School reopening brings high cost
By Denise Dick
It will cost more than $900,000 for the city school district to reopen the old Volney Rogers school building as a Discovery School program next year.
The money — $577,000 in personnel and $336,000 in utilities, materials, supplies and equipment — will come from the general fund.
Treasurer James Reinhard said the district can afford it as long as those expenses are offset in other areas, something he says the district has time to devise.
“I hope we get kids to come back” to the district, said Superintendent Connie Hathorn.
More students means more money from the state.
The school, on South Schenley Avenue on the city’s West Side, closed this year as part of a district restructuring plan.
It will reopen next year, though, as Discovery 2 at Volney, a program for third- through eighth-grade students, offering specialty courses in Spanish, engineering/math, visual arts, performing arts, investigative science and creative communications in addition to core curriculum classes.
It’s part of the Youngstown City School District Academic Distress Commission’s plan to offer more choice to students with the belief that if students have a choice in what they study, their achievement will improve.
Discovery at Kirkmere opened this past school year, and Discovery 3 at East is planned for this fall, although that program will be slightly different from the other two, including a career component rather than the art and music pieces.
Richard Atkinson, school board president, expects the board to talk about the costs of reopening the school at this week’s meeting. Board member Michael Murphy, chairman of the finance and business committee, said it’s on the agenda for today’s committee meeting.
Jacqueline Adair, board member, said she wants to know how the school’s reopening will affect the overall district budget.
“We’ve not had an opportunity yet to discuss it either in the finance committee or in the full board for me to decide if I want to go forward with that,” she said.
The costs include iPads, laptops and desktop computers, a dance floor and mirrors for the dance room.
Besides the $577,000 in new personnel costs for Discovery 2, current teachers from other schools also will move to the new school building. The cost of existing personnel who will move to the new building is $690,000, according to a district analysis.