The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Reality Check

June 25, 2008

School statistics reflect low wages

Nearly 92 percent of students at Thurgood Marshall classified as ‘economically disadvantaged’

To grasp how pervasive low-wages and poverty are in Ashtabula, take a look at the state report cards for the buildings in the Ashtabula Area City School District.

The cards include an “economically disadvantaged” percentage for each school. The figure is based upon the number of students receiving free or reduced-rate lunches, says Patrick Colucci, who administers the district’s federal aid programs. A child from a family of four is eligible to receive free lunches if the family’s total income is equal to or less than $26,845. The child qualifies for reduced-rate lunches if the income is $38,203 or less.

The former figure translates into $12.90 an hour, the latter to $18.36. Both are higher than what many of the manufacturing, retail and hospitality jobs pay in this area. Indeed, the former figure is higher than per capita income in Ashtabula County.

It’s little surprise, therefore, that districtwide, 61 percent of Ashtabula City Schools students are classified as “economically disadvantaged.” At Thurgood Marshall Elementary School at least 91.8 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced-rate lunches.

The burden on the educators is staggering, says Joseph Donatone, district superintendent.

“There is absolutely a difference with regard to the socio-economic level of the student and the way in which we educate them,” says Donatone, who has the unique perspective of having worked for both the county’s wealthiest and poorest districts. “In Ashtabula Area City Schools, because it is a low-wealth district, we must provide more resources in terms of personnel and dollars on intervention.”

The district receives about $7 million annually from state and federal sources to help students overcome the roadblocks to learning that accompany them to school every day. That is almost 20 percent of the district’s $36 million annual budget, $22 million of which comes from outside the city.

2 3 4 5 6 7
Text Only
Reality Check
  • images_sizedimage_070165730 Why are we hurting so? It’s time for a reality check.: Main story, Day one

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_069193501 Beyond wineries and covered bridges … An introduction to reality check

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • What it is, how it’s calculated Determining per capita income is a complex exercise that — at best — is a mathematical expression of a moving target.

    In its simplest terms, per capita income is, according to the Ohio Department of Development, “the income of a given area divided by the resident population of that area.” Sounds simple enough, but arriving at the figure is not.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_069195701 Bad vibes: Lack of opportunities, progress make for sour attitudes Eavesdrop on conversations at the lunch counter, in the aisles of Wal-Mart on a Friday evening or around the sports bar on a Sunday afternoon, and you’re likely to hear some pretty disparaging remarks about the old hometown.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Finding work after prison nearly impossible A portion of Ashtabula County’s unemployed can’t find a job because of their prior address – a prison cell.

    June 25, 2008

  • County part of Team NEO marketing efforts Ashtabula County is part of a 16-county alliance aimed at marketing the Northeast Ohio region to employers and business investors, many of have never heard of Ashtabula, let alone Mentor, Akron or Youngstown.

    June 25, 2008

  • Some people just don’t want a job Ashtabula County Commissioner Deborah Newcomb talks to a lot of employers, and they all express the same concern: finding people reliable people with basic skills is a problem.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_070212402 POOR BUT WORKING A winter wind blew across the parking lot of the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry next to St. Joseph’s Church in Ashtabula; the six adults lined up at the door turned their faces from the wind, toward the metaphoric concrete wall of the building.

    June 25, 2008 2 Photos

  • images_sizedimage_071213603 County's largest hospital feels the Medicaid pain Perhaps no one in Ashtabula County feels the pinch of subsidizing unemployed or underemployed individuals more than Philip E. Pawlowski.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Crime & Drugs Inc. always hiring Some “unemployed” residents find crime to be their best source of steady income. Judge Richard Stevens of Western County Court says he noticed a 50-percent increase in the number of criminal cases handled by his court between 2005 and last year.

    June 25, 2008

House Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video