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Youngstown schools: Cost to update curriculum estimated at nearly $500,000

Published: Fri, July 20, 2012 @ 12:04 a.m.

By Denise Dick



Getting the school district’s curriculum up to state standards will be an expensive proposition.

One of the elements of the Academic Recovery Plan for the district updated by the state-appointed Academic Distress Commission earlier this year calls for up-to-date Ohio standards based pre-kindergarten through 12 plans in literacy, math, science and social studies.

Teams of teachers and administrators determined the books, materials and supplies needed to accomplish that and the cost is nearly $500,000 for grades seven through 12.

That includes $200,000 for textbooks; $20,000 for books for classroom libraries for language; and $180,000 for science supplies for students and teachers such as lab coats for each student, physical world maps and scientific calculators.

Doug Hiscox, the district’s deputy superintendent for academic affairs, told board members this week that granting the request should mean he doesn’t have to request more money for supplies and materials during this school year.

“Hold us accountable,” he said. “We’re not asking for a blank check. We’ll only spend what we need.”

School-board members expressed concerns about the cost as the district faces dwindling money from the state and potentially decreased enrollment. The board is asking voters in November to renew a levy originally passed in 2008. If approved, the levy would continue to generate about $5.2 million annually for four years.

Without it, the district will go into deficit spending during the next school year, officials have said.

Lock P. Beachum Sr., school board president, said the district still has to look for ways to tighten its belt.

In March 2011, the district was released from fiscal emergency, a designation bestowed upon it by the state in 2006.

Marcia Haire-Ellis, board member, said the district should talk to its Business Advisory Board and other organizations to help pay for some of the items.

Michael Murphy, board member, pointed out that the district’s interim treasurer was looking into refinancing district bonds, which is expected to save about $1 million.

“There’s no better use for that money than for the students,” he said.

The board is expected to vote on the request at a meeting next week.

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