Dayton Public Superintendent Rhonda Corr placed on leave, Lolli ascends

CYA (cover your @$$) was in full effect at yesterday’s Dayton Public School board meeting. As was misinform and misdirection.

That they didn’t announce why Assistant Superintendent Dr. Sheila Burton was in the center chair replacing Rhonda Corr was odd and should have set off alarm bells, but, this board does everything wrong, including being unable to publish a bona fide agenda, stick to an agenda, or actually properly follow Robert’s Rules. Dr. Walker, spent time explaining that “New Business” was for public comment by the board members- it is not. New business is for items that will require a board vote, nothing else.

It was announced that board member Dr. Hazel Roundtree was absent for “family matters.” It’s odd, that Dr. Rountree is routinely out when important votes are to be discussed, but, considering she’s never really been “all there” on this board since her attempt to run for Dayton City Commission 2 years ago, where she made her real aspirations known, who cares if she is there or not. She should have resigned when Baguirov left and let one of the elect’s step into her seat, as should have Lacey and Lee.

The first order of business was to install Rev. William Harris to Baguirov’s seat. He started up to the dais before being sworn in and had to reverse course.

Next up in public comments, yet another ad hoc organization has popped up, “The Dayton Africana Elders Council” where they hauled out grande dame of DPS teachers, Margaret Peters, to speak to the board about a pending decision on adoption of a text for high school students. Apparently, teachers are being blamed for not being willing to teach “The Mis-Education of the Negro” by Dr. Carter G. Woodson because it’s “too difficult” and they want to send it back. For those of you not familiar with it (I’m in the same boat) it’s considered a seminal text on education of minority students in this country, even though it was written in 1933. The basic premise of the book is that our schools are designed to give students a Euro-centric curriculum that justifies the oppression and cultural norms of white society, trying to push students into believing “what their place is” isn’t what it should be in post Civil Rights Act America.

The Elders Council offered to provide the needed professional development courses for teachers to be able to teach this book effectively, and as usual, the response from the board was deafeningly quiet.

Next up were complaints about busing woes and then fights leading to suspensions at Thurgood, where the parent accused the principal, Sharon Goins of allowing this to build, and even saying that Goins said to the students after the fight, “oh, you finally fought.” Walkers response was to send PR out “to get their contact information” as he is totally out of touch with the fact that the information is required on the speakers sheet. What should happen is that they direct the superintendent (the person they hire and control) to get a complete report back to them on the situation and how it was resolved- and set a date for completion, and thank the parent for bringing the issue to the board.

Hopefully, this is how things will run after the new board steps up.

School fighting and suspensions aren’t a PR issue in a competently run district, they are the issue for the Superintendent and her staff. All PR should do is make sure the community knows what the steps are to register a complaint and communicate the Superintendent and boards position.

I spoke- calling for a full investigation into Dr. Baguirov’s residency, and now that I was proven right, I should have gotten an apology, but I’ll accept resignations of the remaining board members and anyone else who is proven to fail to act.

Next faux pas was on the proper way to do a first and second reading. Hint, it actually does require two readings, and typically is done with time between so the public can comment. When you do them both at once- it is usually stipulated as an emergency, and then you have to read it twice. They did not. The policy was about changes in the law to allow for school personnel to administer meds- as in asthma inhalers, epi-pens etc. It needed to be done- but it needed to be done right.

The last bit of confusion got me hauled out of the room by security for a talking to was their attempt to do something to give Rhonda Corr pay for housing from 2016. I had looked at the agenda on Sunday and again on Tuesday. There were two posts. I didn’t see anything about this and spoke up.

They tried to claim it was there hidden under “New Business” hidden under “Board Discussion” “a motion to approve the Reimbursement expense for Superintendent Rhonda Corr?”

It was tabled. There weren’t details enough in this description for anyone to know if this was $50 for parking fees at the airport- or months of rent (which shouldn’t be their problem, they paid her big money to accept this job- housing is her problem.)

Then off to executive session- with the new board members in the room to “bring them up to speed.” The public meeting ended at around 7:15, they sent the new members home at 8:30 or so. They then returned to executive session and voted 6-0 to put Rhonda Corr on administrative leave due to findings in the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission complaints filed by Dr. Markay Winston (a Corr hire) and Connie Selano. Even though Dr. Elizabeth Lolli was named in the complaint by Winston, the board chose to put her in charge of the district with Corr’s pay and her existing benefits package.

This decision came close to midnight- and, the DPS video crew, security, and others, had to sit and wait it out, all on the clock.

Dayton Board of Education Meeting Part 2

November Business Meeting Part 2 11/21/17

Posted by Dayton Public Schools on Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Early this morning in a text conversation, Dr. Lolli said to me that she will serve as long as the district needs. She looks forward to proving herself to the new board and has a deep love go the kids here and believes in the potential of the staff to turn this district around.

The other on hand superintendent possibilities are Dr. Sheila Burton, Dr. Greg Roberson (a finalist in the last superintendent pool), Erin Dooley, and maybe one or two others who have the credentials.

Considering this action by the old board, will have profound effect on the new board, it is a very strange mess we have ourselves in. With about 5 weeks left in their terms, should these three existing members be involved in cleaning their own mess up? And, since the others ignored the Baguirov eligibility issue- should they be trusted? Only in a dysfunctional district would have these questions. And, btw, the only board member being paid at this point in the year, is Rev. Harris. Ohio has a cap of $5K to pay a school board member annually, and our meeting happy board usually exhausts the funds by August each year.

Welcome to Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Lolli. Please put the train back on the tracks.

When the Emperor has no clothes: More DPS stupidity bordering on criminality

A refresher on Dutch folk tales:

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” (Danish: Kejserens nye Klæder) is a short tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, no one dares to say that they do not see any suit of clothes on him for fear that they will be seen as “unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent”. Finally, a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” The tale has been translated into over 100 languages.[1]

Source: The Emperor’s New Clothes – Wikipedia

update: 18 Oct- key part missing from this synopsis- the Emperor also knew the suit was invisible- but, chose to believe the weavers too. (end update)

We know that Dayton Public Schools has problems managing their public image. Now, the people that Rhonda Corr hired to manage it, are actually actively destroying credibility and possibly breaking laws.

Dayton Public Schools Director of Media and Public Relationships is an expert in censorship of free political speech

Dayton Public Schools Director of Media and Public Relationships is an expert in censorship of free political speech

Unfortunately, the director of Dayton Public Schools media and public relations , Marsha Bonhart, either thinks she’s doing someone a favor (providing grounds for her dismissal) or is woefully ignorant of the audacity of the email she sent out to candidates before tomorrow’s Dayton Educational Council candidates forum from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., at Ponitz Career Technology Center, 741 W. Washington Street. (The  event will be broadcast live on DPS TV Spectrum Channel 21. and hopefully livestreamed as well).

The email, suggests that free speech should be limited, political discourse restrained, and that no one should disparage her boss, Rhonda Corr, whose future tenure will be decided by the very people that Ms. Bonhart seeks to censor and reign in.

The email reads:

From: Marsha Bonhart Neilson [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2017 7:09 PM
To: Marsha Bonhart Neilson <[email protected]>
Subject: More information

Dear candidates, as an addendum to Friday’s email:

  1. It is very important that we keep this forum civil.
  2. We ask that you not participate in or instigate any “bashing” of Superintendent Corr, Dayton School Board members, or each other.
  3. Please stay focused on providing quality answers to all of the questions.
  4. When answering questions, remain seated until the end of the event.

Thank you and we look forward to you providing voters the information they need to make informed decisions.

Marsha Bonhart
Director, Media and Public Relations

Dayton Public Schools
115 S. Ludlow St.
Dayton, Ohio 45402
937-286-0023 (c), 937-542-3023 (desk)

Since Ms. Bonhart works for an organization that receives a lot of federal funds, we might look over to the Hatch Act of 1939 about what is allowed and appropriate for public employees to engage in during a political campaign. Note both the first and second bullets:

These federal and D.C. employees may not:

  • use official authority or influence to interfere with an election
  • solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency
  • solicit or receive political contributions (may be done in certain limited situations by federal labor or other employee organizations)
  • be candidates for public office in partisan elections
  • engage in political activity while:
    • on duty
    • in a government office
    • wearing an official uniform
    • using a government vehicle
  • wear partisan political buttons on duty

Source: Hatch Act of 1939 – Wikipedia

The fact that the meeting is being held in a public building, on public property, for a public purpose, specifically, to discuss issues and the candidates who have the ability to vote to hire or dismiss Ms. Bonhart, shows she’s sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong.

A true public relations professional in an organization that serves the public should know better than to get involved in this process, and know that her communications are all public record and not private.

Considering we’ve already had members of “The Slate” publicly state that they might try to skirt sunshine laws:

A member of the slate of candidates, which was endorsed by Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, (Mohamed) Al-Hamdani said the four would not show disagreement in public, doing more preparation behind closed doors. He did not address how that would fit with open meetings law.

Source: Election will change face of Dayton’s school board

We may have even bigger problems in store when it comes to what is acceptable political behavior and what is not if Ms. Bonhart is the new ruler of political dicourse.

I believe that Ms. Bonhart should either retract these rules and publicly apologize for her attempt to influence political speech and interfere with an election via her official capacity, or be dismissed for cause. I don’t expect our current board, superintendent, elections officials, the county prosecutor, the state school board, the Ohio Ethics Commission or the Secretary of State to do their jobs and censure this kind of blatant abuse of power, but, that’s why we have a free and independent press, to make sure you know when you are getting played.

When a public employee thinks they can regulate candidates speech, we have a real problem.

This needs resolution before this event begins tomorrow night.

UPDATE

Wed 18 May 2017

the “Friday email”

From: Marsha Bonhart Neilson [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Friday, October 13, 2017 6:05 PM
To: Marsha Bonhart Neilson <[email protected]>
Cc: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]
Subject: Candidates’ Night

Hello, Dayton School Board candidates,

Candidates’ Night, Wednesday, October 18th,  is drawing closer. As you know, the program, sponsored by the Dayton Education Council, will be aired live on DPS-TV from 6 to 8 pm with a strong presence on social media. We expect a large live audience as well.

You will be introduced and given 2 minutes to give an opening statement. When addressed by the moderator, each candidate will have 2 minutes to answer 3 rounds of pre-selected questions in addition to questions from the audience, phone callers and social media.

We ask that you arrive at David H. Ponitz Career Tech High School, 741 W. Washington St., 45402, at 5:15 for technical needs.

Again, thank you for your interest in becoming a member of the Dayton Board of Education.

Marsha Bonhart
Director, Media and Public Relations
Dayton Public Schools
115 S. Ludlow St.
Dayton, Ohio 45402
937-286-0023 (c), 937-542-3023 (desk)

Of note- the Slate don’t even get email directly- it goes through their handler, Uriah Anderson of Burges & Burges from Cleveland.

Issue 9 Q&A this Wednesday- Dayton income tax increase

Dayton issue 9 info session flyer by Neighborhoods over PoliticsThe activist group Neighborhoods Over Politics (NOP) is hosting a Q&A on Dayton Issue 9- the tax increase from 2.25% to 2.5% this Wednesday, Oct 12, 2016 from 6pm to 8pm at Central State University West campus at 840 Germantown St. The event is free and open to the public.

By now, if you are a Dayton resident, you’ve seen the blue and green signs and if you are a likely voter, you’ve gotten a mailing “Paid for by “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future” Michael Voelkl, Treasurer. NOT PAID FOR WITH PUBLIC FUNDS.” Michael used to be the tax commissioner of Dayton, but retired a while back.

But, the real question is, who the hell does fund this?

It says it’s endorsed by Dayton Firefighters, AFSCME/DPSU, AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce.

Looking up organization in the Montgomery County Board of Elections worthless website- we see that they haven’t filed a campaign finance report since the annual of 2015– so there is no way to tell who’s paying for all those signs and mailings.

The former Mayor, Gary Leitzell took the time to actually read the full ordinance and makes mincemeat out of their claims on the mailer.

But, this isn’t a post to explain why I think you should vote no on issue 9- it’s about the Q&A session- which you should go to and ask the questions yourself. There won’t be any huge dollars spent against this tax hike, if it’s to fail, it will depend on a grassroots effort.

Issue 9’s backers are claiming helps “every neighborhood” and includes a bizarre venture into pre-school by City Government- instead of the School Board.

Most of the other claims are to do the things they already are supposed to do but fail at- like cutting grass on vacant lots, or resurfacing streets or taking care of parks. Want to have an extra 2 million right off the bat- don’t buy real estate for which there is no public use- and then come back and say “we need more money.”

I’ll be at this session on Wednesday with my video camera to record it and put it up on YouTube.

 

 

Save

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Stabbing 7-year-olds and the wrong answers

It wasn’t but a few months ago when the Dayton School Board meeting was in chaos over the hiring of off-duty police to attend Dayton Public Schools sporting events.

The group “Racial Justice Now” saw it as just another step in the direction of the “school to prison pipeline.” There had been other meetings, in DPS buildings, where they were vehemently against the idea of “school resource officers” – that’s code for cops in schools, as sending the wrong message and being unnecessary.

The playground where a 7-year-old was stabbed during recess at Residence Park Elementary

Dirt patches, trash, and a stabbing.

And then a 7-year-old girl was stabbed yesterday on the playground, during recess, at WOW- or Residence Park elementary.

By a man described as being between 18 and 20 who walked onto the playground and shanked her through her lung.

The community is in shock. There is outrage. Fingers will be pointed all over the place,  lawyers will file lawsuits, “activists” will be up in arms, and lots of armchair quarterbacks will weigh in.

City Commissioner Jeff Mims is already making noise- as well he should, his daughter is the principal at World of Wonder. But even he recognizes that no amount of security, fences, security- will stop this, anymore than metal detectors, or school resource officers, or if you are a nut-job, arming teachers- will solve this.

This is just another example of how screwed up our country has become. It’s just closer to home.

Thankfully, this wasn’t Columbine or Sandy Hook. So far, the little girl is making a heroic comeback. But, let’s get real- this was the action of one person, who right now is still walking the streets, somehow thinking that he’s some kind of superstar- since he hasn’t been caught yet.

I have a phrase for adults who stab little girls in the chest and run- you’re a piece of shit. These are the types of people for whom capital punishment is made. Not that I’m a big fan of capital punishment as we do it in this country- where it takes 20 years and millions of dollars to take care of something that should be as easy as wiping the dog crap off your shoe and being done with it.

This isn’t about safer schools, fences, school resource officers- it’s about us. Us as in what kind of community do we live in? What kind of expectations do we place on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and freedom. And what are our community standards?

Everyone will say- this is America- we’re free, we’re a democracy, we are the land of opportunity- when if fact, we’re not. We’ve been fooled, as our rights have been diminished through the “patriot act,” our elections have been turned into an auction/reality TV show, and most of us have zero chance of economic mobility- while we all believe we can hit the jackpot, or play in the NBA – despite being 5’3″- just look at Muggsy Bogues! We’ve got more people in prison than any other “free” or “democratic” country- and refuse to acknowledge that being number 1 in this category isn’t something to be proud of.

But when it comes to community standards- this is where we fail. We set our expectations too low, and accept absolute mediocrity as acceptable. We fight change, we don’t like strong leaders, and we’ll stick with stupid because that’s what we’ve always done.

Graffiti on the pole on the playground where a 7-year-old was stabbed during recess at Residence Park Elementary

Fuck and N word, on the pole, in the playground where a 7-year-old was stabbed

I went out to the playground at Residence Park Elementary School today. I’ve been there a lot over the last 4 years- because there is one solitary backboard on the playground- and almost every other time I’ve been out, it’s needed a net and I’ve hung one. Today, I was happy to see, a net- and it wasn’t even one of mine. But, when I looked around, wondering what the scene had been the day before, where she stood, where she fell, and what kind of chaos must have been going on- I was struck by other things; how much the school looks like a prison, that the grass in the yard was splotchy and there were patches of dirt, that there was trash on the playground, that the pole supporting that backboard had obscene racist graffiti on it.

Is that the best we can do?

Is it too much to ask for our schools to be pristine oases of lush soft grass, with impeccably maintained playground equipment, and that there be no trash, no graffiti and set a standard for the community?

It took me back a few years to when I was making the video talking about my green nets. I had an intern through Youth Works- and I took him to Orchardley Park in Oakwood to shoot what a public park should look like. You’d think he was in the land of Oz. He was amazed, the park was clean, there weren’t cracks in the asphalt, the backboards had rims that weren’t rusty, they even had nets. The park had bathrooms that were open, and “they don’t even smell” was what came out of his mouth. Parents were playing with their kids, having a picnic in the grass, the sounds were of people laughing- not rap, not obscenities or the standard trash talk I hear on every single basketball court in Dayton.

That’s where we fail. We accept a sub-standard as the norm. Drive along U.S. 35 W, and count the number of light pole bases without lights between Abby Road and Liscum Drive. Then go look on 35 E.

Drive down W. Third street and see how many businesses are closed, but still have signs up, or are boarded up badly. Then look in other communities like Kettering, or Centerville- and ask “would they allow the buildings to rot and be overgrown with weeds?” The answer is no.

When we let our city look like a dump. When we let graffiti stay up. When we let weeds grow through cracks in our basketball courts- aren’t we sending a message that our people really don’t matter?

Are we sending a message that it’s OK to run the streets and stab little girls on a playground? Why hasn’t anyone stepped up to say “piece of shit’s name is ____________” – is it because we don’t feel safe? Is it because we’ve cut our police to the bone, while allowing private institutions that don’t pay property taxes like UD, Premier Health, Kettering Health, Sinclair- to start their own police forces to protect their assets, but leave the rest of us hanging? Add up the number of the institutional cops and they probably come close to equaling the Dayton Police department- throw in the  DPS  “School Resource Officers” and you’re probably exceeding the number of “real police.” It’s just another example of how we take care of the money- and leave the poor people to suffer on their own.

There was a meeting a few weeks ago against regionalization- and there will be another Monday. The white racists of the establishment, with their token African American pogues, who have been slowly stripping every last bit of value from the citizens of Dayton, who pay the 2nd highest income tax in the second highest tax burdened county in the state- will get up and say with a straight face that streamlining and reducing our government overhead is a bad thing. They will talk about disenfranchising black voters. They will stand there and say that what we have works.

It doesn’t.

Residence Park is proof that the system has screwed a 7-year-old girl over, and we’re going to continue down the path of the wrong discussion. It’s not about a stabbing. It’s about the condition of the community that set the stage for that stabbing.

Until we realize that we have met the enemy, and he is us, we’re screwed.

It’s time to take a serious look at our problems. Our leaders. Our operational performance at the basics of government. The way we conduct our elections. The way we “rehabilitate” our “criminals” and even who the real criminals are. And as always, the old detective/journalists adage holds true- “follow the money” and you will find out where the real injustice is happening, and it’s not as simple as a knife and an unknown piece of shit.

The cheap bastards in Dayton City Hall

When I first got involved in my second career as an unpaid citizen of Dayton, I found our city to be overly bureaucratic. We had our neighborhood organization, that got things done- and then we had the mysterious “Priority Boards” which were a huge bureaucratic buffer zone between the neighborhood and the City Commission. They had offices, staffed with several full-time employees, who made pretty decent money. More money than the city commissioners who were part-time, and supposedly the brain trust that was steering our city to prosperity.

When I, or anyone else would go to the City Commission with a complaint, they’d say “have you been to your priority board about this?” As if it was a crime to actually talk to and expect action from those we elect.

The city patted itself on the back often for being such a model of “citizen participation”- when in fact, it was just another place to hire people into patronage jobs. It really didn’t require any skill to work for the priority boards- it was all about who you knew.

So, each neighborhood had to have its own organization- a neighborhood association, which ideally was a non-profit (a 501 c-3 by the tax code), and had to hold elections to have at minimum a leader, a treasurer and a recording secretary, and then, depending on the size of your neighborhood elected representatives to your priority board seats- which could be anywhere from 1 to 4 in our case. The problem was that the neighborhoods, planning districts and precincts didn’t follow any of the same boundaries- making for coordinating the many heads more like a Hydra than a true democratic process.

At one point, to make sure the neighborhoods had a say- additional seats were created per organization, be it a full fledged neighborhood association or even a block club. Throw out proportional representation- just try to fill the rooms- to keep the patronage pogues looking busy.

The system was expensive- with offices in the seven “districts” of the city. Southeast held about 40% of the population- and always seemed to have the most “representation.” The downtown priority board was an afterthought- and didn’t even have a full-time staffer. The historic districts were split between all the priority boards- when in fact- they, along with downtown, were the ones who were most alike- and could have had a really strong voice if they hadn’t been segregated.

While the city was still flush with cash- thanks to corporate headquarters like Reynolds & Reynolds, Mead, Standard Register, NCR- it was easy to blow money on the priority board patronage jobs- which could be counted on around election time to help the Democratic Party have an Army to make sure their chosen candidates got elected. All was good and fine…

Until, well, the system broke and a Republican managed to get elected Mayor. Mike Turner, managed to tick off Reynolds & Reynolds CEO David Holmes- getting Holmes to put a ton of money behind Tony Capizzi to challenge Turner- and when Turner won again- Holmes took his company to Kettering.

There were other things at play, some pre-Turner, with Tom Danis buying off Police Chief Tyree Broomfield to step down, games played with an “Architectural review committee” slowing down the city-funded Arcade tower project- so Danis could get his Cit/Fed tower built first- and who knows what the Beerman family was doing to keep their real estate deals going- where they were making a fortune off the construction of 675, and CJ McLin and his daughter Rhine were doing the same with the 35 West deal.

The priority board system was a way to make the poor citizens of Dayton think they mattered, when in fact, they were just there to keep the party in power so that the friends and family of the Monarchy of Montgomery County could continue to kiss the wealthy asses of those who really were supporting our city.

I’d advocated for getting rid of the priority boards from day one- to have neighborhood presidents meet directly with the city manager 4 times a year. Note- the city manager- not the mayor or the commission, they aren’t supposed to be the ones running our city, but we’ve long forgotten that.

So, in today’s paper, we find out that what’s left of the vaulted citizen participation system is about $96K a year thrown out to the paupers to play pretend with- compared to a budget that used to run close to $8 million a year:

The city provided about $13,000 for 27 neighborhood festivals this year.

The city also awarded $83,046 in mini-grants to 20 neighborhood projects this year, three times the amount in 2014.

Source: Dayton pushes policy reforms

I always found it odd, that 25 years ago- our neighborhood thought it was a privilege to get to ride around on the back of a trash truck once a month on a Saturday morning to pick up the garbage that our overpaid trash collectors skipped.

People in other communities would wonder why would you pay your taxes to spend your Saturdays doing “community service” without a court order.

This is the travesty of Dayton. While the people who are still here fighting to make their community a nice place to live, and paying the 2nd highest income tax in the county, the cheap bastards in city hall are bragging about “awarding back less than $100,000 a year” to help those who volunteer- while giving multi-million-dollar tax breaks to General Electric, while raising trash and street light fees, and still having no problem buying buildings for half a million each- for which there is no public use.

Yeah. “Cheap bastards” is actually a nice name, for people who are really taking a crap on the people they represent. And, one other thing, you shouldn’t have to work so hard to have a great, safe, clean neighborhood. You should be able to spend your time living your life.