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Youngstown schools plan revitalization

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - At Volney Rogers Middle School, Youngstown Schools superintendent, Connie Hathorn breaks down the details of the district's new revitalization program.

He says the district has 8,600 seats and only 5,300 students to fill them.

So at the end of this year, the doors will close on Volney and P. Ross Berry Middle Schools.

"We have 3,300 seats that we are not using. We have to address that. If not, I'm going to be coming back to you for another levy and I don't think that's fair to ask the parents to increase their taxes when we're not spending that money wisely," Hathorn says.

Kirkmere Elementary will be restructured for a Discovery Program that children as young as third grade can choose to attend. It's elementary students will be reassigned to McGuffey, Taft, Harding, Williamson or Martin Luther King.

"They plan on making it from third grade to the eighth grade. I have a concern with the older children going to school with the younger children. Basically, the kindergarten, first and second grade will be moved out of Kirkmere, which is basically their neighborhood elementary school," says Kirkmere parent Alvin Hosea.

While Hathorn's plan gives more choices for students, parents of special needs students feel the options are limited.

"Self contained students in the district are always being sent to other areas. Right now, as we just heard, if you are a self-contained student, your only option is Kirmere or East. I think it's a disadvantage for children on the West side, having to leave the West side, where they grew up with all their friends and go to East.," says Tina Cvetkovich, a Volney Rogers parent.

Hathorn says there is a possibility that Chaney will offer self-contained programs in the years to come.

Another concern from the community is over what will happen to the vacated schools. The superintendent says P. Ross Berry is being considered for administrative purposes by 2014, which is also when Volney would be utilized again in some capacity.

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