YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Youngstown charter school shut its doors for good Tuesday, saying it has run out of money.
The decision to close Mahoning Valley Opportunity Center came Monday night after the board said they had no money left. However, some MVOC staff members are furious and question the school’s reasoning of the closing.
Superintendent David Macali — who calls the closing “disheartening” — says that at Monday night’s meeting, the treasurer showed that the school did not have enough money to continue operations and couldn’t afford to pay employees.
According to the Ohio Department of Education and MVOC, the number of kids in the school dropped, which meant the state money the school receives dropped as well.
Macali says the school’s closing does not come as a surprise.
“We saw that the enrollments here were declining,” he said. “So we knew there was a chance that the school might close at some point in the future. Personally, I thought that would be a little ways down the road.”
Macali says he and other staff will be scheduling meetings with students and their parents to help them get settled in at other area schools.
WKBN also talked with several staff members at MVOC on Tuesday — and they’re not happy. One agreed to speak on camera, but will not be named. They say MVOC was mismanaged for years.
“Today was a day of death,” the staff member said. “My school died today.”
They said they comforted a student sobbing in front of the school’s locked doors Tuesday.
“She said, ‘Where am I going to go? What school is going to want me?”‘ the staff member said.
The staff member says things had been unusual at MVOC for a while. They say Macali had other plans for the school.
“Since school started in August, we knew that he was closing the school,” they said.
Staff members say that rumor — paired with busing issues — contributed to declining enrollment. They knew they needed more kids.
But according to one staff member, employees were never allowed to advertise the school.
“Every answer was no to everything we wanted to do to recruit kids,” the staff member said.
Now that the school is closed, the staff member believes the students will suffer.
“So many names of our kids that we’re worried about,” they said. “And we didn’t even get to see them or talk to them or warn them. Nothing.”
The employees who spoke Tuesday raised a lot of questions.
WKBN is currently examining public records of the school. Count on First News to continue working to get answers about how your tax dollars were spent and what went wrong at the school.