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March 8, 2008 - Joe Gorman
Although this is not a news item, per se, I was saddened today to read about the apparent death of the Steel Valley Conference.
Back in the day, the SVC and the City Series were identified with Youngstown. Obviously, with the public schools in the city closing because of a declining population the City Series was not long for the sporting world, but the fact that the SVC couldn't make a go of it in football is disheartening to me.
But images of football are far from my mind now, as I just returned to work from lunch, where I cleared my drive for the third time in less than 24 hours. There were cars stranded on the side streets and people walking in the middle of the road, and I just tried to go as slow as possible and not stop. Anytime I stopped, getting the car in motion again was not an easy task.
Also, I got the precinct results from the Board of Elections last week for the Youngstown city school levy race, which will be running sometime this weekend. The levy performed horribly in the Brownlee Woods section of the South Side as well as the West Side.
This may have been the district's best chance to pass the levy because of the large turnout for the presidental primary. They could get those turnout numbers again in November, but selling the levy to voters in those two areas will be a tough sell.
Compounding the problem is the large number of government employees who live on the West Side, who would fight like hell to get a levy passed to protect their jobs, but for some reason, they turn their back on the school district.
Not that I am saying there are legitmate complaints about how the district is run, and myself, if I had a chance to vote on it, I don't know if I would, especially given the large amount of millage they are asking for.
But it seems as if the district leadership is not connecting with the people in those parts of the city. Some say it's race, and I don't doubt that part of it is, because those voters (especially on the West Side) tend to send their children to other schools, whereas voters in the black wards of the city generally do not have that option.
I don't know how to solve the disconnection problem, other than a massive pr blitz. Maybe whenever a kid is arrested at one of the schools district officials should make it clear they are not welcome back, under any circumstances. That, to me, is the biggest reason for the disconnect in the areas where the levy failed: They think the inmates are running the asylum.
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