By Denise Dick
Ron Iarussi is preparing for double duty as superintendent of both the Mahoning County Educational Service Center and the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center.
It’s part of an ongoing consolidation effort.
“Both institutions are legally separate; they’re not being merged,” said Richard Scarsella, MCCTC board vice president and ESC board member.
“Over a year ago, the ESC hired the CTC treasurer and it worked very, very well,” he said. “What we’re doing this year is the ESC superintendent will become the superintendent of the CTC as a cost-cutting measure.”
The ESC and career-technical center boards share five members, and the CTC board has two additional members who represent Campbell and Struthers.
Roan Craig, superintendent of MCCTC, retires at month’s end, and Iarussi, MCESC superintendent, assumes the helm at both centers.
Iarussi said James Herrholtz, deputy superintendent at the ESC, will handle day-to-day operations there.
At the CTC, John Zehentbauer, career-technical director, will handle day-to-day operations at that center.
Iarussi will manage district and board relations for both locations.
The ESC, along with Struthers and Canfield school districts, formed a council of governments that many other districts have since joined.
“Many districts have problems hiring substitute teachers and substitute noncertificated positions — custodians, bus drivers,” Iarussi said.
The COG alleviated that strain. It hires and trains substitutes who are shared across districts, saving those districts money from if they would have to fill the positions independently, he said.
That started last spring.
“We could expand that to turn it into a consortium for buying equipment and services,” Iarussi said. “It’s still in the infancy stages.”
The ESC is considering building a new structure on CTC property in Canfield. MS Consultants of Youngstown is the criteria architect for the project, which is in the design phase.
The building would be owned by the career-technical center and leased by the ESC. The ESC now leases space in the Southwoods Building off of Market Street in Boardman.
“In the long run it’s a savings for us, working with the career-technical center because we have shared services with them,” Iarussi said.