YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – An academic improvement plan created by the Youngstown City School Board has been approved by the Ohio Department of Education.

The plan will be put in place for three years, in which time the district will need to meet certain benchmarks in order to get out of academic distress.

“With the work that we’ve been doing as a community to come out of HB70, this was not a option for us, this was a must do,” said Ronald Shadd, president of the Youngstown City School Board.

Under this new plan, the academic distress commission will serve as an advisor to the board. The plan also allows for the district’s CEO to be removed in place of a superintendent. However, Shadd said it’s too soon to say whether or not that will happen. 

“The purpose of this is to bring back local control. What has happened so far with state control hasn’t been a remedy to the declining performance of students in Youngstown,” Shadd said.

The district will focus on self assessments, the students’ performances in the required school subjects as well as some new requirements like graduation seals.

Each year there will be an annual review of the progress made, once the district reaches more than 50% of all the benchmarks, the board will gain full control of the district.

Shadd says he is very pleased that the plan has been approved. 

“This gives the citizens of Youngstown the opportunity to be involved in the educational process of their students, and we believe that when you have a community approach to helping children learn that we’ll have more successful students,” Shadd said.

The plan will be implemented beginning July 2022, and will run through June of 2025.