Mahoning Co. Educational Service Center cutting staff to reduce $2 million debt

Local News

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – The Mahoning County Educational Service Center (MCESC) provides services to 22 school districts in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Portage counties. But, the center is having financial troubles.

On Thursday, MCESC’s board took action to cut its $2.3 million debt.

“We realized in December that we were anticipating a $2.3 million deficit, and these decisions to reduce staffing ultimately [are] going to save the organization about $1.9 million,” said MCESC Superintendent Traci Hostetler.

The cuts will result in the elimination of more than a dozen positions.

A recent change in Ohio law allows the board to cut 11 occupational and physical therapist assistants, because they cannot carry their own caseloads. Students needing these services will still have highly qualified therapists.

The assistant supervisor position — along with some teaching positions — was also eliminated. Nine resignations were accepted.

MCESC continues to market its services to school districts in the area as a way to improve financially.

“We’re hoping to start providing our curriculum and instruction services for a cost to districts that are not aligned. We have an incredibly talented group of educators here — highly skilled, highly trained educators to provide those services,” Hostetler said.

But even with the cuts, MCESC is still about $400,000 in the red.

“We have written some grants and were awarded just recently a grant that is going to net about $200,000 for [MCESC] in the next two years. So that will help. But it can’t be used necessarily for teaching and learning but some of it is for them. So we are going to continue to pursue additional revenue,” Hostetler said.

The board also reached an agreement with the teachers union over pay freezes for one year to help reduce employee costs.

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