Round 2: Esrati vs DPS and Dayton City Commission

Judge Skelton asked for both sides to file a memo arguing if ORC 121.22 trumped Rule 65, even though he made it clear that he believed it did to start the court arguments.

And he asked us to use a pen, not a shovel.

To me, the pen is the tool that changes history. Shovels are what you use to muck a stall. Lawyers love to shovel. I love to write.

So, my filing is 9 pages plus attachments. I strayed outside the lines of strictly interpreting the issue of ORC 121.22 vs Rule 65, by explaining all the actions of the task force amounting to repeated  and willful violations of the law. Since the defense tried to claim that a TRO as required by Rule 65 was moot, since they had already violated ORC 121.22, and that he believed that sticking to the law in the future would some how fix things- clearly had to be addressed (total bullshit, needing a bulldozer instead of a mere shovel).

Needless to say, the research was enlightening.

404 error of the county Clerk of courts site

The Montgomery County Clerk of Courts site doesn’t like my filing.

Unfortunately, the Courts website (the one with the 35 page instructions on use) gives a 404 error when trying to upload the the large document that the school task force was given during their illegal tour. I had to abbreviate it just to upload to the site. Acting in full transparency mode, I’m posting it here, now. I’m sure, this will give the advantage to the defense, who will now, re-write their memo, turning it in at the last minute- and wasting considerable tax payer dollars doing so.

That is the crux of the problem with ORC 121.22- the burden and risk, is all upon the plaintiff- who risks getting billed for court costs and attorneys fees if their motion is found to be frivolous. Public officials who break the law, on the other hand, suffer zero personal risk, having tax funded defense at their disposal.

It also turns out that removal from office has been a false threat, enforced almost never. Our “Sunshine Laws” are in practice, just blowing sunshine up our collective butt.

Or at least they have been in the past.

The actions of these elected officials and employees of the district have been so wrong, so wanton in their disregard for the law, that maybe, just maybe, this will be a case that makes a difference. Or not.

At this point, the judge will consider both filings, and then offer a conference call on how to proceed.

My call is that he issue the injunction, which allows me to begin the process of contacting the Open Government Unit to begin proceedings to remove Jeff Mims, Robert Walker, William Harris and Mohamed Al-Hamdani from office.

He should also order the task force disbanded, and all members ruled ineligible to discuss the issue of school closings because they participated in an illegal secret meeting. This means, Acting Superintendent Lolli, Associate Superintendent Burton and Treasurer Abraha would all have to sit this one out.

Mims would have to be replaced by election, the three school board members would be replaced by those chosen by current remaining members, John McManus, Sheila Taylor, Jocelyn Rhynard and Karen Wick Gagnet, from members of the community that ask to sit on the board.

The only thing left to decide in court, is how many times they broke the law, and how many times the $500 fine should be counted.

Here are the documents for you to read, which are also available on the County Clerk of Courts site.

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The Esrati filing on which law to use

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A guide on the sunshine laws in Ohio that is clearer than the AG’s version

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Document From Media and the law explaining that Sunshine Laws are weak.

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Public Records Request from David Esrati to the School Board for the documents used on the tour

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The abbreviated version of the task force document handed out on the bus

UPDATE

9pm Monday, 12 Feb 18 The city uploaded their response after 4pm. They had until midnight. It’s odd in that it focuses on the judges ability to shut down the task force, which wasn’t what he asked for, and some case law trying to grasp at straws that Rule 65 applies, without any specificity to the case.

UPDATE

9:15 am Tuesday, 13 Feb 18. The School Board attorney also filed a brief- more to the issue of Rule 65 and also arguing that the judge can’t disband a task force. Really? How can a task force that violates the sunshine law- by meeting in private, possibly contribute to any discussion the board will have about the issue of closing schools, and, how can any employee of the district, that helped coordinate these secret illegal meetings not put the board at risk of having any decision they make to close schools, instantly overturned? They can’t. And, the total page count of both their briefs equals mine. Yet, they miss the point of the special protections the sunshine laws are supposed to provide.

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The more competent response filed by the private attorney for the district. Still wrong.

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The city filed for the school board. It’s short, and harmless

David vs Goliath: round 1, or what do you call four lawyers installing a light bulb?

The Ohio Sunshine Laws are laws that mean well, but are designed with so many gotcha factors that people have to feel really pissed before they jump through the hoops. Like the first one: Get a lawyer. Pay the lawyer. Then filing fee ($330.50), then show up in court. Watch the government agencies who broke the law, show up in court, unprepared, with 4 lawyers to tell the judge you are wrong, and this whole thing is just David being an idiot (while their meters are running full tilt.).

Then we have to argue about what laws apply, even though Judge Richard Skelton made that very clear right off the bat. His reading of my brief and the law in question, ORC 121.22 said to him that Rule 65- the procedural rule used for asking for a Temporary Restraining Order, said that since the Sunshine Law had remedies (what he’s supposed to do to punish the lawbreaker) there was no need to bring in Rule 65, which is a federal law. In other words, the specific rules of the State law apply because the the general rule (rule 65) is controlled by the specific one. Did I lose you? I hope not.

I was wondering why even with their expert on the Sunshine Laws they weren’t ready to discuss the merits of that part of my filing?

This wasn’t an actual trial, so I wasn’t allowed to introduce evidence. All I could do was to turn to my filing to ask for relief.

Skelton stated a few things that made a lot of sense to me (but apparently, Brian Wildermuth, attorney for the District, wants to pick a fight with a judge known for being feisty): one, that laws are generally in place to “do the right thing.” Two- that while unable to guide me, he’s working toward transparency, and understands that this law in particular is written in mostly plain terms- in order to make sure the people keep their elected officials in line.

Wildermuth tried to say that I’d been allowed to attend and video meetings and that they’d comply in the future, and that this one “bus trip” is over, and therefore there was no need for my case. Totally denying the fact that I was shut out of the bus trip- and that what happened in their closed rolling yellow conference room was a meeting held in secret, as was the tour of Valerie Elementary. They also claimed that they cut short the trip, after hearing from the judge that this may be a violation.

If you watched the videos from facebook live- or my edited video of the event, you’ll know that yours and mine idea of cutting off a bus tour would mean, stop doing what you are doing and return home. A go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200 moment if there ever was one. The bus continued on from Valerie, to Meadowdale Elementary and Meadowdale HS and then to Wogamen middle school and then back to DPS.

Let’s also be clear, that the government bodies could send 4 lawyers on your tax dime to deal with my complaint, yet, none were prepared to answer the case.

Let’s also be clear, that the judge suggested to the lawyers yesterday to hold off on the tour, and that Dayton City Officials were told NOT to enter- hence my conversation with Jeff Mims outside Valerie on camera about my mom. Let’s also be clear, that Mohamed Al-Hamdani, the mastermind behind this task force, actually had the bus pull over between DPS HQ and Valerie so he could get off the bus. Some of the people knew better, but did it anyway.

My arguments were basic: That by participating in a single secret meeting, the committee has poisoned any decision that the schools may make on closing any buildings. School Board Members William Harris, Robert Walker and Mohamed Al-Hamdani would and should have to recuse themselves. Dr. Lolli, Burton, Treasurer Abraha, also have now poisoned themselves. Any closure could be challenged in court by the community saying deliberations were held in private- thereby, just like inadmissible criminal evidence, forcing whatever decision they make to be illegal.

The fact that Lolli keeps saying she has a right to do these things in public is an embarrassment. It’s really just time to do with her, what the board did with the woman who hired her- part ways. But, without the payoff. She can serve as a principal, or something until the end of the year, while we hire someone who can abide by the sunshine laws and not require a bunch of people picked illegally to advise them on what to do.

The sad thing about all this, is the lawyers want to continue with their charade of denial. This will be costly for the district. I look forward to depositions, and a trial, because, much like the Dr. Markay Winston EEOC investigation which ended up bringing the end to Rhonda Corr, I think I know the right questions to ask people under oath that will show that this district leadership, has acting illegally (I was chastised for calling it criminal, because there is a difference to lawyers- while the rest of us think that when you break the law, you are a criminal, they don’t think that way.)

Watch the video, read the briefs, examine how many times in the tour video that they said NO, YOU can’t come in. I believe everyone of those, times the number of people who should have known better equals $500 ea instance… but, we’ll see.

And remember while you’re on Youtube to subscribe to my channel. I need 1000 subscribers to monetize it. Thank you.

For the record, what do you call four lawyers installing a light bulb? More billable hours, and no one that actually knows how to turn on a light.

 

Esrati files suit to stop school task force from touring in private

Today at 3:06 pm David Esrati filed pro se with the Montgomery County Common Pleas Clerk of Courts a civil action to ask the courts to prevent the Dayton School Closure task force from touring school buildings without public oversight.

The case was initially assigned to Judge Dennis Langer, who had to recuse himself, since his wife, Ellen Belcher, formerly of the Dayton Daily News now does contract work for Learn to Earn and Dr. Tom Lasley who are named in the suit.

The case was sent to Judge Richard Skelton, who took the time to review the pro se filing, but admonished Esrati for not including a Rule 65 Temporary Restraining Order so that he could rule immediately on the case without a jury trial for the good of the public interest.

Esrati then wrote an addendum, to file first thing tomorrow morning, and served the documents to all parties via email.

A few observations, the instructions for how to efile with the Montgomery Clerk of Courts office run 35 pages and the system still takes manual oversight. My new account, won’t even be active for 24 hours, which forced me to go to the clerks office to file in person. So much for the brilliance of our former Clerk of Court Greg Brush. No ecommerce portal should require 35 pages of instruction or a delay. If this court system was online in a bigger jurisdiction, that kind of ineptitude would make the courts inoperable.

The fact that service isn’t possible via electronic means is also embarrassing. Why the courts are supporting FedEx and the US Post office to serve lawsuits that have to be filed electronically, is kind of another way to slow the system and add costs. Considering most filings name lawyers who already are registered with the State, this is a colossal waste of time and money.

Also, the cost of filing was $330.50, for a case which the law only allows for a collection of a $500 penalty per instance. This makes the likelihood of common citizens filing rare. Of course, attorney fees are offered as part of the restitution, guaranteeing that the courts help lawyers keep their jobs, while the laws get overlooked because of artificial hurdles built by the system.

Here are the filings, the first is the injunction, the second is the addition of the Temporary Restraining Order. Hopefully, I can efile in the morning and won’t be charged more money.

The task force is supposed to tour the buildings tomorrow. If the board was smart, they would order the Superintendent to pause the tours until this case has been decided.

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The suit that was filed to stop the task force from touring in private- and to examine it’s legal standing.

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The TRO that will be filed tomorrow to get immediate action.

Esrati sues Dayton Metro Library over public records

I’ll remember the date for the rest of my life: August 18th, 2016. My father died. My father who was the consummate journalist. The man who taught me the meaning of the Constitution. The man who wrote a book to me as a child, to help guide me in my decision on my American Citizenship when I would turn 18 (we were living in Canada and dual citizenship wasn’t allowed back in 1968).

It was a day and a year after his death that I decided to take a Saturday off from work, politics, family, friends- to just be by myself and remember Dad. I’d not had time to really grieve, or put things in perspective due to life going into overdrive the previous 365 days. I went over to the office, picked up about $5000 worth of pro-camera gear and set out to walk downtown and take some photos. I started with photography when my grandfather gave me a Topcon 35mm camera at age 12. By 15, I’d built a darkroom in the basement, and had graduated to an Olympus OM-1 (now in the loving hands of my friend, Larry C. Price, Olympus visionary, and 2x Pulitzer Prize winner for Photojournalism). I was the photo editor of my high school yearbook my junior year. There are a bunch of people who used to call me “Mr. Photographer.”

I’d not been to the new Downtown Main Library yet, and it was my first stop. As someone who grew up with an uncle and 2 cousins who are architects- and in a home that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, architecture had always been another part of the conversations with my father. Literally, every trip we made, architecture was a part of the exploration, coupled with history and politics.

Library Guards working hard at the Dayton Metro Library

Library Guards working hard at the Dayton Metro Library

As I entered the library, with its tall three story grand stairway entrance, the first thing you do is look up, to the skylights and the Terry Welker mobile of crystal trapezoids. Then as I looked to my right- I saw a large empty space, a big lobby, with a little table with 2 guards chatting. Snap.

I wandered over to the Eichelberger auditorium- and was taking pictures then, when a young girl was playing on the stage. Her mother asked if she was ruining my photo- and of course, I said no. She was adorable. Snap, Snap, Snap, Snap, Snap. Then to the Children’s section, where I talked to my friend and neighbor Tonya Cross who was working. I saw kids on play stations and x-boxes, I saw an art space that was locked. Kids clambering over a little bridge in a bubble- which made me wonder who fit through that to clean it?

On the second floor, I saw the “green screen room.” There were two kids in their huddled over the computer, I knocked and went in. I looked at all the equipment, and asked what they were working on. They were using Garage Band- but didn’t know it. The room was really too small to use the green screen effectively. The equipment was all pro-sumer grade- and nice. I saw people in small group huddle spaces with white boards and pin boards. I saw more guards. I made my way to the third floor, and found my way out to the roof deck overlooking third street. More pix. Admired the big conference rooms. Saw an eccentric guy who reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut sitting there- but didn’t see a good shot with him in it. Took a shot of the lobby from the top of the stairs, a shot of the Welker glass. Sat down, changed lenses, and then swiveled around and took a photo of a patron actually reading a book. She’d been the only one reading in our new library. It has seemed like reading is no longer what we do in libraries.

She was pristinely still. No headphones, no one else in the shot, because, frankly, there weren’t many people there. It was a beautiful day out. And, I have to say, the views from the third floor over Cooper Park are very beautiful, and I’d planned to go sit  and read in the corner of the 2nd floor area after taking a few more shots. I had a book tucked away in my photo bag. I too, like to read. Snap.

Woman reading a book in a library, 2017

Woman reading a book in a library, 2017  ©david esrati

I’ve taken tens of thousands of photos. Many of people in public places. And, as most of you know, I know a little bit about the First Amendment. What happened next took me by surprise. This oversized, balding, red-headed rent-a-cop started to question me immediately if I had her permission to take her photo. I responded calmly- “this is a public place, a public space. There are no guarantees of privacy, and it’s perfectly legal to take pictures.” What he and I said next- I don’t really recall- other than I said “leave me alone” and I started to walk over to the space where the roof was leaking. One of the rules when taking “street photos” is not to call attention to yourself- or make a commotion. The guard was doing his best to do that.

I came back around, still with the long lens on the camera- to try to take a photo of the Welker sculpture. As I’m focusing on the one crystal catching the light, I feel the presence of someone entering my personal space. Meet, Sgt. Donovan, who first begins by asking me who I’m with. Which is none of his business, as if being affiliated with the library or the news media changes the law.

Then, after I tell him it’s none of his business and to leave me alone, he starts reading me the riot act about taking photos of people in a public place. I’m thinking to myself, of all the people to pick on- he’s screwing with one of a very few people who’s won a first amendment case in Dayton. I realize this isn’t going away. He has a second guard behind him, and Big Bald Red Head is standing behind me. I take out my iphone and start recording video. You see Big Red who started this shitshow- striking a pose as we round the corner to go to the stairs.

He’s telling me it’s against the law to take photos, citing Ohio Revised Code. You can watch the rest. Warning, I use the word Fuck. He suggests I’m a sexual predator, I call him a Nazi, after he starts telling me the sidewalk is part of the library too. Am I proud of how I treated this douche bag? Nope. I lowered myself. He’s calling on his radio for police- he’s threatening me with arrest. All I wanted to do was spend a day taking photos and thinking about Dad.

Taking photos in public is not a crime. This has been tested over and over in the courts.

At the end, he bans me from the Library for 30 days.

I call Tim Kambitsch, the library director. I have his cell. I used to consider him a friend. I have a crush on his sister, who I met ages ago in a pilates class at the Y. I leave a message.

I head over to Riverscape. I’ve got an 8mm fisheye lens I want to play with. I want to try to chill out. I’m still pissed and upset from the library episode. I see Metroparks guards giving me the eye. I’m pretty sure my description was broadcast by Sgt Nazi.

On the way home, as I crossed the Oregon/South Park Pedestrian Bridge, Kambitsch called me back. I told him what happened, and asked him to remove the ban, retrain his guards, and for an apology. He told me he’d done his research and that I was in the wrong. I warned him then, that I knew what happened, I knew my rights and that we’d go to court.  He said fine. Scratch a friend.

My attorney is a fellow Veteran. He’s also a public defender. He reads this blog. He takes the case. Sends them another letter, requesting the video. We also ask for information about the guards, their reports, etc. I could go into a ton of details, but know this- Dayton Metro Library spent $1.2M on guards like Big Red and Sgt. Nazi in 2017 from G4S Security out of Miami Florida. So much for buy local. They were up for bid in November- and now another firm has the contract for $1.1M. Probably hired the same losers- and they all had to sew new patches on their brown shirts.

After much back and fourth, Kambitsch and his attorney’s want a meeting with me and my attorney. We meet at the Library. Kambitsch starts with an apology. Apparently, the guard, Big Red had lied in his account of our interaction. They knew this because they saw watched the video. The one we requested over and over.

In typical Dayton fashion, this meeting is almost funny. Kambitsch has Adam Laugle from the Prosecutors office and another attorney. I hadn’t caught his name. Turns out, he’s the attorney for the Libraries insurance company- slick hair, expensive suit, nice tan. Insurance work is great if you can get it- get paid big bucks per hour- to decide if you give away someone else’s money. He’s also the husband of former Dayton Acting City Manager Maureen Pero. I say “Acting,” because that’s what she was when Mayor Mike Turner had me arrested at the Dayton City Commission meeting for wearing a black mask to protest their illegal secret meetings. She not only testified in the depositions, but, she hung around for the whole morning, sucking up to Turner who also testified. Small world.

So the only question was settlement. I made a few requests:

Note, no money to me. They ask what “sizeable donation means”- to which I respond, last time, the check was six figures, but, I’ll leave it up to you to decide. They did tell me Big Red had been sent packing, never to be a Dayton Metro Library rent-a-cop again.

Btw- all three reports were similar. I’m now, shorter, younger and….  well, they weren’t very good observers (or liars) to begin with.

Several communications go back and fourth. They admit their failings. They are willing to pay to retrain the guards. They are willing to pay legal fees. No public apology and no offer to fund a program that has proven to increase literacy in my name or at all.

I think the board ought to know what their director and bad legal advice is telling them. Remember, the insurance lawyer works for the insurance company- not the library. As to the guy from the Prosecutors office, let’s just say he has no say in anything.

I’d sent my videographer to the meeting immediately after my ejection to record their session, and now he was with me to record me telling them that they might want to consider a settlement and the reasons why. I speak a lot with three minute time limits. (Some would say I’m the reason for three minute time limits at the Dayton City Commission). I know three minutes, and I know the speaking rules, I’d filled out a request well in advance, I’d signed in with their form to speak- both of which have their rules. So when Ms. Pruneface asked me if I knew their rules, I immediately  quipped back in full Esrati fashion, “Yes, I can read.” The expression on Kambitsch’s face is priceless. Needless to say, I was cut off at 2:30. Needless to say, I have a video, complete with a guy who talks for over 5 minutes- waving his arms around and shouting from the meeting the month before. The board doesn’t want to be educated, they don’t want to learn from past mistakes. This is arrogance. It’s what I hate most in people who are supposed to represent us- be it school board members, city commissioners, congressmen or library board members who were given $187M of our tax dollars to spend, and yet, don’t care to listen to a community voice who is trying to settle things fairly.

You watch the video.

Today, as promised, would come, we filed a mandamus complaint to force the library to release the video, claiming they are in violation of Ohio Open Records laws. It’s a first volley. We need to see what the evidence is, before we file the suit for the ejection. We need to see what they saw, which made them change their minds and sort of apologize. It would be available in discovery, but, if you are going to go to war, by all means, make sure you have all your plans in place up front. At least, that’s how the professionals do it.

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The complaint, filed against Dayton Metro Library for withholding surveillance video in the case of David Esrati’s ejection from the library

The filing is clear. The privacy concerns the library is using to protect the video are unfounded.

From the filing:

48. Section l 49.432(A)(2) defines “library record” as “a record in any form that is maintained by a library and that contains any of the following types of information:
(a) Information that the library requires an individual to provide in order to be eligible to use library services or borrow materials;
(b) Information that identifies an individual as having requested or obtained specific materials or materials on a particular subject;
( c) Information that is provided by an individual to assist a library staff member to answer a specific question or provide information on a particular subject.”
49. “Patron information” means “personally identifiable information about an individual who has used any library service or brorrowed any library materials. R.C. 149.432(A)(3).
50. Because of the nature of video recordings, and the nature of library records and patron information, the recordings sought in the Requests cannot contain library records or patron information.

We’ll see what the courts decide.

Next suit- against the Dayton Public Schools to stop them from providing private tours as an excuse to have the “task force” meet in private to discuss the closure of schools.

Here are some supporting documents.

The letter from the libraries insurance company lawyer which admits the guards were wrong, the incident reports, and the Contract with G4S

 

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Dayton Metro Library Contract with G4S Security

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Dayton Metro Library security guard incident reports about the ejection of David Esrati

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Letter from Library lawyer admitting that the guard lied about what happened,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DPS school closing task force- first meeting

This time, there were chairs for an audience. Didn’t stop Channel 7 and the paper for claiming they were the ones who stopped the first meeting (by leaving the room). All the TV stations were there. Noticeably absent was Dr. Robert Walker, board member. But DPS was there in force- Dr. Lolli, Dr. Burton, Treasurer Hiwot Abraha, head of facilities Richard Reyford, and of course the PR dept. Marsha Bonhart and Dr. Venita Kelley.

The district even filmed it.

I did too- and made a little video of the pertinent parts about the open meetings laws:

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Future Think, formerly DeJong-Healy offered a summation of their study on enrollment projections

I wasn’t given a packet- but DDn reporter Jeremy Kelly offered his up for me to photograph. I later asked the district for digital copies and got scans of printouts (not ADA compliant)- which I am sharing here.

I took photos of the votes on the white board. I’m posting those. Each member was given two dots- to help rank what they thought was most important.

The task force added two members thanks to pressure from the NAACP- Loretta Williams- their education director, and another minister. At the NAACP meeting the minister to people ratio was probably 20-1. When you consider that both African American school board members are ministers- we now have 3 ministers on this task force- and still not a single parent, student, or non-affiliated community member.

The task force asked for more data- and all of it was from the district- once again, proving that this is an official committee of the district- fully required to be open meetings compliant. The information that they were asking for wasn’t rocket science- and should have already been gathered and available to the internal administrators of DPS- who should have been able to do this themselves- because that’s what they are paid to do.

However, it’s pretty obvious from Dr. Burton’s first spreadsheet presentation in December- right up to yesterday, that she’s a blithering idiot pretending to be smart.

The slides with the building costs per student are all incredibly incendiary because  she includes the Jackson Center building which is housing the former Longfellow students. Something like 30 students, 3 teachers- and a whole building to heat and light. Outliers like that shouldn’t be part of your curve. Shock factor for stupid people. If you pulled that shit in a board room of professionals you’d be fired on the spot- after they laugh you out of the room for even presenting it.

I’ll say it again, including Dr. Tom Lasley of “Learn to Earn” is like GM inviting Fiat Chrysler in to decide what plants to close. The man has his own tax funded, un-regulated school board, that hands out public tax dollars to private companies to take DPS students away from the district for substandard pre-schools.

This is a WTF inclusion on a task force that for the most part, may be smart people, but, when you get down to the reality of it all- we pay professional administrators in DPS to do this work, including our interim Superintendent, and have a school board who we elect, to make these decisions. This is a total abdication of their responsibilities and handing off public decisions to private enterprise. Which, of course, is what caused all these issues in the first place- since DPS has been losing students to less-regulated, charter schools, which for the most part- either perform on-par or much below DPS.

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We’ve been there, done that when it comes to performance

The task force is “studying building closures” – a facilities decision, yet are asking a lot of questions about school performance and quality. This is outside of their assignment, but what would normally be done by an accountable superintendent. Here is 96 pages of the same bullshit from the “Council of the Great City Schools” from 2002 talking about fixing the schools. No need for more study- what’s been missing is competent leadership that can restore faith, order and competence to the community.

When it comes to facilities and performance, now that the only people who will benefit are the people who have designs on acquiring the closed buildings after 2 years of vacancy for pennies on the dollar, or those that receive income tax dollars from the employees- we have to realize that the buildings, the locations of the buildings and the where the students live that go to those buildings have NOTHING to do with the educational performance in the buildings. Educational performance is people- buildings are just a tool. Oakwood does fine with 100 year old buildings, we could too. This task force should be limited purely to operational efficiencies- which mean costs of transportation, costs of keeping the buildings open, and how to best fit the students we have into the least number of buildings for efficient operation. We bus kids no matter what. Walking is so last century.

The obvious answers on reducing operating costs is to close Valerie- because it’s an old building, shut down Longfellow at Jackson Center, sell off HQ and the building across the street. Reduce HQ staff costs which are among the highest in the state. Move back to the old HQ on First Street- or lease back a tiny bit of Ludlow from it’s new owner. Sell off the vacant land that the district is still maintaining and then temporarily close EJ Brown which is a mess. Make a decision on if you are a PK-8, PK-6, 7-12. or 9-12 or whatever- configuration and stick to it.

Then aggressively work to bring kids back into the district over the next two years. Ask everyone in the district making more than $100K a year to take a pay cut to $100K with bonuses if they bring kids back to the district- and if they get “A” grades in annual progress. Put your money where you mouth is.

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DPS School closing task force handout- glaringly incomplete

The agenda for tours should tell people something- first three buildings are Valerie, Meadowdale Elementary and Wogaman. Two are in Harrison Township and pay no Dayton income taxes.

The reality of this whole exercise is that the people we elect, and they pay, to run our schools are being subverted by an ad hoc organization with no accountability to the people of the city of Dayton.

Our new “interim superintendent” is handing over this process to City Manager Shelly Dickstein and the people can sit in the back without any input as these outsiders overrule home rule.

The entire school board should be recalled for abdication of duty, but since Ohio makes it almost impossible to do, we’re stuck with what we have.

Reverend Harris and Mohamed Al-Hamdani are driven by other factors, mostly their own egos.

Al-Hamdani has already been rewarded with a job in the county building- working for Russ Joseph in the County Clerks office. This hasn’t yet been made public. Note, Board member Sheila Taylor works in the City Clerks office where Russ Joseph used to be her boss. When the local party controls two members via their patronage jobs, we’re already in trouble.

This task force can only bring more trouble.

The board needs to start interviewing for a real superintendent, and figure out who can lead this district, because right now- it’s not them, it’s not the interim superintendent and it certainly isn’t the staff, who sprung this on the community at the last minute.

  • Dayton Public Schools closing task force priorities
    The task forces’s voting on priorities
  • Dayton Public Schools building closing task force guiding principles
    Dayton Public Schools building closing task force guiding principles