By Amanda Tonoli
More Youngstown City Schools students are showing up and performing better, new district data show.
Students in second through 11th grades are tested with the Northwest Evaluation Association assessment in the fall and winter to gauge academic growth.
CEO Krish Mohip said during his Wednesday evening “CEO Update” meeting that he’s incredibly proud of the district’s accomplishments so far. “I’m proud of the students and the parents and the schools,” he said.
NWEA reading assessment results show 4 percent gains of students in the average achievement bracket, 2 percent in the high average bracket and 2 percent in the high bracket.
The beginning-of-the-year percentages of students in each reading bracket were: 50 percent low; 22 percent low average; 15 percent average; 10 percent high average; and 3 percent high.
Midyear percentages of students in each bracket are: 41 percent low; 23 percent low average; 19 percent average; 12 percent high average; and 5 percent high.
NWEA math assessment results, meanwhile, show gains of 2 percent of students in the average bracket, 2 percent in the high average bracket; and 1 percent in the high bracket.
The beginning-of-the-year percentages of students in each math bracket were: 55 percent low; 23 percent low average; 13 percent average; 7 percent high average; and 2 percent high.
Midyear percentages of students in each bracket are: 47 percent low; 26 percent low average; 15 percent average; 9 percent high average; and 3 percent high.
In terms of yearly attendance, the city schools have shown a 0.7 percent increase in attendance, from 90.3 percent to 91 percent; and 0.6 percent decrease in tardiness, from 4.9 percent to 4.3 percent, from school year 2016-17 to 2017-18.
So far in May, attendance is the highest it’s been in three years at 90.28 percent, compared with 2016-17’s 88.45 percent and 2015-16’s 88.01 percent.
Also, grade-point averages are on the rise.
Chaney and East high schools’ GPAs have both risen from 2.697 to 2.831 and 2.199 to 2.726 from 2016-17 to 2017-18, respectively.
Youngstown Early College’s average GPA increased from 3.457 to 3.468 from 2016-17 to 2017-18.
Meanwhile, across town at East High School, members of the Youngstown Board of Education aired complaints about operation of the district – ranging from claims that a number of administrators lack the proper licenses for their positions.
They also called for a performance audit of the school district.
There were no public comments from any of the five people who attended Wednesday’s regular board meeting, but several board members talked at length about their concerns.
Dario Hunter said at least 11 school district employees, several of them deans, are in administrative positions despite not having valid administrative licenses, according to the Ohio Department of Education’s online educator search.
Two of the employees work in the central office; one at Paul C. Bunn Elementary; one at Taft Elementary; two at Chaney High; one at Choffin Career and Technical Center; one at Harding Elementary, though Hunter said the employee’s assignment may have moved since being hired; one at Martin Luther King Elementary; one at Rayen Early College Intermediate; and one whose current building assignment is unconfirmed, according to Hunter.
“We have people occupying administrative positions without proper licensing and receiving big salaries. It is nothing short of scandalous,” he said.
Superintendent Joseph Meranto said he will get information for Hunter from the human-resources department.
Meranto said deans do not have to have administrative licenses and that it is also possible to get temporary administrative licenses.
Denise Dick, Youngstown schools spokeswoman, added: “The employees that Mr. Hunter lists neither manage nor evaluate employees. Therefore, an administrative license isn’t required.”
Despite not knowing if it has the authority, the board unanimously approved a motion made by board member Jackie Adair to contact the state auditor’s office requesting a performance audit of the district.
Contributor: Vindicator reporter William K. Alcorn