City schools miss targets, lose $1.8M

District aimed for 11% achievement growth, reached only 2%

City schools miss targets, lose $1.8M

YOUNGSTOWN

The city school district will see its school improvement money slashed more than 50 percent for next year because the schools didn’t meet growth goals.

The federal School Improvement Grant money allotted for University Project Learning Center, Chaney and East totaled $3.3 million. For next year, the amount is reduced to about $1.5 million, said Doug Hiscox, deputy superintendent for academic affairs.

“Each year you have to go through a process for evaluating how well things were done or whether you met targets,” he said.

The reviewers from the Ohio Department of Education were concerned that some things weren’t done in a timely manner.

John Charlton, an ODE spokesman, said a comprehensive review of all 85 SIG buildings in Ohio is ongoing. Districts won’t get final notification of their funding for next year until that is complete, which is expected in late August.

“There were outside providers that should have been in place early in the school year that would have helped with professional development and staff development,” Hiscox said. “They were not actually contracted until November, December or January. There’s also a monitoring system that needs to be used.”

Principals and assistant principals are required to complete a certain number of classroom walk throughs during the school year, and they either weren’t done frequently enough or not done for a significant amount of time, he said.

There were also concerns about the academic progress at East and UPLC, the deputy superintendent said.

“At the beginning of each year you have to submit what the targeted objectives are, and we had not met those,” he said.

The targeted growth in student achievement was 11 percent for both schools, but both saw about 2 percent growth.

“They haven’t reached the level of academic growth that is expected in the evaluator’s eyes for the amount of money that’s been spent,” Hiscox said.

Read more in Saturday’s Vindicator.

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