DPS Board wastes 4 hours to move backwards

Once again, Dayton Public Schools believes rose colored glasses will somehow solve their public relations fails. In an epic 4 hour meeting, first we handed out awards for showing up to bus drivers, awards for janitors for cleaning and a real award from the State for Teacher of the Year to a Stivers teacher, Rachael Murdock.

Then it was into a presentation first by Dr. Sheila Burton and then Dr. Elizabeth Lolli about how there was some good in the state test scores- which put us as the second worst district in the State (behind Trotwood). While this kind of information is great, it’s not really useful as “good news.” It’s like saying “we got shutout, but, at least we didn’t fumble the football” (and by the way, the score was 654-0).

It also shouldn’t be presented by administrators.

The proper way to present this, by a competent PR staff, would be a presentation outlining the steps we’re taking over the next 3 years, in order to remedy the issues. What best practices have we implemented that caused things to move up, how we compared to the State in areas we didn’t move up, and what are the performance goals for the future.

While identifying that Horace Mann got 5 “A”s is nice – without knowing what the “A’s” were in, or why, or how- is useless information and a waste of our time. How are we going to replicate those “A’s” across all the other schools is more important. It’s not what grade you got, but what you learned- and how you will improve that counts.

This set up the first fireworks. After Burton and Lolli finished, Baguirov had to blather on about schools getting “A’s” and how we’re not all failing. It was a ramble- unchecked. Joe Lacy had a totally illegible slide to show his analysis- and was promptly cut off by Walker. Rudely. Joe, stormed off the dais. When he returned to vote on an unscheduled Exec session midway through the meeting- he asked if he was allowed to vote now- after he’d been cut off.

The discussion in executive was obviously about the upcoming decision to replace Pete Pullen with Chuck Taylor as the head boys basketball coach at Dunbar. The public comments were dominated by people singing Pete’s praises. The only one to not talk about Pete, was the poor girl who was a DECA student who had cheered for Dunbar for her entire high school career- only to be told she couldn’t finish her senior year for her school, with her friends- and was risking her chance at a scholarship.

Sheila Taylor took a roundabout way of explaining how this was all the Ohio High School Athletic Associations fault and sorry. “We tried to appeal” was Taylor’s line- nevermind the fact that had she not given district athletic director Mark Baker a 2 year contract- this probably wouldn’t have happened.

The fireworks finale was the vote on Taylor/Pullen for the coaching job, but slipped in-between was the board voting not to pay Huffmaster on the contract they signed for Strike Prep. $35,766.78 will be cited in the lawsuit Huffmaster files- and then throw in fees, and penalties and this will cost even more.
The board should be held personally liable for the breech of contract. The superintendent as well, since she didn’t bother explaining that this wasn’t an optional payment.

The Taylor vote had a lot of BS attached. First and foremost, Baguirov announced he’d abstain. Why, not sure. Reality- dereliction of duty. He did this after Lacey actually made a competent case for why the board should reject the recommendations to not rehire the legend for a rookie coach.

He cited 20 years experience, the winning record, the loyalty, and the scoring system which seemed more subjective than objective- especially when you are talking a coaching legend with a record that’s unmatched- compared to a rookie with zero high school coaching experience. But his most damning point was that only 2 people applied to be head coach at one of the states premier programs.

There could only be one reason- insider information and bias. Why wouldn’t we have more applicants? Probably because no one that knows anything about the program and Pete’s legacy would apply until Pete resigned- what idiot would think they’d get picked over a coaching god?

And there lies your problem- only a system run by idiots would toss away one of the best coaches in the State- and possibly in the country – and that’s what we have. Only Chuck Taylor had the inside line on the plan, and here we are.

Lacey walked off to talk to the Dunbar parents, former players, coaches and of course the media- because he’s running for reelection, and because, he’d already been disrespected by the board that evening. This one vote isn’t a good reason to keep him, but, for the first time in a long time- Joe was actually right on the money. That should scare us all.

Until next meeting of the circus clowns, stay sane, and send your kids to CJ or the Miami Valley School. No signs of intelligent life emanate from the puzzle palace on Ludlow.

The rest of the Pete Pullen story…

How does DPS hire 2 people to run PR, pay them $180K a year, and the way the community finds out who’s the new head basketball coach at Dunbar- is on my blog?

Way to welcome new coach, Chuck Taylor to Dunbar.

The job was posted, Chuck applied, came prepared to the interview. He’d passed on other coaching positions- waiting for the right job, right time. He’s no stranger to the Dayton basketball community- having run his own AAU team for 20+ years. A Dunbar Roth grad, he lead Roth to a basketball state championship as a point guard, before Roth’s program moved to Dunbar when Roth closed. This was his chance to “come home” and lead.

The other part of the story that’s missing, is that Coach Pullen did a cardinal sin in a very petty district- he dared to apply for the Wayne High School coaching job, although he was never called for an interview. Just like the Trump administration, in the new DPS, where “Great things are happening”- it’s all but an unwritten rule that you sign a loyalty oath. Any deviation from devotion to the Corr machine- and you are out. Got questions? See the Tom Archdeacon story in Sunday’s Dayton Daily where the celebrated soccer coach at Belmont of last year, Julie Raiff, was replaced this year, because she dared to go to Northridge for more money as a Special Ed teacher. The district line for her- we want a coach who is in the building.

Which brings us back to Dunbar’s new coach- who has a full time job as Judge Gehres’ bailiff. He may be the new direction for Dunbar, as what Principal Crystal Phillips told her 63 year old coaching stead as she unceremoniously turned him out to pasture, but Taylor won’t be in the building either.

Coach Pullen had already retired from teaching the year before last, but still taught two PE courses last year. This year, he’d opted out, but is also currently recuperating from major surgery- and did his interviews in a wheelchair- which probably also didn’t help his case for keeping his job.

Phillips also said that Pullen didn’t have a good rapport with college coaches as a reason for not keeping him, yet the fact that there would be seven college coaches at his practices says volumes.

In PR, the secret is always getting ahead of the story. In this case, considering the smoldering smirch on the district of the Dunbar/Belmont football fiasco last year, the new PR fiasco of the announcement at an emergency meeting about the new academic eligibility standards, you’d think the PR wizards on staff would have made sure that this change wouldn’t be yet another target for tomato tossers- but, they failed.

In the end, Dunbar will do fine in basketball. The question again, is why is this change being made this late? Would Dunbar have lost two star players, DeVon Baker and Caleb McConnell, to SPIRE Academy in Geneva, Ohio, for their senior year? Other districts know that parents of star athletes choose to enroll their kids in schools because of the coaches, not necessarily because of academics. If your ticket to college is being punched because you can play hoops- that’s the first thing you look for.

However, I sure wouldn’t want to be on the other side of the coming Dunbar parents and alumni storm- which all could have been avoided had this been handled properly.