Dayton Public Schools and “HoodieGate”

It’s time to fire Dr. Libbie Lolli, the School Treasurer Hiwot Abraha, new Business Manager Dr. David Lawrence, and charge Dayton Public School board members, Will Smith, Dr. Chrisondra Goodwine, Karen Wick-Gagnet, and Dion Sampson with crimes in office. The crime: looking the other way when a $68,000 expense was not only authorized without board approval, but apparently without an RFP, bids and an evaluation.

What did they buy? Hoodies, for every single high school student, with their school name on them. Yep, the taxpayers are now dressing high school students (who cares about grades K-8- the little ones can freeze) with branded hoodies.

Did I mention, the DPS code of conduct prohibits hoodies to be worn in schools? Oh, that’s right.

You can watch as board members Joe Lacey and Jocelyn Rhynard question and ultimately vote no. Board member Gabriella Pickett was out.

This video should start at 3:58:20 where Lacey asks the question. NOTE – yes- this is 4 hours into a board meeting. That’s par for the course for this dysfunctional organization.

The board members ACKNOWLEDGE this process began in October. They ACKNOWLEDGE it wasn’t on board docs earlier. They won’t say who actually requested these, although it may have come out of the Athletics committee (Smith, Wick and Goodwine) but that’s unclear. At some point, someone had to get size and quantity of all high school students- and place an order. That would fall under the new “Business manager” Dr. Lawrence who sits deaf and mute on this discussion.

There is no discussion about precedent. Does this mean every year, every 9th grader will get a hoodie from now until eternity? Nor, does this cover the change in the dress code so they can actually wear them to school.

At most districts, if this was a directive of the board, the Superintendent would put the process out to bid, try to engage the community and possibly sell sponsorship of the hoodies to business- perhaps with a company logo on the hoodie- or ads on scoreboards or even in the building- or ask philanthropists to donate to pay for this.

Since none of that happened, the cost of this should be taken out of the paychecks of the administrators, as well as criminal charges being pressed. I’ve filed a Public Records Request with the Schools (this used to be easy- send to the in-house counsel, now the district spends north of $1M a year on contracted legal representation).

When I get the documentation, I’ll post- and will refer this to County Prosecutor Mat Heck, and to the Attorney General, although just by watching this video- it is clear a crime has been committed and done so knowingly.

Open honest government starts when the public keeps an eye on public meetings and calls BULLSHIT when the law is broken. This is a case that’s perfect for a Sunshine law lawsuite- but the plaintiff has to fund it all- and hope that local judges will actually pay the legal costs (apparently- it’s discretionary, since “Judge” Gerald Parker said I won in the library case- but refused to reimburse my legal fees as suggested by Ohio Law. Parker should be challenged next time he’s up).

The kids of Dayton probably would like the hoodies- however, they might also like band instruments, or even the right to take home their chromebooks… which they can actually use for learning. But, we don’t trust them with those- only hoodies- that they can’t wear to school.

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