Lolli to continue her reign of terror

It’s fitting- on the day before we dispose of the worst president ever, the Dayton Public School Board of Education- is about to reward the worst superintendent ever with a raise and a new contract.

I swore off covering this trainwreck after I saw a staffer make a presentation with “your perfect title slide” and greek text- and no one chose to stop her, or question her. That was on the contract for half a million dollars with the University of Virginia– one that went off the tracks fast- costing the district hundreds of thousands with nothing to show for it.

ALERT

Just after posting- I got informed that Dr. Lolli has sent out a letter for principals to sign saying they not only endorse her, but also endorse Wyetta Hayden, for a 2 year contract instead of a single year. It’s being taken around the buildings by a Security Resource Officer. We all know that failure to sign will result in your career being upended. This is highly irregular- and probably illegal.

So to fill you in- I’m going to quote others- and suggest at the end two options that would be an incredible change from the current leadership.

But first- the state evaluates the districts performance. It’s not pretty.

Dayton-Summary-Report-12-4-20

Make sure you read pages 21-25

Here is what former school board member, Mario Gallin, wrote– (note, Mario tries her hardest to be positive and diplomatic)

I don’t know why I expected things to be different, but apparently I did and so finished up the first school board meeting with a sense of disappointment.
The selection of officers was interesting. Mohammed al Hamdani is back as president. Jocelyn Spenser Rhynard, after serving 2 terms as Vice President is now Parliamentarian, an honorary position. Will Smith is Vice President. Better minds than mine can probably make sense of this.
What I particularly enjoyed (not really) was hearing the newly sworn President, now in his second term, lauded by Gabriella Pickett for his leadership as she nominated him, read out the resolutions for approval – meeting dates, memberships, Certificate of Enrollment, etc. including the Resolution on Public Education Week.
All of this was approved unanimously without comment.
The Certificate of Enrollment on Board Docs was updated right before the meeting – and was also uploaded in the Establishment of the Service Fund item. So, no, you did not approve a Service Fund. Which is fine by me, but don’t go spending money you don’t have.
The one that frosts me most is the Public Education Week Resolution. Which does not exist.
If you go to Board Docs, there is a summary agenda on the left. Click on one of those numbered items and a fuller description appears on the right. That is also where the vote is recorded. Item H, which was never on the left panel, is a holdover from 2019, two years ago, when it actually was a resolution (I checked). But nobody even asked!!!
My frustration, which right this minute is palpable, is that we are supposed to take all your decision making as the best possible outcomes on issues that are crucial to the District, students, families, and the larger community, and you don’t even know what the GOD BLESS AMERICA you are approving. How in the hell are we to believe that you have done any research, thoughtful discussion, any reasonable anything, when you can’t even verify what you are voting on.
Moving on.
The Nutrition Services Consolidated Report apparently is just there because the law requires it be on an agenda so they can say the Board saw it. At least they saw the title.
The presentation on the Graduation Seals was pretty interesting. You can watch it on DPS TV Dayton Board of Education – Review Session – January 12, 2021 – Part 1, 17 minutes 40 seconds in. It is up for approval tomorrow. The PowerPoint presentation is on tomorrow’s agenda as well as the actual documents for each seal under Superintendent’s Recommendations.
There was a mention of the two persons who have and who will fill in for the Director of OEC, but no mention of the employment status of Dr. Nichols. Her name does not appear on the agenda as of this writing. There will be a Report on the Office of Exceptional Children tomorrow.
39 teachers are taking classes under the DEA Teacher Tuition Reimbursement program. 7 have applied for reimbursement. Good to know teachers are taking advantage of this.
Nutrition Services has new equipment and according to several comments have been leaders in this pandemic for meal distribution. I found this on the DPS Facebook page. It’s pretty cool. https://www.facebook.com/daytonpublicschools/videos/…
The agenda for tomorrow is posted. In addition to some items I have referred to above, there will be a presentation by Ms. Goins on the Equity Initiative.
There are some additions to the HR Recommendations including a new Males of Color Coach. I have known his father for many years and there are few who are stronger advocates for kids. I have the utmost respect and have always been in awe of his abilities. I’ll bet the apple does not fall far from the tree and DPS will be the better for having him on board.
Meeting begins at 5:30. At this meeting comments from the public are permitted. Do not click on the link on the agenda, it is the wrong form. Go here instead. Comments are due by 5. https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSeu9gDRhFJ6ru…/viewform
The rumors are confirmed. Dr. Lolli’s contract is on Tuesday’s agenda for approval. A two-year renewal with a base salary of $205,000 for the first year. The second year to be negotiated. A $35,000 dollar annuity, a $100,000 life insurance policy, the cash value of which stays with Dr. Lolli when she leaves the District, any and all State retirement contributions, not just the customary employer portion, but her personal contribution as well (this is actually pretty common), insurance, professional membership dues, up to $5,000 a year for costs associated with participating in professional growth opportunities, mileage, and up to$1200 per month in expenses related to work. So, rough numbers probably closer to $300,000. I have not gone back to look at the previous contract, so I do not know what, if anything, is different.
We are in a pandemic and there may be a feeling that it is not a good time to look for new leadership. In that case, why not go for a one-year contract? I, others in the community, and I believe even some board members are less than enamored with the leadership and direction over the past few years. Teacher morale seems to be at an all time low. Human Resources and OEC are revolving doors for staff. There was an unflattering ODE report on the Office of Exceptional Children issued last fall. ESL has not had a director for 2 of the last 3 years. The person in year 2 left after a year. For two of those years the department was led, in addition to her regular duties, by the Chief, Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development. Who has retired. A new rollout for the ESL Department has been promised soon.
The biggest contract fail was the University of Virginia 3-year contract that was terminated after year 2. The person hired by Dr. Lolli to implement the program had a title change, then some time later left. Hundreds of thousands of dollars not to mention the hours of planning time from building administrators and teachers down the drain.
I’m not stuck in history. I refer you to the massive layoff in the fall right before instruction was supposed to begin. A horrible decision supported by the majority of the Board. The on again, off again plans for instruction. The recent teacher satisfaction survey which shows that teachers in the high 90 percentile are not happy. And by not happy I mean they don’t feel they are considered valued employees worth including in planning instruction for their students. The Transportation Department is another hotbed of discontent in large part because of the attitude of the administration.
My interactions with Dr. Lolli have always been cordial. This is in no way personal. But I think the facts speak for themselves. The Board collectively has not put forward anything that I can think of that warrants this contract extension. They are effusive in the meetings, talking about how they appreciate all she has done but I think it is time to be specific and data driven – to use a current buzz phrase. I would also like them to site their advisors. Who, besides themselves, thinks this is going well? I hear often from those who do not. It would be nice to have a balanced discussion.
April Turner posts this on behalf of the Concerned Citizens for Dayton Public Schools: (I can’t add a link).
To the citizens and parents of Dayton, Ohio and its elected officials, faculty, staff, students, and friends of the Dayton City School district:
The Concerned Citizens of Dayton Public Schools was organized for the sole purpose of collaborating with the leadership of the Dayton City School board. Throughout these last 3 years our concerns as a community, shareholders, taxpayers, and voting constituents have been unheard and disregarded. Under the leadership of Elizabeth Lolli, we have seen unprecedented turnovers relating to staff. This superintendent recommended laying off teachers in the midst of a global pandemic, halted both in person and remote learning for the entire school district for more than 6 weeks, and has failed to maintain consistent leadership within the department tasked to service our most marginalized students, our students with disabilities.
The audiology department was abolished even after countless pleas including data that supported the benefit of their service and the students they support. The former company charged with staffing reserve teachers was not renewed even after providing data that showed they not only upheld their agreement, but exceeded it. The 3-year contract with the University of Virginia was terminated after year 2 costing the district hundreds of thousands of dollars. Morale and job satisfaction are at the lowest it has ever been seen even prior to the “almost strike” of 2016, and that is across the board. Teachers, bus drivers, custodians, paraprofessionals, clerical, and everyone who is actually IN the buildings with our children are unhappy, miserable, and afraid.
Finally, the school board presents a 2 year contract extension with a base salary going from $175,000 per year to $205,000??? That is insanity, and for a current sitting board member to state that if year one is unsatisfactory then we can just buy her contract out on year 2?? There are countless horror stories about employees being terminated or forced to resign under her leadership and it needs to stop. Although we are in the midst of a pandemic, we need to cut ties NOW, there are more than enough competent CREDENTIALED employees right here within Dayton City Schools that actually care about our community and not a paycheck. If this school board elects to renew this contract during their last year in office, we will make certain the entire electorate who you are supposed to represent our comnunity will never be elected to another public office again.
This board has no interest in considering other options. They didn’t interview anyone else when they promoted Lolli, who was hired by the previous superintendent, who was hired in a very flawed process. The best candidates who applied- weren’t even among the final three. I don’t need to reiterate how much of a trainwreck the former superintendent was. That she hired Lolli should have been the first clue that she was operating above her level of competence.
The quote that comes to mind to describe all this- is attributed to Steve Jobs “A people hire A people, B people hire C people.” He doesn’t say what happens when D people are in charge- because outside of DPS they never last very long.
The two obvious choices to interview for replacing Lolli asap are Dr. Marvin Jones and soon to be Dr. – David Lawrence. Both are DPS grads, know the area and the people well- and are imminently more qualified to run DPS. Two other options- the recently departed Dr. Donetrus Hill who was in charge at Belmont, or even Tyrone Olverson who didn’t last at Trotwood- but, had more skills in his pinky than Lolli has in her whole cabinet.
I urge any and all of you who have a connection to the members of School board- to reach out and beg them to at least delay the vote tonight- and consider some other options before furthering the career of a woman who runs the district with fear and loyalty oaths- straight into the ground.
Here is the contract for a failure.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!