YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip unveiling his plans Wednesday to reconfigure the school district, there are some concerns from the community.
Mohip released a map showing where students at each Youngstown elementary school will attend high school. One issue being questioned is having the predominately low-income Taft students attend East High, while having the more-affluent students at Paul C. Bunn go across town to Chaney High.
“As you can see from even the map, it’s not pure in its intent,” said Rev. Ken Simon of New Bethel Church, who closely follows what’s happening in the city schools. “There’s always some political motives and agenda attached to those things.”
Mohip said Wednesday morning that the changes are being made to bring pride back to the neighborhood schools and reduce time students spend on the bus.
“I was happy to hear that neighborhood schools were coming back in,” said Meg Mercado, who has two kids in the Youngstown school system.
Mercado is active with how the system is run. She’s upset with the map’s configuration and plans to look into it.
However, Mercado’s focus is erasing the stigma that Youngstown schools are hostile places where nobody cares.
“I have experienced firsthand that it’s the complete opposite,” she said. “These are some of the hardest-working parents I’ve ever come into contact with.”
Mercado’s big issue is busing — which under the new structure will be available for any student living over a mile from their school — saying the stops aren’t ideal.
“Even neighborhood-to-neighborhood would be great,” she said. “Students come down and they just kind of collect each other as they go to the bus stop. Then they just kind of fade off as they leave the bus stop.”
Rev. Simon has a problem with Mohip’s Dream Team — specifically the money they’re making — saying, “We’ve got about eight people now making over six figures.”
As for the neighborhood plan, he believes it’s unfair considering changes were made just five years ago.
“It’s not fair to the kids,” he said. “It’s not fair to the teachers, it’s not fair to the parents [and] it’s just not fair to our community.”
Rev. Simon also disagrees with Mohip’s plans to move the successful Youngstown Early College from the Youngstown State campus to the Ward building downtown.
“You have a model that works, so why do you want to dismantle it?” he said. “Why do you want to take it and put it back into another environment?”
Mohip said he expects to have the changes in place by the start of the new school year this September.