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Re: Chaney, East still plagued by violence
Posted by: Jennifer Lewis (IP Logged)
Date: January 06, 2008 03:12AM

Webb has encouraged Chaney to fail. Attend the board meetings and demand the board do what they should have done all along and find a way to make Chaney safe for good students instead of a haven for criminals run by the worst students in the system.

Re: Chaney, East still plagued by violence
Posted by: Politics (IP Logged)
Date: January 06, 2008 12:59PM

Webb plays to the people who share her views but political power rules. If enough westsiders complain loudly and often enough to the board's members something will be done.

Re: Chaney, East still plagued by violence
Posted by: Please attend (IP Logged)
Date: January 06, 2008 02:18PM

Youngstown city school parents, neighbors, students and teachers, please let your views be heard at the next Bd of Ed meeting.

preview of what I'm going to say
Posted by: Jennifer Lewis (IP Logged)
Date: January 07, 2008 02:40PM

I would like to welcome the new board members. You have a daunting challenge to face. It falls to you to repair three and a half years of damage to this district. The departing board members did you no favors. Not only did they help to create the mess you now face, they also did their best to cripple you in your efforts to bring order out of chaos.

That said, I still think the new board has what it will take to overcome the obstacles placed in your path.

Fortunately for the district, the two members of the old board who never put the welfare of the schools before their own political ambitions have been replaced. By combining the best of the old with the new, we now have a stronger board, capable of leading the district.

Your long-range goals are simple. You must reclaim enough of the students who left for charter schools and open enrollment to make the district fiscally sound. You must improve scores. You must provide a curriculum that prepares students to succeed in life. I DID say "simple", not "easy".

Your short-range goals are far more problematic. You need to cut the budget without sacrificing safety or academics. I would suggest eliminating all duplication of effort positions at the central office and letting go anyone who lacks the credentials for the position they hold.

You need to make the schools safe. To do this, you must first reverse the penny-wise pound-foolish efforts of the administration to cling to the bad students and keep them in the classroom whatever the cost. Making suspensions excused absences, overturning suspensions and failing to expel students has kept a few state dollars in the district while driving hundreds of good students to flee the district in fear for their lives. The rules must be enforced firmly, fairly and impartially. Students who commit felonies in school must be expelled. The district should press criminal charges against student felons. The administration should uphold efforts at the school level to enforce discipline. No suspension should be overturned without a full investigation by the full board.

Your most difficult short-range goal is to earn the trust of a community that has learned to be very cynical regarding the Youngstown City Schools. To accomplish that goal, your executive sessions should never be longer than your open meetings. Debate over issues on the agenda belong in the open forum, not executive session. You must make public information readily available to the public. You need to let the community know what is happening in the schools and what you are doing to address the issues. You must not lie, spin or diminish to cover up problems in the schools. A riot where the police are forced to mace 50 students to end the fighting should not be dismissed as a minor disturbance. It should result in suspensions and expulsions and the number of suspensions and expulsions should be told to the community. We are not reassured when incidents are swept under the rug. We want action to match reaction and consequences to fit crimes. You need to listen to students, parents and concerned members of the community, and you should use their input to help you determine the correct actions to take in re-building the district.

I wish you all the best and I am willing to meet with any or all of you to discuss anything pertaining to the schools.

Thank you.

Re: preview of what I'm going to say
Posted by: Westsider (IP Logged)
Date: January 07, 2008 03:52PM

This is great, Jennifer. Don't forget to mention the students who have left the district and are in private schools and districts that charge tuition (non-open enrollment districts). Those students are probably easier to locate than the transient students.

Re: preview of what I'm going to say
Posted by: Tell me (IP Logged)
Date: January 07, 2008 10:53PM

Why isn't the superintendent made to enforce the rules of conduct?

Re: preview of what I'm going to say
Posted by: Jennifer Lewis (IP Logged)
Date: January 09, 2008 08:10AM

She's gotten away with so much because nobody paid enough attention. That said, the turnout for last night's board meeting was dismal. If you want her to be accountable, you've got to show up and hold her accountable. If you post your complaints here and never attend a meeting, your comments don't mean anything to her. Of course, since she had two of her stooges attend and speak to attack the board, I'd guess she's worried the new board might hold her accountable even if nobody comes to the meetings.

how long can the district last
Posted by: just depressed (IP Logged)
Date: January 11, 2008 05:29PM

The Superintendent and possibly even the B of E just don't get how mad folks are. Those who went through the Youngstown schools when they were good can't believe how far they have fallen. They used to be able to invite people into their old school to show it off. Not the building, the kids. That's who the school really is. They could point to the way the kids acted and be proud. Not anymore. People on the west side are voting with their feet as well as their ballots. They are getting their kids out of the district as quickly as they can. People without kids in the school district will never vote for a school levy. People who are stuck with their kids in the district when they don't want them to be there won't vote for a levy. People who used to be proud of their old school and now aren't won't vote for a levey. They are angry that they need to drive their kids to another district. They are angry that their kids are not safe in their neighborhood school. They are angry that something they loved is gone. This is not hatred. This is grief.

Re: how long can the district last
Posted by: Jennifer Lewis (IP Logged)
Date: January 12, 2008 03:26AM

The only way to reclaim our schools is together. Unless people are willing to fight for the schools and the students, it won't get better. I've been fighting for the kids and the schools by attending meetings, speaking out, going to the media, talking to people. It hasn't been enough. I fought the good fight and I lost because there's no "I" in "team" and saving the district has to be a team effort. If anyone would like to start a team, I'd be willing to join, but my daughter won't be in this district next year because I failed to save it on my own. At the first meeting of the new board, of the people who filled out forms to speak at the beginning of the meeting, I was outnumbered two to one by members of Wendy Webb's team. That's why she's destroying this district with impunity. She has her team and they're letting her do whatever she wants for the profit of herself and her friends and it's all at the expense of the children. I fought and lost. Over the next three years, Webb will pocket almost half a million more dollars from this district and her team will certainly walk away with more than that. Her team wins, the district, the schools, the staff and most importantly the children lose.

Re: how long can the district last
Posted by: Dear Jen (IP Logged)
Date: January 13, 2008 08:34AM

Yes, I think you are right. Sadly, many, or maybe most, of the people who would be effective in doing this have decided to be effective somewhere else. They want their children to go to a school where they feel safe, where they can see good examples, and where they themselves , the parents, can feel that their feelings and ideas are accepted. People abandon an institution when they no longer feel a part of that institution. If these same people did not have the choice of sending their children somewhere else they might fight but not now. The feeling is let the board ("them") do whatever they want. I ("us") are going somewhere else.

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