DPS Chaos and the secret agenda Lolli won’t tell you about

Interim Superintendent Libby Lolli likes to show projections of declining enrollment predicted by consultants as the driving force for “rightsizing” the district.

Don’t believe a word that comes out of her mouth.

If you want to know why enrollment is dropping, and will plummet after her grand plan is implemented (if it even can be) is that the parents are tired of being shuffled around like playing cards.

I’ve said it before, the enrollment drop started when outgoing Superintendent reconfigured buildings at the last minute to create the three middle schools. Parents at high performing K-8 Schools like Horace Mann, Eastmont, Wright Brothers, Eastmont, Valerie were unhappy about having to send their kids to the three new middle schools: Wogaman, EJ Brown and Wright Brothers. Then we added 7-8 to Belmont and Meadowdale HS. Then, the next year, we went to 4 bell times- screwing with bus times for parents with multiple kids in different schools. No warning, no planning, no discussion. You could have to get kids ready at 4 different times. Hello?

Lolli obviously likes Junior High Schools- because she’s willing to gut both the Girls academy and Dayton Boys Prep- by scrapping their 7-8 as well.

The only school and parents she’s wise enough to leave alone is Stivers.

But, that’s only half the crazy-train.

Obviously, Lolli doesn’t understand how we managed to lift the deseg order- with open enrollment. Now, she’s going to start by closing Valerie Elementary- move it over to the Meadowdale elementary building, rename it Valerie, and then scrape Valerie. OK- no problem with that- except, she’s going to tell Meadowdale parents- you have to send your kids to the building closest to your home- while, not? telling that to Valerie parents? Can we say discrimination? Or, tone deaf? Take your pick.

We knew from the get-go that Valerie was a goner- it’s the oldest building in the district except for Stivers- that needs major renovation. And, closing it isn’t the end of the world, nor is the middle school plan- except that it probably guarantees losing at least another 500+ students overnight to charters or moving out of the district or vouchers.

CJ is saying THANK YOU very much.

But, the other moves- closing Jackson Center, which the district just reopened to move the Longfellow kids to, is a flat out handout to the Dayton Metro Library who just found out the people who own the former Delco site across the street aren’t giving them the land for free. $50K an acre hurt their pocketbook too much– so they’ll just move across the street to Jackson Center site- and pay to scrape the building for the district. Remember, library director Tim Kamblitsch was on the task force… now you know why.

The other plan is to move HQ from Ludlow 1 to Ludlow 2. Ostensibly, this is because Ludlow 1 needs $2m in HVAC repairs and is too costly to maintain. Sheila Taylor was almost in tears about losing the “community room” – board room, which DPS employees built with their own hands. Hint- you wouldn’t need such a big room if you didn’t keep screwing up and causing the entire community to come down to scream at you.

Moving the 150 odd people across the street will still have costs, but, don’t worry, just like Jackson Center, they’ve got someone who wants that land and parking lot behind the building… can anyone spell S-I-N-C-L-A-I-R. I can. And you can bet your last dollar that they get it for a steal. As to parking for DPS staff, don’t worry- the district owns the lot down Ludlow past 3rd Perk and the old Avenue Lounge- a block away.

And, we’ll move the 20 or so hard core troublemakers who were doing drill and fill online “learning” as an alternative to suspension, into Ludlow 2 with the HQ staff should keep things interesting. Considering Ludlow 1 implemented key card access on the elevators to the upper floors- for security, how wise is it to bring our most troubled kids into the HQ?

Speakers at the meeting tonight all got to talk as long as they want, except me. Rev Harris thought he’d try to infringe on my 1st Amendment rights and interrupt me and called for my removal. Director of Security Richard Wright made a show of coming out to do Harris’s dirty work, but as a former Dayton Police Officer who knows the law, and knows my record on winning lawsuits, didn’t take it past belly bumping. Kudos go to new School Board Member Jocelyn Rhynard for stepping up and saying she’d like to hear me out, and that I should have the right to speak. A teacher told me that Al-Hamdani also said something to that effect, but I didn’t hear him. Rhynard scores points. McManus, who should know better just sat there like a stupid caricature from central casting as a stuffed suit. Very disappointed in the man who wanted to be president and is vp.

Standing in the back of the room was Brian Wildermuth, the board lawyer who is managing my case and billing them out the wazoo. He was probably there to meet with them in Executive session to discuss his loss in the former treasurer Craig Jones case. The board will have to decide to appeal, to pay Craig, or to hire him back. Wildermuth will tell them to appeal so he can keep milking his cash cow.

Lolli making a presentation on rightsizing the Dayton Public Schools District with input from the illegal task force

Lolli tells everyone that the Task Force weighed in on the issue

Judge Skelton set a hearing in my case for Thursday at 3pm. The only two issues to be addressed will be is the task force a public body that had input and did they have a secret meeting. Considering Lolli put up slides including the task forces input, the first issue is now resolved. The second issue has video tape- and unlike the tape of the Dunbar Thurgood brawl, this video is crystal clear. Wait for the ruling that they violated the Sunshine laws- and then apply this rule to the issues of “Right Sizing:”

From ORC 121.22

(H) A resolution, rule, or formal action of any kind is invalid unless adopted in an open meeting of the public body. A resolution, rule, or formal action adopted in an open meeting that results from deliberations in a meeting not open to the public is invalid unless the deliberations were for a purpose specifically authorized in division (G) or (J) of this section and conducted at an executive session held in compliance with this section. A resolution, rule, or formal action adopted in an open meeting is invalid if the public body that adopted the resolution, rule, or formal action violated division (F) of this section.

Section F:

(F) Every public body, by rule, shall establish a reasonable method whereby any person may determine the time and place of all regularly scheduled meetings and the time, place, and purpose of all special meetings. A public body shall not hold a special meeting unless it gives at least twenty-four hours’ advance notice to the news media that have requested notification, except in the event of an emergency requiring immediate official action. In the event of an emergency, the member or members calling the meeting shall notify the news media that have requested notification immediately of the time, place, and purpose of the meeting.

The rule shall provide that any person, upon request and payment of a reasonable fee, may obtain reasonable advance notification of all meetings at which any specific type of public business is to be discussed. Provisions for advance notification may include, but are not limited to, mailing the agenda of meetings to all subscribers on a mailing list or mailing notices in self-addressed, stamped envelopes provided by the person.

They will fail the above tests, and the whole process will be dead in the water. And the question is if the next level penalty will be applied:

(4) A member of a public body who knowingly violates an injunction issued pursuant to division (I)(1) of this section may be removed from office by an action brought in the court of common pleas for that purpose by the prosecuting attorney or the attorney general.

It is my hope that Open Government Unit of the State Attorney General decides that the actions of the elected officials who continued to meet, despite multiple warnings, warrants their removal and Mohamed Al-Hamdani, Jeff Mims, William Harris and Robert Walker all find themselves out of office.

Time will tell.

 

 

 

Kids get punished for stupid adults: Dunbar BB forfeits playoff game and season ends

Because Dayton Public Schools doesn’t hire professionals, act professionally, follow procedure, pay attention, get the details right, etc. The Dunbar Boys Basketball team just learned that they had to forfeit their win on Monday Feb 26th in the tournament vs. Thurgood Marshall- giving Thurgood a  shot to the division II playoff game against Bishop Fenwick on Sunday March 4th at UD Arena.

Apparently the Ohio High School Athletic Association, who still is keeping a close eye on the district after the Dunbar/Belmont thrown game fiasco, got wind that players who were involved in the brawl at the Thurgood/Dunbar game a while back- weren’t punished, the school gets punished now.

Why does District Athletic Director Mark Baker still have a job? Why was it a good decision to unceremoniously remove Pete Pullen, one of the winning-est coaches in Ohio High School Basketball history to replace him with rookie Chuck Taylor?

At what point will the people who make these command decisions- the Superintendent and the Board, be held accountable?

Because this isn’t good for the kids. It’s not all about the kids. It’s just a string of failures to which there is no end in sight.

It’s time to cut losses. You now have a fireable offense to use to terminate Mark Baker’s contract. You have reason to fire Chuck Taylor. You have a reason to fire Dunbar Principal Crystal Phillips- after all, this is her second failure to implement policy. But then what? The people downtown STILL don’t seem to understand what it takes to run a school district.

In other district news, former treasurer Craig Jones won his appeal on his case against the district on wrongful termination. The thing that caught them was their failure to properly follow the Sunshine laws for notification of their impending planned action in executive session. The board hired the same lawyer as they have on my sunshine case, Brian Wildermuth of Subashi & Wildermuth. He’ll soon have another loss on his hands.

Maybe they need a better lawyer too, in addition to a Superintendent, Athletic Director, Principal at Dunbar, Basketball Coach at Dunbar…. the list goes on.

In the lifeboats as the DPS ship sinks

Since the post last night:

“Half of the preschool department is leaving for various school districts-roughly 16 teachers. Most are special-needs preschool teachers who are going to various districts that still have four day preschool- that understand that you cannot get IEP work done effectively without a planning day. Thank you for bringing to light all of these ridiculous decisions.”

A  principal with enough seniority to retire twice- (almost)- says, “If she stays, or Roberson is made superintendent, I’m out. Bring back Lawrence, Brathwaite and I’ll stay”  (David Lawrence and Debra Brathwaite- former DPS administrators) Als0- “they are cutting half of my Title 1 reading and math intervention specialists, and replacing them with a phonics coach. I don’t need a separate person to teach phonics, just give my 1st and 2nd grade teachers training, and we’ve got it covered. What a waste of money”

A teacher- “Hello David I also will be resigning although I have not told my principal or human resources yet, but I am a science teacher at XXXXX one of only two physics teachers in the district and I will be going to teach at a small county school where the pay is only $1200 difference with smaller class sizes and my kids also go to the school where I will be teaching next year. I didn’t even apply for the job…?, I was recruited by community members who knew I had a science background..that’s how bad science teachers are needed all over the state. U can mention my case, just don’t mention my name or school”

I’m still waiting for other school boards to approve the hiring of 2 other principals and one top level administrator. There is a possibility of 2 additional names to add to this list.

thumbnail of DPS Board agenda 30 June 17

The last minute agenda, for a School Board that can’t get it together. PDF- click to view

The School Board is supposedly meeting at 4:30 pm today, a meeting that was hastily called Tuesday night- after another hastily called meeting. The agenda wasn’t published until this morning- and it appears it’s the entire appropriations for next year. Can someone explain why this wasn’t known to have to be done before Tuesday night? And why the public shouldn’t have been given adequate notice and time to review the issues? 48 hour rule? We’re lucky to have a 4 hour rule under Rhonda Corr and Hiwot Abraha.

More examples of complete and total incompetence and mastery of management by the seat of her pants by the current Superintendent and Treasurer.

Time to clean house, before there isn’t a house left.

Any more people want to tell the board about their resignation here first? [email protected]

And, btw, it was nice to see the Dayton Daily News share the story of Judge Dankof ruling in favor of the district over former treasurer Craig Jones – 2 days after I published it. Jones’ lawsuit was about this very BS kind of meeting announcement. Dankof obviously doesn’t care about the intent of the law- only the minutiae. Hopefully, next time he runs, he has opposition, since he doesn’t deserve to represent a public he won’t defend properly against abuse of power by other elected officials.

 

Those who can’t do, call another meeting

Just in:

In accordance with Section 3313.16 of the Ohio Revised Code and File: BD of the Handbook of Policies, Rules & Regulations of the Board, I hereby call for a special meeting of the Board of Education of the Dayton City School District, Montgomery County, Ohio, to be held on Friday, June 30, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. in room 6S-116 of the Administration Building, located at 115 S. Ludlow St., Dayton, OH 45402.

The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Board to vote on recommendations from the superintendent and/or treasurer.

The media is being advised of this meeting in compliance with the Ohio Sunshine Law.

Respectfully,

Robert Walker, D.Min.

President

Dayton Board of Education

This is after they acknowledged yet ignored about 60 people in Dunbar blue who piled into the 6th floor board room tonight, to be seen but not heard by the children in charge of the Dayton Public Schools.

The board, less Dr. Adil Baguirov, took great pains to explain that they were just there to go into executive session, and then went for yet another 2.5 hour marathon.

So here’s some things to think about: no one realized that they hired a replacement football coach at Dunbar on Saturday. Yep, a Mr. James Jacking. On the HR recommendations that were passed by 4 members with Sheila Taylor abstaining.

thumbnail of HR hiring James Jacking

Check page 2. They hired Jacking, not lacking.

Mr. James LACKING, was kinda surprised when he found out first from a reporter that he may have the job. Not only that, he’s willing to step down if the board ever holds a revote to hire Darran Powell back.

Powell has his petitions with over 1500 signatures turned in. Somehow, it hasn’t connected with the board or with Rhonda Corr that 1,500 signatures in 3 days is a hint that they don’t have the political capital to win. But, when you have an administration as tone deaf as this one, maybe they just have to wait for the bomb to go off.

There was good news for the district today.

Rhonda Corr made an announcement about preliminary state testing results as part of the preamble to the executive session. She claims all scores went up and that the final numbers will be even better. The board was just slightly happy, wondering if the 60 Wolverines were going to eat them for lunch was higher on their list of priorities.

thumbnail of Craig Jones ruling

The ruling by Judge Dankof on the notification process used by DPS board- click to download PDF

The other news was that Judge Steven Dankof actually gave them a seal of approval for their insane meeting practices by tossing out the lawsuit by former treasurer Craig Jones. Dankof took at face value the arguments for the legitimacy of their poor notification actions and confused votes and said the board didn’t do anything wrong in firing Jones and Ward back in Feb of 2016.  Nevermind the board definitely tightened up their notification emails to comply properly after (which should tell you something).

For the record, the vote was 4-1 and Ron Lee wasn’t there and said he would have also voted to fire. Do I care who was the one no vote? Do the rest of us? Not really, because this whole thing has gone from bad to worse since. You can read the ruling here.

How many meetings a week can this board hold?

How long will the public stand for this nonsense?

One things for sure, someone who didn’t think much of Rhonda’s hand picked Chief Academic Officer who just quit found this blog and made it clear that Dr. Markay Winston wasn’t any less controversial than her former benefactor Corr. This article about Markay’s obstructions in court proceedings against the now imprisoned former Superintendent of Chicago Public Schools, Barbara Byrd Bennet, should have set off warning bells for the DPS board long before they even had Corr in to interview.

Is this mess the best we can do? Isn’t it time to just start with a completely new board, and a superintendent that actually knows who she hired for head coach of the winningest football program in the city?

 

Time for an accounting of the Dayton Public Schools Treasurer

At the parents meeting Thursday night, Dr. Adil Baguirov cited yet another set of figures for student and money loss, now claiming the loss is closer to $3 million- and that the students discrepancy was off by 8 students. Yes, we know that student counts vary, but the funding shouldn’t yo-yo like this mid-school year. He also claimed that the reserves aren’t at the sacred “10% level” needed for bond ratings from the same losers at Wall Street that ranked junk securities AAA and threw this country into economic chaos- and then in today’s paper- their treasurer, Hiwot Abraha, claims they are on track.

At Thursday’s meeting, DPS parent Dave Fanjoy asked, given howmuch money the district has in reserve, why DPS chose to make the cuts in the middle of the school year.

Baguirov pointed out that the district’s bond rating was recently downgraded by one agency, in part because its reserve levels might be at risk if there was an economic downturn.

“Their requirements are always above 10 percent of the revenue in the budget,” Baguirov said. “We do not even have that 10 percent as of today.”

DPS Treasurer Hiwot Abraha confirmed Friday that DPS does narrowly have more than 10 percent in reserve today. According to the five-year forecast that the school board approved a month ago, that figure was just over 11 percent this past summer, and is projected to march upward to 13 percent this coming summer, 15 percent in 2018, and 17 percent in 2019.Asked about those numbers Friday, Baguirov pointed out that DPS had been below that 10 percent level in recent years.

Source: Dayton school cuts may be delayed

It seems that Baguirov and Abraha can’t get their figures straight- and the district has suffered a huge PR and credibility blow- because Abraha can’t give the board legitimate numbers. This was never a problem under former Treasurer Craig Jones who wasn’t retained by this board- and is currently suing them for not following the law on his dismissal. The 19 fired “administrators” from Nov 8th- may have the same basis for lawsuits.

But, if we need proof that Abraha’s office is a mess, a parent just called me to share that her $250 transportation check from the district (compensation for driving her kid to a charter school instead of using DPS buses) bounced- and she was charged a bank fee- that the district will be liable for.

It would seem that besides not being able to manage an RFP for marketing services properly, or giving the board correct info on loss of dollars or students, the treasurers office can’t keep their accounts balanced either.

At this point- it should be easy to fire the treasurer, but the public should really be looking at firing the school board. There has never been this much turmoil in the district- and it comes down to the Board’s hiring of Rhonda Corr and promoting Hiwot Abraha- instead of keeping Lori Ward- who took the district out of academic emergency (but Corr got a $7,500 bonus for it) and keeping the steady financial hand of Craig Jones.

If you need further proof that the public has had it with this board, the staff has had it with Corr, note that a video posted of a parents meeting has 37 views in 12 hours, without me promoting it.

Other than Baguirov spouting off new “numbers”- the interesting parts are he responds to my question about the para’s firing this upcoming Tuesday- with “we probably won’t fire them until summer,”

If you need an indication why the district can’t keep jobs filled, this kind of inspiring statement should be all you need to know.

There is also an exchange between the parent who was disrespected by Joe Lacey and Dr. Hazel Rountree and Ms. Hazel, where she blows off the parent’s concerns for being talked to like a child in front of her child. As Hazel sits in denial, people chime in “watch the video”- which went organically viral on Facebook with over 5,600 views and almost 150 shares within days of posting.

And as that conversations ends, Dr. Walker apologizes for the boards behavior, but doesn’t apologize for the RIF (even if the numbers were wrong).

At some point, the public should be able to get a full and honest accounting of not only the costs of the bad marketing, that caused the loss of students, which created the funding shortfall, which caused the RIF mid-school year in an emergency that caused the loss of faith and respect of all involved and brought massively bad PR to the district and has employee morale at an all time-low.

Maybe a bounced check will be the final straw that broke the camels back.