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Youngstown schools face tough financial choices



Published: Tue, March 27, 2012 @ 7:54 p.m.

Youngstown schools face tough financial choices

By DENISE DICK

denise_dick@vindy.com

Youngstown

Closing buildings, cutting all overtime and instituting pay to play are among the options city school board members must consider as ways to save money.

Lock P. Beachum Sr., school board president, said at a school board meeting Tuesday that the possibilities he listed aren’t his recommendations.

“These are the things you’ve got to look at,” he said. “I probably won’t be here. This is my last term.”

Beachum said he wants to leave office with the district in stable financial shape.

“If you fall into fiscal emergency and academic emergency, you no longer have control,” he said. “If we don’t do something, that’s where we’re going to end up.”

The board president also listed examining health costs, increasing the student-teacher ratio, reviewing central office staff, cutting step increases, contracting management services, reducing transportation for high school students, cutting administrative costs, reviewing supply contracts, and inventorying all utility costs.

Reductions are necessary after the loss of $4 million because of unanticipated decreased enrollment. The district pulled a renewal levy that was set for the March 6 ballot because it would not have generated enough money to fill the hole. The renewal levy was to generate a lesser amount than what was passed in 2008.

The 2008 levy expires at year’s end so some type of replacement or renewal is expected on the ballot later this year.

Beachum told Superintendent Connie Hathorn that he wants recommendations for reductions from the administration, with input from the board’s finance and business committees, by April 23.

In other business, the board approved several contracts for certificated and classified administrators and non-certificated staff.

Among them is a two-year contract for Karen Green, assistant superintendent for human resources, at $98,280 annually and a one-year contract for Douglas Hiscox, deputy superintendent of academic affairs at $102,233.

The board also approved a resolution providing a $1 million temporary advance from the district’s Ohio School Facilities fund to the Rayen Stadium construction fund.

“As it’s collected, we’ll pay it back,” said Richard Atkinson, board member and chairman of the board’s athletic committee. A campaign is ongoing to raise money for the $3 million stadium renovation on the city’s North Side.


Comments

1Ytownnative(1036 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

it will go on the presidential election ballot otherwise it will never pass.

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Cut administration costs - The $98000+ salary not including benefits approved is just an an example of spending out of control by the YBOE. Youngstown spends $1800 a pupil on these costs when the best spending schools in Ohio spend about $600 per student. No levy needed if things are controlled properly.

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3impdude(19 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Exactly. Student populations decline and the people on top of people at the administration building continue not to return a phone call.Simply put there is no leadership and anyone who considers a raise for one of these employees definely has not worked in the private sector were job raises are tied to perforfmance rather than gee would you like a raise.What does the Ombudsman do ?Why are there so many assistants to assistants?No more bailouts until costs can be brouhjt in line with expenses. Its easy to spend taxpayers dollars on a whim and then fail and use kids as an excuse. Where is their raise from all this administrative Fluff?

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4Ianacek(909 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

The whole schools offering in Youngstown needs to be turned on its head . All teachers shoyuld be fired & given the opportunity to reapply for new jobs that are student excellence focused , as they are in Finland . Only those teachers should be rehired wiull be those with Masters degrees or can prove they are Excellent teachers .Most of the expected deficit to be hired will come from the charter schools , where excellent teachers will jump at the chance to double their salary to join Youngstown Schools . Youngstown pays too much for mediocrity . That is its majortr problem . When the City gets a reputation for only employing excellent teachers & reserrving medocrity for administrators , it will be overwhelmed with student applications .

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5Philo(99 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

How would it impact the district's finances if every employee in the district actually paid 15-percent of their healthcare costs and 10-percent of their retirement costs, as SB5 proposed? All of the SB5 opponents said this was not the issue. Apparently, it was because there are numerous public sector entities where the employees still do not even make these meager contributions to their own gold-plated benefit programs. Shame on them.

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