Closed Youngstown charter school provides no answers, parents say

Mahoning Valley Opportunity Center parents thought they'd learn more about why the school closed but instead, left unsatisfied

Mahoning Valley Opportunity Center, Youngstown


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Parents of students at the now-closed Mahoning Valley Opportunity Center said an “informational meeting” on Friday didn’t offer many answers.

“I thought it was gonna give us an explanation for what was going on, and what happened, and all of that and give us some kind of closure. This ain’t no closure. This is, ‘Get your stuff and go,'” Mishell Gentles said.

They were invited back to MVOC Friday morning to pick up their children’s transcripts just days after the charter school abruptly shut its doors.

Earlier this week, the school’s board of directors voted to close, claiming they’d run out of money to operate. The Ohio Department of Education is looking into the situation.

“I’m frustrated because where are these kids gonna go to school at? Where are the teachers gonna go if they gotta find other jobs?” Rosalyn Stevenson said.

Parents complained they should have been given warning of the closure. Many of them found out Tuesday morning when they showed up at the locked building.

“They could have given us at least something. A note or a notice…a couple months or maybe a month or something before…would have given us enough time to move our child into another school,” Marisol Ayala said.

Some said MVOC offered a last chance to students who couldn’t succeed anywhere else.

“This was his last hope, and we were super excited about it,” Mindy Marckel said.

Her son had only been attending MVOC for about three weeks. Now, she doesn’t know what to do.

“He was so excited about the science lab, and the next thing you know, a week later, he’s out of this school,” Marckel said.

Representatives from a number of other charter schools were available to talk with parents about possible alternatives.

“We decided to come down here and let the parents know that we offer more than just a diploma at Lifeskills [Academy],” Akim Lattermore said.

But they admitted that not every student will be accepted.

“It’s really a sad day when any school closes so we’re not excited that any school closes at all. We’re just trying to help the kids,” said Corey Yoakam, with Summit Academy.

For some, though, that’s little consolation.

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