DPS spending money like a house on fire

Remember this time last year? That’s when the board was willing to spend $200,000 to hire Huffmaster to break a DEA strike, because, well, we didn’t have the money to pay our teachers more.

We lost staff, who bolted instead of risking a strike, the money to Huffmaster was wasted, with a last minute deal, and the teachers who didn’t get their step increases, or a three year contract, had to start the school year off last year without their normal prep time.

We could blame Rhonda Corr for that, although the more likely suspect was Adil Baguirov (who should have already been off the board over his residency issue), but the reality is- the rest of the bargaining team is still in place, including our new Superintendent Libbie Lolli.

thumbnail of Human Resources 5-29-18

Handing money out like Candy. Click image to download PDF

What a difference a year and a new board make. Lolli handed out RETROACTIVE raises to admin and staff, and now, extended the DEA contract, threw back in the step increases and released new pay scales- including 2 positions that seem really strange: Director 2 (No bachelors degree) starting at $79,380.77 and Associate Director 2 (No bachelors degree) starting at $67,470.63. Now, I grant you, a bachelors degree isn’t necessary to run a bus fleet or be head of maintenance, but, I’m wondering if these aren’t in place for a certain PR person- who might not have completed her studies at Ohio University.

That’s a lot of cash for someone who didn’t finish college – and to be working in education.

There also seems to be a whole lot of new directors. This week alone we find out that we are now still in the hunt for a Principal at Belmont- after Dr. Donetrus Hill had already started telling everyone that it will be a student uniform required school next year (for the record, East side schools tend not to require uniforms- West side do.).

Now Dr. Hill will have the title: Chief of Curriculum, Instruction, PD/Math/Science  and a new big bump in pay $117,000.00. He’s been here since January of 2017.

Wyetta Hayden is now Chief of Schools Elementary- $119,966.00

The new to DPS Carolyn Mack is Chief of Curriculum, Instruction, PD/ELA/SS and making $119,966.00

The new Executive director of Athletics took the pay up over $100K, Shawna Welch- who has been with the district a long time, now makes $105,373.75
A new hire from Cincinnati Public Schools Lynsa Davie, is the new Chief of Schools Special Projects, and making $117,040.0
Now, let’s rewind back to Lori Ward’s day- where the complaint was that downtown was too top heavy….
You had about 7 people making over $100k, The superintendent, the Treasurer, the head of the construction project John Carr, and the two chiefs who managed the schools and the one constant teflon coated associate superintendent- Sheila Burton.
Burton, gets yet another raise as Associate Superintendent to $126,075.00 which is mind boggling, since she’s never taught in a real school, given grades, or had to write a lesson plan.
https://youtu.be/MxjVopw4wK0
Just for the record, Lisa Minor- who used to be Chief of School improvement- made $96K under Ward and worked her butt off, nights and weekends. She is now in Trotwood. She was one of the two people who engineered the A in annual yearly progress, the other being David Lawrence, who was making $120K before they bought his contract out. He also worked ridiculous hours.
There is a travesty in all this happy go Lolli spending- the only truly proven and competent person in the district, who happens to also hold a Superintendents license, is former Stiver Principal Erin Dooley- is now the Chief of Schools, Secondary- and is still going to be working at Stivers- is only getting paid $117,000.00, which is almost $3000 less than her elementary counterpart Wyetta Hayden, who can’t be found after 6pm, unless there is a board meeting.
Dooley has had the only top performing school in the district for the last 20 years. She’s the only one who has created a culture of excellence, and trained many principals. If there is anyone who should be making $127K a year it’s her- not Burton.
There are a few “you have to be kidding” promotions on this HR report- but, they aren’t worth discussing. The more interesting item is that the auditor is resigning, and we will see if the position gets refilled.
The 5 year budget wasn’t posted on Friday but is now. It will take a while to analyze, but you can guarantee a levy will be coming, and it’s also pretty probable it will fail.
Missing is an executive session to discuss a certain settlement offer. We’ll see if they update the agenda.

Update: Monday: 28, 2018

This post kept me up thinking last night.

Maybe this is the beginning of a marketing to the community push?

Since Lolli is an introvert, and has shied away from any marketing plan, or efforts, maybe, she envisions all these new chiefs spreading out into the community to talk about the new changes she’s making.

Of course, the fact that few of her chiefs have ties to the community, or know it well, kinda hurt her if that’s her plan.

So far, we still have no strategic plan, the organizational chart and budget seem to be the only thing growing, while the district is shrinking.

Or as we used to say, “Too many chiefs, too few Indians.”

And the survey asked…

Well, Dayton Public Schools didn’t hire Burges and Burges directly, they hired the Montgomery County Educational Service Center to do their public perception survey for them. Naughty naughty. This is how you skirt scrutiny and keep things underwraps- and avoid having to go to bid.

This is why Dayton residents should be able to sit on the MCESC Board- since DPS spends a lot of money with them.

Here are the survey questions. They ask for 20 minutes- but- the recording I listened to- the interviewer wasn’t typing- but- it dragged on for over an hour. Time is money- and I’m sure DPS via MCESC will pay a pretty penny.

As a professional in the marketing field- these questions are highly open ended- and a lot of personal bias can be introduced in the summation. This isn’t the normal statistical style.

The interviewer said they are surveying about 40 people- and they had talked to “leaders, clergy, and colleges”- but- no parents.

The questions:

MCESC- is doing a survey for DPS-

20 minutes- anonymous

Compiling results to give to MCESC

How do you rate DPS- right direction/wrong direction

If you could see 5 years into the future- what do you think DPS would look like?

What are the most significant issues facing the schools- and what can be done to move forward-

6 areas under this:

  • School safety
  • Educational quality
  • Declining Enrollment
  • Facility issues
  • Poverty
  • Charter schools

What about DPS teacher- how do you think they are doing?

What about others- Support staff- bus drivers, administrators, etc.

Do you think DPS students are working up to their potential?

How well do you think the schools communicate with their teachers, staff the community?

Does the fact that a majority of the school board are new members give you concern?

How can DPS communicate and market themselves better- and do you think this will turn around the enrollment decline?

Do you think the stakeholders, the mayor, local colleges, etc are doing enough to help Dayton Public Schools

Is there anything else you’d like to add or suggest to the Dayton Schools or Community Leaders.

They are wrapping up these surveys this week- and then scheduling in depth ones later. They are looking for “informed insight”- not just people who are reading things in the news.

Thank you to my sources for supplying me with transcripts of their interviews.

 

 

 

 

 

School board agenda posted: more exits

It’s Sunday morning- and the agenda for Tuesday came out “early.”

The last of the internal candidates for Superintendent in the last posted position search, Dr. Greg Roberson is leaving. He’s the head of OEC- and is reportedly going back to Mt. Healthy where he was hired in from. Rumors have DEA chief David Romick asking for Roberson’s position.

David Lawrence was bought out. Rhonda Corr was paid off. Dan Schroer is now the Superintendent of Springboro- which is cool, calm and collected- and passed a levy for the first time on the first try. We’re now out of options for superintendents who applied.

Charity Earley principal Peggy Burks is retiring, immediately. DPS loses one of their most effective principals.

The director of payroll, Nicole Berkely, is leaving the treasurers office- after an internal squabble over pay for calamity days.

Dr. Venita Kelley is out after a year as Director of Strategic Communication and Community Relations, where there were no strategic communications and community relations took a dump.

Debra Corbin, the assistant principal at Ponitz is on FMLA Intermittent through the end of the year.

There are also some contracts for coaches for spring sports (hint: it’s already spring) while other districts have already hired their fall and winter sports coaches for the next year. The lack of respect for both coaches and parents in these last minute contracts is epic.

Tito Reynolds is hired in as the new assistant treasurer for $93K a year. He’s coming over from the Montgomery County Auditors office- where he’s been since 2013. Probably a dem party insider, strengthening the hold of the Mayor on the schools budget (which is considerably bigger than the city budget). Ostensibly, this is to fill the position of Brennon Hattery who left to keep his sanity.

There is no mention of the second reading of the new policies on public speaking in the agenda- but former Board member Mario Gallin who monitors things closely posted this on her FB wall:

So, without officially voting on it as a policy change at the next DPS business meeting as scheduled, the DPS website has already instituted a citizen participation procedure change mandating that anyone wishing to address the board must fill out a registration form and submit it 15 minutes before the start of the meeting. This is actually more draconian than the anticipated policy change requiring forms be submitted 5 minutes before. I am particularly offended by the hypocrisy in the first line. This is from their website Home Page to About Us to Board Meetings, then scroll down.

CITIZEN COMMENTS
The Board values input from the community and as such, the public is invited to attend board meetings and given time to address the Board during the public hearing portion of the business meeting. This is an opportunity for community members to share information, express viewpoints and concerns. It is not a forum for resolving disputes. Members of the public wishing to address the board, must complete the registration form in its entirety, and submit it to the board office representative no later than 15 minutes before the start of the meeting.

This comes on the heels of changes to the ability of the community to use district facilities as promised during the levy campaign in 2002. Dayton citizens were told that if they agreed to fund the building of new schools, part of the reward would be the ability to hold community meetings, use the buildings for community events, utilize the gyms as a community space (particularly attractive as the City was closing rec centers). Not all neighborhood communities have taken advantage of this, but now it appears that they should not even ask. Several months ago, the District removed Building Usage Request form from its website, along with the guidelines for community use. Now, in order to make a request, you must create an “account” which requires you to upload a Liability Insurance form but has no instructions as to what that is or who to contact with questions.

Long term practice has been to offer these facilities at no cost, as long as the building custodian was on duty during the week, usually until 9 or 9:30 pm. Weekend use did require the users to pay for a custodian for 4 hours at $30/hour. Sundays were a bit higher.

That also apparently has been scrapped. Rumor has it that in addition to a security deposit, fees will be charged according to which room in the building is being used and what equipment is required. I did talk to someone who tried to find out what those fees are, and they were told that fees would be assigned after the application was submitted.

There has been no public announcement or discussion of these changes at all.

Thankfully- I’m not the only one paying attention to the board.

Turnover is a major concern in this district. Until a steady hand takes control, expect to see a lot more people leaving for greener pastures.

 

 

 

The DPS agenda, or lack of one vs the real agenda

It’s Saturday. DPS offices are closed. Yet, the agenda for Tuesday’s board review session isn’t posted yet. That’s pretty much par for the course. Sunday at 5pm is their target, as if they are all working away on weekends, getting everything right.

The reality is, they just don’t want to share with the public. They don’t welcome scrutiny, or respect the public’s right to know.

Looking into my crystal ball, I predict they’ll be accepting the retirement of Peggy Burks, one of their most talented principals, who has been paid all year not to work. Yet another embarrassing reality for this administration.

They are hoping to ratify a contract with the bus drivers. Because, if they don’t, they’re screwed come Tuesday.

They’ll be voting on other stuff in a review session, that they shouldn’t be voting on- because they can’t get their business done on a schedule with a business session. You know the ones where citizens and other interested parties get to comment.

So we wait.

But, in the mean time, the students of Belmont aren’t waiting. After Dr. Lolli came to campus a week and a half ago, read the riot act as she removed a principal a month and a half before the end of the year, and implemented draconian punishments only for Belmont- and not the other schools, the students have said they’ve had enough.

Come Monday morning at 8:30 the Bison of Belmont will be protesting the new policy of Saturday detentions for being late 3 times, and parents hauled into court if the detention isn’t served. Lolli also banned cell phones and headphones- only at Belmont. So much for equal punishment for all students at all schools. Isn’t this what got the district into a lawsuit with the OHSAA over a basketball fight? Thurgood kids all sat their mandated 2 game suspension- Dunbar didn’t.

The ice queen superintendent, who hasn’t a clue over anything other than the Marzano method and curriculum alignment is about to get a swift kick in the keester by some high school kids who still believe life is fair and that capricious rules should be protested and contested.

In the meantime, Dayton Public Prep is still signing up students, staff and teachers for a full-frontal assault on education by route with their alternative plan for running the district as a charter, focused fully on year round schools and creative empowerment in the classroom.

Reminder: If the bus strike happens, DPS will get a chance to beat Trotwood to the bottom of the state district rankings in one easy step. And if Trotwood manages to avoid state takeover with gains in Annual Yearly Progress- it’s probably because of the many talented DPS staff that left the district when Lori Ward was show the door. The same team that got DPS their last AYP A- the one Rhonda Corr got as a gift from the very person she shafted, David Lawrence who was the chief architect of the turnaround.

Wait for the conclusion to that drama when test scores are released in August.

 

Dayton Public Preparatory to launch Fall 2018

Starting Tuesday, April 3 2018 at noon, an alternative charter to Dayton Public Schools will begin accepting preliminary applications from parents of Dayton Public Schools students, and parents who have been choosing charters and parochial schools to avoid the constant chaos of DPS.

There will also be an area for DPS employees to privately register their interest in joining this new soundly run alternative to DPS.

When the sign ups cross over 60% of students, and 75% of staff, the alternative charter will ask the state board of education to place them as the primary operators of the district, accepting full responsibility for the failings of existing leadership to bring order to the district.

Dayton Public Preparatory Logo

The leadership team started organizing Dayton Public Preparatory as an alternative in the wake of the non-action to remove Dr. Adil Baguirov from the board even after his residency was clearly in violation of all board policy. The ridiculous glowing review of former Superintendent Rhonda Corr just previous to their buyout of Corr moved the timeline up from fall of 2019 to fall of 2018. Further actions, including the turmoil caused by incompetent communications surrounding the eventual announcement of the closing of one school was the final straw.

The team behind Dayton Public Preparatory is proposing a totally different approach to education in Dayton, very similar to the proposals in the video that I released in December of 2016: “There ain’t no “F” in Dayton”- to include only 2 bell times, transportation for all students at all grade levels, year round schools, longer school days with much shorter instructional time per-day, and higher expectations and standards. Details will be released on the sign up page on April 3rd.

The new organization will essentially take-over the existing district, with state support, instead of the previous interventions with power handed to other organizations that have no more experience than the failing districts had before- see Cleveland, Youngstown and Elyria for examples of State failure to improve schools via intervention.

While the organization will not have a public school board, much like the Dayton income tax supported “Learn to Earn” folks, they will fully comply with all requirements of the laws and rules governing public school systems, and will have a three year window to successfully move the district from failing to Annual Yearly Progress with a D average.

All union contracts will be honored, however, instead of working a 1080 hour school year, employees will be expected to work a standard 2080 hour year for the same pay. If the district moves to a C average, all pay will increase 25% for anyone at the building level. Administrators pay will remain the same.

The leadership team includes highly skilled and proven executives that are well known to the community. The superintendent will have had over 20 years experience in the district, the head of business operations and HR also has over 15 years experience with the district as well as at a much larger district and the DPP treasurer never had the turmoil the current treasurer has had in her last 2 years.

This new district management team promises top to bottom cultural transformation of the district, with in service training beginning in July of 2018 with school to open on the year round full-time schedule in August. This will not be public education like any other in the United States, it is set to be a new model for urban and

Their names will be released to all who have signed up as interested after the signups reach 5,000 students and 400 teachers, which is expected to take less than 2 weeks.

Sign-up at https://daytonpublicprep.org after noon on April 3rd.

There has been a major commitment of funding from several national educational foundations based on the boldness of this plan, totaling pledges of $62.3 million dollars to date. Additional funding is still being sourced and some is contingent at how quickly the new organization reaches its sign-up goals. A local philanthropist has been briefed and is willing to step in with additional funding anonymously, to match the funding of national organizations dollar for dollar when this team gets state approval.

National backers include:

Full disclosure, my firm has been involved in talks with the founders of this organization since January of 2017, 2 weeks after I released the video. We have not been compensated for our work thus far, but, have been awarded a contract to begin when the threshold for announcement is reached. The contract is for the same amount we bid to manage DPS marketing in 2017, but were rejected by the board and district for the highest bidder.