The Mahoning County Community School, a school in Youngstown for at-risk youth at-risk and dropout students in grades 7 through 12, was notified recently that Youngstown City School District Superintendent Justin Jennings has terminated its lease.

The MVCS currently resides inside the former Southside Woodrow Wilson High School, but now has to find a new home for the program for troubled students before next school year. The goal of the school is to work with youth to turn around teenagers' lives, reducing youth violence.

According to the letter dated April 11 to Jennifer Merritt, Superintendent of the Mahoning Valley Community School, stated that effective June 30, Youngstown City School District is taking back over the facility located at 2725 Gibson Street.

The four-year service and lease agreement between the Community School and the YCSD began on June 30, 2021, but under the term of the agreement, states "This Agreement may be terminated by either Party for good cause upon providing sixty (600 days prior written notice to the Other Party."

The termination of the lease was discussed during Tuesday's school board meeting, when Jennings pointed out he is exercising a clause in the lease agreement that says the district can end the term early with a 60-day notice, stating he wants to utilize that building for district use.

School board president Tiffany Patterson told 21 News that while they have not been informed of any plans for the building, the board will be looking over the contract and any future plans involving the use of the building for students.

MVCS has had a partnership with Youngstown Schools for about 15 years, and Merritt said that while they are planning to move to a new facility in 2024, they notified the district in late January of the school's intent to end the lease in June of 2024.

But now with the lease terminated, they have no school for students to attend.


"Our concern is where are our children going to go to school?" Merritt said.

Merritt provided a letter to the YCSD Board of Education members Wednesday, which pointed out how the school is important and has helped thousands of students to receive diplomas, hoping the board members help to stop their eviction.

"We have a lot of kids from traumatic backgrounds that we address... Most of the students that we have are Youngstown city students," said Nichele King, MVCS Administrative Support Secretary.

Richard White, Governing Board Vice President for MVCS said the district has approximately 215 students, with nearly 150 of those from Youngstown City Schools, and the that they have worked with the Youngstown City School District since 2009.

King added, "A lot of them right now have a hope of graduating, a hope of getting whatever credits they need to retrieve... Not knowing where they are going to be is going to leave them in a bind."

21 News reached out for comment from Jennings and Deputy Superintendent Jermy Batchelor of the Youngstown City School District but did not hear back.