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Early College remains priority

Published: Sat, February 27, 2010 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Harold Gwin

Eastern Gateway’s leader says the community college is ‘absolutely ready’ to fill the void for the city students.

YOUNGSTOWN — The president of the city board of education says Youngstown Early College will continue, despite Youngstown State University’s decision to end its participation in the program.

“There is going to be an early-college program next year. This is an absolute priority of this board of education,” Anthony Catale said Friday, a day after the YSU trustees voted to end the university’s affiliation effective June 30.

Just where it will be located next year and who will partner with the city schools to make that happen have yet to be determined, Catale said.

YEC is a joint project created by the city school district and YSU to allow selected city high school students with demonstrated academic potential to attend classes on the YSU campus, earning college credits while completing their high school education. Students who would be the first in their family to attend college have been a priority. The school opened in fall 2004 and has 250 students.

The newly formed Eastern Gateway Community College has expressed an interest in getting involved in the program, and Friday, EGCC President Laura Meeks made a commitment.

She said she has assured YSU President David C. Sweet and Youngstown schools Superintendent Wendy Webb that Eastern Gateway “is absolutely ready to provide early college to the Youngstown area with the support of the community.”

The logistics of any arrangements will have to be worked out, but Eastern Gateway is stepping forward out of concern for the ability of the students at YEC to continue their education, said Ann Koon, EGCC spokeswoman.

The YSU trustees’ vote was unexpected as action on the issue wasn’t listed on the agenda of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee meeting during which the vote was taken.

“I’m both surprised and truly disappointed,” Catale said.

He said it was his understanding that the trustees and the school board were going to sit down and cost out the program, mapping out a feasible plan that included long-term financial arrangements.

The city school district already picks up the cost of teachers’ providing high school courses as well as the materials the students need. YSU was providing a place for the school in Fedor Hall.

The YEC students rack up college-tuition costs of more than $600,000 a year, and the original five-year partnership arrangement called for YSU to pick up 49 percent of the tuition with the city schools covering 51 percent.

However, neither party had to pay any tuition costs until this year because the state allocated funds to cover it.

But Ohio dropped early-college funding from its biennial budget passed last summer, leaving YSU and the city schools to split a $685,000 tuition bill.

The trustees tapped some unused scholarship reserves to cover its $336,000 share, and the school district found some unused grant funds to pay its $349,000 portion.

The school district and the university were in the process of negotiating a new five-year agreement, and the YSU administration was presenting terms of that proposed pact to the Academic and Student Affairs Committee on Friday when it became clear the majority of the board was unhappy with the financial arrangements being proposed.

Only one board member, Millicent Counts, spoke on behalf of keeping the partnership alive, calling it a “moral obligation.”

Sweet, a longtime supporter of the YEC project, also spoke on behalf of the partnership, saying it would be detrimental to the students to cut off the program before other arrangements can be made.

Trustee Harry Meshel said the program puts a financial burden on the university that it can’t afford right now in light of dwindling state financial support across the board, not just for early-college programs.

Sweet took exception to that argument, pointing out that YSU gets some $330,000 a year in State Share of Instruction subsidy for the YEC students taking college courses. And, the majority of YEC’s graduates are enrolling in YSU after high school graduation. The university benefits from their tuition payments only at that point, he said.

Some of the trustees, including Scott Schulick, board president, expressed concerns about the long-term viability of the program, pointing out that the new five-year plan for its operation didn’t offer sound financial support. This was a very difficult decision to make, he said.

Others suggested YSU resources might be better spent concentrating on programs and services for the university’s regular students, and priorities need to be established.

When pressed for some direction by the administration, the trustees voted to sever ties with YEC as of June 30, the end of this fiscal year.

Sweet said the board of trustees sets the policy for the university, and he follows its directives. Nevertheless, he said he was disappointed by the decision to end YSU’s affiliation and said he will work to assure that a transition to a new partner for the city school district occurs as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Mayor Jay Williams said the proposal worked out between the city school district and YSU actually showed a net financial gain for the university based on state aid and scholarships, and he questioned the decision to scrap it.

This program meets the mission of an urban research university, he said, suggesting that research universities are rushing to create early-college programs such as the one being abandoned here.

Williams said some community members plan to organize protests against the trustees’ decision and attempt to persuade them to change their minds.

The suddenness of the decision left YEC students and their parents confused and upset.

“Parents are very frustrated. We hate that we don’t know anything,” said Talisha Campbell, who has a son who is a junior at YEC.

Students learned of the trustee vote Friday morning and began calling their parents saying they might not have an early-college program next year, she said.

“This is our kids’ future,” Campbell said, expressing concern about the uncertainty of the program’s longevity. “Something has to be definite in this chaos,” she said.

Catale said he and Webb were at Fedor Hall on Friday morning to speak with students and addressed several classes, urging the students to stay focused and pledging their commitment to an early-college program. No one can dispute that this is a highly performing academic program, Catale said. (It is Youngstown’s only school rated as academically excellent by the state.)

“We’re going to work through this,” he vowed.



1valleytransplant(37 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I was waiting for the "card" to be played. Give me, give me, give me...and then gimme' some mo. It's tough times for all of us.

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2CandyfromCanfield(172 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

The vote was 5 to 4. I don't believe for a minute this was racism. Unfortunately, it was about economics. And, with all due respect, I beg to differ about your opinion that nearly $400,000 is "chump change." There are many initiatives at YSU that could be funded with that amount. And a good majority of them would be used to help develop and fund programs aimed at first-generation, at-risk college students, many of whom are students of color.

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3Nunya(1356 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Not surprising,.. it's a shame the sham of a university known as YSU are declaring war on the kids. But truth be told YSU is a racket and hides under the guise of education as it ruse. That " free ride " pyramid plot has been used as a siphon for Local, State and Federal tax dollars and entitlement grants and subsidies for years. This is a prime example where a lifelong " Do nothing " failure panhandling politician like " Harry Meshel " ends up fleecing the till. The reason the brighter minds left and continue to leave the area is because the stone aged cracker box crabs is an infestation that disables progression, refinement, advancement or growth.

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4Nunya(1356 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

See here Valleytransplant,... see it's those with a mindset like yours that's driven this once decent area into the grimy pit that it's now became. Where that " Gimme, gimme, gimme,.. " cry you're hearing isn't from those bright minded children. It's from those pilfering fleecers that subside on the chiseling into local, state and federal tax dollars to remain perched at the " Trustees " podium to receive money for providing absolutely NOTHING,... do you have any idea how LOW the national and even regional ranking of YSU is academically?,.. they've established themselves as a grant pandering and subsidies stealing JOKE !!!!

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5SemperTyrannis(49 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Over half of the city of Youngstown is black-including a majority of the younger population. If steps are not taken to assure a program like this succeeds, then the future for this area remains dim. As it now stands Youngstown has the lowest median income of any US city with more than 65,000 residents. Early college must remain a priority in order to insure that this area has a future chance of being competitive.

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6Nunya(1356 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Sure it was CandyfromCanfield?,.. a 5 to 4 vote is irrelevant it all comes down to what the verdict of the vote rendered. See where it's not solely about racism because not all of those bright minded children in the program are of any one race. They're a mixture of lower tier economically statured youths that has displayed the brains, will, interest and able efforts to excel.{ they're the best academically in the entire State } So by any measure it certainly is a shunning with a rather distinct diversity twist to it. See what you're saying sounds plausible if the pursuit was for an air horn. But getting down to brass tacks there ARE no such programs at that " University " and fact is historically there never has been either,.. What " nameless " initiatives are you speaking of? See now that there is such a program / initiative that's even working. It's beyond " Irony " that the first one seeking to abandon it is who,.. YSU !!! Now having eviscerated the " pie in the sky " fluff I'm talking about real verifiable and heart of the matter stuff.

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7Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Please get off the racism kick. This isn't racism.

"do you have any idea how LOW the national and even regional ranking of YSU is academically?,.. they've established themselves as a grant pandering and subsidies stealing JOKE !!!!"

Then you should be happy that YSU is not going to have the Early College program. If it's that bad then the students shouldn't have participated in it. Finish high school and get a grant to another college. Funny now that YSU abandons this and it's a joke, but wasn't when everything was OK. Why people bash something when it doesn't go there way is beyond me.

BTW - YSU ranked in the U.S. World Report News for one of the Best Graduate Schools - 2010.

""I am committed to making sure that the students that are engaged in the early college are transitioned into an environment, whether it be with another partner, so they themselves will not be hurt," said YSU President Dr. David Sweet. "

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8Nunya(1356 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

@ Lifes2short,..

Oh no you don't there 2short,..

For one if you could read with any degree of understanding. Then you'd have realized I didn't play the race card as an entirety,.. not in the least but it factors.

Now I'm about to have my educational way with schooling you,.. take better notes !!!

See you've said absolutely nothing of substantive content or of any consequence to what I've stated,.. Zero !!!

For which that baseless Bob link you provided is a mere overview link to the school { to ALL schools },.. it DOESN'T rank YSU neither at nor among the tops in ANYTHING !!!!

On that note here's the real deal link via the same source you tried to reference in a buffalo baloney fashion,..

Tier 4 there Buddy row,.. http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandrev...

Also I stated they were a grant pandering and subsidies stealing joke and I MEANT that,.. and add loan leech to it while you're taking notes.

See I spoke monetarily of the math in regards to this matter. For if you can count more proficiently than your porous YSU education affords you to read with comprehension.

I'll literally provide you with insight on how much money they allegedly don't get,..

Count this money,.. http://www.recovery.gov/Pages/TextVie...

Also Dr. Sweet apposes the decision and he's not even going to be the President of YSU going forward,.. so what on earth is your aimless point?

Lastly it's my summation that YSU would serve as a sufficient prep school for the young scholars and it's proven it can't even provide THAT service,.. how's THAT for facts.

See the next time you challenge someone to a discussion. Be mindful that some of us received our advanced educations from far better than a network of nepotism driven non competitive neophytes,.. and that's your lesson for today !!!

Thus I strongly suggest you do far more homework in regards to this matter. That if you think about stepping to me in discussion pandering that pillbox variety propaganda,.. I had it for lunch !!!

Now see what your lacking a great education or hitting the exact mark to accentuate and substantiate your off the mark views got you,.. absolutely SCHOOLED !!!

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9CandyfromCanfield(172 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Nunya and all....
Just a few of the services/programs/initiatives at YSU geared toward Youngstown City School students and/or minority students who attend YSU:

Martin Luther King Inner-City Achievement Award - (Incoming Freshmen and Current Students)

Also of note: In the most recent Higher Learning Commission report, YSU was praised for its commitment to diversity. Read the summary here:

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10Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

"Nobody wants to hear the word. Everybody wants to dance around it. But folks, this is what racism looks like in action. A vote by an almost entirely white group with power to take away opportunity for mostly African American students.

Add this (racism) to the ongoing political corruption and you have the two major impedements to Youngstown joining the 21st century."

So by any measure it certainly is a shunning with a rather distinct diversity twist to it."

Is this politically correct society nowadays, If you don't call this racism then I don't no what you do.

"Also I stated they were a grant pandering and subsidies stealing joke and I MEANT that,.. and add loan leech to it while you're taking notes."

And YSU is the only college that has loans. That's interesting.

"For if you can count more proficiently than your porous YSU education affords you to read with comprehension. "

Actually I'm a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. And I know many of YSU alumni that are successful.

"Also Dr. Sweet apposes the decision and he's not even going to be the President of YSU going forward,.. so what on earth is your aimless point?"

Read the headline of the article.
"Early College remains priority"
Doesn't get any clearer then that. No matter who is on the board.

"Now see what your lacking a great education or hitting the exact mark to accentuate and substantiate your off the mark views got you,.. absolutely SCHOOLED !!!"

I really beg to differ on that.

"Lastly it's my summation that YSU would serve as a sufficient prep school for the young scholars and it's proven it can't even provide THAT service,.. how's THAT for facts."

How is this for a fact. Quoted from the Dean of Youngstown Early College - Michele Dotson
So actually since it was implemented the program was a success. So again I beg to differ on you saying "it's proven it can't even provide that service."

Since its inception in 2004, the program has successfully graduated high students who simultaneously earned their high diplomas and Associate Degrees from YSU. In addition, over 65% of the graduating high school seniors enter their post-secondary educational careers as sophomores.
As a result of these ongoing efforts, in 2008 and 2009 the YEC was designated, by the Ohio Department of Education, as a School of Excellence . Youngstown Early College is working and we, the YEC faculty and staff, are committed to ensuring its ongoing success.

Michele Dotson
Youngstown Early College Dean

and read the above post from candyfromcanfield

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11Nunya(1356 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago


Where I respect the diligence you possess and display in your efforts to present YSU, as some entity other than what I've discovered and shared insightful perspective on them to be,.. that being avoidable at all costs.

See I'm presenting FACTS and not making anything up here. Thus what you've cited and shared as mentionable merit. I know it's nothing but eye wash. In regards to what we're talking about here those " social programs " are irrelevant, inferior and not even in the ballpark of the topic matter,.. at all.

We respectfully differ in perspective with regard to how we see the machinations of YSU. Thus be you a benefactor of what I've quiet clearly cited as a misguided money mill or not. It's not perceived as your fault they're indefensible of what I've merely lightly touched upon the ilk of their enterprise,.. it is what it is.

See as a native from that area it certainly doesn't bring me any great pleasure to depict YSU for exactly how and what it's been for as long as I've been aware of it's existence,.. a worthless debt waiting to happen.

Where I've distinguished long ago what they run down there and in my personal avoidance. The favor was my educational ceiling flourished via having no interest or association in that small minded jip joint,..and their patterned legacy as a mere buddy system bust continues.

To their credit they used to run a nice music school. But I'm not even sure they've not managed to fleece that once positive aspect of their operation.

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