State Funds OK’d for 2 Valley Educational Institutions

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The state Controlling Board on Monday approved disbursements for two Mahoning Valley educational institutions.

The board approved $1 million for the Mahoning Valley Community School from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Youth Resiliency Community Capital Projects in fiscal year 2024.

“It can be very challenging for families to break through generational hardship, and resources like these are meant to alleviate some of that,” said state Rep. Lauren McNally of Youngstown, D-59th. “These dollars, and this facility, will increase the services available for young people, which I am happy to support.”

The board also approved $220,000 for Youngstown State University. YSU intends to buy about half an acre on the western side of campus from Wood Rentals through the YSU Foundation.

“YSU is an anchor for the tri-county area,” McNally said. “With higher education costs rising, many students may skip on-campus housing and commute. This makes parking availability and convenience more important than ever.” 

The Mahoning Valley Community School, which will partner with the Mahoning County Mental Health & Recovery Board while also working with Mercy Health and Akron Children’s Hospital, provides youth focused services and support in Mahoning and Columbiana counties to help strengthen mental, physical and behavioral health and vocational skills in preparation for future employment opportunities. 

The estimated total project cost is $2,453,651, and the state’s $1 million share will go toward the purchase and renovation of the lot and building, enhancing a space to include 17 classrooms, a special needs room, a day care facility, a clinical/behavioral health room, a mail office with a board room and administrative offices, a nurse’s clinic, a technology office, workforce development room and a security office.

The school will provide specialized instruction for students with an autism diagnosis, with provisions for an autism-specific curriculum built into the school day. 

It will also provide credit recovery and individualized education plans that focus on all academic levels, clinical services and more. Providing these services, which will be open to all Ohio residents and specifically students in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties, for 20 years is a condition of state support for the project

The school will service about 250 youths annually.

“Expanding resources to meet the mental and behavioral health needs of our communities is a priority shared by both the governor and General Assembly,” McNally said.

The Controlling Board funds were made possible by the General Assembly, which provided $92M for mental health and addiction services across the state in House Bill 687

The funding supports renovations and improvements at state behavioral health hospitals, local supportive and recovery housing, mental health treatment facilities, consumer operated services and peer recovery centers and community-located programming spaces. 

It also supports community resiliency projects for middle and high school youths, with an emphasis on community capacity for treatment and recovery, risk reduction, improved quality of care and enhancing partnerships in communities.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.