First steps to return DPS to stability

On Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017, the Dayton Board of Education will install Rev. William Harris on the board to the seat vacated by Dr. Adil Baguirov who finally had to resign because he didn’t live in the district.

Unfortunately, Joe Lacey, Ron Lee and Dr. Hazel Rountree didn’t tender their early resignations to allow Mohamed Al-Hamdani, Jocelyn Rhynard and Karen Wick-Gagnet to also take their seats early. Considering the board has a no confidence vote from the Dayton Education Association, the sooner the new board (which the DEA endorsed) takes office, the sooner the healing process can begin.

It’s also time to change some things about the way the meetings are run. First and foremost is to explain to the Superintendent that an agenda, in order to be effective, needs to be posted to the public site by Thursday at 5pm before a Tuesday meeting. Any changes, additions, “emergencies” better come with a damn good reason- as in, the person requesting the changes will stand in front of the board and explain why they couldn’t turn in their issue on time. They will have a disciplinary note added to their personnel file for each time this happens. The documentation must be complete- posted as a time stamped, ADA compliant single PDF. We can cancel Board Docs which isn’t ADA compliant. Isn’t mobile friendly, and isn’t searchable- at least the way it’s being used now.

If this isn’t acceptable, a different system can be put in place for posting of agendas.

Another issue is the number of meetings. There will never be a vote at anything but a business meeting, ever again. If there will be a vote, there has to be opportunity for public review- and comment.

All the “committee” meetings- will cease, until actual agendas are created, published- and reported back to a public business meeting. There will be no more hiding of business in committee, or discussion of public business without a video record. All committees must make reports with actual metrics- goals and progress reports. Committees that can’t do this- will cease to exist.

Each meeting will begin with an actual report by the Superintendent or designee, on progress on identified key performance indicators. Suggested initial metrics:

  • Student attendance, broken down by school, grade, race.
  • Staff attendance, broken down by union, building, classification.
  • Computer usage, performance metrics from academic improvement software applications.
  • Suspensions, Expulsions, Discipline, broken down by age, building, race.
  • Transportation ratings
  • Enrollment figures
  • Student performance/behind, on-track/advanced

Next will be follow up on outstanding issues as brought up during board meetings. Each issue must be designated open, on-hold, closed. Any time a board member speaks, it must either be asking for a clarification on presented items, or to open an issue for resolution on an agreed to time table. There will be no tolerance for speeches from the board. If it’s not on the agenda, it will either be added during “New business” or it will be attached to a current agenda item. Any board member who violates this rule more than 3 times in a meeting will be asked to leave the meeting.

When a board member brings an issue up for clarification, they must be able to get at least two other board members to agree that this requires further investigation. If they can’t get two other votes, the issue will be considered a violation.

The board will no longer refer to anyone else on the board with the title of Dr. unless they have a PhD- since this is an academic organization and not a church. Divinity degrees mislead the public as to qualifications. Also, it is unnecessary to address each other with “Board member” “Vice President” or “Board President” – this is a waste of time and an unnecessary formality. Mr. Ms. Mrs. or Dr. are fine and appropriate. The board may return to formal titles when they actually have a district operating above a “C” in all State Standards, if they feel it is a title worth bestowing. Below average school districts shouldn’t reward mediocrity with formal respect until they’ve earned it.

Other than actual, mandatory business required to keep the district operating, this current board should not be allowed to dispose of any property, enter into long term or large contracts or extend any contacts of staff until the new board takes their seats. At that point, a full review should be started on issues and actions of the board dating back to when they were made aware that Dr. Baguirov didn’t live in the district- and their actions or inaction on following their own policy. Any board members who remain who failed to act, should be held criminally liable for failure to comply with board policy. This also applies to legal counsel, and others who should have investigated this issue.

Head of security, Jamie Bullens retirement is a starting point for an investigation. He should be properly deposed by an independent investigator as to what actions he was asked to do, by whom, and what was done.

An external investigation should also be conducted into the sale of the Patterson Co-Op site to CareSource, the purchase of the buses with their 10 year warranty on 7 year life expectancy vehicles and Dr. Baguirov’s illegal involvement in the contracting process, a review of both Superintendent Rhonda Corr’s and Athletic Director Mark Baker’s contracts. If Dr. Baguirov was a key factor- and he didn’t live in the district, both these contracts should be nullified. An investigation into the award of the marketing contract to the highest bidder- and then the change of direction to hire internally- also needs review. This change of direction shows a lack of competency by either the Superintendent or Purchasing or both. Within a 6 month period, the district did a complete U-turn, after not meeting their stated goals with either solution.

Last but not least, considering the DEA no confidence vote in the board and superintendent, the current remaining board members should all tender their resignations to the new board for consideration. It should be obvious, that their performance created the turmoil that caused an 8 way race and the loss by the only incumbent who ran. It’s time to bring stability back to the district.

The days of packed 4 hour meetings has to stop now. RESIGN, and let this district heal from your trespasses of trust, respect and dignity and move forward.

The most important Key Performance indicator will be seeing turnover of staff drop below 8% from the current 20%. We can’t run schools and a teacher/staff training facility at the same time.

For that to happen, we need clear, focused leadership. It will be up to the new board to see if Ms. Corr can actually run a district instead of a circus. If she can’t, I have two words for you: David White.

 

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