Dayton Public School board- still dazed and confused

thumbnail of Dayton Public School IT Assessment 1 11 2018 (3)

The deck for the 1 to 1 institute recommendations, Harris cut them off before they could explain the critical slide 14. Click to download PDF

Reverend William Harris, who still can’t say my name right, or that of Mohamed Al-Hamdani, flexed his new presidential muscle in his first meeting as commander in chief by cutting off a presentation by consultants who were hired by the board to report back on out 1 to 1 computer implementation. With no time limits on the agenda, just as the consultants were getting into the meat of their report, he ended their presentation- about 30 minutes in. Sheila Taylor was the ONLY board member who had the guts and wisdom to question his actions. The rest sat deaf dumb and mute. Taylor, was clearly in the right- as no board member has the right to speak for the entire board as clearly outlined in OSBA rules.

I cited this statement in my post about the attempt by Mohamed Al-Hamdani to close the illegal meeting about school closings to the public:

As a start, the following guidelines are offered. A good board member:
• Knows that he or she can legally act as a board member only when the board of education is in session. No one person, unless authorized, should speak on behalf of the board.

Source: Esrati and his video camera shut down first task force meeting before it starts – Esrati

Harris was authorized to speak for the board- but, when he made the unilateral decision, and Taylor questioned it, the proper move was to call for a vote on the continuation of the presentation by all board members. Harris just shut it down.

The critical slide 14- where the actual steps moving forward were to be discussed is what we missed. It was the main reason I was interested in their presentation. The slide read:

• Establish expectations for usage of eSchoolPlus and Google Classroom
• Connect the use of the Google Application Suite to “Power Up”
• Establish classroom management practices using Google Classroom (post assignments, communications, etc.)
• Discuss grading protocols using Google Classroom
• Create lesson plans that encourage effective small group, collaborative and independent learning options
• Infuse technology into teacher learning
• Support Data Dashboard adoption with building meetings and identify additional formative and summative data elements
thumbnail of PR for vote 10-30-17 DPS 1 to 1

They spent $30K for a report, but didn’t want to hear the meat of it. Click to download PDF

This was a $30K contract, approved at a non-business meeting (no public input) on Oct. 30th 2017. You think for $30K they’d be allowed to finish. The key takeaway was we did good at hiring more IT people and building infrastructure, the weakness was that this process should have been run by more than one person (Baguirov gets all the credit) and that it should have had more top level buy in. We didn’t get to hear the rest, so, oh, well.

On to my presentation, Harris tried to tell me that my 3 minutes started when I approached the podium- not when I began speaking. My teleprompter app had flipped on mirror text and I was resetting it.
Here is the text of what I said:

Congratulations to the voters of the Dayton Public School district for selecting four new board members, a majority, to redirect a failing district that has been characterized by a complete failure of leadership to instill confidence in their abilities or the future of the district.

The actions of the previous board and their ineptly chosen Superintendent have led to 20% turnover in staff, an almost completely new central office team, and a shrinking enrollment that has put school building closure on the agenda.

There is unfinished business from last year. The completion of the firing of Rhonda Corr should be foremost on the agenda. How her original mediocre evaluation penned by John McManus was changed to glowing now is incredibly relevant to her termination. We need to know what part remaining board members had in that change, and that they be held accountable.

Investigations on how and why Dr. Adil Baguirov was allowed to remain on the board after I made it clear he didn’t live in the district, and then proceeded to actively push a bus deal through procurement that not only is a violation of board policy- but also a conflict of interest since his private business does business with the vendors in the process.

These are not matters that should be overlooked. They have serious long term implications for the district, as well as set the tone for how this board will differ from the last one and everyone preceding it.

However, whatever hopes the citizens had for change have already been crassly violated, when the last board apparently sanctioned the interim superintendent to join a task force to study school closings without a proper vote to assign members or outline the scope and authority of the task force.

That a board member elect was named co-chair before he’d even been seated to this board does nothing to instill confidence in this new board. That he argued from his position of authority as a board member and a licensed attorney that the meetings should be held in private in violation of the Ohio Open Meetings laws- commonly known as the Sunshine Laws do not bode well for the future of this board.

But, beyond all that, this board met a week ago, and blindly followed the direction of the interim superintendent who crafted the agenda. Again, tonight, we see the same thing. The superintendent leading the direction of the meeting- with no real change in direction- other than to change the way you approve her agenda items to require only one vote instead of several- using simplified a “consent agenda”

Where is your direction to the superintendent on addressing issues of student safety? Besides the riot at Ponitz that the former superintendent tried to cover up, just last week we had a full fledged brawl at the Dunbar Thurgood basketball game. If you want people to send their kids to your schools- they have to feel safe. I see no item on the agenda on this.

Since we’re dropping in enrollment, what steps have you formulated to evaluate the performance of your superintendent and the district PR department that was hired last year by the former superintendent after your purchasing department failed to hire a PR firm in a legitimate, defensible manner? Your current PR people can’t even keep your site up to date. The time of this meeting wasn’t online.

And lastly, we need to have an actual role call to determine which of you support this closing task force meeting in private so voters will know who actually deserves a seat on the dais.

We voted for new people with a promise of transparency- yet, we’ve yet to see it.

By a simple yes or no response from each member, I need a response to that last issue. Failure to do so- will be taken as complicity to violate the Sunshine laws.
Thank you

Their response: nothing. So they all agree that it’s ok to have some task force meet in private to discuss the future of our school closings.

But- wait, then as I got back to the camera, Karen Wick-Gagnet made a statement suggesting there has been no additional movement on the task force and they are still new at this and are working to set a new culture. She didn’t answer the question, but at least acknowledged that they have work to do and are still learning.

Once again, Harris, who has been on the board for more than a few of these, stumbled and voted YES on resignations after July 10. Al-Hamdani meekly followed with a NO, then others followed until Jocelyn Rhynard voted YES- and then as seemed to happen more than a few times, Harris forgot to get Wick-Gagnet’s vote. Then Rhynard realized her error- asked for a re-vote, more confusion as it was sorted out- until we had the right 7 No vote that is normal to not accept resignation under contract.

I softly applauded as they finally got it right.

There was also a question about using a consent agenda by Taylor, who wasn’t familiar with the process. She was right to question its use, and that it should have required a vote to agree to implement the new process, however she couldn’t make her statement clearly. The process allows items that have been covered in the review meeting to be passed together, as one vote instead of separate votes. The new process wasn’t on the review meetings agenda- it hadn’t been discussed, therefore Taylor was correct- it needed to be voted on. They didn’t.
They also failed to vote on the treasurers recommendations, which were included in the consent agenda, but then read separately after they had voted- thereby creating the need for a vote. But, what’s getting it right when you are new at this… optional.

It wasn’t long before Harris once again was forgetting how to count to seven before calling the results of a role call, I quietly corrected them- before they proceeded. He’d skipped Wick-Gagnet.

Next thing you know DPS Media maven Marsha Bonhart is in the back talking to security and then came to ask me to stay silent- and not “shout out.” To which I said, 1) it’s embarrassing that they don’t know what they are voting on. 2) If I was shouting- you’d know it.
She left having assurances that I’d keep to myself as they were almost done.

Once again the board used “New business” which is when you are supposed to introduce issues requiring a vote to make speeches. All were stupid, except Wick-Gagnet’s who talked about how we change culture to change outcome. Worth a listen. Again, wrong part of the agenda, but, we’ll probably have to wait until they hire a proper parliamentarian.

After the meeting wrapped up in a timely 75 minutes, they headed into executive session to discuss a personnel issue and a real estate issue. Spotting  attorney Beverly A. Meyer going in, it’s a good bet that they were discussing strategy for final termination of Corr, ie settlement. Meyer was the attorney who uncovered many of Corr’s shortcomings when she was hired to investigate the work environment of Dr. Markay Winston- who’s accusations were mostly unfounded in her findings.

The board attorney said there would be no announcement after executive session.

Arresting teachers at school board meetings? DPS did that last century.

On Wed. Feb 28, 1996 I went to the Dayton City Commission meeting to protest their illegal secret meetings on Mondays (they called them “work sessions” and did them using the “emergency media notification” system of faxing to the media outlets on Friday evenings). The previous Monday, they had discussed ways to limit citizens from speaking, or at least being on camera, so they could make sure that I didn’t show how AFSCME trash collectors were getting paid for 56 hours while actually working around 30. I had shown up the previous week with my giant time card, and it was too clear how screwed up things were.

Since they didn’t want to see the face of the people they represent, I donned a black balaclava as the meeting started. The rest is history- and I ended up in the Montgomery County Jail that morning. The same place where Charles Alexander Wade was pepper sprayed while in a restraining chair.

But as I went to get my mug shot taken, I heard a voice call out “Mr. Esrati, Mr. Esrati” -and I look over, and there is Loretta Cephus, sitting in the mugshot area. She had been arrested the previous night while she was questioning the school board under Superintendent James Williams.

So when I was writing on Tuesday morning about how I’d shut down the illegal meeting of the school closure task force by protesting and refusing to leave or shut of my camera- because they were violating the Ohio Sunshine Laws, it was far from my first rodeo. And considering there were more than a few people who should know the Sunshine laws inside out- like Commissioner Jeff Mims, or City Manager Shelly Dickstein, or former county Administrator Deb Feldman or even Mr. Lawyer/school board member to be Mohamed Al-Hamdani- it’s pretty amazing that this collection of highly paid “leaders” didn’t know that what they were trying to do wasn’t legal.

When a reader sent me the link to the school teacher who was taken out of the school board meeting in Vermillion LA, and then cuffed- I did a quick facebook post thinking it was Vermillion Ohio (later corrected) as more and more people picked up the story in outrage. When I had viewed the video at noonish- it was at 250K views- it now has 2.7m views and counting:

The difference? Social media. What the DPS board got away with in its persecution of Loretta, wouldn’t have happened today. Her claims of #MeToo against Williams would have been taken seriously. People would have had first hand evidence of the horrible way the board handled things.

Loretta struggled for years, and was constantly pushed into a corner. Many have tried to do the same to me- “Esrati is crazy” – “Esrati is just a troublemaker”- “Esrati…”

It’s easy for them to do- to make themselves feel more comfortable with their ignorance of the laws that are there to protect them. It’s hard in a town that feels so strongly about putting the square pegs in the square holes and the round pegs in the round holes- that we often forget that pegs don’t have to go into holes at all…. in other words- we don’t have to be victimized by a system of laws and order that has been perverted for a long time. Back room deals on who should run, who should be on the ballot, and who should be allowed to talk or not talk for more than three minutes.

No, Vermillion LA, you putting a teacher in cuffs is nothing to this old hand of Dayton Ohio politics- you chickened out by not hauling her off to jail and charging her. In Dayton- we were doing that 22 years ago… and now, we’ve even upped the bar, by pepper spraying inmates in restraints, throwing old ladies to the floor and breaking their shoulder- and even letting people in medical distress die in the jail because, well, our Sheriff is beyond reproach and now running for State rep.

To all my supporters who called or wrote to thank me for standing up to the powers that think they can break the law, thank you. If you really want to help, consider making a donation to support my efforts to keep this blog as the source for the informed of Dayton. And, last but not least- run for precinct captain to stop these political power hungry members of the monarchy of Montgomery County from continuing to fail us in protecting our rights.

 

The Dayton Daily 2/3rds news

The Dayton Daily News “broke” the story that my neighborhood investor/rehabber Beavercreek resident Theresa Gasper has declared as a Democratic Candidate for the Ohio 10th to face Mike Turner. They report that she and Rob Klepinger will face off in the primary. Rob has run twice- and captured about 37% of the vote, without spending $10K.

Totally missing from the story is Michael Milisits, a Riverside rep, who announced before either of them thought of it. A Union steward at CWA Local 4322, he’s been at this for a few months.Look him up.

Now, the question is if the Montgomery County Democratic Party can keep their boys in the back room screening committee out of the primary- other than to vet candidates- not endorse.

In other news, the Dayton Daily news, announces their new advertising tagline: “If it’s in Dayton, it’s news to us.”

The new SBA regional bigwig is a Dayton original

For those of you who read this blog, and watch my videos, you’ll probably remember the 20 minute ramble my friend from across the aisle- Rob Scott and I had about running to be a precinct captain last week: How to run for precinct captain for your party- the video

It quickly got over 1000 views in just a few days, and I’ve had more people come up to me and thank me for it than any video in a long time.

Regional SBA director Rob Scott knows how to share the christmas spirt

Confidence, is being able to wear this suit. Rob Scott is ready to be Santa Claus for small business.

Next time we sit down to talk about something, he’ll be the regional administrator for SBA’s Great Lakes Region (Region V), which covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, and he’s moving the office from Chicago to Ohio. He’ll oversee SBA operations, eight district offices and federal small business assistance programs throughout the six-state region.

The SBA is the one federal organization that actually helps create jobs, providing technical assistance, training, loans and support to small businesses- which make up 99.7% of the employers out there.

When my veterans business group was working to help vetrepreneurs get going- we relied on the SBA office at WSU. Many of my clients got their financing through an SBA loan.

Hopefully, Mr. Bigwig will still be willing to come talk to a small businessman (me) about how the SBA is here to help us little guys get ahead and we’ll make another video.

Rob is a local product graduating from Kettering Fairmount High School, and then getting a degree in Political Science from Wright State and a JD from University of Dayton Law School. He’s on the Kettering City Council, and has practiced law and run political campaigns, including being the Ohio director for the Trump campaign. While at Wright State, Rob worked at the Dayton Daily News, and for a long time wrote a weekly editorial for the Dayton City Paper.

He also launched the Tea Party in the area, overthrew the local Republican Party via a planned precinct captain takeover campaign, and then stepped down when the old school monied elite withdrew support.

Knowing Rob and his dedication to small business and his deep commitment to public service, I’m pretty sure the SBA will be in good hands.

Here’s a great SBA fact sheet on what kind of impact the small business has on the national economy. And, if you listen to Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal like I do, you’ll know Kai’s saying that Wall Street and the Dow is not the economy, even though the people in Washington keep getting it confused with the real economic engine- the small businesses of America. I’m hoping Rob can get that message to the idiots in Congress who’ve sold out to corporate America.

Best of luck Rob. We’ll be rooting for you.

 

Task force conflict of interest?

A reader pointed out an overlooked relationship.

Dayton City Commissioner Jeff Mims

Dayton City Commissioner Jeff Mims

Dayton City Commissioner Jeff Mims, formerly of the State Board of Education, formerly of the DPS Board of Education is supposed to be the building closing task force co-chair with Mohamed Al-Hamdani who will be seated to the school board tonight.

His daughter, LaDawn Mims-Morrow is the principal of Residence Park Elementary (AKA World of Wonder). It’s one of the schools on the closing list- and gained fame when a 7-year old student was stabbed on the playground during recess. The assailant was never found.

How Mims can serve on a task force where an immediate family member is affected is just one more question this community needs to ask.

Of course, since they want to hold all their meetings in private in violation of the Ohio Sunshine Laws, we won’t be able to ask that question.