DPS to hire an expensive PIO

When we bid to do all their marketing communications, it was to take over the responsibilities of the PIO and also produce the work.

Instead, the board hired, without reading the contract, the Ohlmann Group- and spent stupid money on a bad campaign.

Now- they are going to hire someone to try to direct the Ohlmann Group.

This from a district that was crying broke last year. Note- Jill Moberly didn’t make this much.

JOB TITLE:                     Executive Director of Communications

 REPORTS TO:                  Superintendent of Schools

 SALARY SCHEDULE:        $94,500.00-$113,400.00

SUMMARY

The Chief Communications Officer provides leadership, direction and strategic planning for news and information as well as marketing and advertising of DPS schools, initiatives and progress.  The ideal candidate is committed to a brand journalism strategy, with experience developing and implementing internal and external communications strategies and managing the day-to-day operations of a busy Communications Department. As a member of the executive cabinet, this position provides counsel to senior leadership and serves the Office of the Superintendent as the chief media and communications strategist, crisis communications coordinator and official spokesperson for the District.

Source: SearchSoft – The Greater Dayton Area Employment Consortium – Job Board

If there is one thing Rhonda Corr has been good at, it’s hiring expensive people at the top of the food chain.

Time to put the jail commission in the jail

Phil Plummer, Sheriff, Montgomery County OhioLast week, an inmate hanged himself in his cell.

He quietly passed through this world under the less than watchful eye of Sheriff Phil Plummer.

The jail is grossly short-staffed. Rookie officers are making serious mistakes in handling prisoners. Video to follow soon, as well as a massive data dump on issues within the jail.

And, as of this moment, the jail is in lockdown, following the OD’s of three female inmates, one of whom died this morning.

Sasha N. Garvin mugshot

Sasha N. Garvin mugshot

Sasha Nicol Garvin, 27, with a history of minor driving issues was pronounced dead at 8:15 am.

Do we have time to keep waiting for a “commission” to review procedures, policies, safety, while people die?

Maybe the solution is to lock up the “commission” until they come up with viable solutions?

Going to jail should never be a death sentence.

Details to come.

 

Rookie Superintendent Corr kicks her lawyers to the curb

After being mostly absent in the discussions over the 400 odd issues up for contention in the contract negotiations between Dayton Public Schools and the Dayton Education Association representing the teachers, Rhonda roared into the negotiating room last Tuesday, excused the boards lawyers and they haven’t been let back in the room.

Of the 400 issues- about half are just grammatical.

The remaining 200 are serious. This is an ambitious attempt by a rookie to remake the district, and so far, the DEA has been unimpressed, leading to the invitation of a mediator.

The legal bills generated to the boards outside law firm have been large up to this point.

Now, we’re in the hands of Dr. Sheila Burton, Dr. Libby Lolli and lead by Rhonda Corr.

To be fair, the DEA hasn’t had any lawyers involved on their side of the table. The board has had Tabitha Justice of Subashi & Wildermuth and board lawyer Jyllian Bradshaw on their side of the table.

The DEA has already authorized a strike, and has promised to wait until after summer session to actually walk off the job, leaving time for last minute heroics, but, the question is will their members wait?

Teachers are now back in short supply, and other districts offer better pay, better benefits and much higher morale as enticements. DPS has been losing teachers at an insanely high 20% rate for the last few years, helping to contribute to the fact that this is the worst performing district in the state.

On Wednesday, I went to the community town hall at Belmont High School. Corr made every PR mistake possible in the span of an hour, leaving parents, teachers, coaches, bus drivers and concerned citizens feeling like they’d just witnessed a concession of failure speech.

She had no real answers on busing changes, which was her lead item- via her surrogate Dr. Burton who gave a lame powerpoint presentation basically outlining that DPS can’t get your kids to school now, or next year. Questions from the audience were better thought out than the new three bell time schedule, or on why DPS is training other districts bus drivers for free.  “We did train 60 drivers but only 7 of them stayed” (8:41 on the video).

She goes on to say she’s working with her legal department to try to figure it out- the same legal department she dismissed from negotiations?

Other questions about why Mark Baker was given a 2 year contract, despite not meeting the standard other coaches must meet- namely, not being sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, got blown off- with “I can’t talk about personnel issues.”

Parents got hit last year with the major shakeup of the reintroduction of middle schools at the last minute.

Now, there is no confirmation that your kid will be able to be transported to the school they go to this year- next year. Parents, rightfully asked, “when will we know” which went unanswered.

Principals have reported teachers pulling up to the buildings with U-hauls to remove their personal items, something they’ve never seen at this level before.

It’s time to remove the board who hired this rookie, and to then remove her as well.

Dayton can’t afford to lose even more students to charters, to other districts, to vouchers, because our superintendent can’t lead.

After work fun in Dayton Ohio today and tomorrow and Friday

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Pecha Kucha Dayton Vol 31 poster

Actually, I lied. Tomorrow night, Thursday May 18th,  is the fun as Pecha Kucha Dayton hosts volume 31 at the Dakota Center- 33 Barnett St. at 7:30 PM. It’s a “Hack your city” edition with at least 8 or 9 interesting PK presentations, from bright, talented people. For those of you who are still living in the dark ages- PK is 20 slides, 2o seconds each- on any subject. Add in that’s it’s free, and has beer, it’s a lot of fun and brings an interesting group out.

Tonight, at 5:30, Dayton Public Schools Rookie Superintendent Rhonda Corr will be having a town hall at Belmont High School, 2615 Wayne Ave, Dayton, OH 45420. It’s free- needs beer, and will feature one hapless superintendent trying to explain the fine mess she’s gotten the district in since her arrival last July.

Feel free to ask her about how we were broke, needing a RIF in Oct- but flush enough in February to buy out David Lawrence, or buy 115 buses. Ask her why she gave District Athletic Director Mark Baker a 2 year contract, when the dust still hadn’t settled on the Dunbar/Belmont thrown game fiasco- but, can’t and won’t give any coach anything but a last minute 1 year supplemental contract?

Or, why the district and the DEA can’t seem to make any progress on contract negotiations this year?

Or, about the real estate deals?

Or how she has an ineligible Board Member?

Or the new busing plan- which pretty much will seal the fate of the remaining specialty schools- Boys Prep, Charity Early, Rivers Edge? And how the new zones won’t guarantee a return to segregation?

Freakshow Deluxe show poster

Freakshow Deluxe show Friday Night

And Friday night- if you want to be entertained yet again- check out the Freakshow Deluxe at Therapy Cafe- the “Family show” featuring the DPS student who throws knives at his sister with his parents approval.

We like to keep things fresh in Dayton.

 

 

Rhonda Corr, the sociopath superintendent

Yesterday, the Dayton Education Association got sick of being screwed with at the bargaining table and voted to authorize a strike.

Today, Rhonda Corr struck back, posting every teaching position on the Dayton Education Consortium website.

This is not how you respect your team.

Screenshot of job postings for Dayton Public School teachers on Dayton Education Consortium siteThis is a district that is already suffering high attrition rates due to changes in the state pension rules, an aging staff, lower pay than surrounding districts, poor working conditions, a challenging student population, higher income taxes, and last but not least, the worst morale thanks to inept leadership.

It was just Wednesday, when once again the board was asking if the district was doing exit interviews to better understand why people are leaving in droves.

This is because they are incompetent and criminally inept. Just two weeks ago, a young professional, accredited teacher shared her struggle to stay in her beloved Westwood Elementary building. Note- Westwood is in the center of what the Dayton Daily has labeled the most dangerous neighborhood in the city. Here’s her speech- again:

If the district had competent PR advice, there would have been an internal communication to all staff about the postings and the reasons behind it. Otherwise, this is just another example of disrespect.

One of the things Rhonda Corr said in last Wednesday’s meeting was that when things are this broken, sometimes you have to break them even more to be able to fix them.

Hint: The district has been a tornado of broken since she arrived.

By making every DPS teacher re-apply for their jobs on the consortium website, Rhonda is sending them to the very place where you can look for other jobs in districts that aren’t failing, that pay well, that don’t disrespect their staff.

Prediction: Next year, DPS will begin the school year with 25% of their positions vacant. If they are lucky. It may be worse- even if they do manage to negotiate a contract before school starts.

As to signing your kid up for summer school right now parents? Doubt there will be teachers to teach anything.

Good job Rhonda and Board.

You should all be fired.

 

Bus changes, Athletics process and procedures and more in store at Dayton Public Schools

They’ve spent money on coaching for the board and superintendent on how to run a meeting.

Unfortunately, they all must have failed the class. Last night, I filmed another 3 hour “strategic planning discussion” meeting, with most of it being pointless speeches by pompous board members (and Ron Lee and Dr. Hazel Rountree weren’t even there).

First question. Which board member suggested a newcomers/international academy? Rhonda Corr is very proud of her work in one with Cleveland Public Schools, which was a loving, caring, comforting, happy place. Of course, isn’t that what all of DPS should be shot back Sheila Taylor? We’ve now spent hours discussing some vague plan to put all the international students at Meadowdale, since the campus goes from K-12.  However, we’ve not figured out what to do with kids who are already spread out all over the district. Nor, do we know what to do with programs like Ruskin which are immersive bilingual and doing well all on their own. No one in the room has any institutional knowledge going back to the old ESL program at Miami Chapel, or the dumping of all the foreign kids at Patterson Kennedy before they tore it down.

Not a single ESL teacher was asked to speak, and Dr. Roberson really didn’t have a plan to present. Corr keeps asking for guidance from the board- and gets none. Some numbers of enrollment in DPS were provided (about 150 new kids a year, and it’s been trending up). I just love it when board members sit at their seat and try to research things on the fly- Joe Lacey pulling up census data. Doh!

No resolution, no plan, no next steps. Just waste time and move on to next disaster.

Longfellow. Dr. Sheila Burton talked to an unspecified architect and construction person, and started bandying big numbers around on what it would take to fix Longfellow- which like all DPS property- is suffering from deferred maintenance. $6 million bucks, give or take. Remember, the school only has about 60 students. There is talk about consolidating them at Gardendale or Gorman, or who knows where, but they need work too. There is no one tasked to manage this project, there are no deadlines, there are no assessments, but people seem to think getting the building historic landmark status is a good idea- because, well, all of them are skilled developers with preservation experience. Doh!

No plan, no resolution, no next steps. Just waste time and move on to the next disaster.

A new bus schedule is in the works. Was anyone from transportation there to explain it? Hell no. We’re switching back to a 3 tier schedule, which means we’ll have three different route slots. This way drivers will run three schedules instead of two. They’ll also travel less. New restrictions that there will be no routes longer than 30 minutes in length, and then the kicker- we’re going back to four zones, with kids only being able to go to school in their zone. No discussion of what this means for specialty schools like the Boys Academy or Charity Early school for girls. No discussion of grandfathering in students so they won’t have to change schools. Bam, there it is. We’d like to promote the pay the parents option- we’ll pay you $250 a year to get your kid to school- something not many parents know about.

This wasn’t so much a waste of time- just unanswered questions.

Another discussion of “Sensory rooms” was given by Dr. Roberson who has found federal dollars to build these new solutions to misbehaving children. They are going to add 5 a year each year to elementary buildings for the next three years. By 2020 we should have one in every building. There was no description of what these rooms entail, what training goes with them, or what they bring to the table other than being a better option than handcuffing students. Yet, Corr still had to stick her foot in her mouth and undo all the good will by suggesting that from now on, we just call Dayton Police instead to deal with kids who are out of control- aye carumba- wasn’t that why we hired “School Resource Officers” in the first place? So we wouldn’t have cops in schools?

I still don’t know what these are, if they work, when they work and what’s involved. However, they are apparently the new alternative to handcuffs. ’nuff said.

thumbnail of accountability-plan-dps

Accountability Plan presentation for “transforming Dayton Public Schools Athletics”

Then the crown jewel. Even though District Athletic Director Mark Baker couldn’t calculate eligibility, we’re to believe that he and Dr. Markay Winston have been holed up together coming up with the new “Accountability Plan for Transforming DPS Athletics”- Winston was there- Baker, no where to be seen. After we learned all about the new org chart with straight lines and dashed lines (and looking a bit like spilled spaghetti) several board members gushed over it. Sheila Taylor thinks this is just great. Joe Lacey on the other hand, seemed to not care at all- as if he’d written off athletics altogether. He thinks athletics shouldn’t get any more attention than other part of DPS.

The plan really looked more like a Winston/Spurlock (Judy Spurlock HR Director) creation than a Baker one. New was the magic word since apparently we’d been running the organization without job descriptions,  operations manual, protocols for OHSAA infractions/violations, employee monitoring or even financial controls. We’re going to create a new “Student Athlete Eligibility Warning System,” have mandatory study tables, a student athlete summer leadership symposium and a new 90-90-90 “non-negotiable rule for sports participation- which Dr. Winston couldn’t remember what it was. The new hiring process was highlighted- as were the board imposed conditions that aren’t visible until you start to apply.

There was also a presentation by Dr. Elizabeth Lolli about summer school. It seems we keep moving the enrollment deadline later and later, and still don’t have the participation we’d hoped to have, despite dropping the fee to either $25 or free (I’m sorry- I can’t remember). They’ve sent out flyers and still don’t have near the number of students enrolled that they want. John McManus suggested consulting with their ad agency, The Ohlmann Group, but was shot down.

They’ve hired a private company to run the courses, but, the private company has to hire DPS teachers first. Since enrollment isn’t finalized, it’s making it hard to staff appropriately. There is also a big bill for transportation. Seemed to sound like it was going to cost at least $1000 per student without transportation costs factored in. Of course, since none of these documents or presentations were uploaded for the public on Board Docs- or even the details of any of these plans, and this was at a meeting where the public isn’t allowed to speak, one has to wonder WTF is really going on?

Three hours after the start of the circus, those brave souls who were in the peanut gallery were treated to an adjournment without them going into executive session for once.

Now we can look forward to the next meeting, on 5/9/17 where we have a “review meeting” where constituents can’t speak, before we get to the “business meeting” on 5/16/17 where I imagine we’ll have a huge turnout again to speak their minds about these latest brainstorms of Rhonda Corr and crew.

DPS Athletics asks who’s on first?

Abbot and Costello had a skit about funny names in baseball called “Who’s on first” and while it was funny, the Dayton Public Schools rendition tops it in complexity and isn’t funny at all.

The players? three Powells, a Pullen, a Baker and a candlestick maker (actually two principals, Ms. Phillips – Dunbar,  and Ms. Walter, Belmont). Throw in a Bullens in a China store and the whole thing becomes more complex than it has to be.

While we already published Director of School Security Jamie Bullens report on the ineligible player and the OHSAA findings, we are still waiting for the transcripts of Mr. Bullens initial interviews, which were conducted individually, soon after the initial Belmont/Dunbar thrown game attempt.

thumbnail of OHSAAhearingscombinedandredacted

The Transcripts from two OHSAA hearings on Belmont-Dunbar thrown game. Redacting players name

What we have for you today, is transcripts of the two visits to the OHSAA board. The first, is right after the game, on Oct. 31, 2016. The second, is on 27 Feb, 2017 which also had Mr. Bullens in attendance. The name of the player has been redacted.

They read like the skit- “who’s on first.” At one point, even the stenographer gets confused with all the Powells and starts referring to one as “Dr.” and another is Uncle Albert.

What becomes ridiculously obvious is that the coaches, the building athletic director and the district athletic director have no clue on how to calculate eligibility. It’s pretty clear that both building principals knew- and made it clear that the kid in question wasn’t eligible.

There was also a bit of finger pointing- since the Belmont principal accessed the district system to check the eligibility of the Dunbar player and was the one who informed the Dunbar Principal, who ostensibly didn’t know he was ineligible. At this point, no one had figured out that he had already played the previous week and was ineligible then. #FAIL

The coaches hadn’t played the player, but had let him dress for “team photos” the night of the big game. This was a mistake of convenience, and set the scene for the next screw up- which is being piled on District AD Mark Baker who supposedly came to the game and had started recalculating grades- something he, Pete Pullen and the Powells shouldn’t have been allowed to do.

It’s pretty obvious reading the transcripts that we’re dealing with athletes, not scholars. The grammar is abysmal. Why was it so important this kid play? Dunbar was winning without him. The answer comes down to either- because he’s got people looking at him for scholarship, or, the more likely reason, he’s related to one of the coaching staff. (updated Wed May 7, 2017 after confirmation that this is not true from an informed reader. We drew this from the OSHAA transcript- but it was talking about the Powell’s relationship- sorry).

Either way, it’s clear that the Principals both said don’t play him, laying the blame clearly on the coaches, the building AD and the district AD. Who came up with the insane idea to lose the game to try to make this all OK- doesn’t really matter at this point. None of these people demonstrated the kind of personal integrity we’d expect from coaches. The kids grades sucked. He shouldn’t have been playing the week before, he shouldn’t have dressed, and the real question is why none of these people had been able to explain to him that there is no future for him in sports if he can’t get better grades.

We have to do better. Building AD Pete Pullen resigned from his AD position. That was the right thing to do. As to the Powells and Baker? Maybe we should use the Mark Baker solution to work things out- let them all fight each other.  (Baker let his basketball players fight at Trotwood- ending his coaching tenure there).

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Bullens 2nd Report- after OHSAA investigations

However, the smoking gun belongs to the former Dayton cop who heads security for DPS. Jamie Bullens did two investigations, and seemed to ignore the issue that brought the censure- the who told who to throw the game. Trough both his first report, he doesn’t  mention it. He seems to have not asked for the OHSAA transcript from Oct. 31st. And in his second report, to the board, because Joe Lacey seemed to miss the whole thrown game part of the sanctions, only having read Bullens’ first report- he again, barely scratches the surface of what the OHSAA transcript reveals.

It becomes clear his directive was to protect Baker and shift blame to the Powells and Pullen. It’s the Inspector Clouseau report- not the Magnum PI report.

In the meantime, “A. Powell” claimed to have a recording of Baker telling him to throw the game, but lost it after sharing with just a few people. The real question is did any of them save it- and will it surface next?

The Board rushed last week to extend Baker’s contract for two years. Soon after, the anonymous letter outlines plenty of other problems with Baker. Tonight, they unveiled their “Accountability Plan for Transforming DPS Athletics” which was presented by Dr. Winston. Board member Sheila Taylor practically fell all over herself to congratulate Dr. Winston and Mark Baker for coming up with this new system. It’s integrated with a new electronic HR system implemented by HR Director Judy Spurlock.

I’ll have it posted tomorrow. What else was revealed tonight is that there are conditions for employment that aren’t included in the publicly posted job descriptions. You have to actually login and begin the application process to find these conditions.

I just applied to be a coach.
Here they are, hidden behind a login:

Questionnaire Form

You are required to fill out this questionnaire to continue with this request.

* Have you had any reprimands (verbal or written) related to your coaching responsibilities in Dayton Public Schools or any other school district?
* Have you had any OHSAA allegations related to your coaching responsibilities in Dayton Public Schools or any other school district?
* Have you had any OHSAA violations related to your coaching responsibilities in Dayton Public Schools or any other school district?
Why did the district do this? To not rehire the Powells and Pullen. Yet, Baker already had a 2 year contract previous to these restrictions being put in place.

There is no excuse for this.
Baker was the one who was trying to recalculate the grades mid-game, when the principal’s had already said no and the head coach hadn’t played the kid. Take him out of this equation, and none of this would have happened.

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Millennial Medical dissolution filing

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Dissolving Montgomery Medical

Factor in the other allegations in the anonymous letter- and a full investigation is warranted, but not by Bullens. It has to be an independent investigation at this point.

That the Board is adding these conditions, that they rushed to rehire Baker, all point to a lack of integrity that fits with their former actions- from the RIF, the real estate deals, the marketing contract, the rehire of Corr despite her poor performance, their inability to police their own member who doesn’t live in the district and then does the purchase deal on the buses despite his conflict of interest and then votes on it.

If you need any further proof that Baguirov is being given time to manufacture his defense- he’s now shut down two of his shell corporations since I  first revealed them in the post: International Man of Mystery: Adil Baguirov on April 5, 2017.

There is plenty wrong with this district, but the best explanation of it comes from the transcript of the OHSAA hearing in February- unfortunately, we don’t know if it is Albert or Alfred:”MR. A. POWELL: The district is broken.”
Abbot and Costello couldn’t have said it better.

Action isn’t the same as a plan

Thursday night the Ohlmann Group gave a presentation to the board. Basically, a show and tell on how they made over $40,000 go out the door.

This wasn’t a presentation of the plan for approval, or sharing what comes next, it was just here is what we did, what we think it achieved, and, why we couldn’t do it better.

Ohlmann Group "creative" for Dayton Public schools and the PreSchool promise on billboards

Ohlmann campaigns for DPS and PreSchool Promise

The problem with “Great things are happening at DPS” is it’s not based on facts. Just saying it doesn’t make it true- just because it works for Donald Trump doesn’t make it work for a district in distress.

Not only is the campaign for DPS bad- the campaign for the PreSchool Promise is just as bad- and a horrific waste of money. Considering the digital divide in Dayton, not having a phone number is criminally inept.

Spreading the message via billboards, radio and digital channels isn’t effective either. Remember, there are only around 24,000 kids in the district, and 13,000 already go to DPS. Your target is the 11,000 who don’t- and since many of those households have multiple kids, a direct mail campaign would have been more effective- as long as you weren’t trying to lie.

The reality is, most charter schools in Dayton have test scores worse than DPS schools- and since DPS transports these kids- they know exactly who they are. Try telling charter parents what the benefits of sending their kids to DPS over a charter are:

  • Certified teachers in every classroom.
  • Support staff and systems for kids with special needs.
  • Sports and extra-curricular activities.
  • A chromebook for every child.

And a whole new leadership team working to rebuild the district with a plan, including a new transportation plan and brand new buses to make sure your kid gets to school.

On the flip-side, every kid that’s already enrolled at DPS should be taking home information about what’s in store for the district next year. Share success stories of recent grads. Talk about the programs in place to get scholarships, the ability to go to Sinclair for free. How DPS has a new groove.

At the same time, the district should be going out to the community and telling their story to neighborhood groups, to churches, to politicians and to business groups- asking for their help and involvement. If in fact “Great things are happening” those stories should be easy to tell.

The Ohlmann Group did get one thing right- the proprietary website content management system built by Upward is an expensive disaster and should be scrapped. This board picked this vendor- and has paid through the nose to keep it going. Building all these microsites doesn’t solve the problem- it just makes more problems. The district should have built a whole new site using industry standard open source solutions.

Considering the contract for the Ohlmann Group was $50K over my bid, and that we included full PR advice and 24/7/365 response, one has to wonder if the district is planning on bringing in a replacement Public Information Officer, since it’s obvious Ohlmann has zero interest in providing the board with support and guidance in handling issues at meetings, or to help them manage PR disasters like the handcuffed 4th grader, the Dunbar/Belmont thrown game, the bus buy, or the hiring timing on the District Athletic Director. While we didn’t get the contract, we’re there at the meetings to tell you what and why your school district is failing at every turn.

Ohlmann brought three people to the meeting, had one speak, and snuck out of the room as soon as they were done with their $40K worth of excuses. Totally ignoring the 400 teachers in red- there to start their own PR campaign to challenge the district status quo.

The board bought the Ohlmann contract, site unseen, mostly because they were promised a 90 day opt out at any time. Why they haven’t given Ohlmann notice at this point is beyond reason.

Stock photos? Microsites? A campaign based on an untruth?

Is this really the best DPS can do?

Dayton Public Schools policy change will speed exodus

While the school board sits scratching their heads why they can’t keep staff (even after it’s explained to them over and over) and they do things that make no sense (failing to investigate Baguirov’s residency, giving Corr a raise and a 2 year extension, retaining Mark Baker as AD, the layoffs in the fall….) we now have a new rule which will further hasten the exit of staff from the district.

From one posting of many that went live yesterday on the The Greater Dayton Area School Employment Consortium site:

Due to the increased duties and requirements from the district and the OHSAA standards, building athletic directors will not be considered for coaching positions.

Source: Dayton Public Schools – Building Athletic Director

Currently, the coaching and building athletic director positions are “supplemental contracts” in addition to an employee’s pay. By being both a coach and a building AD, it’s possible to boost your pay by $15,000 a year – and have pay comparable to what a regular teacher would make anywhere else.

This new provision may be in violation of the current Dayton Education Association contract with the school, but my attempts to clarify that haven’t yet been fruitful.

A week ago Friday, Dunbar Coach Darren Powell was quoted in the paper, and a story ran the following Sunday that he still had his position for next year. Monday the board informed the paper that this wasn’t true, as they had not voted on any supplemental contracts. The paper ran a retraction on Tuesday. Powell was told to shut up and not talk to the media, at least until after the Mark Baker situation had resolved- which lead to the long executive session on Wednesday and the eventual 5-1 vote to rehire him- even though his contract, like the one for Superintendent Corr and Treasurer Abraha could have been voted on later. This board like to try to sweep it’s dirt under the rug as fast as possible hoping no one notices that the dirt is turning into a mountain.

Once again, coaches are in limbo. Conditioning for football has already begun for the fall season, without a contract, who is supposed to be in charge? And when you are both a coach and a building AD- which applies to about half the Football coaches- which job is more important to you? And, with the choice- is it time to take your skills elsewhere? Earl White has turned Belmont from a sports joke into a multi-sport contender in three years. Do you think he, with his 21 years experience, a masters degree in educational leadership, won’t be recruited to go to the suburbs? The postings expire in 10 days- leaving a very small window for the coaches and AD’s to chose their future path.

An anonymous letter has been circulating with serious allegations about other issues with Baker. It has been seen by members of the School Board, coaches, athletic directors. I do not believe in anonymous letters, but, since I can’t seem to get full transcripts of interviews with everyone involved on the Dunbar/Belmont fiasco- or the transcript of the OHSAA hearing, I’m running it.

To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is out of deep desperation and my genuine concern for the students, coaches, athletic directors and all associated with the Dayton Public School District. I find that I must convey my disgust with what I have observed over the last seven months related to the Dayton Public Schools athletic programs and its appointed leader Mr. Mark Baker. Mr. Baker is under qualified for the job, and with each blunder, such suspicions are proving to be true. He was promised the DPS AD job before ever interviewing for the position by then Dayton Public Schools Chief of Schools Innovation, Mr. David Lawrence. Once evidence produced suggested that Mr. Baker was given an unfair advantage for the job, second interviews were immediately granted to all the candidates. The next time, a qualified candidate was recommended for the DPS district AD job, only to have his offer rescinded due to supposed public pressure and for the second time, Mr. Baker was handed the DPS AD job despite the fact he had no athletic director experience. Clearly, the fix was on.
The point of this letter of complaint is to bring to your attention a few major infractions that have occurred under Mr. Baker’s leadership, that to my knowledge has never been reported to the OHSAA. Mr. Baker on several occasions has purposely withheld significant violations that occurred in DPS from the OHSAA other than the Dunbar Early College High School football team using an ineligible football player in the fall of 2016, and he only reported that because it was self-serving. Also as a whistleblower, I must show how Mr. Baker’s gross incompetence has placed Dayton Public Schools and OHSAA at grave risk. Mr. Baker’s leadership style is confrontational and consists of intimidation and lying.
Mr. Baker proudly lets everyone know that he’s above reproach because he believes he has the complete backing of the Dayton Board of Education, Superintendent and OHSAA. Mr. Baker’s ineptitude causes him to call other athletic directors Statewide for answers to the simplest questions concerning eligibility and rule interpretations.
The following infractions and incidents occurred in 2016 and 2017 can be collaborated (sic) with any effort of a simple inquiry or investigation by your office:

  1. In October of 2016, Ponitz ere High School, Freshman football team permitted a highly sought after private school seventh grader to play in their Freshman football game. The player in question is the son of the Ponitz assistant football coach, Mr. Derrick Shepard. When this incident began to leak to the public, Mr. Baker instructed the head football coach, Jim Place at Ponitz to handle the issue internally, and he wouldn’t report the incident to the OHSAA, and he didn’t. Coach Shepard received a suspension for the remainder of the football season, and it was one or two games with pay.
  2. Mr. Baker permitted serval players from Community Schools in September 2016 to play football for Meadowdale High School without properly vetting their eligibility. After two games into the season, it was determined by the Meadowvale AD that the two players were indeed academically ineligible. Mr. Baker informed the Meadowdale head football coach that the players could continue to play because he didn’t want to punish the players for his mistake. Meadowdale lost both games in question but Mr. Baker never self-reported the player’s illegal participation to the OHSAA.
  3. During Meadowdale High School 2016 Senior Football Night celebration Mr. Baker became furious once he learned the Meadowdale AD and football coach had failed to put a pre-game program together to recognize its senior football players. Mr. Baker entered the press box at Welcome Stadium and verbally reprimanded the Meadowdale AD. Mr. Baker then angrily came into Meadowdale football locker room before the start of the game and disrespectfully verbally lashed out on the head coach in the presence of his players and staff. Out of anger, Mr . Baker physically assaulted the coach in front of witnesses. Several Dayton Public School security staff had to separate them. Coincidentally, the head coach wasn’t rehired. The coach was informed one of the reasons was because he played ineligible players during the season, the very players Mr. Baker himself cleared to play.
  4. In December 2016 the Meadowdale Head Football job was posted. In February 2017 Meadowdale High School granted interviews to fill the job. A selection committee selected Mr. Len Hampton. Mr. Hampton’s interview took placed (sic) without Mr. Baker’s knowledge. However, Mr. Baker wasn’t satisfied with the selection. He managed to persuade the committee to grant an interview to a candidate who was denied an interview because his paperwork was late causing him to miss the deadline. This person was Mr. Derrick Shepard, who didn’t score as high as others candidates during the interview process. Unbeknownst to most, Mr. Baker had secretly promised Mr. Shepard who’s an alumnus of Meadowdale the Meadowdale head football job, yes, the one and only Ponitz assistant coach suspended for playing his seventh-grade son in a high school game. Mr. Baker already reached out and formed an interview committee to ensure Coach Shephard’s selection which consisted of high profile Meadowdale alumnus and Mr. Sheppard, ex Hall of Fame high school football coach Pat Masters. Clearly, the fix was in.
    Six days or so after earning the head football job Mr. Baker summoned Coach Hampton to his office at Welcome Stadium and told him he had to be reinterviewed for the football job by him and Mr. Keith Byars. Mr. Hampton informed Mr. Baker that he had already been interviewed, selected and named the Head Football Coach by the principal of Meadowdale High School. Mr. Baker told Coach Hampton that it was him alone that makes the final selections for all head coaching positions for DPS. Therefore, he would have to interview with him. Mr. Hampton, Who is a member of the teacher union excused himself from the meeting and immediately informed his union representative and principal of his dilemma. They in turned contacted Mr. Baker to let him know that his attempt to intimidate Mr. Hampton and interfere with their selection was a violation of union contract. Within 48 hours, Mr. Baker reluctantly apologized to Mr. Hampton, telling him it was all a misunderstanding, or was it?
  5. Because of the entire 2016 Dunbar vs. Belmont high school football fiasco Mr. Baker failed to renew Coach Pete Pullen, former AD and Coach Darran Powell head football coach, basketball jobs cleverly creating a two-game in voluntary (sic) suspension at the start of the basketball season. Mr. Baker antics and power play worked to publicly embarrass and humiliate the Dunbar community and both fore-mentioned coaches. Because of a community uproar and a few newspaper articles both coaches were reinstated without explanation or apologies from Mr. Baker. As of the writing of this letter for reasons yet unknown the Dunbar head football job has yet to be filled and interviews delayed without explanation. Dunbar has currently four high profile Division I prospects, in which Mr . Baker has vowed if it’s left up to him Darran Powell will never coach them.
  6. Mr. Baker arranged to have a female athletic trainer, Ms. Erin Cane, from Kettering Sports Medicine Center removed from Dunbar Early College High School when she refused to give him negative information about the Dunbar athletic program and coaches. Three weeks after Mr. Baker interviewed her he then implied to the Vice President of Kettering Health Network that he had reason to believed she was having sexual affairs with members of the Dunbar coaching staff. Without any proof, Ms. Cane without noticed, was assigned out of Dunbar where she had served for eight years. It’s clear this is nothing shorter than vicious slander aimed at Ms. Cane and every male coach at Dunbar Early College High School and speaks to Mr. Baker’s lack of character and unethical need to seek and get revenge against anyone who refuses to bow down to him.
  7. Mr. Baker continues to try and convince people that he inherited a school district that was completely out of control and a total mess. He claims he inherited none loyal coaches across the district. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Mr. Baker started a staff meeting last week with building AD’s saying he has the power to replace them all and he will if they don’t start producing results. He was only giving the AD’s a year to turn things around, implying his contract will be renewed. Thus, unbeknownst to him AD’s are looking for other jobs outside our district due to his dictatorship style. Mr. Baker’s lack of decision making skills prove that he has no problem cheating and will cheat at every turn without conscience.
Thank you,
Very Concerned!

The school board hasn’t voted to rehire the Powell’s as coaches for football, although they have rehired them since the fiasco as track coaches. They believe because of the rehiring of Baker and new conditions in the contracts, they may not be the coaches next year. There is no evidence of any clause in the posting or in the School Board Policy manual (updated 12/5/16) that coaches will be ineligible due to being investigated or charged with any infractions of OHSAA rules as some had rumored.

The promise of a position in the future sounds like the work of Superintendent Rhonda Corr, who did the same thing to this writer when the RFP was out for the marketing contract (fully disclosed here).

There are still many questions surrounding the how much the board knows when making decisions. The main question is why was the Baker contract done while in the middle of the controversy? Rumblings of a tape existing that will damn Baker coming to light in the next week make this decision even more worrisome.

Seat of the pants decisions and timelines seem to be the new norm with Dayton Public Schools since Rhonda Corr was hired. At what point with the School Board realize that this isn’t how you build trust and respect with your employees? With the impending strike, forcing issues like a choice between coaching or AD, is just poking the bear at the wrong time.

 

 

When 400 teachers pack the room

You knew the school board was ready, all of them dressed in their Sunday best- Joe Lacey even left his hoodie at home and combed his hair.

The teachers were ready too. When I say 400, it’s not an exact count, but it was the most I’d seen. They were wearing red, and they weren’t happy.

DEA members pack DPS board meeting Negotiations on a contract have been going south, and for too long. The disrespect of the October surprise putsch, the buy out of David Lawrence, the buying of a $400,000 time clock system, the hiring of the highest bidder to do bad “marketing and advertising” for the district, the massive bus purchase- all while claiming broke- and paying the superintendent that’s turned this district upside down more than the board was paying the stable and confident former Superintendent, Lori Ward, are all sticking points. Oh, that and Dayton teachers are expected to do more for less than any other district in the County- with a few exceptions- like Jefferson Township- which shouldn’t even have it’s own district.

After the teachers leader David Romick got done with his address, they all marched out to have a street corner rally, complete with podium. The news media followed.

The only people who left before Mr. Romick was done talking was the three representatives from the Ohlmann Group after they made an apologetic and pathetic presentation of what they’d done so far for at least $40K of wasted money (more on this in a future post). They don’t sit through school board meetings- or provide PR advice to the district, hell- they don’t even bother to shoot their own photos for their ads, they use stock photography. Gee, maybe that’s why my firm lost, we had a 2x Pulitzer prize winner for photojournalism on our team to shoot for our proposed work.

When it came to the speakers, a young, 2nd year teacher who appears to be hitting it out of the ballpark for the district went up and made a plea for her job security. She’s teaching at Westwoood- you know, the neighborhood the Dayton Daily nominated as the most dangerous ‘hood in the city. Every year, she has had to fight to keep her position. You have to listen- this is who you want teaching your kids. Her name is Joshita Reza, and one day, if we’re lucky, she’ll be superintendent of DPS.

Dr. Hazel Rountree, the Board VP is going to look into why Ms. Reza is having problems worthy of a visit to the podium. But, later, circles back, and appears to not have understood anything that Ms. Reza said. It all comes back down to respect, and this board and superintendent don’t respect anyone.

And, if you have the lowest pay, the worst academic performance in the region- people go where the work is easier and the pay is better. It’s not rocket surgery.

I spoke, once again asking for their resignations, and why no one has done anything to investigate Dr. Baguirov’s questionable residency eligibility to even be on the board. It’s a moot point really now, as he already got them to buy the buses for $10M and help his friends in the trucking business. That was voted on after the very long executive session (where those who stuck around were treated to hearing yelling coming from the secret lair).

Before the speakers were invited to the podium, Dr. Walker asked John McManus to read the rules. This isn’t the norm. One of the rules is that you aren’t supposed to single out a single board member, but speak to them as a whole. Well, although I singled out Dr. B- I asked them all to resign, since they haven’t done anything to verify his eligibility. At least nothing close to what they’ve done to check on the eligibility of a high school football player.

My speech:

I’m go glad to hear that “Great things are happening at Dayton Public Schools”

That you put that up on billboards should be grounds to have you removed- for breaking truth in advertising laws.

Because, unless you are deaf, dumb and blind, you are missing the point of why 300 teachers keep coming down here and questioning your leadership.

But- I can tell you there is a way to make that true. Resign. All seven of you.

You see, allowing an ineligible board member to do deals with your proxy is grounds for removal from office. From the real estate deals that smelled fishy- to the hiring of the most expensive bidder to do the “Great things are happening” campaign- to the bus deal- you’ve been asleep at the wheel. Following prompts from a board member who doesn’t even live in the district- and hasn’t since 2015.

I’d like to see the rent receipts for his half million dollar house in the Vandalia Butler school district- tell us who does live in the mansion.

Because sure as bees make honey- Dr., if he really is a Dr., Adil Baguirov is in a bit of a pinch. He’s registered to vote in a Ten Thousand dollar house on Maryland Ave- where he supposedly lives with his business partner- Islom Shakhbandarov.

He failed to disclose many of his business dealings on his ethics statements. He failed to disclose his maze of shell companies.

What we have here is our own version of Henry Hill- here to sell you 76 trombones. A carpet bagger- who is possibly lining his own pockets with inside deals with CareSource- Miami Valley Hospital, the University of Dayton, and even Learn To Earn.

Never mind the bus deal.

Since you won’t do anything about any of this- I’ve taken the next steps to have Dr. Baguirov removed by a judge. The next step is to remove the rest of you by collecting 4500 signatures.  I think the people in this room will gladly help me get them in record time.

It’s time to stop embarrassing the city of Dayton. It’s time we had a superintendent and treasurer that actually lead our organization forward. It’s time to end the insider deals- and stop the loss of staff attrition – which has approached 20% annually.

Please, do us a favor- abdicate now- and save yourself the embarrassment- we’ve already got 13 people running for office to replace 4 of you. Do you need further evidence that the community doesn’t approve of your choice in superintendent or how you are running the district?

Because once we remove all of you- then we can legitimately claim  “Great things are happening at Dayton Public Schools.”

Of course no response. Dr. Baguirov’s business partner and housemate for voting, Islom Shakhbandarov was sitting right next to the podium and filmed me as I spoke. As soon as the board broke for their executive session, Shakhbandarov ran to McManus asking why he didn’t cut me off for talking about his partner- McManus said “I just read the rules, it’s up to the board president to enforce them.”

The board ostensibly went into executive to talk about the bus deal and the contract extension for 2 years to District Athletic Director Mark Baker. Several speakers spoke about the whole eligibility/thrown game attempt disaster. There are definitely 2 camps on this.

I say fire the coaches, the athletic directors, the principals, the superintendent and move forward. Nobody was there to make sure this young man was eligible, or that his eligibility was being managed properly. The video speaks for itself- the kids didn’t want to “throw the game” and showed their disgust for this cockamamie scheme.  Only thing I’m sure of is, this wouldn’t have happened if Superintendent Chaos Corr hadn’t run David Lawrence out of the district. Lawrence was previously over Baker- and, attended most of the sporting events- and knows how to calculate eligibility.

When the board came out of executive session, Dr. Hazel Rountree was missing. She’d walked off the job. Should be grounds for termination. When the going gets rough, or Hazel doesn’t get her way- she just gets going. This proves that she’s not worthy of her seat.

Joe Lacey was the only one who voted not to retain Baker. He’s a little late to the whole discussion at this point and doing nothing more than grandstanding. Of course, he dosn’t bother to hold himself responsible for putting Corr in charge of this circus. Watch the video of Corr and Lacey while he has his rant around the three minute mark.

Baker got his contract- with a 5-1 vote, with Hazel absent without leave. On his way out, Coach Powell said to me “We’re done” – knowing that they were going to be the only ones to take a hit for this gross failure to do the right thing.

Speaking of doing the right thing, the board still won’t address the eligibility of Dr. Baguirov at all. Thus, all failing their legal responsibility to follow their own rules.

The head of security who was tasked to spend all the time in the world interviewing everyone involved in the Dunbar/Belmont fiasco, hasn’t had any time to investigate Dr. B. Imagine that.

I’ve requested all the interview transcripts through a public records request for publication later.

When black people in Dayton screw up, leave no stone unturned. When it’s a slick talking, nattily dressed, carpetbagger who can’t make up his mind if we’re broke or flush- no investigation warranted.

As they always say the best defense in America is being rich.

More to come.