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Youngstown schools plan to chop 18 positions

Published: Thu, March 11, 2010 @ 12:07 a.m.




Eliminating four administrative positions and not replacing 14 retiring teachers will help the city school district trim $1.5 million more in spending next fiscal year.

Superintendent Wendy Webb outlined the district’s proposal to cut spending for 2010-11 Wednesday for the state financial oversight commission controlling Youngs-town’s spending as the district seeks to recover from fiscal emergency.

She declined to identify the administrative cuts by name or by title, saying employees haven’t been informed of the impending changes yet. Four positions will be eliminated and two other administrators who are retiring will be replaced by people lower on the pay scale, she said.

Youngstown has trimmed $32 million in spending and cut about 450 jobs over the last three years. The state placed the district under fiscal emergency in November 2006 after the general fund began running a deficit.

Roger Nehls, commission chairman, said the district’s proposal for an additional $1.5 million in cuts is, “a good start. This is a demonstration that the district continues to look at right-sizing.”

Still, Nehls had another area of potential cutbacks that he wants the district to look at more closely. Youngstown, which essentially has all new or refurbished classroom buildings as a result of a $190 million rebuilding program, appears to have more carpenters and painters than it needs, he said, suggesting that four full-time carpenters and three full-time painters may be too many.

He also said the commission wants to see the district’s custodial staffing numbers before it votes on the cuts for next year.

Webb said the district will continue to monitor and look for other spending reductions.


A breakdown of the proposed 2010-11 cuts shows:

• $860,000: 14 retiring teachers won’t be replaced.

• $367,860: Four administrative posts will be eliminated and two retiring administrators will be replaced by people lower on the pay scale.

• $212,752: Eight substitute laborer positions will be eliminated.

• $66,000: Utility cost savings resulting from closing the old Alpha school and moving students into the new Wilson building.

• $30,000: Savings on a renegotiated heating, ventilating and air conditioning contract.


1timOthy(802 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

$367,860:" Four administarative post will be eliminated and two retiring administrators will be replaced by people lower on the pay scale"Why not make existing administrators take a cut to the lower pay scale ? You already indicated your bring people in at a lower rate so it shouldn't be a problem for existing people to lower their wage scale now !

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

The school board should CHOP all the jobs and start over. The school system is failing both academically and financially. Do what the RI district did - fire them all then rehire only those who want to educate, not the hangersoners who are only there for the pay and healthcare benefits. The teachers in Y-town showed their true colors when they refused the stimulus education program to improve schools.

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3SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

This is a good start. But the school board and the great Wendy Webb need to get their head out of the sand and cut more. i.e. salaries and did I hear right

"$212,752: Eight substitute laborer positions will be eliminated."

Are you kidding me. Eliminate them all and hire temps thru an agency. What the school board and the great Wendy Webb did with these cuts is highlight the gross waste of money in the "Youngstown City Schools Industrial Complex" Wake Up.

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4palbubba(746 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Way too little, way too late. All of these cuts should have been made before the tax increase was made. What is it going to take to prove to the Board of Education that Wendy Webb needs replaced. If the state financial commission can't do any better than they have maybe our "friend" Governor Strickland should have the state pay for all deficits.

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5Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

It's a start. We could be in the situation that Kansas City is.


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6Maggie_Pentz(87 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

That's right...bash the teachers. Can't be the parents or the brain and involved parent drain to open enrollment/charter schools. Must be the teachers, whose very livelihoods depend on doing their jobs. That must be it.

After teaching for four years in Brooklyn, NY, I've moved home to find that folks here absolutely hate teachers and refuse to take responsibility for the behavior and work ethic of their own children.

I went to school in the suburbs where we all passed our state exams and my high school teachers were terrible, save for maybe three of them. This idea that city teachers are awful because the kids are failing is too simplistic and easy a conclusion to be true. Think about it people. Do you really think the kids in Canfield are achieving because of their teachers? Seriously?

I would LOVE to see a little trade. Exchange the Canfield teachers for city teachers for a year and see what happens. I would be willing to bet my life that those city teachers would look like superstars because they would finally be able to teach and those Canfield teachers would be crying every night.

The folks that I taught with in Brooklyn were/are amazing teachers and we all busted our butts for those kids. And despite all that our graduation rate was about 60% and our Regents passage rates were always low enough to get us in trouble with NCLB. I know quite a few teachers in Youngstown and have visited classrooms on a number of occasions and they are doing EVERYTHING in their power to teach these kids.

Go ahead, fire them all and then what? Who would want to teach in that environment when even the community wants your head. Forget it. I'm a stay-at-home mom right now and believe me I'm thinking twice about even looking for a teaching job in this area with the way teachers are viewed. And I won't touch Youngstown City Schools with a ten foot pole because I refuse to be treated like I'm incompetent just because of incompetent parenting.

Enough, this town makes my blood boil.

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7mrblue(1158 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

The biggest problem is the PARENTS of those failing LAZY kids. They just don't care enough to be involved with their kids' education. All the parents want is a daytime babysitter. :It is true that a few teachers are worthless, but the majority really care and want to do the job. It is time for the parents to take responsibility. Usually if the parent doesn't care, neither does the child.

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8Ginger76(178 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

I don’t have kids yet and I can tell you its the "parents" fault...they don’t care- education is not a priority in the city.
Otherwise it wouldn’t be in this bad of shape. You can tell just driving through the city, except for a few neighborhoods, pride left along time ago.
I feel bad for those teachers.
How different is the education from Youngstown City Schools vs. Poland/Canfield/Boardman?
Is it different?

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9crl(18 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Maggie, I agree totally with your post. It is NOT the teachers' fault (with a few exceptions). It is definitely parenting and that's a real shame.
UnionForever, I am flabergasted by your post. Where is your support for your union brothers and sisters??

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10Nunya22(315 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

The fault is at some teachers, parents, and children some of yall need to just tell it like it is. Alot of kids be getting free passes and be passed on when they shouldn't or cheat off other students. Then you have kids skipping school and fighting and getting away with it. Oh then you have parents who know their child is doing wrong but they are outside playing just to get out of their parents/guardian face for a few hours not doing homework or studying. Then you have teachers who may play the favorites game with the students that cause problems, being to nice and letting the kids walk over them, punish the whole class for what one or two people of the class who messed up.

Also with all that being said this is in no way meant for every teacher,parent, and child it's some of them that have been messing up. There are alot more problems I haven't stated that is just some of it.

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11Ginger76(178 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

OK, but back to a pretty basic question:
What is the difference between YCS vs. Canfield/Poland/Boardman Schools?

WHY are these schools succeeding and YSC are considered the bottom of the bottom?

Could a student in the YSC survive in the Canfield/Poland/Boardman curriculum? Vice Versa?

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12Maggie_Pentz(87 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

I had a student in Brooklyn who moved to Florida after his Sophomore year of high school. He spent half of his Junior year in a suburban Florida classroom before returning to us.

When he left our school, he was a run of the mill trouble maker. Nothing sociopathic or crazy about him...just a general trouble maker with no credits after two years of school. Problem was, we had MANY more that were worse than him. And I mean WAY worse, like students who openly sexually harrassed and physically threatened teachers. So this kid sort of blended in and didn't command a lot of attention.

I tried with him. I never let anyone blend in my classroom but still, he didn't see the point and he knew that we all had our hands full and he just coasted along. His mother was concerned about him and we spoke frequently about it, with him translating because she spoke only Spanish.

Anyway, in Florida, he was the minority in terms of behavior. At that school, he was THE problem kid because there were no "bigger fish" so to speak. He quickly adjusted to the behavioral norms of the school and when that happened, he began to LEARN.

So, 6 months later he comes back to us and he was changed. He was still sort of lazy (in that normal teenage boy kind of way) but he sat still and took notes and didn't talk to those around him. I was so proud of him and he was a great example to the other kids because he was repeating the class and could speak to what would happen to them if they didn't shape up. He could also speak to what life was like outside of the ghetto and Brooklyn and NYC for that matter.

He passed his Regents exam. Don't know if he graduated because I left after that year but he was well on his way. I hope that he did.

The point to that story is that a lot to a school has top do with the "tipping point". Are the social norms of the community such that at least 80% of the kids and parents give a damn? Because if that is the case, then the resources will be available to help the other 20%.

HOWEVER, if the community and thus the school culture is such that only 20% of the kids and parents give a damn then you have a problem because the resources are not adequate enough to deal with it.

So to answer you, Ginger, that is the difference between YCS and the burbs. Due to white flight, open enrollment, charter schools and vouchers, YCS has reached and surpassed its tipping point. The culture in the school is such that only a handful of kids in any particular classroom care about learning. It's not something that they feel will help them survive in their daily lives.

Anyway, enough posting for me today. Can you tell that my mother-in-law is in town and watching my toddler?!

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13Ginger76(178 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

that school system is doomed....
Good to know - thanks Maggie.
Ill stick to one of my burb schools for our kids....

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14redvert(2196 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Not that it will ever happen but after teachers have exhausted all efforts on trying to teach, the students that want to learn should have the option to move to a separate school where they can learn. Just put the loafers in a big empty room and let them do whatever.

If the parents do not care then in most cases but not all, the student doesn't care.

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15redvert(2196 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

UnionForever, you suggested firing all the teachers and then rehiring only those that want to teach. You may have a point there, but after doing that, what do you suggest be done with the students that do not want to learn and are disruptive to the rest of the class?

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16Mooneygrad72(42 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

As a teacher near Los Angeles, I am in total agreement with Maggie. If parents would do their fair share, education would be better for all stakeholders. When I call home to speak to a parent and am told " hey he is yours for only 7 hours-- I gotch him for the rest-- " you know why the student is failing English. I also have to deal with 12 different languages in my classrooms-- Spanish, Hmong, Vietamese, Loas, .... Try teaching with all of that going on too. High school students should know how to behave, when to have fun-- but they tell teachers- I am bored-- you suck--. Not our problem?? I have a pacing guide to follow--page 321 today and page 322-25 tomorrow, With the outbursts in classrooms, teacher have great trouble meeting the demands of school boards and state education. If my student's parents would ensure homework was completed, I would be happy. Almost to the point of not assigning it-- since somany don;t do it. Blame begins at home.

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17Silence_Dogood(1555 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

It's a cultural thing !
Stop DISSIN them.

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18Maggie_Pentz(87 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, last post I swear:) We used to sort of laugh about it at school because we could tell in the first week what kinds of homes our kids came from. I was rarely ever surprised. It's actually so predictable it makes my head hurt because all of this nonsense with firing/blaming teachers is so much barking up the wrong tree.

It's just so much easier for small minds and politicians to blame teachers because then they don't have to think about addressing the real inequalities in our society that lead to the impoverished conditions that most inner city kids subsist in.

I just wonder who will be there to teach in the inner city when they've chased all of us out? Look what they have to go through in NYC to attract teachers, bonuses, grad school fellowships, mortgage down payments, etc. Does Youngstown have that kind of dough?

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19JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

"Does Youngstown have that kind of dough?"

The numbers in the article show that the teachers cut averaged over $60k/year and the admins averaged over $90k/year...Y-town didn't have the dough but seems to have been okay with spending like they did. That seems like large coin given the cost-of-living in the area. Overspending and misspending are hallmarks of failing urban districts -- fast-forward a few years and the result will be a lot more action taken like what's going on in KC.

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20bad(23 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Fire the teachers? You get what you are delt to work with, maybe we should fire the parents. How about hire more teachers to teach the parents how to be a parent and help educate their kid. The prisons are overcrowded as it is and with the loss of jobs and no education more than likely equals prison. Get to the root of the problem Parenting.

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21bad(23 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Lumpy I hate to disgree with you but alot of people have a college education and I would like to see them have enough patitence dealing with unruly students and the mainstreaming of the kids with multiple concerns and having to deal with their individual needs all in a regular second grade classroom. and this happens in every class room everywhere even with the parents who care. It should get treated as a profession like everyone else who earned their degree or degrees. P.S. most school teachers have a masters degree and on top of that have mandatory continuing education that the school district they work for don't pay for the teacher does. Also as for the three months off, how about the numerous phone calls from parents and grading papers for 2 hours a night and oh yeah lesson plans and getting prepared for the next day need done too, all on their own time. Most people punch the clock and worry about work tommorow but they can't. As for being over paid the average teacher makes less than a GM worker or a postal carrier and the vast majority do it for the kids not the average pay or for summers off.

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