YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Days after Youngstown City Schools Superintendent Connie Hathorn asked parents, students and the community for patience in turning the struggling district around leaders of one local group argue that time is up.
Youngstown NAACP president George Freeman said he wants to see immediate changes in the school district, beginning at the top.
“The change needs to be made in his (Hathorn’s) office. Him and his assistant need to be replaced,” Freeman said.
Freeman claims the district, under Hathorn’s leadership, now spends $17,000 per pupil, nearly $100 million a year in local, state and federal funding.
“And yet we have the same rating we had when he started. “F” for African Americans and “D” for the district – this is unacceptable,” Freeman said.
Hathorn disagrees and says he and his staff are trying to move the district forward. While progress has been slow, improvements are being made.
“You look at the performance index. That has not gone backwards. I would stand in front of anybody and say that,” Hathorn said.
In the meantime, Hathorn admits the district continues to lose students to charter schools and other districts through open enrollment. For the first time ever Austintown has a higher enrollment with Warren and Boardman close behind.
The city has lost 1,700 students in the last five years. However, the loss is slowing from more than 500 a few years ago to just 62 at the start of classes in the fall.
Hathorn claims the district re-enrolled 42 students who had left the system before and decided to come back, saying more improvements, including academics, will come in time.