DPS: Special meeting coming. Corr going?

In an almost unprecedented show of foresight and planning, Dayton Public Schools sent out a notice of a special meeting yesterday at 1:44 pm.

In accordance with Section 3313.16 of the Ohio Revised Code and File: BD of the Handbook of Policies, Rules & Regulations of the Board, I hereby call for a special meeting of the Board of Education of the Dayton City School District, Montgomery County, Ohio, to be held on Tuesday August 22, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. Room 6S-115 of the Administration Building, located at 115 S. Ludlow St., Dayton, OH 45402.

The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Board to vote on recommendations from the Policy Committee. Following the vote, the board is expected to go into executive session to discuss matters of personnel and the sale and/or purchase of real estate.

The media is being advised of this meeting in compliance with the Ohio Sunshine Law.

More than likely, the discussion of real estate sales is Baguirov’s last chance to sneak a deal by the stooges before we have a new superintendent. Any action on the Patterson Kennedy site on Wyoming without a proper auction at this point should be investigated as criminal.

As to personnel, the only thing to discuss is if Superintendent Rhonda Corr resigns, is fired for cause, or is just plain bought out. This board is embarrassed by the teachers no confidence vote, yet doesn’t want to seem as if they are “reacting.”

Let’s go back to last month- when I called for them all to R-E-S-I-G-N, at the business meeting. Baguirov responded by asking the auditor up, but, then Corr called HR chief Judy Spurlock up to respond to my claims of mass resignation. If you watch carefully at the beginning, as Spurlock begins to hobble on crutches with a open laptop in hand, I go to her to offer to carry the laptop for her and was rebuffed. Then she stands at the podium and says we’ve only lost 93 teachers this year- and 89 this year.

So we went and tried to build a spreadsheet from the HR reports over the last year from Board Docs- but, they didn’t post the spreadsheets. So we did a public records request- and had a CPA analyze the data.

Comprehensive for School Year 2017.

The breakdown is neither pretty, or sustainable. Total resignations of staff is 600. Workforce of around 2400- which means 25% turnover. No professional organization can survive that.

Spurlock said 89 teachers left.

Our count: 187.

Here is the break down by position:

Adjunct4
Adjunct staff11
Administration30
Clerical18
District support staff5
Mental health tech3
Nutrition2
Nutrition srevices7
Occupational theraphy assistant1
Occupational therapy1
Operations29
Paraprofessional59
Psychologist2
Security resource officer6
Teacher187
Temporary162
Transportation73
Total600

And, of course, I’m also including the entire spreadsheet. working Human Resources COMPREHENSIVE 06-30-17   

Because, Rhonda, these are F-A-C-T-S.

Note: we had to correct a lot of issues- likely, keystroke errors, with names not quite matching. When we broke things down by schools- school names didn’t match, etc. If the board knew how to run an organization, they’d have asked for this report themselves, complete with pivot tables on which schools lost the most, and tried to interpret what’s been happening. But, no, even taking Spurlock’s word of half the true amount, didn’t set off alarm bells. If Corr isn’t gone by Wednesday, maybe a judge will see past their incompetence and criminal neglect of duty to manage our district properly.

 

A year has passed: Stephen G. Esrati 1927- Aug 18, 2016

I slept on the pull out couch at the VA Hospice. Dad. made some noises around 2am. He wasn’t really there, the spirit of the man I knew had left a few nights before, when he ate his last meal- a double bacon cheeseburger from Burger King.

I left to take a shower around 8am- and to pick up Mom. He died while I was gone. The nurse said, sometimes they wait to die alone. I’ve come to accept it.

That last meal was really a favorite- partially because as a non-observant Jew- it was the ultimate giving of the middle finger to the orthodox. He even listed it as his favorite food on his profile on the Jerusalem Post. I don’t think he ever got over being hung by his cheek on barbed wire as a young boy while riding his bike on the sabbath in Palestine. Someone had to come- lift him off the barbed wire, which had been strung to enforce their interpretation of the sabbath. He came close to losing an eye.

The right to protest always had limits, but, when your rights were taken away, it was your duty to fight. That’s why, when the fight to create an Israeli state began, he set off on an illegal journey to fight. And when the ship he was on was boarded in Lebanon, and the males of “fighting age” were ordered at gunpoint to leave the ship, he went first.

Over the last year- some young med student, has hopefully, been learning how to save someone else’s life- by practicing on the vessel that held his spirit.

Me, I’ve doubled down on fighting the good fight. From taking on the school board with their catastrophic choice in superintendents, to trying to prove that Phil Plummer runs a jail unfit for human habitation. Dad would have been proud. He also would have told me, at some point, you have to take care of your business- and all this, is for the ungrateful, those who never pay attention until it’s too late.

But most of all, I’m thankful that he didn’t live to see the rise of Donald Trump.

What happened in Charlottesville last week would have him marching in the streets. Not necessarily about the neo-nazis protesting, but Trumps comments after. To him, words matter. The difference between politicians “distancing” themselves and “denouncing” Trump are very clear in his book, and in mine. To see Cohn and Mnuchin, two Jews, stand there, while Trump makes excuses for Nazis would have been the tinder to set a fire under his ass. That they haven’t resigned, rejected, denounced, the idiot in chief is tantamount to treason in his book- not just as Jews, but as Americans.

Speaking of his book- he wrote one on citizenship to me, for my 17th birthday- but started around the time of another national tragedy- the massacre at Kent State.

You don’t have to go very far in his book to find something that speaks to the issues of the day, and that in itself is sad. The more things change- the more they stay the same.

The American Creed
When I was a kid we still had to memorize things. I don’t know if schools still do this. If they do and if we had not left the United States, you might have had to commit to memory a short statement of what it means to be an American. I learned it in the sixth grade at the George G. Hamilton School in Everett, Mass. Even today, I can honestly say that I think its author, William Tyler Page, clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, did a fine job of expressing the ideals of Americanism in “The American Creed”:

I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign nation of many sovereign states; a perfect union, one and inseparable, established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, and to defend it against its enemies.

Long before you were born, I had become convinced that freedom, equality, justice and humanity were not the operating principles on which the United States was run. I would not have been able to say that most Americans believed in those ideals, at least as long as it was cheap for them to say so. Every American paid some lip service to these principles every year.
To some it meant that an American had some inherent right to tell people in other countries how they should conduct their affairs. On the premise that the U.S. system of government was not only the best possible but actually perfect, Americans forced their ideas on other countries. That is why West Germany is a federal republic. That’s why the Philippines has a President and a Congress. And before Fidel Castro threw out the perfect system, even Cuba had it, brought at gunpoint by the United States Marines.

We don’t learn “The American Creed” in schools. We castigate people who question our government- which is less and less, by the people or for the people. Listen to Trump as he turns on the CEO of Merck for leaving his little committee- who dared to question- “@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S., Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!”

This, in response to: “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”

I miss my father.

But, I miss the ideals of my country even more.

If you have time for a short read, please, take the time to read “Dear Son, Do you really want to be an American” by my dad. I’ve shared his gift to me to you for free. In his memory- if it just helps one of you to better understand where we’ve gone wrong, it will be a fitting tribute to the man who made me.

 

The Elephant in the Dayton Public School Board meeting last night

I didn’t speak at public comment.

Neither did DEA chief David Romick.

Why speak to a board that doesn’t listen, doesn’t respond, and brought on the chaos and confusion that has ruled their last year- the reign of Rookie Superintendent Rhonda Corr?

The union voted almost unanimously to send a message – no confidence in the school board, no confidence in Rhonda Corr. There was no discussion of this. Just a lot of glad handing themselves and passing out participation trophies to each other for having a first day where kids got picked up and delivered by buses that ran on time. Seriously- every other district in the country can do this, only the worst district in the state can’t get this right.

So what should have happened?

After the vote to accept the contract, the issue of the no confidence vote should have been brought up.

The board should have responded with a public vote of confidence or no confidence in the superintendent- so the public can know where they stand.

Although this can be done in executive session, this is a litmus test vote to let the people they represent know how they feel about the performance of the superintendent. It’s a hard decision- but a necessary one. Sticking your heads in the sand is not an option. A no confidence vote is a serious issue considering the entire DEA is half the districts workforce- and without them- there is no district.

Another scenario- John McManus, the only functional member of the board, should have said immediately after the ratification of the DEA contract, “while we are patting ourselves on the back for settling this contract at the last possible minute, may I remind the board that there are 10 other bargaining units, and none of those are settled. Our Superintendent, although claiming to be a master negotiator, cost us over $150K to Huffmaster for nothing. We let this happen. I am hearby promising to tender my conditional resignation to the new board members when they take office in the spirit of healing and recognition of the failures of this board in the past year to guide this organization in a way that would have earned the respect of the professionals we employ.

I would also ask the other two board members, Dr. Walker and Ms. Taylor to join me in this move.

To the four existing board members who have earned this vote of no confidence, I ask that you pledge to resign the day after the election results are finalized and make way for the new board immediately so this process of healing can proceed at the fastest possible pace.

As to the no-confidence vote in the Superintendent, I voice my own opinion of her performance and ask that each of you do that now. It’s time to clarify to those we represent what we think of her performance in light of this move by the DEA. If there aren’t four votes of confidence in her favor, I ask that we work to negotiate her separation from this district to be effective immediately, and Dr. Lolli be asked to serve as interim superintendent until the new board is in place.”

Of course, since McManus is the quintessential southern gentleman, we can’t expect him to go out on a limb and do the right thing.

As to the other 6, they have no clue what the right thing is.

I will be organizing a candidates forum soon for the 7 challengers. I don’t think there is any reason to give Mr. Lacey an opportunity to speak at this forum, since it’s been quite obvious that he’s had plenty of time to speak- including last night, and didn’t. The voters want change, and there is no reason to even consider his re-election.

If you disagree with not allowing him to participate- please rewatch this video:

 

Educational entertainment tonight and tomorrow in Dayton

Tonight, at about 6:30 PM at the Oakwood Wright Memorial Library in the community room, I’ll be giving an off the cuff version of the banned in Dayton TedX talk about why our elections system is broken and how we could fix it.

Wright Memorial Library is at 1776 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45419.

The group I’m speaking to is organized by Jason Liff- a friend and former client (MotoScooto- RIP). It’s a gathering of older intellectuals who still take an interest in learning. The talk is free and open to the public.

Tomorrow night, Aug 17, at 7:30 pm at the UD Roesch Library- the tallest building on campus, Pecha Kucha Dayton will have volume 32.

thumbnail of pk vol 32 poster FINAL

Poster for Pecha Kucha Dayton Vol 32. PDF- click to download

Ten presenters talk about collecting:

Kayla Harris – Apparition Collections
Jacobee Rose Buchanan – Fantasy Costume Design
Rob Degenhart – Stories from the Self Storage Files
Teri Schoch – Collection Habits of an Artist
Christina Pereyma – Interpreting a Life from its Objects
Guustie Alvarado – Collecting Experiences for a Memoir
James Luckett – The View Behind the Cafe
Jason Harrison – The Beauty of Minimalism
Jason Antonick – A Classic Butterfly Collection
Sandy Mendelson – Life in the Liquidation Business

The event is free- Cash bar. Free parking (no passes required) in lots A, B and P.

Pecha Kucha- or PK- is 20 slides, 20 seconds each- on any subject. It’s usually family friendly, and interactive. I’ve seen the rough cut of one of the presentations and it should be awesome.

PK is produced by three South Parkians – Jill Davis, Matt Sauer and Shayna McConville It’s a program that’s global- happening in over 900 cities around the globe. Typically between 300 and 400 people show up at these 4x a year events. The location moves to expose people to different parts of the city. If you haven’t been to one, vol 32 should be a fun way to break your virginity.

8 Certified to run for DPS board, 7 options, 4 seats

thumbnail of November_7__2017_Certified_Candidates_8_15_17

Click to download complete PDF from BOE

From the Montgomery County Board of (S)Elections today, the complete candidate list.

For Dayton Public Schools there are 8 candidates for 4 seats, and seeing as one is an incumbent.

Which is an odd coincidence- if the current board, with the vote of no confidence in them and the Superintendent did the right thing- there would be 7 seats available.

  • Mohamed Al?Hamandi 26 Hawthorn St. Dayton 45402
  • Paul Bradley 227 Green St. Dayton 45402
  • (Mario)  Ann Marie Gallin 40 Gebhart St. Dayton 45410
  • William E. Harris Jr. 1125 Cornell Dr. Dayton 45406
  • Joe Lacey 207 E. Sixth St. Dayton 45402 (incumbent)
  • Jocelyn S. Rhynard 107 McDaniel St. Dayton 45405
  • Jo’el T. Jones 33 W. Babbitt St. Dayton 45405
  • Karen Wick?Gagnet 222 Warren St. Dayton 45402

There is another issue, with my filing of candidacy for the Montgomery County Educational Service Center board. Despite it being mandated that DPS purchase services from the MCESC, and that they are the first people the State turns to in a state takeover, somehow, despite it being THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY ESC- I’m not eligible to sit on the board, although people in Brookville and Trotwood are (which both have city school districts).

There are some other questions about the legitimacy of the oversight of this organization- including how much involvement it has with the Issue 9 money and Learn to Earn. I am consulting with State legislators and my volunteer legal team to challenge this strange taxation without representation.

The same three people have run un-opposed before- and we know what happens there.

In other DPS news- the board will vote to accept the new contract with the DEA tonight- several months later than it should have been settled. Superintendent Rhonda Corr claims she settled it single handily after her negotiations team failed (her words). What’s missing from this picture? The reality that there are 10 other bargaining units- and none of their contracts have been settled.

The real question that the board should answer today- is if they still have faith in the Superintendent and her capacity to lead the district.

Trouble coming Tuesday morning

Bus routing for 14,000 students plus isn’t easy. In fact, it’s a pretty difficult math problem.

I suck at math. Most Americans do. Even smart people don’t understand how you do this. The classic story was that of a business school student who turned in a business plan for an overnight shipping company- where everything wen through one hub. His name was Fred Smith, he got a C. You may have heard of his company though- it’s FedEx.

Dayton Public Schools has been struggling with these issues for years, despite having less schools, less students and now 4 bell times up from 2 long ago. I watched in horror as Dr. Sheila Burton gave a single slide “presentation” on how she’d solved our bus problem with 4 bell times, new rules and cuts- that the board didn’t ask the superintendent to fire her for incompetence on the spot was beyond me.

Boston Public Schools on the other hand have a much more complicated system- with over twice as many students. They chose another way to solve this:

“A trio of MIT researchers recently tackled a tricky vehicle-routing problem when they set out to improve the efficiency of the Boston Public Schools bus system.
Last year, more than 30,000 students rode 650 buses to 230 schools at a cost of $120 million.
In hopes of spending less this year, the school system offered $15,000 in prize money in a contest that challenged competitors to reduce the number of buses.
The winners—Dimitris Bertsimas, co-director of MIT’s Operations Research Center and doctoral students Arthur Delarue and Sebastien Martin—devised an algorithm that drops as many as 75 bus routes”

from “How Do You Fix a School-Bus Problem? Call MIT” subscription required

FedEx, UPS, USPS all spend millions on figuring out how to do their door to door routes more efficiently. UPS software saves millions in fuel costs and works at refining routes in real time.

But here’s the thing- packages don’t walk. Door to door delivery is essential for them- but, not for students. For some idiotic reason, DPS still insists on trying to route buses down one way streets in historic districts that just aren’t wide enough for buses. My whole office stood and watched- and laughed – as a new DPS bus tried to turn down Adams street- I know, I should have grabbed a video camera.

Why neighborhood collection points aren’t in the solution is idiotic. Other than special needs kids- who may be physically challenged, pickup and drop-off points can be moved- and, as an added benefit, kids get some exercise.

Unfortunately, we aren’t smart enough to ask MIT or even UD to try to help. Nope, we’ve got Dr. Sheila Burton, who’s last day should be Tuesday if this doesn’t work.

Additional resources: 2 non paywall articles:
Here is a free article on MIT on public transit issues: https://www.citylab.com/…/inside-bostons-bus…/522726/
And here is a great one- with all kinds of links from NPR http://www.wbur.org/…/07/27/mit-quantum-boston-bus-routes

Rhonda Corr now drives a bus

On Sunday, Rhonda Corr was praying and blaming her board members for slowing the process.

Corr, who was on her way to church to “pray for resolving the issue,” said the documented struggles of the district and Dayton Education Association negotiations were heavy burdens to bear….

“I’m going to be doing some cold-calling to my board members to see how much they’ll support me in what I want to propose,” Corr said.

Source: Dayton Public Schools head says deal ‘could get done’

This morning, she was blaming her staff- specifically, board attorney Jyllian Bradshaw for the protracted negotiations.

Corr said members of her own negotiating team were against the switch to a two-year contract proposal, but she said she overruled them as lead negotiator, in an effort to get a deal done.“

“The former negotiating team (led by district attorney Jyllian Bradshaw) had five and a half months, and no movement was made,” Corr said. “The superintendent was called in and did it in nine days.”

Source: Dayton teachers ratify 2-year deal

Since this board brought Rhonda Corr on as superintendent, the district has moved from one crisis to another. The amount of chaos is exponential compared to anything the district has ever seen.

But, lets stick to the facts: The board hires and fires the superintendent, the treasurer, the auditor. The attorney is 50/50 split.

Rhonda, if she was the leader she thinks she is- should have been able to tell that her negotiating team wasn’t doing their job well before the final hour. Blaming Bradshaw is nothing but a hit and run. If you are wondering why Dr. Markay Winston, Corr’s handpicked senior leadership left– it was because she was tired of getting hit by Corr’s bus.

The no confidence vote by 800 plus teachers in both Corr and the Board is a good indication of how bad things have been. That Corr is taking credit for something that should have been done months ago, before she lost 100 teachers, is grounds for termination of her contract for cause. And the word is, that Treasurer Hiwot Abraha was the one who refused to certify the contract for 3 years because of her fiscal forecast- not because of anything Rhonda did.

This district will remain in chaos until a new board majority takes office in January, or earlier if anyone has any common sense.

The real question is, if someone polled this board, would they still publicly back their choice of Rhonda Corr? Is it time to replace her, as a token of consolation to the union who didn’t break the law by discussing the confidential negotiations a day before the final session? Can anyone in this district ever admit they made a mistake?

In the last year- the only person I’ve seen admit to being wrong, was Jyllian Bradshaw, when I called her a liar in a board meeting about the RFQ process.

Unfortunately, she’s the one who got run over by the bus today.

The DPS/DEA agreement and the cost

The payment of $150K to Huffmaster to prepare for a strike isn’t the expense that hurt.

It should come right out of the paychecks of the negotiating team for DPS.

The union voted no confidence in the Superintendent, Rhonda Corr and the entire School board.

That hurts.

But, what is the real damage? The 100+ qualified, experienced teachers who left the district because they were tired of the shit show. Many of those are going to be very difficult to replace.

I have three documents to share. The first is a handout of what the board wanted to do back in January- consider it a refresher. Since all the discussions were secret until Corr and crew broke the law with their disclosure on Tuesday- the public really didn’t know what the board was pushing for.

thumbnail of What DPS was originally offering

The original report to DEA members of changes DPS wanted to make. Click to download readable PDF

241 proposed contract changes is unheard of. This was just the summary.

Next we have is the Mediator’s recommended tentative agreement that was submitted. The union gave a little- agreeing to let 3 years of steps slide- even though other districts were hiring away our teachers and honoring them all. This will come back to bite DPS in the butt in the future.
Pre School is going to 5 days- although how it will remain 5 star is a mystery. Half the staff is gone, and they are hard to replace.

The time clocks will be decorative toys for professional staff- you use them- but won’t be penalized by them. Very expensive ornamentation. Might hurt other unions a lot more- and probably rightfully so.

The paychecks that were threatened to be held hostage if a strike did occur- will now be issued Monday. The union could still sue for treble damages for the holds. This too, should come out of the negotiating teams paychecks.

thumbnail of Mediators agreement

What the mediator recommended. Click for readable PDF

And, lastly- we have the long contract. They printed it on blue paper to make it impossible to copy. Sorry- old trick- doesn’t work anymore, just annoys people.
I could have spent more time removing the blue- but- just gave you a machine transcribed PDF.
I’ve spent way too much time covering this mess. I’m not paid to do it. You can read it- and share what you think is pertinent.
The board has to ratify it on Tuesday. If they don’t- strike still happens.

Supposedly, everything is just peachy- and the standard non-retaliatory clauses are in. However, there were mad numbers of staff shuffles going on today- as if the disruption of downtown will never cease.

thumbnail of DEA-DPS-Tentative-agreement

The whole agreement. Click to download PDF to read.

The DEA chief, David Romick, has no idea why all of a sudden, at 3am, the board flipped a switch. And we may never know. Just know, that no superintendent has ever kept their job after a strike.

There are 10 candidates who filed to run for 4 seats. If all petitions are approved, that’s more than enough to fill all 7- and be an improvement (only 9 to choose from really, because one is Joe Lacey, who doesn’t deserve to be re-elected after partaking in this destruction of the district.).

In the end, no one won this battle. We all lost. Smart people will look back at the last year and see the writing has been on the wall the whole time.

This all sits squarely with the seven people who approved these decisions: Dr. Adil Baguirov, Joe Lacey, Ron Lee, John McManus, Sheila Taylor, Dr. Hazel Rountree and Dr. Robert Walker. The question is, who will take responsibility?

Expensive drama for nothing

In the wee hours of the morning, version 5 of the DPS negotiation team, reached a tentative agreement with the DEA. This afternoon, the DEA union may still vote it down and go on strike, but that’s unlikely.

The reason that’s unlikely- is because after 8 months of negotiation- and an illegal public ambush on Tuesday afternoon where the district illegally discussed negotiations and threatened to withhold the teachers checks (which would have cost the district treble damages, because it’s illegal to withhold earned pay), the teachers basically got everything they were asking for- except the contract is only for 2 years, instead of 3.

DPS Treasurer Hiwot Abraha wouldn’t certify the 3 year contract because “we don’t have the money.” Hmmm, we had the money for 3 years to sign Superintendent Rhonda Corr’s lush contract for 3 years- and we did the 7 year bus buy, no problem.

Now, the craziness begins again. The bus/bell schedule is going to be a disaster. My whole office watched a DPS driver in a brand new bus trying to make a turn from Bonner onto Adams- a narrow one way street with cars parked on both sides. It was entertaining to all of us- but not so much to the person who was honking at them to move….

Many of the fundamental problems of poor leadership and no-attention span planning will still exist. Teachers are being shuffled like a six card deck in Vegas according to my facebook feed. The moving of teachers from school to school is just one more way we make sure DPS won’t make real progress on academic scores.

Hopefully, with the raises and recognition of steps, we’ll stop seeing our best teachers leaving by the boatload for greener pastures. What won’t be able to be undone- is the huge loss suffered from this protracted drama. There are now 8 certified PK teachers with masters degrees and additional certs- all working in Springfield. Sure, the drive will suck, but, they said I make $8K a year more AND it’s a positive working environment.

That last part, the positive working environment, won’t come to DPS until a new board is seated and some sort of rational thinking guides this district again.

At the board meeting on Tuesday- Dr. Walker pulled me aside and had a friendly discussion with me. He was concerned I’d called him a “dumbass” on my blog. Sheila Taylor mentioned it as well. It’s amazing, considering the district is on the verge of collapsing- and they were concerned with words- that according to the search function- don’t even exist as pertaining to them on this blog. Just another indication of the misdirected focus.

There are solutions to many of DPS’s problems, including rebuilding trust between the administration and the staff, but, after the last year of turmoil, it’s hard to see it coming anytime soon.

As one last contract point- since the teachers are only going to get a two year contract, the DEA should ask that Rhonda reduce hers by one year as well.

This afternoon will be telling, especially when the terms are shared publicly. The teachers really do want to be in the classrooms next week. The idea of allowing the people that Huffmaster was going to supply as scabs made all of them queasy. Delaying the opening of school a week wouldn’t be a bad idea either at this point, but, most likely, it won’t happen.

Had the district resolved this before the June 10th resignation deadline, we’d be in much better shape. This can’t ever be allowed to happen again.

The art of the deal- or how to settle the DPS labor dispute

Thursday morning, last day of negotiations.

In walks the DPS negotiating team (their fifth iteration). Lead by the Rookie Superintendent Rhonda Corr, who was chosen by a school board bullied by a member who wasn’t even a legitimate resident, and shouldn’t have been involved in the process. The associate superintendent, Dr. Sheila Burton, who puts together absolutely incompetent presentation decks, that leave you scratching your head how she passed powerpoint 101, nevermind got a PhD. (At today’s illegal meeting where her team publicly discussed the mediation, she put together a deck that made all kinds of assumptions on what the audience knew about the compensation program). Dr. Elizabeth Lolli, who had no idea what she signed up for when she came to this district. Treasurer Hiwot Abraha, who may be honest, but can’t tell us if we’re broke or flush with cash depending on which way the wind blows, and board legal counsel Jyllian Bradshaw.

The Dayton Education Association team hasn’t changed through the 8 months of bargaining, comes in.

Instead of being sent to different rooms, with the federal mediator, they are brought into the boardroom. and, a rich and powerful man sits at the head of the table.

No, it’s not Donald Trump, and this isn’t an episode of the Apprentice, no matter how much Rhonda Corr likes to throw people under the bus. In Sunday’s paper, she was going to pray for an answer, and she had to phone her friends (the board) to try to get them to finally give her authority to do what has to be done… as if they really know.

The rich and powerful man speaks, “what we seem to have here is problems with governance and guidance, and a lack of enlightened leadership. We’re going to make some changes today to fix the problems, and do what’s right for Dayton and our future, because, your antics stopped being entertaining a while ago.”

Clay Mathile, is a wise man. He’s taken a dog food company and grown it to a huge international corporation. He’s been in boardrooms before, and signed deals worth billions. Even though he doesn’t live in Dayton proper, he understands that Dayton, extends beyond the city limits- and that a teachers strike will be the final nail in an already rickety coffin.

Unfortunately, most of these people have no idea of who he is, or of his love of teaching businesses how to thrive and grow. They’ve not been involved in the programs hosted by his gift to our community- the beautiful campus known as Aileron. Nor, have they realized that when he does chose to get involved, he almost always gets his way.

“I saw your presentation of the issues yesterday, Ms. Corr, and I was deeply saddened that you felt the need to undercut the negotiation process and try to make the teachers look like greedy children. I’ve studied your attrition rates and your pay scales, and it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the reason you can’t afford better teachers is because you are constantly funding the replacement and training of those who leave, due to either of these two factors: the first being that you are underpaying your workers. Every teacher who leaves, has found their paycheck increase by at least 10%- and their step increases have all been honored by other districts. I couldn’t make the best dog food in the business by paying my people peanuts, and you aren’t going to get better test scores with this kind of turnover. The second factor is working conditions. You’ve operated your organization in a way that has created constant chaos, fear, uncertainty and doubt. That’s not how top performing organizations operate.

You, your administration, your lack of planning, your operational skills, have all demonstrated an ineptitude of epic proportions. Your last minute bus/bell plan was the last straw. A district that couldn’t get kids to school, is a district that couldn’t be trusted to teach.

It’s for this reason, I’m asking for your entire teams resignation. We will use the districts insurance to pay you severance, however, any contract entered into by this board will be nullified, since you failed to enforce your own rules requiring residency. Also, the negotiations involving Mr. David Lawrence, who you also violated the contract, showed gross incompetence of the board, risking another lawsuit.

We will ask the Montgomery County Educational Service Center to put in a new leadership team immediately, until the new board is seated on November 9th, at which point, they will provide technical assistance in hiring a new Superintendent, Treasurer and top level people.

The school board, will also resign. None of the existing members will return to office. In the interim, a board will be picked by random from the qualified candidates for the November election. They can’t do any worse than the existing board. I will open the doors of Aileron to the new board so they can get strategic leadership training.

Turning to the union, I’m assuming you are quite happy to have new leadership. In exchange, we are going to ask you that we start from scratch with how we teach school starting in 2018. We will continue with a normal school year until the end of this year, while working together to plan how we transition to a year round schedule, with full 8 hour days, where you are only teaching core curriculum for 4 hours a day, and splitting the rest of your day between planning and teaching guided activities. There will be no more stipends, supplemental contracts, or other pay variances. You will get paid for longevity and performance. I understand that pay for performance is hard to quantify, but, I am sure over the year we can figure out fair and balanced ways to reward those who deserve it.

I don’t expect the people who can’t perform will stay, because this transformation should help weed out those who talk, from those who can walk. I think this video by local activist David Esrati is a good way to introduce the community to the idea of this new way of running a district.

As to counselors and librarians in every building, I don’t think that’s enough. I also think we need full time nurses, and a full time IT person. We also need to add coding to our curriculum yesterday.

I will fund those personnel for the first year, but, I’m going to go back to David’s video, and put a charter change on the ballot to start recovering income tax dollars to tax abated and tax free properties- to bring some equality to school funding. It was found unconstitutional long ago, and if the Statehouse won’t fix it- I will.

As to your requests for compensation increases, we will recognize your three year of steps that were frozen, just as other districts have to those who have left. Also recognizing that DPS isn’t paying competitive wages, we ask that you accept a 3% increase this year, but that we will revisit our compensation plan as we work together to completely change our system. And, btw, the time clocks will only be used by hourly workers and contract labor, professionals will be treated as such.

Mr. Romick, will your team agree to start school on Sept 5th, giving us some time to prepare and to straighten out the bus plan and bell schedules for the coming year?And will you agree to these terms?

Romick, reaches across the table and shakes hands with Mr. Mathile.

He tries to say something, but, the words just don’t come out. You can see the joy in his face that the reign of Corr is done, and the dysfunctional board is gone.

Fast forward to July 10, 2018. Less than 40 teachers have resigned and only 10 who were eligible for retirement selected that option. Most are leaving because of spouses moving, or to return to school to pursue a doctorate. The new contract has been agreed upon, and most will make $65K a year, with performance bonuses based on indicators mutually agreed upon. For the first time ever, DPS buses ran at 98% on time and attendance jumped to 92%. The new School board only meets 2x a month, for less than 90 minutes. The public can speak at every meeting. Students are now taking their chromebooks home and using the new citywide DPS wifi system that was built with a federal grant.

The new Superintendent, David Lawrence, announces that state test scores across the board raised higher than the statewide averages, and that the new income tax collections have made possible new student/teacher ratios of 20/1 across the district. Headquarters staff has been cut by 20% with many of the grant and title money being managed through a new coordinated program run by the ESC.

Stivers School of The Arts has 12 National Merit Scholars, Thurgood Marshall has 4, Dunbar has 3, Belmont has 5, including 3 students who were refugees less than 5 years ago, and Meadowdale has 2. The new marketing campaign, produced by The Next Wave, is credited for helping communicate the new values and the help ease the transition to the year round model.

School enrollment tops 14,500.

Mr. Mathile is awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in June of 2021 for his achievements in transforming urban public education by President Bernie Sanders.