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.
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.