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City schools facing $48 million deficit



Published: Fri, January 18, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

Hathorn proposes cuts to improve 5-year forecast

photo

Hathorn

By Denise Dick

denise_dick@vindy.com

Youngstown

The city school district is facing a $48 million deficit by 2017 without reductions or additional revenue, according to its five-year forecast.

“It’s not my plan to let this happen,” Superintendent Connie Hathorn said at the Academic Distress Commission meeting Thursday.

A major factor in the projection is the loss of students to community schools, vouchers and open enrollment. That amounts to nearly $40 million in the forecast.

District enrollment as of last week was 5,651, down from 5,902 students last school year. In the 2002-03 school year, 10,044 students attended the city district.

The schools lose about $5,700 for each regular student who attends a different school or district. That amount increases for special-education students.

As of Jan. 10, 2,512 city students attended community schools, 170 went to private schools using vouchers and 1,215 attended other schools using open enrollment.

Though the city school district has offered specialty programs including Chaney’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and visual and performing arts programs to try to attract some of those students back to the district, the decline has continued.

Hathorn proposed reductions including staff reductions, building closures and energy savings to trim the projected deficit.

None of the suggestions was acted upon at Thursday’s meeting.

By closing two elementary schools in fiscal year 2015, the district could save $368,000. If the enrollment drop continues, additional buildings could be closed two years later, the superintendent said.

By cutting 12 teachers, two administrators and two classified employees to keep staffing in line with enrollment, the district would cut $950,000.

The district hopes to generate energy savings by adjusting building temperatures to save $126,649.

Combined with overtime reductions, a decrease in materials and supplies and other cuts, Hathorn projected a cumulative savings of nearly $8 million by 2017.

“What are you going to do for the other $40 million?” asked Michael Garvey, a commission member.

Hathorn said this is a first step.

Other areas of possible savings that must be negotiated with employee unions include transportation, health care, increased class sizes and outsourcing.

The district, at the direction of the commission, also is considering offering additional options for students such as accelerated academic classes to attract new students and encourage former students to return.


Comments

1sue(172 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Youngstown city schools spend thousands more per pupil each year than the suburban districts. I'm sick of subsidizing this sinking ship.

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2repeaters(208 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

KUDOS ...to ALL of you who voted to build the new(probably half-empty) schools, and ALAS to those who will half to pay for them, when they are empty.

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3fcb(323 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

"City schools will have $48 million deficit"! But they have a brand new $3 million football field! Makes sense to me.

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4Mark77(7 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

There is a solution - if the people of Youngstown are willing to fight for it. Initiate a referendum for conversion of the entire district into a system of charter schools and vote that ALL state AND local dollars follow the child to a school of parent choice. The district per state law would only “monitor” the schools. For both political and practical reasons this would be a huge challenge. Do you think executive administration, the board, or teachers union would support it? Hardly. It shakes up the status quo. It turns the system on its head giving the money and the power to individual schools; teachers, principals, parents (parents who actively participate). This is not crazy. It is well within Ohio charter law. It is doable. And, if my research is any indicator, would assure that more money flowing into schools. Money that can be managed by each learning community – not by an administrative apparatus far removed from those who actually make teaching- learning happen. What of administration? If they cannot competitively provide services to the now independent schools, they close shop. The only role the district need play is that of monitor – at a rate set by law. Why prop up a failed system? Why continue to put resources into the hands of those first set on protecting their own interests? The system is beyond repair. It needs to be turned inside out and up ended. The good news is that there is a way to do it – but only if the community is willing to fight for it.

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5impdude(19 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

First WE must first start at the top. If there are less children why are the administrators at same levels . Pass a resolution that NO retiree can be hired at any in adminstrative capacity.Pull up through the ranks and let others learn as mid managers and new fresh ideas instead of failed recycled ideas that failed us in the past. Corrective action must be taken to stem the losses. NO administrative raises or fake titles. The Vindicator should publish the rehired administrators and their salaries. Let us start by at least know what we are paying for and not getting

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6cozmo(32 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

The problem is the government (STATE).We need less government. Let Youngstown's elected school board which works through the democratic process established by this country control its own educational processes. In other words let the people of Youngstown worry about Youngstown. The Charter Schools that are already in Youngstown are worse performing than the City Schools so why the hell would we want the City Schools to become private charters? Lets not forget either that the Charter schools even have a big advantage against the current public school system because they could get rid of any students they want to, where the public schools must keep them all no matter how academically low or how disruptive a student is. Fix the poverty problem in this city first and then eveything else will fall into place.

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7jmagaratz(167 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

The time has come to accept the fact that the Youngstown City School District is no longer viable.

The Ohio Legislature should dissolve the current structure and assign all assets to the Mahoning County Educational Service Center.

A "Market Street Corridor" and a "Mahoning Avenue Corridor should be defined.

Students and school buildings within the "Market Street Corridor" should be assigned to the Boardman Local School District. Students and school buildings within the "Mahoning Avenue Corridor" should be assigned to the Austintown Local School District.

The two districts would receive new buildings and diversity of enrollment.

This would contribute to the concept of "New Youngstown" which would be the next logical step for consolidating all of the current districts.

Suggest removal:

8jmagaratz(167 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

The time has come to accept the fact that the Youngstown City School District is no longer viable.

The Ohio Legislature should dissolve the current structure and assign all assets to the Mahoning County Educational Service Center.

A "Market Street Corridor" and a "Mahoning Avenue Corridor should be defined.

Students and school buildings within the "Market Street Corridor" should be assigned to the Boardman Local School District. Students and school buildings within the "Mahoning Avenue Corridor" should be assigned to the Austintown Local School District.

The two districts would receive new buildings and diversity of enrollment.

This would contribute to the concept of "New Youngstown" which would be the next logical step of consolidating all of the current districts.

Suggest removal:


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