Today, we bring you the emergency meeting of the finance committee, the meeting that was hastily called after last Thursdays discussion.
The first question should be of course, why the rush? Did a district that hasn’t bought a standard school bus since 2010 seriously not have a full plan in place? This is the purchasing department that also knows how to run an RFP/RFQ process for marketing so well that they can present their findings to the board, without substantiation, or even a contract to review- and the board buys it lock, stock and barrel.
Going back to that marketing contract- the one where district legal counsel Jyllian Bradshaw spent an inordinate amount of time telling the board that if they were to listen to a presentation, or review the documents, they would have to recuse themselves. “You have to follow our scoring rubric” were her instructions.
The more we watch the Dayton Public Schools Board of Education, the more questions we have. Maybe that’s why they meet more, do less, and have worse schools than any other district in the region.
Note- this bus issue brought board members Sheila Taylor and John McManus out, possibly causing this to be an illegal unannounced meeting of the School Board. Sitting mute- doesn’t really solve the issue. Dr. Walker even said Dr. Hazel Rountree wanted to attend, but didn’t for that very reason. This issue was so supercharged that Board member Joe Lacey said he was resigning his duties as finance committee chair for this issue when it is to be presented at the board meeting tomorrow.
Here’s the video of the meeting. Please feel free to share in comments what lines you like best- as our board members go where board members never should be involved.
If Nan Whaley thinks the reason she’s unopposed is because she’s doing such a good job, she’s as delusional as DPS Superintendent Rhonda Corr and the Dayton Public Schools Board of Education. If any of them had any sense, they’d do what Wilburt Shanklin did- resign. Shanklin was the embattled nominee to the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission who was appointed by the County Judges illegally, since he was already sitting on a county appointed board.
The reason Nan is unopposed is partially because no one wants to run against a candidate with $140K in the bank, and a record of spending half a million to run for a job that pays $47K a year. The other reason is that the petition process is so flawed, it should be illegal to use the city prescribed petitions. I’ve written extensively about these bad petitions- with their non-required “Ward and Precinct” boxes- and the requirements for notarization, but the main question is since when was graphology a requirement for working at the BOE? To say you can’t recognize signatures – when collected via a clipboard- is just one way that the partisan Board of (S)Elections keeps people off the ballot. Any process that generates a minimum 20% failure rate by even the most careful candidates- should be re-evaluated.
If my father hadn’t died, it my mother didn’t have dementia and I was the sole caregiver, you can bet your last nickle that I would have run. Although, they’ve often found reasons to disqualify my petitions at huge cost to the voters in the past.
That there is no primary gives the commission challengers more time to do the work and to raise the money. Hopefully, the voters will realize that with no chance of replacing Nan- maybe it’s time to add some people who do more than dress well and say yes to her highness on command.
The Veterans Service Commission position will be filled by the judges within 60 days. I’m a member of both the American Legion and the Disabled Veterans of America. I’m requesting my name to be on the list- or will be submitting my name on my own. I believe there is lots of room for improvement to the VSC- including doing what the law requires- immediate aid, when necessary. Shanklin probably resigned because it was becoming apparent that he wasn’t going to survive the court scrutiny. Mark one up for Mat Heck’s Montgomery County Prosecutors office. They actually acted on public bodies breaking the law.
Which is the lead in for the shit show at the Board of Education which I’ve been covering extensively since the Board decided to replace Lori Ward and Craig Jones with, well, there may not be words….
The board hadn’t heard from Ohlmann- who wasn’t entirely sure the District had committed to them. The solution? Create more stupid board lead task forces to tell the “experts” they hired- how to fix the problems the board keeps creating. We went to one today and filmed. Dr. Baguirov thinks he’s an expert at web design and usability now – and even suggested using Flash on the site. He showed off charter school sites- and their emphasis on enrollment on the front page- and thinks the district needs to build enrollment landing pages. Wow, this is some comprehensive strategy in the works. The people from the Ohlmann group sat there and nodded- and said the board needs storytellers. Working with a camera on them didn’t make them too happy. We’ll post that session tomorrow- right here. (posted 6pm Mar 9, 2017)
Never mind that Ohlmann was the highest bidder by $50K and over the stated limit the district announced. If this had been a construction contract, it would be void for exceeding the estimate by 10%, but, surprisingly, there is very little real law in Ohio on how to conduct competitive bids by school boards.
We’re starting to think the real value to our agency is to do a reality webshow on Disaster Districts, sort of like Kitchen Nightmares or Restaurant Impossible. The board should welcome this, since we’ve seen where reality TV stars end up these days.
Two things to think about from this post: This blog lead the way on calling out Shanklin’s appointment to the VSC and he’s gone. And, after me chastising the board for not taping all their meetings and not using a PA to help Board Member Sheila Taylor hear- they started to tape the off week meeting in the room of the square table- and using microphones for about 60% of the time.
Progress. It comes slowly in Dayton Ohio.
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If you’ve been paying attention to the many meetings of the Dayton Public Schools Board of Education, you know that it’s turned into an absolute shit show since they picked Rhonda Corr as Superintendent. Just recently, they gave her a three year extension to her unorthodox one-year initial contract, after less than 7 months on the job- 7 months of turmoil and strife.
Not that the board needed Corr to create this mess, they do well on their own.
Considering that there were only 3 bidders, the second place bidder was at $321,100, and that the RFQ had stated that the cap was $300,000, one wonders why the only bidder under the cap wasn’t awarded the contract, especially, since it was the only true minority qualified business. (That bid was submitted by my firm, The Next Wave).
An old adage comes to mind, it’s called the rule of “P’s” – “Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.” Which fully sums up the actions of this board and leadership. How hard is it to publish an agenda? How hard is it for board members to take the time to either read what they are voting on- or, ask and get competent explanations from staff on what and why they are being asked to vote on.
The 48 hour rule exists for a reason- to allow both the board and the public to review actions of a public body before a meeting. It is only supposed to be waived when there isn’t time to properly notify everyone- something that shouldn’t be that difficult- posting an agenda 48 hours in advance of a public meeting.
Emergency meetings are called when a matter of urgent necessity must be decided and there is not enough time to allow for the 48-hour notice to members, or the 24-hour notice to the media. An example of a reason to hold an emergency meeting would be if a boiler were to suddenly break down in a school building and need replacing. The board could then call an emergency meeting to authorize payment.
Which brings us to their frequent use of the 48 hour rule- and the boards inability to actually review and know what they are voting for. The discussion about the buyout that wasn’t supposed to be discussed. The confusion about accepting a million dollar contract that they had obviously never seen.
These actions are clearly grounds for removal from office.
A board member is guilty of misconduct in office if he or she has willfully and flagrantly exercised authority or power not authorized by law, refused or willfully neglected to enforce the law or to perform any official duty imposed upon him or her by law, or is guilty of gross neglect of duty, gross immorality, drunkenness, misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance.
The petitioner must file a specific accusation of misconduct in office in Common Pleas Court.
The petition must contain valid signatures from people who live in the school district equal to 15 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the most recent election.
After the signatures are submitted to the court, a trial must be held within 30 days.
If the case isn’t dismissed by a judge, hearings proceed. A judge hears the case though the board member may ask for a jury trial.
To take them to court, we’d need to collect signatures of 4,574 voters in the Dayton Public Schools district to move this forward. The only question is can one petition cover all 5 board members who willfully and flagrantly neglected their duty to comply with the contract terms they’d hashed out over months in executive session, or if this is just clear violation of the public trust and they can be prosecuted? Or, do we have to get circulate 5 individual petitions to do this? People who want to help get signatures should message me. Anyone planning to run in the fall, could start collecting the removal signatures while they collect their signatures to get on the ballot.
Both Superintendent Rhonda Corr and the staff lawyer, Jyllian Bradshaw, should be able to be terminated for cause by a competent board, for allowing the discussion to occur on the Lawrence buyout contract, and for voting for a million dollar marketing contract, without having it either presented or properly explained to the board. The board treasurer, Hiwot Abraha, was in charge of the marketing RFQ, and should also be held responsible for them voting a week early, without proper review.
Replace the five board members, Robert Walker, Ron Lee, Hazel Rountree, Joe Lacey and Adil Baguirov with competent members, who then remove Corr, Bradshaw and Abraha with cause, and replace them with competent people, and maybe, Dayton Public Schools will have a chance.
Other peoples money. That’s the key to real estate, and especially real estate deals managed by those we elect who are supposed to be working in our best interest.
We’ve see stupid deals in Dayton for a long time, and they seem to slide along into oblivion in the mind of the public. No one got hoisted by their petards on the Arcade deal, or the Arcade tower, or the Wayne Avenue Kroger, or…. the list gets really long.
Let’s just say this: politicians raise bad real estate deals to a new art form. And locally, there are plenty of failures. However, it would appear that the deals by the Dayton Public School Board of Education may take the cake. This is a long video. But, it should make it pretty clear that there are serious questions about the deals they’ve done, the ones they’ve refused to do- and who’s been driving the deals- and questions about his entanglements.
We look closely at the site downtown on E. First Street where Patterson Co-op once stood, a greenfield, ready for development, and the site on Wyoming at Alberta where Patterson Kennedy Elementary once stood- near Miami Valley Hospital and the University of Dayton.
We’ve spent the last two months pursuing this story- and trying to figure out why Dr. Adil Baguirov seems to be the only member of the Board of Ed- including the school superintendent, that knows what’s been going on when it comes to these deals- and we’re wondering if this is by design.
If the schools wanted to optimize the value of these vacant properties, the key factor would be what property taxes will the development generate to the district in addition to the sale price- nothing else.
Watch the video. We’ll post supporting documents later.
Here is “Dirty Deals Done Dirt Cheap” featuring the Dayton Public Schools Board of Education, the Dayton and Montgomery County Port Authority, the former DPS operations Chief John Carr, the DPS board attorney, Jyllian Bradshaw and CareSource.
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Last night I went to a Dayton Public Schools Board of Education meeting. It began at 5 pm, it ended at 8pm. Most of it was in executive session.
Why did they meet? Was it because Dr. Adil Baguirov couldn’t stand the fact that John McManus was still President Pro Tem until they met again?
Or was it because they needed to discuss yet again the layoffs of the para professionals – the action they tabled at the Nov 17th meeting- and Dr. B stormed out of, because he’s so anxious to fire people.
It certainly couldn’t have been to watch Judy Spurlock the head of HR give a presentation that would have had her fired from any professional organization. She just had to provide the excuse- because there was nothing for the board to learn, to act on, to advise on, to direct, to….
The meeting was held outside the board room, around a big square table. No microphones, no video by the board (just me) and a bunch of highly paid people sitting around with nothing to add. This kind of meeting is why meetings get a bad rap.
The presentation was titled “Human Resources: An update” and was 9 slides using a template suitable for a funeral invitation. This is the norm for DPS presentations. No standard templates from a brand standards manual- because a brand standards manual doesn’t exist.
Not only were the slides a ramble, with no clear deadlines, actionable items, or decision trees- they were read to the group. To make matters worse, Ms. Spurlock sounded like she had one foot in the grave- thanks to some sort of illness. She didn’t even have control of her presentation- instead, having the board secretary advance her slides.
They were all uploaded to Board Docs just before the meeting- as JPGs- which aren’t ADA compliant (American’s with Disabilities Act) which also means they weren’t searchable.
Typically, corporate presentations include a title, a date, and the organization name on every slide- these didn’t. After I mentioned the omission of the PDF- it was uploaded.
What did we learn from Ms. Spurlock?
We learned that a half-a-billion dollar organization didn’t have standard operating procedures for standard HR tasks: posting jobs, interviewing, hiring or enrollment. There is no system, other than an outdated Lotus notes app to manage certifications, professional development, or evaluations. That the process for firing people- which seems to be very critical right now- doesn’t really have a process for exit interviews, collection of DPS property, or even what to do with their email accounts, passwords etc. In other words, we’re dealing with an organization being run by people with systems from the eighties- maybe.
Flowcharts would be really helpful in defining the workflows- but those weren’t presented. We learned they use CASNET- without defining what it was. It seems to be some kind of document scanning and archival process. No one asked how it fit in with other systems- if they even exist? It seems that this organization hasn’t heard of ERP- Enterprise Resource Planning, maybe that’s the norm when you turn an Elementary School principal into an HR Director.
I guess I’m qualified to teach physics, because I stepped foot in the Science building at WSU a few times too.
They’d looked at one piece of software- “Search Soft”- but had ruled it out because it wasn’t user friendly. Was a specification written? Do we know what they are looking for? I sit on the Technology Steering committee- do you think this has come up? Nah.
They will launch PD Express in summer of 2017 to manage their Professional Development. Again- the presentation didn’t inform the board of costs, length of contract, where the content was coming from. I’m sitting here wondering why they aren’t using the same tools they use to teach their students for their professional development- Google Applications for Education- GAFE, why there is even a spot on the web talking about it. Of course, because this is a meeting for board self worship- those of us in the peanut gallery who would ask this question- aren’t allowed. In business, we call this “eating our own dogfood.” In Dayton Public Schools, we call this buying what some other district bought, because no one we’ve hired actually knows anything about IT, Web Development, Cloud apps, ERP, Open Source Software etc. etc.
They are planning on evaluating evaluation software in Jan of 2017. They’ll form a committee. Amazing that the outline of the goals and objectives aren’t already specified and presented- just, “hey, we’ll form a committee.”
Then we talk about “Customer Service” where we want to redesign the HR page. Really? The district just spent over $90k building and rebuilding their proprietary site with a local firm. If it’s bad after that much money, why is the person in charge still employed… oh, right, she’s retiring in 30 days, and the RFP for marketing and communications support is still not awarded.
And the redesign needs to be “Visitor Friendly and Easy of Use.”
We also need to redesign the office to make it more appealing and have private areas. No photos to show the flaws, no sketches of new floor plans, no budget for changes, no request to hire an architect, nothing- just we don’t like our offices.
But here is the kicker- now we announce how great we are for hiring over 220 new teachers. Considering the teaching staff runs between 800 and 900, this means that there has been nearly a quarter of the staff turned over in one year. In most organizations this would send red flags. Here, the board is happy- and ready to fire more people, while promising to hire new people.
Gee, I really want to work for this organization said the new teacher. Never.
The final slide was about reading specialists and bus drivers. Sort of like talking about Lawyers and Janitors at the same time- only distantly related as in they both clean up shit.
The pie in the sky information on reading specialists brought some edu/speak jargon from the superintendent, and Dr. Rountree, who is convinced that all teachers in Ohio are reading specialists- at least they were when she came up- back in the days of chalk boards and capital punishment. I still don’t know what a “RIP Band” is- and I’m sure none of the board does either- I googled it- nothing.
As to transportation- we’re still short drivers. We fired all the supervisors. If we can’t get the kids to school or home, does any of this matter? Was there a chart of how many we need, how many we have, what we do when people don’t show up- hell no.
But, this is the norm for presentations from Dayton Public Schools staff. No substance, no actionable information, no key, no goals, random format, poorly labeled. With no clearly defined next steps.
The next step for citizens is to meet on Thursday Dec 1, from 6-7:30 p.m. at Corinthian Baptist Church 700 S James H. McGee Blvd, Dayton to discuss next steps.
For the board, they should have posted their agenda for the Dec 6th meeting by noon Dec 1- where the fate of the paraprofessionals still hangs in the balance. This was punted from the Nov 17th meeting- so, there is no excuse for not knowing what’s coming.
One of the things that yesterdays meeting did, was end the possibility of reversing the actions taken at the Nov 8th meeting where 20 “administrators” were fired or terminated. That number isn’t really right, since some reverted back to their teaching positions- which may have effectively fired someone else- and at least one, Linda Stagles, the grant writer who didn’t bring in any grants, is being allowed to retire quietly- a courtesy not extended to Challenger Learning Center director MariJane Recob. After the second meeting, board policy requires a crazy 6 votes to rehire instead of just 4 or 5.
If this district wants to establish trust, and build confidence in the community, a new respect for the people and their time and money needs to be put in place. Meetings should cover real issues and involve substantive discussion, and create actionable plans. Meetings shouldn’t be held, just so the board can go back into executive session to argue over things that subvert the power and authority of the Superintendent. If you have to discuss her recommendations that much, you must not have that much faith in her.
It’s time for a new level of transparency and honesty in our district. It has to start with the timely posting of the next meetings agenda- including groundrules for citizen participation.
Who works on Black Friday other than me?
Apparently Cherise Kidd, secretary to the Board of Education, who just sent out a special-meeting-11-29-16:
Special Meeting of the Board of Education of the Dayton City School district, Montgomery County, Ohio, to be held on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 5pm in the board room at the administration building 115 S. Ludlow St. Dayton OH.
Members of the public will be permitted to address the board at this meeting in accordance with Board Policy BDDH-E.
Thursday December 1, 2016 6-7:30 p.m.
Corinthian Baptist Church
700 S James H. McGee Blvd, Dayton
“Parents of DPS students are invited to join a conversation about proposed changes to the yearly budget and personnel in our classrooms.
Please join us to ask questions, provide feedback, and share our vision for the future of our children and community. School board members have been invited to attend to answer questions and provide greater understanding for their plan for Dayton Public Schools.”
This is just one more indication that the DPS board isn’t doing a very good job of communicating with the community.
Ohio has open meeting laws, commonly called “Sunshine laws”– which are to protect the public from public officials doing things behind closed doors. When you are elected, you are not in charge, you work for all the people who elected you, and as such, except for a few key things like legal disputes, contracts, personnel decisions, you do it where the public can watch.
It’s a weak law, with even weaker consequences. No one gets rich catching politicians acting badly thanks to the low fines, and high court costs. If we really believed in this, instead of electing a coroner or a county engineer, we’d elect a chief ethics officer whom you could turn to and they would take care of things like this.
While the Dayton Public School board only has one new member, John McManus, all the rest of them should have taken the Sunshine law class offered by the secretary of state. I know for a fact that board VP Sheila Taylor has taken it and knows enough to know right from wrong.
Recently, the DPS board has been receiving a lot of flak- mostly from African American activists in our community. First it was the “School to Prison Pipeline” then the “cops at basketball games” and most recently, for the non-renewal of the two top administrators who are black, by a board that is majority white and led by two white people. Dr. Adil Baguirov’s move to limit speakers to 1 minute instead of the normal 3, had security forcibly removing people from the podium over the basketball game issue.
So, this little item, had it been on the agenda, would have had a ton of people wanting to talk about it, protest it, and generally knock some sense into a board that seems pretty insensitive to the community it was elected to serve.
Meeting Mar 01, 2016 – Strategic Planning Meeting
Subject: Resolution – Hate Groups
Type: Action, Information
Whereas the Dayton New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam are recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups as hate groups,
The district shall not participate in events that promote or attempt to legitimize nationally recognized hate groups.
Motion by Joseph E. Lacey, second by Adil T. Baguirov, Ph.D.
Final Resolution: Motion Carried
Yes: Adil T. Baguirov Ph.D., Joseph E. Lacey, John S. McManus, Sheila J. Taylor
No: Hazel Rountree, J.D, Ph.D.
Abstain: Ronald C. Lee
Not Present at Vote: Robert C. Walker
For the record, the bottom three members are African American, the first four are white.
The real question is, why wasn’t this on the printed agenda? And when did they actually vote on it?
A friend told me this:
“The resolution was not on the agenda handed out to community observers at the beginning of the meeting, and was not presented until after the executive session, which means all community members were gone.”
Executive session rules have been bent, twisted and misapplied for years in Montgomery County, and don’t even get me started on the gray area of “work sessions.” If we had a real chief ethics officer, with power, the public would see a new level of transparency that would make their heads spin, but that’s wandering off on a tangent.
To go into executive session, you must announce it in a regularly scheduled public meeting. You must, explain before hand the reason it’s called, then go into session, and then only discuss the matter at hand. When returning from executive session, you announce that you stuck to the stated item and close the meeting. You do not come back in and take a vote on something that was not the topic of discussion- as they did on March 1.
The law is pretty specific about resolutions being adopted in an open meeting- one where the public is still there- and are informed about it via the agenda:
8 (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.
The question really becomes why did the board do this now, in sneaky fashion? What is the urgency to ban both the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panthers? Who gave the Southern Poverty Law Center the divine right to judge for us in Dayton? Has the SPLC ever heard of “Racial Justice Now”? Would they be a hate group? Although their site is far from as sophisticated or informative- I see some of the same language there that I see on the New Black Panther site.
All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.
Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.
If we look at the first statement- I’d think the Dayton Board of Ed should be passing a resolution against Donald Trump before wondering about NOI or the NBPP.
And looking at the second, how they segue from “criminal acts” to “marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing” which are all, the last I checked, activities protected by the First Amendment.
In fact, the grouping of the local NOI and NBPP groups with the national- is in fact maligning an entire class of people- based not on actual facts or actions, but, guilt by association. I would say the local Montgomery County Democratic Party, which pressures people not to run, sends out smear mail about opponents, and engages in closed-door screening of candidates by a secret group- is more a danger to our community – especially since they have control of half the board of elections, than either of these local groups.
I sent an email to all the members of the Board of Ed this morning to ask them to admit or deny the way they handled this resolution- with the quote above about the agenda- exec session.
I received 2 responses- from Dr. Baguirov and John McManus. I am closing with their statements. You decide if this resolution was necessary, needed, racially motivated, legal, done out of fear….
Agenda of the meetings often is slightly amended, as it was nearly every month in the past years, and as it was on a couple of occasions at the March 1 meeting: item that was marked subject “A – Review of Report Cards” was moved to be discussed after other subjects and became Subject E – last in line. No objections to that it seems, even though printed agenda shows it as Subject A. So yes, the agenda was further adjusted with one more item in the end, on hate groups, and all was done fully in line with the law and board policy. Board meetings are public, advertised, and open, and after executive sessions there is some action taking place sometimes, as it happened on February 23, just a week prior. Thanks.
Let me be clear that I only speak for myself here, as it is against board policy to speak for the board.
“Personally, until it was introduced, I was unaware that we would be voting on any kind of resolution of this nature. I listened to the discussion, though, and did vote for it in the end. After the article in the Dayton Daily News that stated that the groups had been classified as hate groups, I didn’t think I had a choice. With that being said, though, I have had the opportunity to meet many of the leaders and members of the two local groups and I don’t think that they personally have any hate in their hearts. They’re donating coats and shoes to kids who can’t afford them. That’s love, not hate. There is so much healing that needs to be done in this community, and I just hope and pray that it happens sooner rather than later.”
~McManus (and yes, apparently he writes in quotes)