YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It was a packed house at the Youngstown City Schools Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, as teachers with signs expressed their disapproval of the board’s appointment to the district’s new Academic Distress Commission.
Paula Valentini, vice president of the Youngstown Education Association, is among one of the people most outspoken against Board President Brenda Kimble’s appointment of Dr. Carol State, a former administrator. By law, a teacher was to be appointed to the Distress Commission.
The teachers took part in a march around the city, ending at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday. Signs read, “United for student success” and “Teachers need a voice!”
“We wanted to make sure that our board understood that we strongly, that the seat on the commission that was intended for a teacher should be held by a current, active Youngstown City School teacher,” Valentini said.
The school board is also charged with selecting a CEO to run the district by mid-January, with the passage of House Bill 70 — a bill that was designed to improve the failing district’s performance. The other four members of the Academic Distress Commission were named by Youngstown Mayor John McNally and State Superintendent Richard Ross.
Also among the topics discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting — the search for a math teacher at East High School. The school has been without one for the last several weeks.
“We’ve been actively recruiting. I’ve talked to the Ohio Department of Education, talked with Youngstown State, talked to Akron University, Kent State, Mount Union College,” said Interim Superintendent Steve Stohla.
Stohla said the search hasn’t been simple.
“Everybody thinks it’s so easy just to find a math teacher. Hard to believe, if they’re not licensed, some of the professors may not be highly-qualified teachers, which is kind of ridiculous,” he said.
The interim superintendent said the district has a potential hire in mind.
“Our HR director is working with Youngstown State. There’s a student graduating mid-December,” he said. “We’re going to move as quickly as possible to hire him so that after the Christmas break, so we’ll have one of the teachers replaced.”
Stohla said substitute teachers will be helping students on computers until a math teacher is hired.
“I’ve always had trouble finding math teachers in every district. Looking in March, April and May, it’s tough, but in September, it’s really tough,” he said.
Stohla also said there should be no worry about receiving credit.
“They’re not going to fail the class,” he said. “We’ll do whatever it takes for credit recovery.”