Just one parent attends community input meeting for Youngstown City Schools
By Amanda Tonoli
Only one district parent was among about 20 educators for the first of Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip’s three community input meetings.
Also, no board of education members were in attendance Monday evening at Choffin Career and Technical Center.
They missed out on discussion of possible big changes to district buildings and the school calendar.
But there will be another meeting at 5:30 p.m. today at East High School, 474 Bennington Ave., and at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Chaney Campus, 731 S. Hazelwood Ave.
Mohip did not let the turnout for the first session get him down.
“I’m excited,” he said. “Obviously I was hoping for a larger crowd, but, honestly, any input would help.”
Joe Nohra, district chief of operations, said Mohip has the best intentions with the meetings.
Mohip “sincerely wants to hear from the parents and listen to what they have to say,” Nohra said.
During the meeting, the educators and Megan Mercado, parent of two students, split into groups to discuss the highs and lows of the district and how to improve them. Mercado’s children in the district are Trey Riddle of Rayen Early College and Greyson Mercado of William Holmes McGuffey Elementary School.
Lori Kopp, executive director of special education in the district, highlighted the recent implementation of all-day preschool and asked how to improve in terms of keeping those preschool students as they progress to kindergarten.
“This was a positive expansion, and we want know how to best keep them,” she said.
Other topics listed on the meeting agenda included how many high schools parents thought the district should have, benefits and drawbacks of the current design of the schools, pros and cons of neighborhood schools, components of community schools, planning of sports programs for the upcoming school year and pros and cons for year-round or balanced calendar school years.
Mohip said some of the questions he has already have been answered by parents who have reached out to him.
“These meetings are just a way of giving people a formal opportunity to respond and bring in the voices of the community to have a say in what will change and what will stay the same,” he said.
Mohip added that in the near future surveys will be distributed in an effort to receive feedback from those who are unable to make the community input meetings.
Mercado said the meetings are a step toward bettering communication with parents and the schools.
“It’s unfortunate how I was the only parent in this first meeting, but I think the more often these meetings are held – like board meetings – the turnouts will start to pick up,” she said. “I have confidence in Mr. Mohip. He does listen to concerns, and he is proactive in doing what is best for this district, which includes the concerns of the YCSD parents.”