Youngstown reorganizes school board; Jennings hopes to stay

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – We learned two things at Tuesday night’s organizational meeting of the Youngstown School Board. First, the school system’s CEO wants to stay on permanently as the superintendent. Second, it appears the board has split into two factions, the majority being the new and newer members and the minority being the more tenured members. So, what’s next for the Youngstown Schools?

CEO Justin Jennings sat quietly throughout the meeting. Afterward, he was asked if he’d like to stay on as superintendent when the Academic Distress Commission relinquishes control on July 1.

“Absolutely. That’s been the plan to kind of finish the work. We thought about leaving just because of the board dynamics and what was going on at the time, but this is a great opportunity for us to be able to move the district like we want to,” he said.

Jennings said he has withdrawn his name from consideration for an administrators position with the Akron City Schools.

The meeting started with two new members, Reverend Ken Donaldson and Dawn Turnage, being sworn in, along with two incumbents, Jerome Williams and Tina Cvetkovich, who were re-elected.

Two-year member Tiffany Patterson then defeated 10-year member Brenda Kimble for board president. The vote was 4 to 3.

Patterson already has changes planned.

“Different ways that the meetings were ran before. We’re going to be more concise and more productive moving forward,” she said.

“I’m not disappointed. I am concerned because of the status of the district at this time. You have to have someone in place that understands board policy, that can connect with the state,” Kimble said.

When Juanita Walker was elected vice president over Cvetkovich, also by a 4 to 3 vote, it became apparent that two factions had developed between the four new and newer members — Donaldson, Turnage, Walker and Patterson — and the three veteran members — Kimble, Cvetkovich and Williams.

“I think we all have the same goal in mind — it’s the kids. So I don’t think that will be a problem,” Patterson said.

“It happens everywhere, not just in Youngstown City Schools,” Kimble said.

The board also voted — again, by a vote of 4 to 3 — to make its regularly scheduled second Tuesday of the month meeting a committee meeting only so that issues can be thoroughly discussed. Voting on any issues will take place at the regular meeting on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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