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Future of Early College in doubt

Published: Fri, February 26, 2010 @ 12:07 a.m.

City school leaders are searching for a new partner to continue the program.

By Harold Gwin

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees has voted to sever its ties with the Youngstown Early College program.

The university will cease its participation in that partnership with the Youngstown City School District as of June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

The board, meeting in full as its Academic and Student Affairs Committee Thursday, cited finances as the reason for its decision.

The program allows selected Youngstown city school students in grades nine through 12 with demonstrated academic potential to attend classes on the YSU campus, earning college credit while completing their high school education. The school has 250 students this year.

The state had been picking up the annual $600,000 in YSU tuition fees charged to those students until this year, when Ohio’s own financial crunch resulted in early college support being eliminated in the state biennial budget.

That left YSU and the city schools scrambling to find money to keep the program running this year. The partnership required YSU to pick up 49 percent of the cost with the school district covering 51 percent. The school district was already covering the cost of staff and materials while YSU provided the space.

YSU tapped some unused scholarship reserves to pay its share of the tuition cost this year while the city schools found some unused grant funds to pick up its share.

The board of trustees appeared unhappy that some more acceptable, long-term financial arrangements haven’t been reached, and most board members said they felt the university needed to concentrate its money and attention on programs for its regular student body.

Wendy Webb, superintendent of the city schools, attended the meeting, and, though clearly disappointed by the vote, said it wasn’t totally unexpected.

The school district and YSU have been talking to the newly formed Eastern Gateway Community College about taking over YSU’s end of the partnership and those talks will continue, Webb said.

David C. Sweet, YSU president, argued on behalf of continuing the YSU-city school arrangement, saying that Eastern Gateway has indicated it is interested but isn’t at the point where it can take on that level of responsibility.

“We aren’t giving up,” Webb said.


1TP_Diggins(5 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Yet another misguided decision by our Board of Trustees, not one of whom knows anything about administration and/or education in a university setting (lawyers, doctors, politicos?). With the shocking disparity between minority attendence of YSU and the racial make-up of the community, taking the "carrot" of the YEC away from inner city students is unthinkable. Kudos to Presidemt Sweet for urging its continuation! If I am correctly interpreting the finances presented in the article, YSU need only come up with about 300K (i.e. 49% of the tuition costs recently withdrawn by the State). That's chump change considering the value of the YEC to the University and, especially, the Community. I've taught in an inner city school (YSU Trustees? Anyone?), and I've seen talented students fighting the culture of non-achievement. Getting these kids onto the YSU campus, where achievement is valued and not resented, means everything in the world.. I am certain the University could absorb YEC tuition by efficiency measures alone (really...), but even if every dollar came out of labor contracts I would consider it money well spent.

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2SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Hey TP

Who's going to pay for it? The existing students?
YEC lowers the standards of the University.
The high school students can choose to take AP classes in high school and test out to be placed with college credits as an incoming freshman. There is no more "free lunch". High school is high school and college is college.

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3HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

It's time YSU abandoned it's pathetic athletic programs and focused more on education. Instead of paying $250,000 for a head coach and another 2 million for assistants, not to mention the million spent on basketball, baseball, golf, track, etc, take the millions spent there and allocate it to the early college program and other academic initiatives. Maybe even a tuition decrease! Nah, this is the valley where athletics reigns supreme.

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4SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Hey City Dweller

The great Wendy Webb, under her watch, led the Youngstown City School system to the worst in the state. You can not even put a positive spin on it.A lot of excuses and blaming everbody else.

Why would YSU want to be associated with such a pathetic system? Quit looking for the free handout, somebody has to pay for it. Remember "no free lunch"

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5toomuchapathy(14 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

A close family is a freshman english professor at YSU and she can attest that the YEC students do NOT lower the standards of the university. While those students may not be academically superior, they put in the time and energy the general college freshman population does not.

The YEC is the primary example in the debate regarding the Youngstown City Schools. Because it proves that the problem is not one of culture or discipline, but management.

I'll say it before and I'll say it again, Youngstown has the worst schools in the state but an over abundance of teachers... something needs to be done about this discrepancy.

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6SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Hey City Dweller

Youngstown has the worst schools in the state, period If they improved 30% they would still have the worst schools in the state. YEC proved that it is the administration and Webb's failure. And as you put it, Youngstow City schools have a vested interest in bettering the Youngstown community, and one of the best ways to do that is by educating the people who live here. Might be time to get rid of Webb

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7Ken(153 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Congrats to the YSU Trustees who voted to end the YEC program. Walk into Kilcawley any morning around 10 and take a look at the YEC students. One would think it is a cafeteria! Plus, they are loud and preparing for a college class is furthest from their minds. And, being a non-tradional student myself, it bothers me that they do not have the proper attitudes necessary for success in college. Let them grow up a little more and finish their high school careers...or perhaps, take a few on-line courses like I did.

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8watchingthepolitics(100 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

It seems as though Mayor Williams LOVES TO CRY POORMOUTH, but watching the news tonight NOW he has a problem when he is on the recieving end. WAKE UP Y-TOWN.

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