Justin Jennings, former CEO and superintendent of the Youngstown City School District since 2019, has announced his resignation after a series of 21 News Watchdog Reports that have looked into questionable spending by the district while under state control.

In a memo obtained by 21 News sent to YSCD board members Monday, Jennings will resign effective June 30 for personal reasons.

School Board member Juanita Walker says she's sad to see Jennings leave, but tells us the district will "continue moving forward and continue doing all the great things [the board] is doing in the district."

Jennings has received widespread attention following a 21 News investigation that revealed several mismanaged funds including a failed citywide COVID-19 tests for students during a time when they were offered for free and a paperless payroll plan.

The email from Board President Tiffany Patterson stated, "Good afternoon board members, I just met with Superintendent Jennings and to my total shock and disappointment he offered me his resignation effective June 30, 2023.

He stated he was resigning due to personal reasons and that he would send out an official letter later today." 
21 News first reported on questionable spending by then CEO after the district received $77 million in COVID-related funding after a three-part series "Following the Money" looked into the spending of more than $10 million of the federally provided funds on projects that either didn't work out or went nowhere for the district, which is projecting a deficit in the near future.
YCSD school board member Joe Meranto told 21 News that he wasn't surprised by the announcement, but said that the board needs to move the district forward, stating the district needs to deal with multiple administration and teacher openings now, including upcoming negotiations with the district's union with a contract that expires at the end of July. 
State Rep. Lauren McNally told 21 News, "I'm not surprised he'd be leaving since the [21 News] investigation going on the last several months. He doesn't have any ties. He doesn't live in this community. There's no reason I can think of that he would even want to stay in this community."
Youngstown Education Association Union President Eric Teutsch said he hoped that all things being looked into in the district moves forward and that decisions will be made for what is best for the district and its students moving forward. 
" [YEA] hopes the board puts the right people in the right situation so the district can function as a normal school district should," Teutsch added.
A recap of the results of this WFMJ 21 News three-part investigation series can be found here.