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Youngstown schools to get stimulus funds

Published: Wed, March 17, 2010 @ 12:05 a.m.




The Youngstown City School District is getting more than $8 million in federal stimulus funding to help improve academic achievement, but the federal government is deciding how a big chunk of that money must be spent.

Superintendent Wendy Webb said $3.5 million is being channeled directly into federally-funded programs focusing on remedial reading and math and other programs targeting low- income children under Title 1.

Title 1 is a federal program that allocates supplemental money to schools with large concentrations of low-income students to help those students meet academic goals. Nearly 90 percent of Youngstown’s 6,500 students are listed as economically disadvantaged.

Webb said the district has no discretion over where that money will be spent during the two-year stimulus-funding period that ends June 30, 2011. The federal government has determined that it must go into existing Title 1 programming, she said.

The district has decided how the remaining funds (some $4.8 million, according to a budget she provided to The Vindicator) will be spent, Webb said. It all must go toward academic-intervention efforts to improve student performance, she said.

A large portion of those funds — $1.2 million — has been set aside for the state Academic Distress Commission established to assist the city school district in improving academically.

A breakdown of the remaining funding includes:

$2,104,434 divided among the seven elementary and five middle schools for tutoring, literacy positions, staff development, counselors and implementing improvement strategies. Building principals have discretion on how the money will be spent.

$500,000 to continue the Governor’s Initiative targeting students for academic and behavioral intervention.

$389,000 for curriculum devel- opment, including funds set aside to use the services of the Mahoning County Educational Service Center to analyze student performance data and assist in implementing the use of that data to improve instruction.

$182,000 for library and community homework tutoring centers set up across the district.

$116,000 for various learning material programs.

$107,000 to hire ONTASC Inc. to help develop the district’s strategic five-year plan and social/emotional project support.

$85,000 to fund an ongoing Constitution Day/Law Day program that brings local attorneys into the schools.

$58,000 to Karns Consulting Inc. to provide leadership strategies for principals.

$45,000 for peer-tutoring programs that have high-school students serving as tutors for younger children.

$40,000 for an after-school academic intervention and intramural sports program.

$36,168 to launch technology clubs that will have students working on individual school building Web sites.

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