until the first full week of October.

The rest of the students are enrolled in various charter, open-enrollment or voucher schools, based on a report prepared in January by the school-district treasurer.

That latest enrollment number shows a major drop in students from the official count last fall when Youngstown reported it had 7,253 students. School officials said at that time the number represented a decline of 400 students from the previous year.

However, John T. Allen, district spokesman, said last year’s count turned out to be in error.

Youngstown actually ended the 2008-09 school year in June with 6,760 students enrolled, Allen said.

That indicates there was a larger loss last year than initially reported.

William Johnson, district treasurer, told the school board’s finance committee in January that the loss of students to 69 other educational systems was costing the district nearly $29 million in annual lost state revenue.

His report showed that 3,876 city children were enrolled elsewhere.

The biggest loss was 2,743 students to 30 charter schools, followed by 360 students enrolled in 14 private schools accepting state Educational Choice vouchers. Another 773 were enrolled in 25 open-enrollment school districts.

The losses reflected an increase from the 2007-08 school year when 3,562 students were enrolled elsewhere, costing the district $26.4 million in lost state subsidy.

School officials have said that ongoing financial loss has been a factor in Youngstown’s efforts to emerge from state-mandated fiscal emergency.

Efforts launched by the school district to persuade students to return to the city schools through mailings to parents, detailing improvements in district achievement test scores and other venues haven’t been particularly effective.

Those efforts have been hampered by Youngstown being rated in academic watch on its local report card issued by the state for the last several years. The district dropped to academic emergency, the lowest rating, on its 2009 report card issued last month.



1Westsider(269 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

The district is irreparably broken when students are transferring during the school year - which is obvious when you see they had no idea how many students they had in Youngstown. I heard that Austintown had picked up some 400 students from Youngstown thanks to open enrollment - so the loss of 270 cannot be correct. Too bad - beautiful new buildings and fewer students in them because no one who gives a damn about their children lets them go to Youngstown City Schools.

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2debraweaver(30 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

The problem isn't necessarily the schools. The problem is that those students who have parents that value education are opting out of the system because of the unruliness of the other students. The best teachers and administrators in the world would not be able to teach the majority of students remaining in the schools. Those students who want to learn go elsewhere where they can do so without dealing with the behavior problems of their classmates. This is particularily true for the high schools. This is not to say that all of the students attending the public school are behavior problems. I don't like to speak in rash generalizations, however there are too many, and it impacts the ability of the teachers to teach. I think that it is time that we address this fact instead of blaming the system and the teachers. The Youngstown teachers that I have met tend to be top notch, highly qualified teachers. To approach the problems in our schools from the narrow perspective of blaming teachers is downright stupid. To do so indicates our inability and adversion to dealing with complex problems and issues. If we really want to improve education in this country for everyone, we must overcome this adversion I would not want a teacher's job for any amount of money in the world. Instead of blaming them, we should be thanking them.

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3Westsider(269 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

I absolutely agree with Debra. I have personal experience with many of the teachers in the city schools and the dregs of society they are forced to teach presents them with an impossible task. Why assign homework that will not be done? There will be no consequences at home. The reason I blame the administration is because the "leadership" (and I use the term loosely) embracesd the "hug a thug" mentality, in short, oversimplifying the issue by maintaining that all that is needed is for children to "feel good" about themselves. It is definitely a complex issue but the current board and administration is not addressing it in the way that needs to occur. For starters, those students from the more challenged homes need to be boarded in a place where they will feel safe, be fed and be rewarded for good academic progress instead of drowning in apathy. That would be a good use of building funds and grant monies.

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4Westsider(269 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

It cost us nearly $5000 we didn't have to send our child to another school - but we couldn't afford not to do it.

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5Westsider(269 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

I agree with you, but I did the best I could to effect change to no avail. I had no choice but to move my child and pay. If you think my rights were violated, what about those of my child who was denied a quality educational experience in the Youngstown City Schools.

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6harleydog(243 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

When I went to school and you didn't follow the rules you got sent to the office and received a few swats with the paddle. The schools didn't have to worry about getting sued by the parent because chances are you got it again at home if your parents found out. All you people that think the paddle is abuse are the reasons why these schools are in the shape that they are in. No discipline = problem schools. Bring back the paddle and straighten these thugs out so that the kids who want to get an education can get one. If the thugs don't want to be there then get rid of them.

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7Education_Voter(1173 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

You ought to be feeling for the taxpayers too. 30 charter schools + 14 privates schools + 17 buildings in the district = 61 schools in one midsize township. 45 of them are separate entities with separate administrative costs.

WHAT WAS THE STATE THINKING? Instead of adding 25 failing charter schools with scores even lower than YCS, they could have opted to improve the schools we had.

They are spending inordinate amounts of money on school administrations and hurting students by increasing their mobility from school to school.

There needs to be a cap on the number of charter schools allowed to open, or some kind of standards for them. The governor tried to do this in the budget bill, but was shot down by legislators whose campaign coffers are full of charter school money.

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8Hortus(34 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

ACORN is the one getting involved, former CEO was fired for soliciting 12 year old girls that he brought across the border, his replacement is Bertha Lewis--saw her on C-SPAN this morning.

Inner-city redevelopment projects will bring economic wealth back into cities, towns, and borough limits.

Suburbia is coming back to town, guaranteed they will bring better educators with them when they do.

Our little towns received demolition funds. Old houses and bldgs. Will be torn down and made into “green spaces” (used for pocket parks, gardens, and so on“). Argument now is, who owns the property and who should pay. I say if a person’s name is on the deed then they should be made to pay for the demolition. Then the community can declare eminent domain and whoopee “green space” belongs to the city.

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9YoOhM47(6 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Wendy Webb will not kick the bad students out because it mean a loss of money that she needs to fund her new buildings. As a result, the good kids leave and the bad ones are left to be baby-sitted. Things won't get better until she leaves.

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10UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

If the Y-town kids parents don't care, the schools will never improve. Those who do care have moved their kids to other districts just like white flight of the 1960's & 1970's from the cities to the suburbs when school bussing was all the rageleaving only the worst economic disadvantaged behind. There is little hope that this will ever improve, but a bad school board and incompetent superintendent don't help the situation in Y-town.

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