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Pastor calls for Webb to resign

Published: Thu, January 14, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.


Youngstown City School Superintendent Wendy Webb


Youngstown City School Board president Anthony Catale

By Harold Gwin

The Rev. Cecil Monroe said he spoke as a concerned parent with three children in the school system.

YOUNGSTOWN — The pastor of Higher Learning Church in Austintown has called for the resignation of Wendy Webb, superintendent of the Youngstown City School District.

The Rev. Cecil Monroe of Highlawn Avenue has three children in the Youngstown school system — a daughter in preschool, a son in kindergarten and a daughter in first grade — and said he was speaking as a concerned parent.

The failing grade given the school district on its 2009 state local report card is a reflection of the superintendent’s and school board’s concern about the students, he said in addressing the school board Tuesday. The district appears to have a lackadaisical approach to academics, and that gives everyone a license not to try as hard as they can, he said.

As a result, students, on the whole, don’t appear to be trying as hard as they should, he said.

Parents should be outraged, he said, adding that the time has come for change at the top.

Youngstown was rated in academic emergency, and the state is assigning an academic distress commission to come to the city to guide the school district in the creation of a plan designed to improve academic achievement.

The Rev. Mr. Monroe said the school board is apparently willing to give Webb another chance to improve academic performance, but he disagrees, telling the board that he doesn’t believe she deserves another chance.

The superintendent should resign immediately, he said, calling it the “responsible” thing to do.

Everything stems from the superintendent, and, though she may have inherited many of the academic problems she faces, the responsibility for the failing grade is still hers, Mr. Monroe said.

Jennifer Lewis of Indianola Avenue, also addressed the board, telling members that communication between the superintendent’s office and the public became a problem when Webb took over the office in 2004.

Violent student-offenders have been allowed back in the classroom with those they abused, and parents with high-performing children have been driven out of the district, she said, adding that is a loss from which the district may never recover.

Webb, who has one more year on her contract after this school year, declined to comment on the call for her to step down.

However, Anthony Catale, school board president, said he looks forward to working with the superintendent on adopting a new strategic plan for academics and determining how the district will meet the goals the plan sets forth.

Webb said that plan, which is to include specific details for each school building, is nearly complete and will soon be reported to the public.



1Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

The outrage is that Reverend Monroe doesn't see that it is a lack of parent responsibility with their own children's education that is at the root of the Youngstown City School district's problems. One woman cannot be blamed for a community whose parents have fallen down on the job of instilling the value of education at home. Children cannot go to school where teachers try to educate them, and then return home to mom and dad (maybe) and have them undermine their teachers' authority, which is what is routinely done. If one's mother or father holds disdain for education and educators, the child will follow suit. Reverend Monroe obviously has no clue what he's talking about. He's simply another parent that wants to place blame on one or two people, rather than acknowledging the problem is in the homes of his community.

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

The vast majority of Youngstowners with kids in the school system lack family moral values and parental involvement in the schools. The schools are treated like a place to send your kids for breakfast and lunch, and babysitting during te day. The family educational value has to come first if the schools are ever to recover from their academic and financial problems. However, Webb & the uselss school board have done very little except collect a pay check for the many years she has led the district. It is time to FIRE Webb and replace her with someone who can do the job. Maybe a nice middle aged white successful superintendent from a suburban district?

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3Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Okay, that is just racist and absurd, UnionForever.

And besides, your nice middle aged white successful person from a suburban district would probably pee their pants when faced with the problems of the children in these schools.

How about holding community meetings throughout the neighborhoods, multiple times a year, in which those parents who ARE involved form a cooperative group to go door to door in order to convince their neighbors that they need to be involved and change their attitudes about education for the sake of their children as well. That seems more doable than simply replacing one well-meaning person who can't save a school system from its parents with another well meaning person (white and from the suburbs, according to your theory) who will fail just as badly, because, again, one person cannot save an entire community. It will take the entire community's participation to save itself.

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4disgustedjoker(49 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

I agree with Mr. Monroe. I currently live in the Youngstown school district and have three children that do not attend Youngstown Schools and never will. Ms. Webb continues to build new schools and refuses to address the real problem. The scarey part of all of this is, these children are the future of Mahoning Valley!!!!! Someone needs to step up to the plate and start at the top. It's time that we get a Superintendent in there that will build a future for these children! Building new schools is not the answer! I challenge the school board to do what's right and show these children that they are willing to give them the opportunity to succeed!!!! Stop making excuses that contracts prohibit you from doing the right thing! It takes strong leadership to correct what's wrong! Fire Webb immediately!!!!!

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5MsVickey92570(18 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

Youngstown City Schools are sad. Yes I agree parents need to take the responsibility of their children and teach them to respect the ones that are over them. The child lacks parental control. My four children grew up in a single parent household, but they knew when they went to school they better respect their teachers. I don't know where things went wrong in the school system. But something needs to be done. Yes I moved out of Youngstown and I can say I am glad I did!!

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6Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

"Violent student-offenders have been allowed back in the classroom with those they abused"

I don't know what all the fluff is about . Criminals are allowed to hang out at school and select victims at taxpayer expense . Recent robbery at East High comes to mind . There is no suppression of the subculture . Academia is secondary in Youngstown schools because of toleration . Does the majority of Youngstown actually desire any change ? I doubt it .

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7Westsider(269 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

"In the situation in which she found herself?" Dr. Webb was appointed by a board of education - in a non-unanimous vote - for a position she actively sought, campaigned for and rallied support from the public to get. Her shortcomings were no surprise to some board members who were unfortunately in the minority. While I don't necessarily think a superintendent needs to come from the teaching ranks, I will say there was a major disconnect between the librarian and teachers - particularly in terms of the resources necessary to set up a classroom. Does anyone remember the new Taft School debacle? The stunning lack of leadership was just recently displayed in the fact that the Youngstown District lost out on millions of dollars in grant money due to failure of the union to sign off on the application. There are ways to work around such difficulties.

Oh well, the board appointees to the state emergency commission will be political appointments - wonder what criterion Dr. DeLisle is using at the state level?

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8Education_Voter(1174 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

I want to commend Jennifer Lewis for her persistance. She has been speaking at Board meetings for regularly, and must feel she is not heard.
In this case, I think it finally paid off.

As far as the Race to the Top Grant, Dr. Webb is using an inflated figure to imply that the teacher's union did something wrong in declining the money.

They did something right. The money was tied to specific uses that included more professional development for teachers, but the rest of which were vague and undefined. The amount of money available was also undefined. The teachers were essentially being asked to sign on to a contract to be filled in with details later. During the mortgage crisis of the last year, didn't we at least learn that one should know what he is signing on for?

The grant program would require an extensive new plan to be formed during the summer. At that time, Youngstown will be developing an extensive new plan with the academic distress commission. I don't know if that is in addition to, or supplementary to the extensive new plan they have had to develop during this year for the state. ENOUGH OF THE EXTENSIVE NEW PAPERWORK PLANS, ODE! The rubber meets the road in the classroom and homes, not in the board planning rooms.

Do you think there is much trust between the teachers and the administration? In too many buildings, when a teacher sends a child to the office for disruption by cussing teacher out with a blue streak, the office calls her back and asks for a witness. The adult teacher does not qualify as a witness.

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