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Why can’t city government help ailing city schools?

Published: Thu, June 3, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

City should help school district

I am somewhat disappoint- ed to know that Wendy Webb is resigning from her position as Youngstown schools superintendent, disappointed because she has done an excellent job under the present circumstances.

She has been constantly criticized by the school board and the media. I understand that the board is the governing body over her position but its members never take blame for anything, neither academic crisis or finances.

How can academic excellence be achieved when so many teachers have been fired or forced into retirement? How can pupils learn with no one to teach them? It appears that everything is about finances; no one is really concerned (although education is supposed to be the Number 1 priority). The federal, state and local governments should be blamed — not the superintendents of school districts.

Evidently the board had in its agenda before the last school board election to fire Dr. Webb.

What is the city doing for the schools? Is it not allowed to contribute financially? If industries can be aided, why not the schools? Our children need quality education.

I would like to thank Miss Webb for being so compassionate and for her endeavors. I’m sure many others thank her. May God bless her.

OLLA L. TATE, Youngstown


1PXGhost(51 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

I couldn't disagree more if I tried.

For Fiscal Year 2009, Youngstown City Schools collected more than 18.9 Million dollars in Local Taxes. They further received more than 85.3 Million dollars from the State of Ohio (combination of taxes, lottery income, federal dollars given to state for edu., etc.), **Plus extra money (Emergency loans, transfers and advances, etc.) of more than 12.9 Million Dollars. **Matter of public record (School treasurer's office)**

Thats MORE THAN 117 MILLION DOLLARS!! AND they spend ALL OF IT each year!!

More than 45.4 Million is Salaries/Wages, More than 18.3 Million on Fringe Benefits, More than 37.8 Million on "Purchased Services", Only 1.6 Million on Supplies and Textbooks, 12.7 Million in repaying "notes" and over 1.2 Million decribed as "other"...

How much more do you want to give this school?! Tossing money at the problem will NEVER solve it!

Good Bye Miss Webb, you expensive underperformer!!

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Wendy Webb "has done an excellent job". What have you been smoking? Probably the same crack that the parents of so many Youngstown kids do every day that leads to their lack of family moral values and a failing school system.

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3northsideperson(365 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

The city can't afford to contribute to the schools, it has its own messes to deal with already.

I don't know if Webb did the best she was capable of, but she certainly didn't have a lot to work with.

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4boardmanneedschange(364 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

She most certainly did not do $100,000.00 a year worth of work.

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5Silence_Dogood(1341 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Using this number $15,484.38 per student (right or wrong) as a ballpark number and factoring in the results for the average student.Then compare that to the cost and results of the local Catholic schools with a Graduation rate of 99 % and a cost of about $8000 really drives home the point that it is not about money but all about the family to which the child belongs.
Money is not the answer , it never was and never will be.The stark reality is it is the home environment to which these kids belong that will determine thier sucess in life. You cant tax that issue away, you cant regulate that issue away, all you can do is watch this downward spiral unfold before you.

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6Education_Voter(858 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

First of all Ghost,
Did you subtract the charter school money? It is in the account of Youngstown City Schools. Did you subtract the kids in open enrollment? The city school district writes the checks for their tuition too. So divide by twice as many students, paulb.
Do the parochial schools' costs include the free services they get from the Youngstown City Schools' general fund? YCS provides their busing, remedial teachers, and school counselors. The parochial schools have been complaining that their state funding has not been increased. That's a surprise to many taxpayers who didn't know they got state funding. In addition to tuition from parents or YCS, the parochial schools tax each Catholic parish and hit up the alumni for donations. In the end, they may get more per pupil than public school students.

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7Education_Voter(858 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Okay, this state funding for parochial schools is IN ADDITION to the services the public school district provides.
State funding for example provides all the textbooks. Parochial schools also get federal Title I funding.
Here's how I found out.
"While funding for Public and Charter schools increased, Parochial schools in Ohio lost $60 million in state aid. Senator Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), despite being supportive of the introduction of Video Lottery Terminalss, voted against the overall budget bill, citing the cuts to Parochial schools. Sen. Seitz said that dating back to the Celeste administration, there has been a state policy of state aid to parochial schools increasing or decreasing based on state aid to public schools. “We have now totally abrogated that parity principle,” he said."

Who knew private schools had "parity" with public schools?

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8Education_Voter(858 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

"Larry Keough, the lobbyist for the Catholic Conference of Ohio, told the State Board of Education that for the last 25 years, the public assistance private schools receive from the state has increased or decreased by the same percentage as basic aid for public schools.

That didn’t happen this time around. Thanks in part to federal stimulus dollars, funding for Ohio’s public schools essentially held steady in the current two-year budget, which was signed into law last July. But the state’s 772 nonpublic schools, which did not share in the stimulus windfall, saw their funding slashed 4.75 percent last year, Keough said.

“The cuts were disturbing,” Keough said. “The 12th-hour timing of the cuts left us with very little recourse.”

The public dollars that flow to private schools are used for “auxiliary services” such as secular textbooks, special education, school nurses and computers, as well as to offset administrative costs."

You wouldn't think cutting less than 5% of the funding would be that much, but I guess it is. These concerns do not apply to charter schools. They ARE public schools did not have the budget cut.

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9PXGhost(51 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Responding to your first post, Yes. The numbers I provided have aken into account the STATE REQUIRED apportionment of funds for Public Charter Schools. Those are the funds available to the schools controlled entirely by the Youngstown Board of Education.

As far as Parochial's are concerned, the "$60 million" Senator Seitz is referencing is STATE WIDE. Youngstown City Schools is given more than that from the state alone! And before you ask, Yes: my numbers are end results after all deductions (with exception to Bus transportation:: And by STATE LAW they have to provide it).

MORE THAN 117 MILLION DOLLARS and YOUNGSTOWN CITY SCHOOLS (With exception to Youngstown Early College) ARE THE WORST IN THE STATE!! Did you get your money's worth?

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10Education_Voter(858 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

PX, Don't be dense. The $60 million is the CUTS made. Keough, and he's the parochial schools' lobbyist, remember, estimates that schools get $900. per student just in state funding. If Mooney has 600 students, that's more than half a million dollars right there. Xavier High School has what? a couple of thousand students? That's 1.8 million, right?

That's just state money, not the local support, or federal support they get.

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11Education_Voter(858 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

So, stay with me here, if 5% is 60 million, wouldn't the other 95% be more than a billion?
And the thing is, people don't know that.

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12PXGhost(51 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Alright. Let's use the numbers you just gave us. Parochial schools get an estimated $900 per student.

Mooney 633 students (2009) = $569,700 State Funding
100% pass OGT & 98% Graduation Rate

Xavier High 1,550 students (2009)= $1,395,000 State Funding
100% pass OGT & 99.5% Graduation Rate

Youngstown won't itemize per school expenditures (only school district wide).

So the 85.3 million devided over the 7,556 student (thanks paulb) is $11,289.04 per student.

East High School 1125 students (2009) = $12,700,170 State Funding
74.2% (barely) pass OGT & 74.2% Graduation Rate.

Your right. Darn those Parochial Schools! How can they take our money and produce results! Close them all so we can end up with more schools like East High School! **sarcasm**

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13Education_Voter(858 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

PX Ghost,
I can't educate you on school finance on a newspaper discussion board. Start at the website of the Ohio Department of Education. Click on "Data" along the top horizontal menu. Then click on "Frequently Requested Data" on the left menu. Now click on "ODE Data Warehouse Reports" written in red in the middle. Pick the folder "Revenues and Expenditures" On the next screen, pick "Expenditures per pupil (building)". It's the first folder. Choose the year. Scroll down. Open the district box. Search "Youngstown City."
Jeez. Spend a little time on that site. They are transparent about everything. Get the "Five Year Forecast" for any district.
As far as buildings go, you will see that pupil costs vary. Buildings that have handicapped pupils and career ed have higher costs, and when you guys divide by all students you are averaging those costs with the regular students. Youngstown has more handicapped students than surrounding areas. They also have their own vocational students. There are 3 kinds of school districts in Ohio: City, Local, and Exempted Village. Local school districts like Boardman Local have many of their costs handled at the county level, like the vocational school. There is a Board of Education in Boardman, and a Mahoning County Board of Education. To figure the true costs per pupil, you need to figure out how many services Boardman gets from the county and add them to the local costs.
City Schools carry all of the costs themselves.
Spend about a month on the site. You can learn a lot.

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14PXGhost(51 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago


"I can't educate you on school finance on a newspaper discussion board."

I doubt the venue is the problem.

Youngstown City Schools receive almost as much money as EVERY OTHER school district in the County COMBINED, and Yougstown is the WORST IN THE STATE.

Again, the more than 117 MILLION DOLLAR figure I gave you is what Youngstown Traditional Public Schools get. 74.2% graduation rate. Is it worth it?

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15Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

What did she really do for $100,000.00 a year?

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16Education_Voter(858 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Okay Ghost. I realize now that you weren't really interested in finding out about funding. You don't want it pointed out that a district with more students than the surrounding districts combined would have a bigger budget than their combined budgets. You don't want information about the ways that surrounding districts get funding for their services.
You don't want it pointed out that parents of parochial students who vote against school district levies are depriving their own schools from resources and driving up tuition.

You don't REALLY want to know about the per-pupil cost in individual buildings.
You just wanted to rant.
Sorry for the misunderstanding.

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17PXGhost(51 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Every other community does what they need to in order to get necessary funding. Every surrounding school system is better than Youngstown's and they do it with LESS. The purpose of the author behind this letter to the editor was to suggest that the city of Youngstown should give the school more money. I've simply pointed out HOW MUCH they really get.

There shouldn't exist a difference of 4 to 12 thousand dollars overall with respect to "per-pupil" cost.

The fact that you justify this just shows that voters like you ENABLE people like Wendy Webb to come in, take a six-figure paycheck and do nothing but ask for more money.

117 MILLION DOLLARS! 74.2% Graduation Rate. Academic Emergency. Worst in the State. Is it worth it?

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18Springman(235 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

It's too bad that you can't differentiate Youngstown, from some sanitized suburban schools. However, the law recognizes that fact and such districts are entitled to Chapter I, formerly Title I, funding.


Below find the mechanism.

Execution is not automatic and can vary within a district. It is my experience that parents of underperforming students have to sue (try IDEA) to get a better education for their kids. http://idea.ed.gov/

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19havinmysay(155 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Ms. Tate, with all due respect, as the top official in the city schools, the buck stops at Ms. Webb. The truth of the matter is that Ms. Webb is grossly unqualified to be superintendent of schools. That is more than clear.

I will, however agree: Someone needs to start calling out the board as well. They are supposed to provide oversight and leadership as well. Judging by the condition of the schools (academically and financially) the board is not doing it's job either.

A school system like Youngstown, in such a troubled city, really need strong, qualified leaders who are able to step outside of the proverbial box and get the job done. There are models of success out there. See what others are doing good and adopt those changes in YSC. If Michelle Rhee can wrestle the D.C. school district under some semblance of success, Youngstown schools can certainly be reformed.

Passing the buck is not going to get children educated or turn the condition of the schools around.

Those at the helm must step up and own the dismal failure known as YSCs and look for comprehensive ways to turn it around.

You are obviously a friend of Ms. Webb's. I give you a A+ in the friendship department. However, Ms. Webb has failed miserably. I hope the parents and tax payers in Youngstown have learned a lesson from Ms. Webb's tenure and force true change in the system.

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20Education_Voter(858 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

I totally agree with you about waste, Ghost. I just have a compulsion to be accurate. I don't believe in accusing people of things that aren't true. There's enough to complain about that is true.
Sometimes there are valid reasons for costs to be high. The state fiscal commission could probably answer questions as they have actually been checking all expenditures at YCS.
For example, there was some stimulus funds used for tutors for small group instruction. These teachers could only work 20 or 25 hours a week, so the jobs didn't go to the existing school staff. The jobs gave some young teachers a chance to get some experience and a start on a resume, and I saw them used very effectively. But this is not something the schools asked for, so I hope it wouldn't be included in that budget.

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