DECA makes the NY Times- Husted makes an idiot of himself

The Dayton Public Schools have some succes stories- unfortunately, DPS doesn’t know how to leverage the good news- instead running a levy campaign based on fear.

The New York Times writes about DECA- as if it is a dead man walking. Of course, Jon Husted- who would prefer every school to be a charter school, tip-toes around the fact that if the State would do what the State Supreme Court ordered over 10 years ago- DPS wouldn’t be in this mess. School funding is the root problem- as are the lasting vestiges of court ordered busing.

Ohio School Fears Cuts Will Rewrite Its Success Story – New York Times
DAYTON, Ohio, May 30 — The 32 students who graduated from the Dayton Early College Academy on Wednesday evening were mostly from low-income families. Few of their parents went to college.

But every member of the graduating class, the school’s first, will attend college in the fall on the strength of their academic achievements and $2 million in scholarship offers, a remarkable success story in a school district plagued by budget shortfalls and challenges endemic to urban schools.

That success, however, may not be enough to save the experimental public high school. Voters rejected a school tax levy on May 8, forcing the school district to cut $30 million from its budget. That could result in the academy’s reverting to a more traditional model.

With more than 200 layoffs planned in the district, many of the teachers who have developed the academy’s curriculum through trial and error are likely to lose their jobs to teachers with more experience because the teachers’ union requires layoffs to be made according to seniority. Some positions would probably be eliminated.

“For us to lose teachers would be catastrophic,” said Judy Hennessey, who resigned as superintendent of the affluent school district in nearby Oakwood to become principal of the academy, which has 225 students who are required to begin taking college-level courses by their junior or senior year.

The school, which is in an office building owned by the University of Dayton, was founded and operated in part with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, based in Cincinnati.

Some supporters want to convert the academy into a charter school, which would free it from dealing with the teachers’ union and help it retain its staff. The student-teacher ratio at the academy is 14 to 1, compared with the district average of 33 to 1, Ms. Hennessey said.

Representative Jon Husted, a Republican who is speaker of the Ohio House and whose district includes the academy, said he was willing to sponsor a bill allowing it to become a charter school if the teachers’ union does not exempt the academy from layoffs by seniority.

“I want them to keep this as part of the public system,” Mr. Husted said, “but if they’re unwilling to do that, I think preserving the school is more important.”

Patricia Lynch, the president of the teachers’ union, was on the planning committee that formed the school but said it could not be exempt from cuts. “There are going to be setbacks in every school,” Ms. Lynch said.

Thomas J. Lasley II, the dean of the School of Education at the University of Dayton and a founder of the academy, said the school and others like it were desperately needed. “If you’re going to educate urban kids, you’re going to need niche places,” Dr. Lasley said. “We can’t be losing this much intellectual capital and expect cities like Dayton to survive too long.”

The point that Lasley makes at the end is critical. We’re losing social capital- and we have to do drastic measures to change that equation.

We have DPS programs that work. What we don’t have is a public that believes our school leaders can be trusted with their hard earned money.

It’s not just a new budget we need- we need a leader’s voice to guide this mess forward. Any volunteers?

Yet another “National Search”

Our whole police department must be full of losers and idiots. At least that’s the message when I see the words “National Search.”

If you don’t have a number 2 ready to step up to fill your shoes, you shouldn’t be number 1.

National search planned for police director
The city of Dayton will conduct a national search to find a replacement for Police Director Julian K. Davis, who plans to retire from the police department by the end of June, according to City Manager Rashad Young.

This has gone on for too long in Dayton. Part of your job review should include “who would take over your job if you were hit by a bus tomorrow, and would they be capable?”

If not, the person being evaluated should be directed to begin work to make sure this is remedied by the next evaluation, or take a pay cut.

Outside consultants should be our last resort to fix things. Lets put a vote of confidence in our homegrown talent.

Dayton Public Schools needs to walk the talk

I almost laughed when I saw that DPS was cutting the school day to cut utility costs. I mentioned that the lights were on at Stivers at night (a school under construction) several weeks ago.

Stivers High School at night- Memorial Day weekendJust to prove a point- I’ve included a picture I took from Dutoit Street, at 11 pm- on Sunday, May 27- Memorial Day weekend. I can guarantee that there was no work going on at this time to warrant the lights to be on.

Schools to cut hours in order to cut costs
DAYTON — Students will spend up to 45 minutes less per day in school next year under the city school district’s $30 million cost reduction plan.

Dayton will drop to the state minimum of 51/2 hours of instruction for all grades, Superintendent Percy Mack said Wednesday. That means 45 minutes less of class time for high school, 30 minutes less for middle school and 15 minutes less for elementary school.

The work day for teachers will not change, but the district expects to save money by reducing the hours that schools are in operation, saving on utilities and upkeep.

The cuts include 499 jobs that will be eliminated. School officials notified 207 instructional staff that will be laid off Tuesday, including classroom teachers, counselor and nurses. About another 100 instructional jobs were cut through attrition. The total instructional staff cuts equal about 23 percent of the teaching force.

Central office administration will see 17 of 69 central office administrative jobs cut, or a 25 percent reduction in central office administrators who are paid out of the general fund. Other job cuts in operations, such as busing, maintenance and food service, were not specified.

The reduction plan follows the May 8 defeat of a 15.17 mill operating levy school officials said was needed to avoid a deficit in the upcoming school year.

Again- you have a better chance of passing a levy when your actions match your words.

Taking responsibility for school funding- locally

Since the State of Ohio refuses to address the constitutionality of school funding- and our local schools are being forced to suffer because of it- maybe it’s time for the “Leaders” at the County level to step up.

Dan Foley, Judy Dodge, Debbie Lieberman- this is for you:

Make a County wide school levy. One levy- every district, then, allocate funds based on need.  Eliminate all local school boards, consolidate all admin functions in the “Palace” on Ludlow. One Superintendent, One System.

With the savings from cutting out XX number of different administrators- we can focus on two things- teachers in classrooms- and making the Dayton Promise come alive- every graduate would get a 2 year degree from Sinclair if wanted.

We can’t keep doing what were doing and expect it to be different.

There is only one thing that makes education happen- and it ain’t bureaucracy- it’s teachers in classrooms. Let’s make a wholesale effort at maximizing that ratio- and minimizing overhead- and the pain of pursuing all these levies.

Get over the power battles- get over the importance of “self-rule”- all that counts is smarter kids.

Jesse Jackson had it right- do we want first class jails- or first class schools. The two are directly related.  Let’s get our priorities straight.

State of Ohio websites still in stone age.

It’s bad enough when I get one of these “State of Ohio RFP (Request For Proposals) notices” and they can’t just put a simple link into the e-mail to get to the RFP-

instead here are their instructions:

STATE OF OHIO PROCUREMENT OPPORTUNITY NOTICE

Index #: DOH060S
RFP Number: CSP902408
Opening Date: 06/22/2007 at 1:00 p.m.

Title: National Donor Designation Collaborative Project

———————————————————–
How to Find This Opportunity Online:

Use the following process to view this opportunity:

-Access the Office of Procurement Services Web site at
http://www.ohio.gov/procure
-From the Navigation Bar on the left, select
Find It Fast;
-Select Doc/Bid/Schedule # as the Type;
-Enter the Bid Number
-Click the ?Find It Fast? button;

Following the directions stated above will navigate you to the details page for the opportunity. Clicking on the link that reads “Click to View Document” will provide the document in PDF format.

Screen grab of “Browser alert” for State of Ohio siteBut when I actually go to the site- I get this “Browser Update Alert” because I don’t use a PC and IE or Netscape (which no longer exists as a browser). It seems no one in Columbus has heard of Firefox or W3C standards.

Here is a screen grab of their message- and worst of all- even though they tell you their site won’t work without one of their “browsers of choice”- the site worked fine.

Just another indication that Ohio isn’t ready for the first frontier- never mind Bob Taft’s vaunted “Third Frontier” effort.

DP&L board of directors are crooks too.

DP&L directors pay plans I guess the first thing I need to do is define “crook”- so as not to confuse anyone.

“4.a dishonest person, esp. a sharper, swindler, or thief.”

Or in my simple language, someone who takes something that’s not theirs to take.

That would define the “executives” from DP&L who paid themselves $33 million for “managing” a stock portfolio that was mostly off the record- for a public utility company. They were then paid an additional $25 million by the current board of directors to cover up what the former board of directors allowed to happen.

Frankly- the board of directors are getting paid a king’s ransom for not doing a damn thing. And, they should be sued and replaced. Current and past boards. Getting paid $200,000 a year to oversee a monopoly is thievery. Isn’t that what we have the PUCO for? I can’t think of a business easier to make money at than an electric or natural utility- number 2 would be selling gasoline. Face it- everyone needs it- and in the utility business- competition is a farce.

These highly paid people did nothing to protect the stockholders- and that is their only job. For this they were paid exorbitant sums for what amounts to a very part time job- and they blew it. I’m including a graphic which details the pay structure for the DP&L board- how many of you would like this job?

Directors’ testimony suggests they share blame
DPL was seeking as much as $150 million in damages, but the lawsuit was settled Monday, three weeks into trial, when the company agreed to pay the ousted execs $25 million.

The settlement came after jurors heard testimony from three past and present DPL directors who said they trusted Forster implicitly until revelations arose in early 2004 that the trio had conspired to defraud the company.

Their testimony was a mixed bag for DPL’s case: The more they accused the executives of duping them, the more they revealed themselves as rubber stamps. Former Mead Corp. Chairman Burnell Roberts alleged the execs double-counted their bonuses, but admitted he didn’t check their calculations. Football star turned industrialist Ernie Green insisted that compensation committee meeting minutes were falsified, but conceded the board approved the minutes then revoked them after DPL filed its lawsuit. Haley accused Forster of tricking her into signing letters she admittedly didn’t read, which led to the trio’s early withdrawal of $33 million in deferred compensation.

If ever there was a time for a class action lawsuit- this is it. It’s also time for legislators to review what the PUCO does, and how public utilities are overseen. Last but not least, it’s time to review compensation at public companies. If you want the big dollars to run a company- it better be your own money at risk, not money supplied by stockholders. That would put an end to this insane cycle of paying huge sums to people who then send jobs overseas and end up rich while the rest of America struggles.

Strickland shows his spine is missing- again

When an issue goes on the ballot- the voters don’t get to line item vote- it’s a simple yay- nay thing. We also don’t get to make excuses after the fact. We are presented with a choice and vote. Simple. No trying to define the word “is” or anything else. And in the election – it was complicated by having to vote on two separate issues to get it right.

The smoking ban wasn’t that close of a decision- Ohioans voted for smoke-free, even though the tobacco lobby- and the restaurant owners tried to confuse the voters. So why now does Strickland challenge the vote? Because he is quickly showing he has no spine to stand up to a vocal minority and do the right thing. First it was the stripper bill, and now this:

Strickland challenges smoking ban at private clubs
On Friday, Gov. Ted Strickland said that he has asked Attorney General Marc Dann to appeal a May 17 decision in Franklin County Common Pleas Court that said the state overstepped its authority with a rule that exempted private clubs, including veterans’ groups, from the statewide indoor smoking ban approved by voters last year.
“I am troubled that many citizens, including veterans, voted for the smoking ban last fall with the understanding that it included an exception for private clubs, only to be told later that the ban doesn’t include a real exception,” Strickland said in a press release.

The veterans groups can do what other smokers now do in the state- go outside, and kill themselves solo. Still no need to stink up the joint for the rest of us- or expose us to dangerous second hand smoke. Smoking is a personal choice- and protected by law- no one is telling you not to smoke- just do it by yourself.

There is no reason to exempt any interior space in the State of Ohio for smoking. Follow the vote- voters were not misled, they had to make 2 votes to make this happen- or has our Governor forgotten.

Things to do this weekend in Dayton OH

It’s a holiday weekend- so, of course you have to fire up the grill at least once- but, you can follow up your hot day in the sun on Sunday with a cool visit to the Nutter Center for Bombers championship hockey. Game 3 starts at 8pm- and if you have kids- the ad with the “Half-off” kids tickets is in today’s paper- in the front section and in GO!- but you have to pick up your tickets today or Saturday.

On Saturday night- Buddy Guy is playing for FREE at Riverblast-great blues, great price- and it’s blues- down by the river, can’t beat that.

There is also the Warrior Soccer Classic going on- so if you want to watch some great youth soccer- it’s EVERYWHERE.

It’s great in Dayton- if you pay attention- and make an effort. I’m sure there are a bunch of other things going on- feel free to add them in the comments.

Matt Joseph wakes from 3.5 year coma-

And the city will barely realize it.

Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph doesn’t get much attention here, or elsewhere, because for the last 3.5 years of his term, he hasn’t said or done much (except take a paycheck).

With his re-election coming this fall, with no real challengers, he managed to get his name in the paper 2x yesterday!

  1. For being the sole opposition to a zoning variance for a small, family owned used car business.
  2. Leading parties for college interns to show them how great it is in Dayton.

There you have it- his big move back into the spotlight.

You can all go back to sleep now.

You are mighty…. you are also in need of a date in Dayton.

Got this from a friend today- one that I hadn’t heard from in a long time.

He’s in advertising- so- of course, it turns out to be a viral to announce a free dating service (sneaky bastards those marketers)- called, ahem, lettuce connect… sound effects, rim shot- zing.

So you stick your name in front of this url, and voila- you are mighty- like this: http://david.esrati.youaremighty.com

of course, they have to have a few others- like you are my friend,  you will be defeated, etc.

This free dating site is a little more web 2.0 than other free dating sites like plentyoffish.com but suffers the same problem all dating sites have- critical mass- but, they’ve tried to get around that by tying other sites like facebook and myspace profiles back to their site- interesting idea- maybe risky from a security standpoint.

I know this has little to do with what I usually write about- but, for all of you who are dateless in Dayton- I’m providing links to free dating resources- including, the mac daddy of free sites, craigslist.com 

Now, back to work.