Job fair for Austintown schools draws big crowd

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Jim Sobien, an Austintown schools parent, holds up a sign as he conducts a protest of the Austintown school district’s job fair that took place at the Austintown branch of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County on Raccoon Road on Tuesday. Sobien, pointing out that teacher-contract negotiations are ongoing, was the only one conducting the protest when the job fair started.

By Susan Tebben


The line stretched from the community room at the back of the public library all the way out the front doors, with hopeful job applicants waiting to be interviewed for jobs in the 2013-14 school year at Austintown schools.

The district rented the room in the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County’s Austintown branch from 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday to talk to potential candidates and build a pool of substitutes. The turnout was not surprising, particularly to Superintendent Vincent Colaluca.

The district recently had an opening for a third-grade job and had more than 200 people respond, “so we were expecting this,” said Colaluca, who was meeting potential secretarial candidates.

By 3 p.m., about 200 people already had gone through the room, school officials estimated.

“There are a lot of people who want full time, but we explained that though we might not be able to get them in full time, they can get in the door with other positions within the district,” Colaluca said.

Though the line was steady and remained so long that security had to redirect traffic about 3 p.m. when the library lot filled, the candidates were not stuck just standing in line.

“It’s been fine; it’s moving really smoothly,” said Gina Heeter of Austintown, who was looking for full-time classroom work. She has run an after-school program for three years and has always wanted her own classroom, she said.

Outside the room, a scheduled protest of the job fair had only organizer Jim Sobien, a district parent, at the corner of the street. He said more were scheduled to show up after they were done working for the day.

Sobien was protesting because he considered the job fair an affront to the ongoing contract negotiations with the teachers union.

“I have about 180 people saying they’re coming, so that probably means about 15 will show up,” Sobien said. “But I’ve had lots of people beeping and honking.”

The teachers union was present in the community room talking to candidates. The president of the union, Barb Tomic, previously said the union was in support of the job fair’s attempt to bring more substitutes into the system.

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