YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two Mahoning school districts are the poorest in the state.
Youngstown is number one, while Campbell is number four. But they are not the only schools in the Valley that ranked in the top 30. Warren City has the number five spot, Wellsville is ranked 15th and East Liverpool is ranked 27th.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is proposing a new formula for how schools get money. The goal is to identify school districts where it is difficult to raise money on the local level based on income and property values.
“And we say that if you are poor in property taxes and poor in income and you have more students, we ought to do more to help you. But if you’re wealthier in property taxes and wealthier in income – maybe you’re losing students – we shouldn’t do as much to help you. You can help yourself,” Kasich said during his State of the State Address. “Education funding is not about buildings, equipment, or adults. And I’ll tell you one more thing that it’s not about, it is not about a state printout. It’s not about getting some state printout to look at whether you got a minus or a plus. It’s about distributing precious resources as best as we can to be in a position where kids can all have an equal chance.”
Campbell City Schools Superintendent Matt Bowen said he is not really shocked about the ranking and points out not everyone in the community is living in poverty.
“In the city, we do have a lack of industry and that lack of industry does not generate the revenues necessary to provide the education and the state is addressing that by basically increasing our bottom line,” Bowen said.
Bowen said taxpayers always back education. In November, they passed a 14.4-mill levy generating $989,000 for students.
“This community strongly values education. They support the students, they support the schools’ efforts,” Bowen said. “We have an ‘A’ rating for student growth. Our students achieve very well here and may not be what one would expect from a district of poverty.”
East Liverpool City Schools officials said being ranked 27th is an improvement from a few years ago when it was in the top 20. They also said the collapse of the pottery industry is a factor.
Wellsville Superintendent Willliam Bereschik said while it is not a rich school district, it is wealthy in many other aspects. He released the following statement:
“In spite of being ranked as the 15th poorest district based on median income of district residents and per pupil property valuation, the Wellsville Local School District, its staff, students, parents, Board of Education, administration and community members strive to provide a quality education for all students,” the statement read.
Bereschik also said two of the three district buildings received an ‘A’ on the 2013-14 state report card and Garfield Elementary was for the fourth time named a School of Promise on the 2013-14 state report card. Daw Elementary was named both a School of Promise and a High Progress School of Honor on the 2013-14 state report card. Wellsville Junior/Senior High School has been a School of Promise twice in recent years, Bereschik said.
Officials with Youngstown City Schools did not return calls seeking comment.The governor’s proposal was introduced last month and is currently in the House. Nothing has passed.