When there’s been a protest, a rally, a whole bunch of pissed off people at a public meeting in the last 30 years in Dayton, I’ve generally been there. I’ve watched, time after time, when the person running the meeting makes it worse.
Tonight, 300 or so people at the Dayton Board of Education meeting were loaded for Baguirov, and after they went into executive session for an hour and forty five minutes, after the chants of “Come On Out” were started, out came John McManus to soothe the angry mob.
And when the whole board appeared a few minutes later as McManus promised, he was in the center seat as “President Pro Tem.” That normally means temporary, but, in this case, it should be permanent. And the board should be taking applications for a new member.
It seems Dr. Adil Baguirov, stormed out of executive like a spoiled child who didn’t get his way. Photos were taken by district employees of him leaving. The arrogant smirk still hadn’t been wiped off his face. Some joked he had to go home to find his calculator, since he’s been spouting numbers from the center seat just last week- that were as factual as a Donald Trump campaign statement.
With Baguirov gone, the swamp draining began. McManus announced that there would be no action on any layoffs tonight. That the board needed to hear from the public, to work with real data instead of the random facts that have been used as justification for rookie Superintendent Rhonda Corr’s personal personnel plan. The people who’ve already been laid off or RIF’d are still RIF’d- but no more action will be taken until the Dec. 8th meeting.
First came the labor leaders. They weren’t kind. This kind of disruption mid-school year and pre-holidays was unheard of. One even got up with her promotional sunglasses that were passed out by Corr at the beginning of the year convocation- because “Our future’s so bright we have to wear shades” when in fact, the shades were better used to hide the tears that were generated as some of the 50 speakers got up to share their stories- from kids to people who’ve been in the district for 30 years. One even pointed out that the “We are DPS” didn’t include Corr, Baguirov or even the rest of the board- who didn’t seem to understand exactly how things work in the district.
Veteran teachers who were getting moved mid-year tried to explain the impact of having to learn an entire classroom worth of kids mid year- and trying to adjust for individual learning types. How this just puts us back on track for failure.
Corr, sat there, showing every emotion on her face, except the one that should have been there- embarrassment. The meeting was 5.5 hours long. This was her mess. She still won’t own it.
Limiting speakers to 3 minutes each isn’t easy without ruffling feathers. There was a board meeting about a year ago where Racial Justice Now showed up in force. Baguirov tried to cut the times to a minute each. It ended up with DPS security hauling people away from the podium. Not so under McManus who managed each person deftly and left everyone feeling that they were appreciated, respected and heard. The boy’s a natural.
During the long executive session, where the district was probably trying to avert a lawsuit or two from wrongly terminated employees, the district ran video on their screens. Probably to stop people from organizing more in the room. Probably wouldn’t have happened anyway- it was standing room only and getting hotter by the minute. I talked to many principals, paras, union chiefs, and parents- who had all read the 8000 word post from last night. Already fired Challenger Learning Center leader MariJane Recob thanked me and told me she had a pair of Speedos in her back pocket. They never made an appearance in her highly emotional speech later, unfortunately. They all thanked me profusely. All day long, it was making the rounds. One high level person suggested my name should be Bernstein- as in Watergate reporters Woodward and…
I wrote a speech early in the day. As I got up to give it- someone yelled “I want your autograph.” That, is a new one. Usually it’s me, the candidate asking for their autographs to get on the ballot.
After I gave it, Darryl Fairchild said to me it was my best speech ever. Darryl doesn’t compliment me often. Here it is:
Last night I wrote an 8000 plus word post on my blog about this, and I’m glad to hear so many of you read it. Thank you for coming.
I’m going to start out with quoting someone famous.
We all know that quoting famous people makes you look smarter.
And, I’m told that citations are essential if you want to have a PhD – which of late, seems to be all that counts in this district.
So I’m going to quote the queen of soul, because right now- I think this district needs to rediscover its collective soul.
Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB
TCB stands for Taking care of business.
Something that apparently has been lost on this board and superintendent
I need a little audience participation on this next part. Your line “Just a little bit”
I get tired- (AUDIENCE cue: “Just a little bit”)
Keep on tryin’ (AUDIENCE cue: “Just a little bit”)
You’re runnin’ out of fools (AUDIENCE cue: “Just a little bit”)
And I ain’t lyin’ (AUDIENCE cue: “Just a little bit”)
But someone sure has been. Lying. (someone called out “just a little bit”)
First it’s enrollment drops and money loss.
We need to cut para’s- because we don’t have money.
Then we need to hire 30 teachers- because, well, we do have money.
The people of the city trusted you with their school district.
And now, while you sat idly by- because someone thinks they can do a backroom deal where they get a “seat at the table” – there will be a private organization getting paid a whole lot more than our school board, to administer a program targeted at a tiny sliver of your responsibility.
Seriously- how’d that happen?
Our taxes are going up to fund the “pre-school promise” while, you were busy firing and then having a change of heart on the person who delivered the Top Pre School PERFORMANCE.
Aretha said it best:
I’m about to give you all of my money
And all I’m askin’ in return, honey
Is to give me my propers
It’s time to end this charade. Ms. Corr, Ms Abraha, and this boards leader can’t be trusted to tell the truth. Or do the right thing.
You got your single A that saved you from takeover because in part, of the work done by the lowest paid direct educators in the district.
You passed over the local superstar who helped get you there for an untested rookie.
It’s not too late to end this charade.
Time to quote Ray Charles- “You’ve got the right one baby” right here in Dayton. Home grown. A Dayton Public School Grad. Who doesn’t need a GPS to find his way to the schools, or a name tag to know who does the real work here.
He may not be perfect. None of us are. But, at least he is worthy of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
When McManus gave his closing remarks (he had a speech too that was 10 minutes long, that he didn’t feel needed to be shared once they delayed the RIF) one of his last words was RESPECT. He should have spelled it out… R-E-S-P-E-C-T
People came up to me after and thanked me. Others asked what the URL of the blog was. All day I’ve seen people sign up for email notifications to the blog, often with those long .k12.oh.us endings. Others said they’d vote for me.
Right now, the board needs to take a vote of no confidence in Dr. Adil Baguirov. They need to remove him as President, and ask for his resignation.
They also need to reconsider the employment of Superintendent Rhonda Corr, Treasurer Hiwot Abraha, Associate Superintendent Sheila Burton who is in charge of enrollment management and legal counsel Jyllian Bradshaw.
They should be asking the consultant Deborah Heater, who helped them with this RIF, for their money back. How any consultant could claim this would help the district, mid-school year, and without checking the enrollment numbers carefully, is gross professional negligence.
And an investigation should be conducted into how the fourth grade at Horace Mann elementary school was closed in June. It’s not a school you can enroll in and get a transfer voucher. In fact, it usually has a waiting list. I know it well, my x-girlfriends kids went there- we had to fight to get them in. This point came up over and over from parent, teacher, para in comments.
Lastly, there are still questions about property deals that haven’t come out. There may be reason to have the State Attorney General investigate the sale of real estate by the district. There are also questions on why this district sat idly by as Issue 9 subverted their responsibility for pre-school. Was a board member given promises of future money? Employment? Help with running for future office for letting this levy run without opposition?
Goodbye Dr. Baguirov, you won’t be missed.