Youngstown schools face tough financial choices
By DENISE DICK
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.