By DENISE DICK
The city school district’s new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and visual and performing arts school has some competition from a new charter school.
Mosaica Education Inc. will open the STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math — Academy of Youngstown on Aug. 8 at 810 Oak St., the former Immaculate Conception School, the company said.
Mosaica’s company headquarters are in Atlanta and New York. STEAM Academy will be the second Mosaica school in the city.
The company also operates Youngstown Academy of Excellence on Rigby Street.
While the new charter school will house students in kindergarten through eighth grade, it opens the same year that Chaney High School opens as a STEM and visual and performing arts school. That city school will accommodate students in sixth through 12th grades.
“It’s my understanding that they’ve been planning it for a couple of years, but I didn’t know that” when the city schools planned its Chaney change, said Connie Hathorn, Youngstown schools superintendent. “It is kind of strange that they waited until we opened one.”
But he says he’s not concerned.
“Ours is going to be the flagship,” Hathorn said. “We have great students, and there’s great interest in the city for a school like this, based on the number who applied.”
About 330 students, who auditioned and interviewed for the slots, are to attend the new Chaney this year.
Melvin Brown, regional vice president for Mosaica’s Ohio schools, said through a spokeswoman that the company has been planning the school for about seven months and called it coincidence that the Mosaica school and the city school are opening at the same time.
The company is also opening STEAM schools this month in Warren and in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Lock P. Beachum Sr., city school board president, said parents will have to compare the programs to determine which better suits their children and their needs.
“I think we just have to prove that we have the best program and parents should check both out and see who has the best program and who best meets the needs of their children for now and the future,” he said.
Another division of Mosaica, Mosaica Turnaround Partners, is one of the consultants contracted to help implement the Youngstown district’s academic recovery plan, aimed at getting the district out of academic emergency.
Mosaica’s contract was recommended by the Ohio Department of Education and approved by both the academic commission and city school board, but the school district is footing the bill. The contract is capped at $405,000.
“That is a concern,” Beachum said. “That’s something that we will need to take up with the academic commission: Why are we paying someone to be in competition with us? And we will find out.”
Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and at Vindy.com.