Education: Penny-Pinching in Youngstown

As New York City schools finally opened, a different kind of crisis caused the 44 schools of Youngstown, Ohio, to shut down at least 15 days before and after the Christmas vacation. The reason was lack of money. This month Youngstown voters simply refused to raise the school-tax rate, even though it is the lowest of Ohio's seven largest cities. Although other cities have balked at school-tax hikes, this was the sixth time in two years that Youngstown had rejected a higher levy.

There were reasons for the voters' stinginess. Steel plants in the...