Y'town BOE member questions need for levy
By AMANDA TONOLI
A Youngstown Board of Education member questions if the city school district will need another levy to remain out of the red.
Board member Jackie Adair asked district Treasurer Sherry Tyson during Tuesday’s board meeting if a levy would be necessary to keep the district out of fiscal distress. Tyson had reported the district’s spending – based upon numbers from July 2017 until now – is projected to be about $8 million more than forecast by the fiscal year’s end in June.
Tyson said she won’t know the answer to Adair’s question until June.
“Right now we need to concentrate on how to reduce cost without hurting the children,” she said. “Without kids, we don’t have a district. You can’t cut things beneficial to children, but you have to cut things around the children that may be indirectly related to what is necessary to students.”
The district, however, won’t be in the red just yet. It had a carryover from this fiscal year to the next originally predicted at about $20 million.
Due to the increased spending but also figuring in revenue, the carryover amount is projected to be about $14.5 million.
The extra spending partially comes from nearly $5 million more spent in district salaries than predicted.
CEO Krish Mohip hired a number of people for the district in the last year including Chaney High Principal Bob Klinar with an annual salary of $111,750; East High assistant principal Rick Gurski with an annual salary of $107,250; principals of the ninth-grade academies at East and Chaney Roshay Huff and Eboni Williams with annual salaries of $101,250; and chief of teaching and learning Christine Sawicki with an annual salary of $111,750.
But Tyson said she was told by district administrators there is an intent to downsize soon in administrators.
“Why did we hire 33-plus people in administration then?” questioned board member Ron Shadd.
Shadd continued that if school district CEO Krish Mohip had begun his authority over the district with a staff-hiring plan, the district would not be facing deficit spending.
In lieu of the financial discussion, district Superintendent Joe Meranto read a statement from Mohip stating Mohip always had a strategic plan that “build[s] it up before we tear it down.”
“I believe it is important to understand the capacity of embedded individuals before making a snap judgment, one which could result in decision making that greatly impacts the individual, but also has the potential to derail the effective operation of the district,” the statement said.