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New bus plan to send Austintown kids on WRTA

Published: Thu, June 7, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

austintown schools

District will no longer bus students to private schools

By Ashley Luthern



Tarra O’Hara is worried about getting her 8-year-old son to school next year.

Her son is one of about 10 St. Christine School students who ride Austintown school buses now but will be provided Western Reserve Transit Authority bus vouchers in the fall to get to and from school.

The district sent out letters about one month ago to parents of students at St. Christine School, Ursuline High School and the Mollie Kessler School, all in Youngstown, saying it no longer would use district buses to transport students who live in Austintown to private schools outside the township.

Instead, the district will pay for vouchers for students to ride WRTA buses. Under state law, public school districts still are responsible for getting private-school students to school.

“I pay taxes like everyone else; I feel that my son has the right to ride the school bus. I want [school officials] to overturn this,” O’Hara said.

Board President Dr. Tom Stellers said the decision, which was an administrative, not board, action, “has to do with finances.”

It costs about $45,000 to employ one bus driver, he said, adding that 22,000 parochial students in Ohio use public transit to get to school.

Austintown residents who attend Youngstown Christian School were provided WRTA vouchers this year with no problems, Stellers said.

St. Joseph and Immac-ulate Heart of Mary School students will continue to use Austintown school buses because that school is within township borders.

O’Hara has been told by the Youngstown Diocese that her son will get picked up at the Austintown Walmart at 6:35 a.m. and at Federal Station in downtown Youngstown by 7:05 a.m. He will get a connecting bus at 7:40 a.m. and be dropped off at the corner of Arden Boulevard and Canfield Road at 8 a.m. — the time school stars, O’Hara said.

He then will walk about one mile to the school.

“You’re dealing with children that are minors and who will be completely unsupervised in such an unsavory area,” O’Hara said.

Superintendent Vincent Colaluca defended the WRTA route, saying the district’s transportation director and an Ohio Department of Education regional representative have reviewed and approved it.

“We couldn’t do it if they would be late to school,” he said.

In the 2011-12 school year, Austintown transported fewer than 20 Ursuline students and between three and 10 St. Christine’s students each school day, he said.

The district spends about $2.2 million annually on average for transportation and has been trying to trim that cost.

“While transportation is an important part of education, it takes money out of the classroom. We’re in survival mode. We can easily save $40,000 doing this. ... We understand that they are taxpayers. But they are paying taxes to hold a seat here in the district,” Colaluca said.

James Ferraro, the WRTA executive director, said he has not been contacted by Austintown school officials about the change. Youngstown school officials were interested in something similar, but they, too, have not met with WRTA, he said.

“It would be very different, as a public-transit provider, to have the same recognition as a school bus does with flashing lights and a stop sign,” he said.

“Also, by federal guidelines the route has to be open to the public. It has to be published on time tables and must accept whoever wants to come on board,” he continued.

Ferraro said if Austintown had contacted WRTA, there might be a possibility to create a “tripper” route, one that goes directly from Austintown bus stops to a school, rather than having a downtown connection. That “tripper” route would still have to be open to the public, however, he said.

The student fare on WRTA is 75 cents one way and 25 cents for a transfer, Ferraro said.

“A school bus is a school bus. Public transit is public transit. And they were separated as such for a good reason,” Ferraro said.


1Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

You pay taxes to utilize public amenities. It's ridiculous that these people who send their kids to private schools even get vouchers to send them to school in private institutes, let alone vouchers to send them on the WRTA bus system. If you don't want your child in a public educational institute, you should pay PRIVATELY pay for their PRIVATE education, and PRIVATELY get them to that school yourself.

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2USMC0331(152 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

You also pay property taxes where you live for the schools in your district. If i lived in Austintown and my kids went to St. Christines you're damn right you better bus them!! If not then give me my tax money back and I'll pay a chauffeur to take them to school!

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3taxme(361 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

USMC the article said it will bus Austintown kids to the parochial school kids thar go to the parochial schools in Austintown. Not to the schools outside Austintown. Makes sense! I've watched busses from different area's pull into these parochial schools with one or two children on the busses. What a waste of my tax payer money. I applaud the school board for playing by the rules. That's right, playing by the rules.

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4youngstownsteve(83 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

This is an outrage! Would Colaluca, Stellars or Bokesch put their eight year old granchild on a ninety minute public bus ride, send them downtown and still have them have to walk one mile to school? I would like to see them use WRTA 5 days a week, maybe their eyes would be open. As a 30+ year resident of Austintown, I will NEVER VOTE FOR ANOTHER SCHOOL LEVY AGAIN. This is a page from Denamen's playbook when he cancelled all bus transportation to get a levy passed. These dolts are more concerned with their big salaries and double dipping than they are our kids or grandkids. Wake up Austintown, make some noise!

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5Ytownnative(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I'm not one for using a giant bus for transporting 5 kids to school but this has to be the stupiest alternative I have ever heard.

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6NoBS(2647 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I don't know when it started, and I don't know when it ended, but I do know that in the early '70s, Youngstown high school kids rode a city bus to and from school. We bought bus passes that gave us a discount rate, but WE paid for the ride - not some voucher.

Now, with that said, the prospect of having kids navigate the Federal St. station is completely unacceptable. It's so unreasonable that it makes obvious the fact that the Austintown school board is going to extremes to scare the public into passing a levy that is no doubt forthcoming. Looking at this story, the YCS must have had a "tripper route" in place. That's acceptable - turning young, naive suburban kids loose in the Federal St station is not.

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7RubyGirl(22 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Wow. Schools just can't win. Most people complain about the levies and wasteful spending. Now schools are cutting wasteful spending and people are still complaining. I can understand people being angry if Austintown was no longer busing kids to private schools in Austintown. But they are still doing that. Why should they have to bus kids to private schools outside of Austintown?

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8teddybear6(38 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I'm in my 40's and when I was a kid, WRTA bused us to and from Middle School and Junior high. It was really no big deal. Kids didn't ride on the same buses as the general public.

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9Atown_buddy(9 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

This is so idiotic! Yes I agree would Colaluca send his kids via this route? I think not. I don't have any kids in school these days and thank god for them to finally be out of the system. These are our educators, the ones who know what's best for our kids? It's all about the almighty dollar! So if they pay a bus driver $45,000.00/yr in wages and benefits for a 9 month part time position the children have to suffer? Maybe if the school systems would clean up their act and provide a good education and learning environment they wouldn't have so many leaving to go to private schools.

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10wakeboarder(17 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

While I don't agree with young kids having to leave for school at 6:35 (!!!) and attempt to navigate buses and stations, I do have to agree with one point made in this arguement. Students living in Austintown and going to a school in the district will be properly bused through the school. If you CHOOSE to send your child outside of Austintown while living in Austintown, you should make your own arrangements for transportation if you don't like what is being provided. Plain and simple.

And YOUNGSTOWN STEVE, I think I can tell you what Bokesch would do.....He would have his kids attend Austintown Schools--as he did.

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11taxme(361 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

busing parochial students outside of their public school district started in the mid to late 80s. before that parents drove their kids to parochial schools or carpooled to schools they had no busing unless the parochial school supplied it . poland and canffield have canceled bussing to high schools. Are they still forced to bus to parochial high schools?

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12Atown_buddy(9 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

It's a shame that people have a blind eye to what is going on. All of you people that says we did this or we did that. For cryin out loud that was 30 years ago! Times are different today people. Wake up! I attended Austrintown schools and I thought they were the best system in state. That was then, this is now! The system was different when Bokesch attended also. I had 6 children go through the system over a 12 year period and I saw the deterioration of the quality of teaching in this system. That's one reason why people choose to leave the district. I do believe Austintown has a couple of those minibuses that carry about 10 kids....can't use one of those to transport the low number of riders? Jim Ferraro from WRTA isn't even in favor of this idea. That puts his company in a fine position for liability suit if something happens to any one of the kids while being under his transport.

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13wakeboarder(17 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I meant that Bokesch would send his kids to Austintown Schools because he lived in Austintown. Both of his kids went to Austintown Schools.

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14NoBS(2647 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Atown, we mention things from the past to head off people who will complain about something as if it's never been done before and can't possibly work. We show that it did, in fact, work just fine. Note that I said in my previous post that routing school kids through the Federal St. station is absolutely not acceptable. And that there are alternatives, which are currently offered by the WRTA. Riding a WRTA bus to and from school, if it will cut costs for the district (translate that as "the taxpayers") is not a bad thing, if done with a little common sense.

Or, we could insist on the complete separation of church and state, and make the parochial schools buy and maintain their own bus fleet.

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15ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

SSchool buses are for transporting students within that district. If you want your child to go to a school outside the district then make your own private arrangements to get them there! Where do we draw the line? How far should an Austintown bus have to take these kids? If Ursuline is acceptable, then what about another school another 20 miles away? Or maybe you want to send your kid to a school in Hermitage? The line has to be drawn somewhere, and I say draw it at the borders of the school district!

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16Atown_buddy(9 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

NoBS, while I agree that things have worked in the past my point is that this is 2012 and not 1980. Times are different. I don't think things have gotten better in our area (read Ytown) they have only gotten worse. Why would anyone have their children walk a mile to school in an unfamiliar area? Do we need one child to be harmed before we revisit this idea? Cut expenses/costs at the cost of the kids' safety? I have never seen my taxes go down due to cost cutting. Like I said before I've seen the quality of education go down over the 12 years my kids attended these schools and buildings new buildings does not make for excellent education. It helps but it is the quality of teaching that matters. See Jim Ferraro's remarks about a separation between public and private bussing. I also believe that the third school involved is not a parochial school. The parochial schools did have their own bus fleet in the past. Everyone seems to miss the point on separation of church and state. What Jefferson meant was equal recognition for all religions without giving preferential treatment to one national religion such as with the Church of England. Keep in mind bible reading and prayer (Christian) was taught in the "public" schools until sometime in the 1950s.

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17atownfan(7 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

FYI: There are way more than 5 children on the Austintown bus that leaves from St.Christine's everyday. This is ridiculous, parents of chlidren going to Catholic schools pay taxes just like the public school parents. There has to be a solution to this but putting children on WRTA is not an option. It's a disaster waiting to happen.

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18FalconMom(2 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I agree that it is a little far to transport kids from our district. However, it is a law. So, parents have that right. I am disappointed how this district again shows poor planning. How can you roll out a plan like this without first speaking to WRTA?? I think this is a whole plot to completely cut transportation payments to those residents. They know that most of our parents will not accept those vouchers. They will not put their children at risk. As for the $45,000 to pay for a bus driver. They must have forgotten that they cut the bus drivers down to 3.5 hours and cut all of their benefits. I am so disappointed in our district and wish they'd remember who it is all about, our future, our children!

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19ATOWNCHICK(1 comment)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

WOW~ At what point does a driver for Austintown really make $45,000.00??? I have friends that work there and they are far from making that amount. Do you realize the training and backround checks they go through? They drive 60 plus kids each school route and the behavior of some of them. Their jobs are very unrewarding, and yet, they are there everyday regardless. These are some of the best people I know and I feel its a shame what they are doing to the drivers and students. I would LOVE to hear that Board members or upper management (Colaluca) ride these buses from time to time to really witness what their drivers do. Someone mentioned about the smaller buses taking these kids to private schools, whats wrong with using a sprinter van that Austintown owns 2 of that sit mostly all the time. There is an option. South Range uses one eveyday to transport small numbers of students to Austintown. Hmmmmm, intersting. This Board and Administration needs replaced in my mind. This school system has gone down hill every year. Austintown is all about not saving the hard working depedable employees that they have, but instead, get rid of them and "create" new positioins for the ones they want! Your making your bed, you will have to lay in it. Vote No, Austintown Local Schools. You must be accountable!

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20DwightK(1520 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

This is clearly Austintown's way of getting out of paying for busing or vouchers. Oh sure, they'll make the vouchers available but they know no sane parent will drive their elementary kids to a Wal-Mart parking lot to take a 90 minute bus ride with a layover at Federal St. and a one mile walk to school. This is just the school board's way of giving these parents the finger and telling them they aren't busing their kids any more.

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21Atown_buddy(9 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Where is the Administration in this? Hiding behind the board? Tom Stellers, Board President said this was an administrative action not a board action. Where is the leadership? They won't even speak to the press or from what I've heard the superintendent of the diocesan schools. Great leadership Colaluca! By the way they really don't care who it's about as long as it doesn't affect them. I agree ...replace them all.

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22Billy_Bob(60 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

"Unsavory area" !? LOL

That part of the West Side is still in very good condition. Neighbors are friendly and active in the community. If you think one mile down the road from the school your child attends is "unsavory", then send them to Austintown schools...

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23DwightK(1520 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

The school board won't comment because their is no justification for this action. Why is Austintown still supporting sports programs if they can't afford to send one bus to the parochial schools?

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24Atown_buddy(9 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Not_Gilligans_Ginger, I suggested they use the mini busses they own! Besides, we are paying them to solve the problems in a reasonable manner. Having young children ride WRTA and being dropped off a mile from their school in unfamiliar territory is not reasonable by any means. Again I ask where is the leadership here and why is only the board president speaking?

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25ohdrama0901(53 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

my take on the subject is this; if you want your kid to attend parochial schools then you need to make arrangements to get your child there point blank and if not send your child to a public school with all of this stuff available to them automatically. you can't have your cake and eat it too. where i live if we send our kids to private school we are responsible in getting them there and we pay taxes as well but understand if we want the luxury of sending our youth to private school then the responsibility will fall on us to get the child there or send them to public schools which most of us agree are a farse.

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26gmailuser(6 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

My first concern is for the safety of our children. Children as young as 6 years old will be left unsupervised at the bus station on Federal St for up to 40 minutes each time. They will then be dropped off at a stop nearly one mile from their school. Some of them will be required to walk in areas without side walks. The students at Molly Kessler have physical disabilities-these kids will be walking nearly one mile to their bus stops! Secondly, this plan DOES NOT MEET the state of Ohio's requirement to get children to school on time.
A comment was made on WKBN that Austintown offers a comparable education, that is not entirely true-I choose to have my children in a school where they can freely discuss God and have religious based curriculum.

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27Atown_buddy(9 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

However as someone stated at this point in time, it is a law! Nothing like being a little creative instead of a flat out we will provide vouchers to ride the WRTA. Let's get back to providing a good education for the kids and maybe they won't go to other schools to get it. Austintown put themselves in this position like every other school system. As long as the money is there it's spend, spend, spend! And when the money isn't there who suffers???? the kids!

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28UNCOMMONSENSE(601 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I thought the student was the most important part of education?? Why is it that school systems always have additional funds for adminstrative and teacher salaries but when it comes to busing the student, it is always the first to be cut. Something is wrong when the taxpayers and students are the only ones that sacrifice.

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29Buttercup2012(6 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

OK, the way I am reading this, it is incorrect. The school, in this article sounds like they are saying it costs $45,000 to bus these children and it sounds like they have separate buses for these children... well, these children are picked up with the rest of the public school children and taken to the bus garage where they are then put on a separate bus. Maybe they should use a long van instead of a full size bus for those 3 to 10 kids. ( I mean, we pay the police to drive kids home and back to change their clothes when there is a dress code violation!!) I personally have 5 kids on my street that go to Ursuline so the 20 kids quoted above has to be a low number. Also, the 10 to St. Christine's has to be low too. I know about 3 personally. Maybe we should stop busing to MCCTC too. I mean, those kids can drive themselves... a 10 year old can't. I also would love to see the Board Members get out of bed August 21st, go to WalMart, get on that bus and ride it to the various schools. I would love to see what the other WRTA bus schedules are. Maybe Mollie Kessler?? Also, I would like to add that children going to Mollie Kessler have special needs that the school district can not help so they have no choice but send them there and the Board Members would like to put those young children on public busing... what kind of people do we have running our school district???

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30ytown83(3 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Austintown local schools is still providing busing to each and every school in AUSTINTOWN, both public AND parochial.

Why should they provide transportation for students attending schools that are not located in the Austintown district?

If you are a resident/parent living in Austintown and you wish to send your child to a school outside of the district, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to get your child to school, not the Austintown School District's.

There are too many lazy a$$ parents wanting others to do their jobs as parents for them.

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31ALSD_Mom(3 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

"Board President Dr. Tom Stellers said the decision, which was an administrative, not board, action, “has to do with finances.”

It costs about $45,000 to employ one bus driver, he said, adding that 22,000 parochial students in Ohio use public transit to get to school."

I don't know what bus driver he is referring to, but even if you paid them $18 an hour, working 4 hours a day, 5 days a week for 9 months only pays (before taxes) $12,960. If you pay $32,040.00 in benefits, no wonder the drivers are upset about losing them! After cutting benefits and hours, drivers would make $11,340. I have no idea what drivers actually make, I am just using $18 an hour for this example.
I would love to see Mr. Colaluca put his kids on the bus at the Southern Park Mall (since they attend and live in Boardman - I guess Austintown isn't good enough for them to open enroll in...) then he can meet them at the Board office at AMS.

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32ytowner2010(7 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

This is clearly a move by Austintown to scare parents into transporting kids themselves. No one in their right mind would let a grade school child spend 1 minute in the downtown bus terminal by themselves. There are other alternatives used by other school districts (private transportation--the "little bus"--used by Boardman for instance) or just having a talk with WRTA about contracting for "tripper" service. They're not interested in serving these families--just getting them to relent and either transport their kids themselves or if that's not possible (even better) send their kids to the public school instead.

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33Kevin66(1 comment)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Really? The plan is to allow children as young as Pre-K and special needs children to ride on a public bus unsupervised. Then transport them to a high crime area to get on another bus to be dropped off over a mile away from their school. Not to mention they will get to school late every day. Now that is a PLAN! Oh, I forgot lets execute the plan and not even talk to WTRA to find out if they agree with it! The parents pay taxes and their children deserve to ride on the school bus that is paid for by those taxes. The fact that parents elect to send the children to a school that promotes God vs one that forbids even discussing God is a parent's decision of what is best for their family. If not, rebate the taxes and let the parent's decide where best to educate their children. Did I mention that the Parent's received a survey after being notified of this busing asking why they did not chose Austintown school. Seems the real purpose of the change is to blackmail parents to force them to choose Austintown schools! NICE! Maybe the school board should spend less time planning to spend millions of dollars to replace Fitch and spend the money on the children of the taxpayer's children!!!! I say FIRE Mr. Colaluca and replace him with someone who cares about children!

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34DwightK(1520 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Why didn't the reporter from the Vindicator ask Tom Sellers if he would feel comfortable having his own children transported in this fashion?

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35DontBanThisDrone(992 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

“You’re dealing with children that are minors and who will be completely unsupervised in such an unsavory area,” O’Hara said.

So you would knowingly leave your son unsupervised in what you knowingly consider such an unsavory area? Nice work mom.


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36semick(15 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

What a bunch of moaners I have never heard such bs in my life. I life near Cleveland and many students here take the RTA to get to their own school and/or schools in other districts every day and have been doing so since my parent's days of going to school in the 1940's and 1950's.

The bus terminals here are patrolled by police and have closed circuit cameras. I have been in Federal Station in Youngstown myself and there is an armed guard there as well. If you are afraid to send your kids out into what most of the world uses to get around, then drive them yourselves. My step kids have been going to Mayfield Heights schools for years and we live in Euclid. We drive them 20 minutes in traffic to drop them off, and pick them up as often as needed. It is true they could take the RTA and have on occasion, but it takes an hour and a half with connection, so we try to drive them when possible. Why, because we care about our kids. If I sent my kids to a private school or parochial school in Lake County, I wouldn't dream of expecting the school district to transport them. That is just absurd.

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37CantStandYa(222 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Wait until one of these kids gets snatched up or killed while in the YO.

A protest should be formed and set up shop right in front of Vincent Colaluca's home.

Picket this fool, and make sure you call 21,27,33, the vindy, and the trib when you do it.

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38Westsider(269 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I lived on the west side of Youngstown when my children attended parochial schools; therefore, it was my responsibility to see that they got there. When I served on the Youngstown Board of Education I was dismayed to learn that the public districts had to provide transportation to parochial school students. No parent is going to let their child ride the WRTA - and Austintown should not have to pay for non-public school busing. Get over it.

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39whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Walking will give the kids character, they can tell their kids they walked 2 miles uphill both ways through snow storms. Might trim the fat and laziness out of these kids.

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40ytown83(3 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

This is not an outlandish concept to understand.

Austintown Local Schools will provide busing to all children of Austintown residents to ANY school, public or parochial, in AUSTINTOWN.

If you live in Austintown and want to send your child to a school outside the district, then it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS THEIR PARENT to transport them there.

Why should the tax money that is paid to live in Austintown be used to transport kids to schools that are not located in Austintown? That makes ZERO sense.

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41valleyred(1103 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Go ahead and go after the private school busing as if that is a major problem, yet you say nothing about your schools going in the wrong direction due to your open enrollment policies. Heard some not so impressive stats about a large number of students failing in Fitch this past year from a Fitch graduate at YSU.

Go ahead and screw over the private schools, despite the fact they pay taxes for YOUR public schools and in addition, pay THOUSANDS to send their children to private schools.

You put levy after levy or renewal after renewal on our ballots year in and year out. You can be certain that there will be a vocal group in opposition of ANYTHING you put forth before the voters in the future.

P.S. Hope Mooney absolutely annihilates Fitch in football this year for this and other actions by this school district. Fitch won't play Ursuline because they claim we recruit, last time I checked, the OHSAA nailed Fitch for it and not Ursuline... Look back at their baseball players last year from out of the country.

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42busyman(239 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Maybe the teachers Union should go back to the bargining table and give a little back to sponsor these buses. It is all about the kids. BS! Oh that is right, the school teachers in the cathollic schools are not in a union. They teach because the love it at a lower wage. I guess I can give them pass. Why can't these kids that go to St Christines and Ursuline get to Fitch using school buses and then have WRTA, to which they suck us in to levies, take a special bus and make the route to these schools? Do not blame the school board. The tax payers want more for their limitted tax dollars. Busing is a non value added expense of education. These tax dollars are being use to fund golden pension plans. The money only goes so far. And lets hear for the part time benefit bus drivers in Austintown that took the rest of the year off. It sure is about the kids.

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43Ytownnative(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

"dropped off at the corner of Arden Boulevard and Canfield Road" Actually the bus does go right past St Christine @ schenley and canfield. I used to ride WRTA to Wilson when I went to school years back and didnt have any proplems However I was a teenager and you could still walk around the southside area The area was much different back then. If they want to save gas why don't they stop dropping every little snowflake off at their driveway. I can understand doing that for the little kids but the teenagers should be able to walk atleast a block to a central bus stop. I have seen the busses stop 4-5 times within one block. I would say stop all the busses and give everyone a WRTA pass and see how long that lasts for. Not very long I'm guessing.

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44Observer123(20 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

You people are so spoiled and out out of touch it's unreal.

When we were kids we had to walk 3 miles to school and back uphill both ways, even when it was snowing in July, in bare feet. But we were happy.

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45RubyGirl(22 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Someone has yet to explain why any school district should be forced to bus kids to a school outside of that district. If a parent chooses a private school and wants busing, choose one within your district. There is a Catholic school in Austintown and they are still busing Austintown students there. Austintown residents should be happy that their levy dollars are supporting Austintown schools and not the private schools in Youngstown.

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46debsoccermom(4 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

RubyGirl perfectly put!! Austintown - You look extremely ugly for putting it out there like that!! Seriously?? Little children sitting @a bus station where I WOULDN"T DARE TO SIT?! I'd be scared! I live in A-town and send my kids to private school IN A_TOWN. My choice. I pay for this school. But I also pay for the local public schools, and give them free money since my kids aren't filling those seats. That's okay, my choice! All I ask for is a bus that they'd be on whether they were in public or private anyway!! I can see refusing to bus students outside a district IF there is an available school of the same nature in the same district. EX: Austintown has a Catholic K-8, but NOT a Catholic H.S., so I would think they should still have to bus to UHS/MHS...

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47youngspartanrepublican(92 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

This is appaling. They should use a short bus like Boardman does. This is just a ploy to try and lure kids back into the schools. It's a bit ironic Austintown is so worried about their school district boundaries when they are open enrollment!

And red, Fitch will shy away from anyone tough in football, they ran away from the Federal League and will probably run away from Mooney, as well.

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48mnascar(38 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

If you don't like the busing idea why not try and send your child to Austintown schools. If you can afford to send children to Ursuline then you can afford to transport them to the school. The total cost of private education should come out of the parents pockets. It was their decision. Why expect the tax payer to pay the bills. Why not ask for gormet meals for lunch? You want everything else handed to you!

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49gmailuser(6 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Falconmom, I applaud you for looking at this issue with an open mind. The parents of these parochial students pay taxes and deserve to have their children transported in a safe and efficient way.
Are you kidding me, dropping a six year old off at Arden Blvd. and Canfield Rd, and letting them walk to St Christines-most of the area does not have side walks. What about these kids from Molly Kessler, they have physical disabilities!
To Collen Murphy and VInce Colaluca, would you let your kids, or nieces or nephews sit at the bus station on Federal St for forty minutes twice a day?
For those of you that support this, be careful what you wish for, Austintown Schools have already joined the Federal League when most parents didn't want it, they crammed open enrollment and uniforms down your throats; if you keep talking about what a good idea this is, your kids might be the next.ones riding WRTA!

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50janeyblue(227 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

What is wrong with St. Joseph or Immaculate Heart Of Mary ? If you live in Austintown why the need to send your child to St. Christine ? Are those schools not good enough for these special little angels ? I've no problem busing private students within the township. Outside of that,you are on your own. Get over yourselves. We don't pay taxes so a handful can shirk their parental responsibilities. What's next,you want to send your kid to a school in Cleveland? Why sure,whatever little Johnny wants. Of course the taxpayer would pick up the tolls.
No wonder the youth today have an entitlement attitude. The Apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Try putting that outstreched hand back in your pocket. Don't whinge that you have tuition to pay. It was your choice to go private. Quit complaining and take your kid to school like millions of other parents do.
One last thought,from just about anywhere in the township,St. Christines can be reached in about 15 minutes.

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51youngstownsteve(83 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Get over yourself janeyblue. Where is a CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL located in Austintownship?

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52FalconMom(2 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The parents of these children are not asking for a " free ride" from the district. These are Austintown residents who pay taxes. If people are worried about people getting free things from the district. I'd be more concerned with Open Enrollment. There are many students who come into the district needing extra help such as speech, tutoring, etc. The kids weren't identified at their prior schools. This costs have to be adding up.

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53Atown_buddy(9 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

janeyblue, first of all St Joseph hasn't had a school for the last few years and there is nothing wrong with Immaculate Heart Of Mary. People send their kids to the school where they attend church. And if St Christine's is only 15 min away....short bus them!

I still see buses in my development with about 8 kids riding on it....good route planning. And very professional for the superintendent to refuse to speak to the media or the superintendent of the diocesan schools. Oh and did they forget to contact the WRTA who is now directly involved? Just like when they built the new middle school and completely forgot about the bus maintenance garage! Great planning guys! You can bet that the next couple of board meetings will be closed session. Muzzle the voice of the people that pay their wages!

Oh and by the way it must still be a law to provide this busing otherwise I don't believe Atown would be providing the vouchers!

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541loaf(100 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

One solution would be to refund that portion of the offended parent's property tax that is going to local schools and they could form a group to hire private transportation for their kids and bank the savings. Of course Austintown schools would no longer profit on the parent's taxes. The school makes a good deal more on the funds per child than is spent on busing!

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55Atown_buddy(9 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

For all of you who agree with this board action:

Bus transportation (See ORC 3327.01)

Passed in 1966 Ohio Fair Bus Legislation established a policy of providing transportation to children in both public and non-public schools if they live more than 2 miles from the school of their choice but less than 30 minutes travel time.

It's the law!

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56crafty(16 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Here's a thought -- If Austintown is providing transportation to parochial schools in Austintown, maybe Youngstown should provide transportation to parochial schools in Youngstown.

Problem solved!

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57Education_Voter(1114 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

For Austintown kids? We are already subsidizing Austintown Schools through open enrollment.

1.But a few things in the story are screwy. The same bus that goes down Canfield Rd. also goes down Schenley and there is a stop right next to St. Christine.
2. Why aren't these kids going to Immaculate Heart of Mary School anyway? That is where the St. Joe's and IHMS kids are supposed to go, not St. Christine. Any Austintown families living close enough to be St. Christine parishioners are close enough to walk or be dropped off.
Probably Ms. O'Hara has already burned bridges with both IHMS and Austintown Public Schools.
3. In the story the WRTA director said a direct route bus could be arranged. So arrange it parents!

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58ytown83(3 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago


Do you have any idea how dumb you sound? Do you really think Fitch recruited kids from another country to come all the way to little old Austintown Ohio just to play high school baseball? as if Fitch is some baseball national powerhouse that gets the best athletes not only from the area, but the world? You are dellusional. Lol.

Ursulines football program only thrives due to its recruiting. That's not even a debatable topic, moreso just fact.

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59Education_Voter(1114 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

gmail user:
Don't lie. There is a sidewalk all the way down Canfield Rd.

It is certainly no worse a neighborhood than walking down Raccoon Rd. near the middle school, or Meridian Rd. near an Austintown Elementary School.

But the whole conversation is moot, since the kids can get off at Canfield Rd. and Schenley or at Schenley and Kirk Rd., either a few yards from St. Christine's door.

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60janeyblue(227 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

@ Steve. I don't need to get over myself. Perchance you need some smelling salts to wake up and see things clearly.
@ Educatedvoter,the voice of reason and sanity in a sea of imbeciles.
This has nothing to do with religion or sports. It's the entitlement generation wanting to suck all the blood they can. Simple as that.
As I said before,St.Christines can be reached from any point in Atown in fifteen minutes or less. Maybe this mother doesn't want to spend that quality bonding time with her kid.
As for these parents paying taxes and not using public schools,I graduated in 75,my parents paid taxes until they passed away. Our son graduated in 95,we will pay taxes until we die. So do not use that pathetic excuse. You choose to send your kids to private school. Don't expect me to pick up your tab.

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61Westsider(269 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Again - this is because the parents want their children transported from the township to the city - I think they should form a support group and carpool - or move the child to SJIHM - where they will be transported

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62Education_Voter(1114 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Where do these parents live if Walmart is the bus stop?
Anyone with eyes can see the WRTA bus stops all the way down the main streets in Austintown.

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63Education_Voter(1114 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Mollie Kessler is a school for children with learning disabilities.
All of the classes offered by Mollie Kessler are offered by Austintown Local Schools, and if Ohio Achievement Test scores are the measure, Austintown does a better job.

Now, if your child is borderline and Austintown resists labeling her/him as special ed., then you will get a better shot at getting that label from Summit Academy or Mollie Kessler because without learning disabled students, there is no reason for their existence.

There is no greater number of physically disabled kids at Mollie Kessler than at any other school.

I'll grant you that I wouldn't trust a ADHD kid to independently make good decisions.

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64teedee(5 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

As a an Austintown bus driver I can tell you that None of us even come remotely close to making $44,000 !!! The school board just did away with all of our benefits so there is no benefit package now. This whole parachiol busing plan is ludicrous and unsafe. The parents of these students pay taxes like the rest of us and the school system citing financial reasons is another big lie ! Parents need to understand that Austintown administrators and school board don't give a rat's ass about your child's safety, they only care about their fat salaries. They all need to GO !!!!

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65city_resident(528 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

For the kids going to St. Christine, why do they have to get off the bus at Arden Blvd. and Canfield Rd.? Why not just stay on the bus, and get off at Canfield and Schenley? Or, if they wanted to get off the bus earlier, they could get off at Schenley and Kirk Rd.

In fact, all three schools mentioned are close to a bus route. I'd be most concerned about the location of the Mollie Kessler School, because the kids would have to walk about a block and a half, and I don't know how difficult that would be for kids with special needs.

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66Buttercup2012(6 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Education voter... I know personally 2 families in Austintown that were told that Austintown Schools cannot help their children. That is the reason they have chosen to go elsewhere. One of the children they wanted to stick in the classroom with the other children with learning disabilities but that would hurt this child socially. This child just needs to be taught differently and Austintown cannot provide that. They have tried for 3 years with no avail. I was also told 7 years ago that Austintown did not know how to teach children with this particular learning disability when my child was tested. Luckily, my child does not have this problem. I just wanted to point that out... oh and one more thing ... the information was given to the family who wrote that about the bus schedule.... a phone call was made to inquire when the letters were sent out and that is the info that was given to them ... again, I know people who made the same inquiries and received the same route! In my opinion, it doesn't matter if you choose to go to Wal Mart, Chase Bank, K-Mart, or any other bus stop along the route... it's not right sticking any child unattended on public buses no matter where you live.

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67soaringeagle8495(4 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Okay I know this comment is not going to be very popular. I am new to this area having transferred here to take care of sick relative. I do not get what the fuss is all about with this bus situation. I mean if you decide to send your children to a private school rather than public schools then your child's transport to and from school should be your responsibility not the local government. The case is made that the parents pay their taxes so therefore they should be given the benefit of the local government footing the bill and making the arrangements to get their kids to and from private schools. I went straight through private school until I graduated in Maryland and we had to get there ourselves not on a publicly funded bus. Just because you opt out of the public school system does not mean this should even be on the table. I do not have children yet my taxes fund the schools and thus buses. Do I get to say okay I do not get to use the public school system so instead let me get a concession somewhere else? Come on this is ridiculous. In already cash strapped area of economic decline I think stupid issues like this only serve to hold things back. I know I will get slammed as anti education etc. but this just seems common sense to me. Send your kid to private school then get him or her there. It is not rocket science.

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68soaringeagle8495(4 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

New here from Maryland. I went to private non religious school straight through graduation. My parents dropped me off and picked me up. Publicly paid transport was not available and should not be. The case was made that because a parent opts out of the public school system and pays taxes then they should be given the concession of public transport for their children to private school. Come on that is ridiculous. I do not have children in school and I pay property and other taxes here so do I get to choose a concession since I do not use the public school system? Sorry common sense here. If you opt out and decide to go for privatized education then it is your responsibility to get your child to and from school. This kind of waste is proof of why this area is so unbalanced fiscally. It is not anti children nor education to expect a parent to get their child to private school on their own and not on the tax payers. It is education that says this is common sense. If you pay for a government service and opt out or it does not apply to you then you do not get to say okay I want something else in exchange. Grow up.

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69southsidedave(5183 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

If you want private schools there are associated costs that must be borne by the parents. not the taxpayers

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70Atown_buddy(9 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Busing in or out of the district is a moot point people! Passed in 1966 Ohio Fair Bus Legislation established a policy of providing transportation to children in both public and non-public schools if they live more than 2 miles from the school of their choice but less than 30 minutes travel time. In or out of the district.

I would not want my 6 year old walking 1 mile to school especially outside my neighborhood and definitley not waiting unsupervised for a half hour at the WRTA terminal where they just arrested a murderer this past Saturday. Get real people.

Whether it's a strong arm tactic to get the handful of students back to Atown or a tactic to break the bus drivers it's not right. And to have the superintendent to stay silent on this is ridiculous! Showing some strong leadership there.....where are the Valots and Winterburns? Those were leaders and educators.

If Austintown and other public school districts provided quality education then why are they losing students to not just Parochial schools but private schools in general? I've seen the decline in quality education when my 6 children went through the system.

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71Education_Voter(1114 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

"One of the children they wanted to stick in the classroom with the other children with learning disabilities but that would hurt this child socially."

Give me a break! The child does not want to be associated with other LD kids? How selfish can you get?

So it's better to go to a school where EVERYONE supposedly has a disability?
Look. I told a borderline LD student myself to go to Mollie Kessler because she did not qualify for services in the district she attended. Her case was too mild.
But Mollie Kessler does not have a special key for educating any child with any disability. Their test scores are terrible, which you would expect with their population. But if they were actually solving the problem, the kids would be reading better.

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72mnascar(38 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

If a student choses open enrollment doesn't his state money follow him? So if a person living in Youngstown wants to send his child to Austintown, Austintown gets the money not Youngstown, correct? Does the same thing happen when a student from Austintown decides to go to Ursuline? State money follows to Ursuline. That is why schools like open enrollment they hope more students come into the system than decide to leave it. Correct?

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73Education_Voter(1114 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

"State Money" is the allotment each Public school system gets from the state budget for PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

1. Ursuline is not a part of the public school system. They do get public funds for books, materials, etc. and federal funds. But when their students go to another school, they do not pay tuition for that student as public school systems do.

2. Open Enrollment refers to enrollment between public school districts. Students must apply for positions in another school district, usually in February. Accepted students receive $5000 or so in tuition from their home school.

3. Some Ursuline students receive vouchers from their home district. Right now Youngstown is the only district forced to give vouchers.

4. Your questions remind me that voucher students will change Ursuline -- that students won't even know it's purpose is to create better Catholics.


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74resident123(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Open Enrollment is a student going from one PUBLIC district to another PUBLIC district. When a parent wants their child to receive a CATHOLIC education, they have no option other than to send their child out of the public district. Remember, we live in the United States and my right as a parent is to send MY child where I want them to attend. I find it essential to my child's development to receive ethical and religious education on a daily basis by religious role models. If you haven't noticed lately Ursuline (and other Catholic schools) far outperform Austintown on any standardized test (AP, OGT, ACT, National Merit etc.) Check the ODE website and compare yourself! None the less, this is not about academics, sports or tradition it is about safety and choice. I as a parent and Austintown resident have the choice to send my child to Ursuline on a SAFE SCHOOL bus, not a WRTA bus.

Think about it, would you want your child to get off at McGuffey Road? In a press conference held this morning, it was clearly communicated Ursuline students would be late for school on a daily basis and forced to walk up McGuffey hill in rain or shine. Is this fair treatment as the law states? Please encourage your elected officials and the Superintendent to make the RIGHT choice to protect children not themselves.

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75Stugots(2 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Let's talk about open enrollment in Austintown and get the facts. First, open enrollment was stopped when the board had real leadership. Under the direction of decades of mismanagement Ritchie it was finally approved by the board. Second, it started with 200 students, then 400 students now it going to be 600 students from Youngstown to Austintown. Third, guess where all the money is going???? That's right to pay raises! It covers the $750,000 in step up PAY RAISES needed each year that teachers receive! Finally, it shows that teachers unions are nothing more than money pigs that will rob and destroy other districts for pay raises as teachers in the Youngstown district lose their jobs. Such a great brotherhood of union members!

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76uptowngirl(139 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I realize that the state has decided that the public schools have to bus district students to private schools under certain conditions.
My gripe is that the private schools should follow the public school schedules--none of the private schools starting 2 weeks before the public schools. The private schools should be entitled to public schools bus transportation only on days which the public schools are transporting public school students. I know that many Mahoning county districts have diverse schedules but, if the private school has buses coming from Boardman, Austintown and Youngstown--the private schools should rotate which public school schedule they are going to follow on a yearly basis. The financial burden and operational burden should be shared.

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77Education_Voter(1114 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Your post made me smile. As a matter of fact, I was visiting Manhattan before their school year was over. I was riding the bus when a class of 9 year olds entered on a field trip. They all got on and found their own seats. When the bus reached their destination bus stop, the teacher pulled the cord, but all the kids got off fine and they went on their way.
The whole time he did not speak to them, hover, count them as I would have on a school bus here. Very capable and independent individuals.

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78Education_Voter(1114 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Resident 123:
I guess none of these Austintown parents has ridden a bus.
To get to McGuffey Hill, you would have gone past Ursuline on the way from the bus garage. Why wouldn't you just ring the bell to get off on Wick?
And after school, it would be easier to walk down Wick to Commerce and get the bus at the station. Or go west at any street by YSU (you know...like when you go to a game) and walk down 5th. All downhill easy.

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79ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(251 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Who cares what they do in other cities like Cleveland or New York. I wouldn`t want myself or my kids near downtown.
For those commenting about the lazy parents, ever think most of those families need two incomes to pay the $3000-$7000 tuition for those parochial schools as well as the Austintown taxes? Therefore can`t take their kids to school? Which leads to…
For those complaining about paying taxes to Austintown for busing someone else’s kids, stop using that excuse! It`s the law! You don`t like it, write the politicians.

If the Austintown board truly cared about the kids they would have come up with a better solution. Heck, I`d rather they just said they didn`t want to bus the kids at all. At least then they would be honest instead of looking like idiots.

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80AtownParent(565 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

@stugots - AMEN! Oh and it is going to be 700 students this year. They were at 500 this year and they want at least 200 more.

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81Education_Voter(1114 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

For those claiming that Austintown open enrollment is the reason they are going to parochial school...well...stop and listen to yourselves.

St. Christine and Ursuline have a greater proportion of Y-town voucher students attending for free than Austintown has. Mollie Kessler is a Youngstown Charter School.


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82Josephine(6 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Austintown school officials claim that the ridership of St. Christine and Ursuline students is low. The number has been exaggerated, St. Christine had 23 riders in the afternoon. What they haven't explained is why it is so low. Many parents from both of these schools have chosen not to use the Austintown Bus because every new school year Austintown Schools have made it more and more difficult. First all the students were picked up in their neighborhoods and taken to a transfer point at St. Joseph School and then changed buses and finally taken to their schools. The following year the students were picked up along with the public school students and taken to Frank Ohl only to stand under a tree and wait for the one bus that transported them to St. Christine. Many students were being picked up as early as 6:35 so some of the parents decided to transport their children on their way to work. Another reason why ridership is low is because some parents were not comfortable putting their children aged 5-10 on a bus with high school students from Fitch. Now this upcoming year they came up with WRTA voucher idea. The Ohio law which was created in 1966 states that the student's home district is to transport the student to their school of choice or provide something comparable to what is provided to the public students. I do not feel transporting them to the Federal Station for a 35 minute layover is comparable. And when Mr. Colaluca stated that St. Christine wouldn't cooperate with them about adjusting the afternoon pick up time he is full of B.S. St. Christine has dismissed Austintown Bus riders 10 minutes earlier than rest of the school for the past several years. So whether you are for or against the parochial schools is a moot point. If you do not like the current law do something to change it. No matter what Mr. Colaluca does he will not force these families to attend Austintown schools, these familes chose a Catholic based education for a reason. Also Austintown schools receive state money to bus and educate these children, the money does not follow the student to a parochial school as it does with Open Enrollment. I sure hope all the money he is sucking out of the Youngstown City Schools is worth it in the long run. I'm sure he is lining his pockets.

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83vor2011(14 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Simple: chose the Catholic school that is in Austintown and receive busing. Also, note the amendments and bills since the law in 1966 instead of looking narrowly at a law that has been drastically changed over the last 46 years. A district can deny transportation to outlying community/parochial schools if the "district" finds it to be impractical. Austintown cut bus driver hours and went to two tier busing which makes these routes impractical.

As the "current law" reads, the district can issue stipends or setup alternative transportation (public busing) being an option.

Does anyone in here ever really read laws... or just steal talking points from someone to "try" to sound educated.

You talk about state money... no it does not follow students to parochial schools because they are not issued a state report card. They only have to submit their student achievement data in writing to the state. Clearly, this does not constitute being held to the same public scrutiny or standard as Local Report Cards do.

Lastly, I went to catholic school, and were taught not to say things like our public leaders are full of B.S. You also say the Austintown Sup is lining his pockets... too bad the man running one of the largest districts in the area makes considerably less than most sups and way less then the new library director.

Again... mindless talking without attention to facts or details!

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84foreverarocket(3 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This is going to be dangerous. Sexual predators are going to be a major concern!!!!!!!!

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85Education_Voter(1114 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Oh for cripes sake. Then take the school bus to Immaculate Heart of Mary/St. Josephs.
Or carpool the kid.

The whole think makes you wonder why St. Christines and Immaculate Heart of Mary cannot work together in a Christian way. Why can't Austintown kids go to IHM? Why compete with your own Church?

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86Education_Voter(1114 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I didn't know that!
Thank you. It is true that everyone in my neighorhood when I was a kid attended the same parish.

I guess this is a symptom of population shrinkage. During boom days, St. Christine broke off of St. Patrick Church. We had more than enough members because St. Joseph broke off of St. Christine.
Maybe we should be backpedaling. Everyone back to their original parish!

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87ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(251 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Wow, so i guess the right to chose in no longer available to people. Any more rights you want to take away while you`re at it?

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88Education_Voter(1114 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

LOL. If you wanted the right to choose, you wouldn't be a Catholic.

How many times have you heard, "The Church is not a democracy?"

If you haven't, you didn't go to parochial school.

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89ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(251 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Curious. say you live in Canfield and want to send your child to a parochial school, where do you go then?

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