Different day, same circus. Dayton Public Schools tries Monday for a shit-show

Empty chambers for a special DPS board meeting

When you have a meeting on a Monday- nobody comes to watch your circus.

Dayton Public Schools Board of Education meets on Tuesdays at five, except when they meet on Mondays at five. They meet to conduct business on the second Tuesday of the Month- except when they have a special meeting on a Monday at the end of the month. They discuss the public business at hand, in public, except when they don’t…. oops, did they really say that tonight? Why, yes, they did.

thumbnail of Tax Abatement Agreement CRA

PDF of the tax abatement agreement they voted for- without knowing how it was going to work. Click to download

Ostensibly, the reason for the special meeting was that they had to approve some hiring before school started, stuff that couldn’t wait. What Dr. Lolli also stuck on the last minute agenda seemed to take board member Sheila Taylor by surprise. Board member McManus was as angry as a southern gentleman can get, telling Lolli that “he’s going to tell you one time, if I ever have something as important as this appear on an agenda without at least a phone call…” before he caved and voted yet.  The issue- a “renewal” of an agreement to cede authority on tax giveaways on commercial projects to the city. However, it wasn’t a renewal, or, maybe it was, or maybe the language had changed. After questions from Board members and a brief presentation by board attorney Jyllian Bradshaw, they still didn’t know what they were really voting for. 40 minutes of must see TV.

Note to all: if it’s not in writing in the agreement, it’s not in the agreement.

Taylor began with the fact that they really shouldn’t vote for a ten year agreement, since it exceeded their terms. Also, her folks in her ‘hood pay their taxes, and why shouldn’t the rich folk buying up condo’s downtown like hotcakes. And, what about a levy?

thumbnail of Tax Abatement – City of Dayton – 2005

The old agreement. Why this had to be done in a special session? To hide. Click to read PDF

Harris was a condescending jerk to her, telling her she should have asked her questions before the meeting. Something that Al-Hamdani and Wick-Gagnet obviously had already done and told him how to vote (which they have to do every time a vote comes on the people who quit after the deadline- he started wrong again tonight). Taylor tried to correct him that they were supposed to do the public’s business in public- but, that seemed to fall on deaf ears. I chimed in, that they should also be voting on stuff like this when the public can speak. It’s as far as I felt like screwing with them, although you will hear me applaud Taylor for showing some integrity acknowledging the Sunshine laws.

I’ll try to have my video up tomorrow- since DPS is now taking forever, if ever, to load video to YouTube. Hint: the whole world can’t access Facebook, but most in free countries can get to YouTube.

There was also a vote to renew the option with the Ohlmann Group for help in marketing the district. They haven’t used them since June of 2017- and if you need a refresher, they weren’t very happy with them. Taylor took over from former board marketing genius Adil Baguirov, now suggesting customized mailings. Hint folks- the time to do enrollment campaigns for this coming year- was back in February, not 2 weeks before school starts.

Taylor forgot she didn’t like Ohlmann- and voted yes, only McManus voted no.

Why this couldn’t wait till a normal business meeting? Because Lolli was afraid I was going to point out the way this mess happened, or their dissatisfaction, or because she wanted to stick it to me? Or, for the stated reason- because Marsha Bonhart is retiring in Oct- and they won’t have anyone left to help with their marketing. Especially after their “Digital media specialist” of the last 10 months resigned too. Of course, having an actual marketing plan wasn’t even brought up.

And lastly, Lolli shared that the upcoming test scores for DPS aren’t going to be good, thanks to the “challenging year” they had last year. We can look forward to using these scores as a baseline. Let’s see, my guess is we just moved from 607 to 608, with Trotwood making real gains to rise out of the dreaded bottom spot Dayton used to own.

Several board members tried to sugarcoat her turd of a warning with “thank you for your honesty.”

However, if they were honest, they wouldn’t be in this kind of shape with their communications – and would have had a better way to deliver the bad news. If there was ever a need for competent PR help, this was it- and Ohlmann was no where to be found. Of course, the only ad agency that goes to meetings, was the one with the low bid- and brings you videos like the one above.

Good luck Dr. Lolli, you’re gonna need it.

 

 

Niccolò Lolli at the helm

Machiavelli was ruthless.

Machiavellianism is “the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct”.

Dr. Lolli announced the latest seating chart on the DPS tilt-a-whirl and analysis by the team behind esrati.com says she gets an A- for strategically solving some district problems.

Some of the people are being set up to fail, by being given horrible assistants, or assignments that should be a hint to leave. Others are being used to help set the stage for the next round of school closings. As Dr. Lolli says- this isn’t a final line-up, because she needs to find some new bodies to fill in the gaps- and she expects some to resign after seeing their new placements.

Good morning,
We are continuing to build the administrative team.
These changes are now being announced. A few adjustments from the last announcement have been made as we continue to make sure we have the best teams in place.
Edison: Jessica Reese, Principal
Myra Baker, Asst. Principal
Kemp: Stacy Maney, Principal
Gary Armstrong, Assistant Principal
Valerie: Shawnkeida Whitlow, Principal
Deidre Kelley, Assistant Principal
Teacher Leaders: Morgynne Hicks, Kristal Etter
Edwin Joel Brown: Channey Goode, Principal
Assistant Principals: Dale Robinson, Tiffany Bozeman
Wogaman: Basharus Simmons, Principal
Assistant Principals: Stacey Williams, Timothy McKinney
Wright Brothers: Eric Krissek, Principal
Assistant Principal : George Hurbanek
Belmont HS: Dr. Donetrus Hill, Principal
Assistants: Alice Owen-Clough, Karen Chichetti, Gerry Griffith
Dunbar Early College HS: Dr. Sean Henry, Principal
Assistants: Chris Caldwell, Dr. Lynda Huggins
Meadowdale HS: Nelson Stone
Assistant: Melinda Clark
Ponitz Career Center: Raymond Caruthers, Principal
Asistants : Daniel Hinshaw, Lolita Stevens
Stivers School for the Arts: Rachel Murdock, Dean of Academics/ Erin Dooley Assistant Principal: Adrienne WileyILC: Tasha Millerton, Assistant Principal
Chief of Curriculum, Instruction and PD: Carolyn Mack
Chief of Secondary Schools: Erin Dooley
District Athletic Director: Shawna Welch
Director of Outreach and Student Activities: Ida Nalls
Director of Professional Development and Curriculum
Support: Ryan Tait
Associate Director of Truancy: Mark Baker
We still have a few vacancies to fill in a few of the buildings.
Congratulations to each of these administrators!!
Elizabeth J. Lolli, Ph.D.
Superintendent
Dayton Public Schools
115 S. Ludlow Street
Dayton, Ohio 45402
(937) 542-3530
(937) 542-3555 (Fax)

As long as she relies on Dr. Sheila Burton, Marsha Bonhart and doesn’t figure out a true head of operations, she’s doomed.

However, moving Erin Dooley to supervise all the high schools is long overdue. The only proven principal in the district, Dooley can serve as a mentor/troubleshooter/drill sergeant to the principals being thrown into the fires of what passes for High Schools in DPS.

At the upcoming review session, she’s also hiking staff and admin salaries, retroactively, – with the odd explanation: “To better align with increases received by members of our bargaining units, I recommend an increase of 3% to the salary scale for Administrators and District Support Staff, retroactive to July 1, 2017.”

For the bargaining units- you waited until the last minute to sign, throwing the district into chaos? There was no retroactive pay for the teachers. And, you and your former boss, Rhonda Corr had no problem throwing several hundred thousand at Huffmaster for the strike that never happened.

At some point, you are going to say you’re broke and come to the taxpayers with yet another F on your report card- and want more money.

Yet- there were no RFPs or RFQs for research. Just a line item “Contract between Hanover Research Council and DBOE for research services, research reports, survey design, administration and analysis, interviews, benchmarking metrics. Effective July 1, 2018. $42,000 annually”

I’m still waiting for the communications that were used between DPS and the Montgomery County ESC to hire Burges and Burges for their survey. It seems all of a sudden, we’re flush with money.

And the legal bills keep coming: “Increase $158,000 to provide legal services to the district for various legal matters on an as needed basis for the 2017-2018 school year. Not to exceed $323,000 Originally approved on June 2017 board agenda Board Agenda: May 15, 2018”
“Increase $65,000 to provide legal services to the district for various legal matters on an as needed basis for the 2017-2018 school year. Not to exceed $240,000 Originally approved on June 2017 board agenda Board Agenda: May 15, 2018”
That’s over half a million, and DPS has an internal legal staff as well.
There is also another large chunk of money going to the Montgomery County Educational Service Center- a slush fund operation, which operates with Dayton tax dollars- but Dayton residents can’t serve on its board: “Increase purchase order by $91,841.12 due to vendor increasing rates for one on one

assistants services during the 2017-2018 school year. Originally approved December 19, 2017
Board Agenda Not to Exceed $341,841.12 For May 15, 2018 Board Agenda”
On personnel issues, there are some non-renewals- including the Ruskin Principal, Jennifer Dearwester, and the assistant principal at Ponitz who was part of the failure to keep a riot from getting a teacher dragged down the hall- Debra Corbin is non-renewed and the other assistant, Julie Nighswander, resigned.
Dr. Bob Bucheim got demoted to “Associate Director, Secondary Social Studies” which should serve as a hint that he’s no longer useful to the district and that he should be job hunting elsewhere.
There will be some battles over the other non-renewals, but, this board will sit in a trance and let the Superintendent get involved in more lawsuits. I’m starting to wonder if the new board members weren’t sponsored by the local bar association.
The real question is what happens this fall, if the district doesn’t pull a rabbit out of the hat with improved annual yearly progress to stop the State from stepping in. The last team to get an A in AYP was headed by Lisa Minor and David Lawrence who have both left the district. And, while it’s early in the resignation season, many DEA members are saying they just can’t take another year of the tilt-a-whirl, and we’ll see how many abandon the good ship Lolli-pop.
Less victims for Dr. Niccolò Lolli.
Machiavelli, however, is applauding from his tomb.

The Elizabeth Lolli files

Without interviewing anyone else.

Without public comment.

Without resolution on court cases.

Without questioning her performance in the Dunbar basketball fiasco.

This new school board is going to hire Dr. Elizabeth Lolli for the next 3 years.

She’s resigned her other contracts, without finishing. She was hired by the previous superintendent, who was fired less than 6 months after she was hired in a rush for three years.

No one has done their homework. I even dropped the ball, sending out requests to Barberton, Monroe and Middletown for her HR records weeks ago- but not following up (I was a little busy with a lawsuit).

So far I only have a few documents- but will continue to post them as they come in. I’ve also got copies of the contracts they are voting on today.

Here they are. Make your own decisions with the limited info we have. BTW- I asked DPS for all the due diligence records they should have from hiring her in the first place, and they haven’t been presented, meaning- either they didn’t ask, or don’t want to share (illegal).

thumbnail of Superintendent Contract of Dr. Elizabeth Lolli – 2018 (Bridge Term)

DPS Superintendent Contract of Dr. Elizabeth Lolli – 2018 (Bridge Term) Click to Download PDF

thumbnail of Superintendent Contract of Dr. Elizabeth Lolli – 2018

DPS Superintendent Contract of Dr. Elizabeth Lolli – 2018 Click to download PDF

thumbnail of Evaluation for Elizabeth Lolli

Monroe 2010 Evaluation for Elizabeth Lolli- click to download pdf

thumbnail of Resignation Letter from Elizabeth Lolli

2012 Monroe Resignation Letter from Elizabeth Lolli – click to download pdf

To the new school board and Libby Lolli

A press conference at 5pm on Friday, after a day in court the day before.

Constant controversy since the people of the district elected 4 new people, to try to bring order to a district that had been in chaos for the two years previous.

No other interviews. No public comment. No listening for the first 100 days as Mohamed Al-Hamdani promised at the updayton candidates night…

just more of the same.

Beware the rush to hire. Every talented leader I’ve ever met says hire slow, fire fast.

I’ve put in a request for all the research they’ve done on Dr. Lolli. You’d think they’d have asked her former employers for her evaluations. We’ll see if they have anything to turn over on Monday- by 5pm.

A real board wouldn’t hire a superintendent for 3 years without due diligence, right?

But, alas- that’s not what we have.

This morning on my run, Stevie Wonder gave me the perfect answer to this board and this about to be superintendent:

You Haven’t Done Nothin’

We are amazed but not amused
By all the things you say that you’ll do
Though much concerned but not involved
With decisions that are made by you

[Chorus 1] But we are sick and tired of hearing your song
Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong
Cause if you really want to hear our views
“you haven’t done nothing

[Verse 2] It’s not too cool to be ridiculed
But you brought this upon yourself
The world is tired of pacifiers
We want the truth and nothing else

[Chorus 1]

[Chorus 2] Jackson 5 join along with me say
Doo doo wop – hey hey hey
Doo doo wop – wow wow wow
Doo doo wop – co co co
Doo doo wop – naw naw naw
Doo doo wop – bum bum bum
Doo doo wop

[Verse 3] We would not care to wake up to the nightmare
That’s becoming real life
But when mislead who knows a person’s mind
Can turn as cold as ice un hum

[Chorus 1] Why do you keep on making us hear your song
Telling us how you are changing right from wrong
Cause if you really want to hear our views
“you haven’t done nothing
Yeah

[Chorus 2] [Outro] Doo doo wop – stand up be counted, say
Doo doo wop – co co co
Doo doo wop – ow
Doo doo wop – bum bum bum
Doo doo wop – ah hum

ah hum… is anybody listening.

Lolli wop, dum dum dum,

Lolli wop,  dumb dumb dumb

 

DPS: Special meetings are to avoid scrutiny

The announcement came on Thursday the 22nd- which is a day earlier than normal.

The Board wants to meet Thursday February 27, 2018 at 5pm to have an: “Executive Session to consider the employment, dismissal, discipline, or compensation of public employees and to investigate charges and complaints against a public employee.

The Board may choose to reconvene in public session for the purpose of conducting a public vote.”

That’s boilerplate text- and my guess is this will be where they make Dr. Elizabeth Lolli the Superintendent, with a multi-year contract, without public input, without asking the community how they feel about her, or where there is any opportunity for anyone else to apply.

And you know what? That’s just fine, because after I’m done with my lawsuit- and the judge finds that the Task Force met in violation of the Sunshine laws, Lolli, Burton, Abraha, Al-Hamdani, Walker and Harris, will all be unable to take action on closing any schools- because they discussed the issue in an illegal meeting.

If you need to see the visuals of the illegal meeting- the one the judge will review- watch “Goodbye Sunshine”

Unfortunately, this board is just as much of a mess as the last board, despite their shorter meetings.

At the community session on Thursday at Meadowdale Elementary, the community groups said the same thing over and over:

  • Safety
  • Communications and Transparency
  • Have a plan and stick to it

Unfortunately, there was only one board member actively engaging the community, Jocelyn Rhynard. The other board members, Walker, Al-Hamdani, Harris and Commissioner Mims, all stood off to the side, either talking to each other, or observing. Same can be said of Lolli, and DPS communications guru Marsha Bonhart.

As I walked from table to table, group to group, I recognized people at every table. And I kept thinking to myself, if David Lawrence was Superintendent, one, we wouldn’t be having a community in an uproar, because he actually understands and knows the issues and the community members- but, that he’d have his sleeves rolled up and be actively engaging and learning from the groups.

That’s why we need to have a board that comes clean on its plans for a superintendent in advance, and give the community an opportunity to weigh in.

Just remember, another man the last board passed over to hire Rhonda Corr – went to Springboro schools, which had been in turmoil, and brought order and pride back to a challenged district. That man, Dan Schroer, also managed to get Springboro to pass a levy on the first try ever.

I warned you about what would happen with Joey Williams. I’m warning you again, this board doesn’t understand open and honest communications, and as long as they feel the need to keep pulling secret meetings, emergency meetings, they will never earn the trust of the community.

And they won’t move this district forward.

thumbnail of Lolli’s smoking gun email

Before Al-Hamdani is in office, only he and Harris are in the loop

In the 171 pages of internal communications they released to me through a public records request- there was this gem from Elizabeth Lolli to Bill Harris’s private email and Al-Hamdani’s private email before Al-Hamdani had even taken office:

2. We have the first meeting of the Facilities Task Force on Tuesday, January 9 from 9:30-11 :00. The agenda includes a review of the district data that we have collected. I will make sure that you receive the same information Tuesday evening.

3. DPS has officially joined the Montgomery County ESC Business Advisory Group. The group has been meeting (Superintendents, Reps for the Superintendents and a consultant from MCESC) to develop the Ohio Department of Education Business Advisory Plan. They have been meeting monthly to write the plan, but after the plan is submitted in March, the meetings will be quarterly.

4. I am meeting with Phil Parker and Rick Stover on Friday to discuss the Accountability Panel and suggested changes they have for that group. We will also begin to plan out how best to rework the Contract with the Community. I will update you after the meeting to share the ideas they have and gain your input.

5. Tommy Owens met with me on Friday. He is suggesting that the BOE hire his firm to do the “grass roots” marketing for the district. He indicated a guess contract amount would be around $45,000.00 and he requested that we agree to hire him for two years ($90,000.00) if his company is hired. Please be prepared to weigh in with me on this idea. We currently have two PR people and we employ the Ohlmann Group.

7. Hiwot and I have our monthly review meeting with the Mayor and Shelley Dickstein on Wednesday. am meeting with Bill Burges on Friday to discuss a strategic communications plan that will include recruiting our students back to DPS.

What do you need to know about this: The Facilities Task Force is a district committee- being given privileged information. The district is now part of the Montgomery County ESC advisory group- the same ESC that I was denied the ability to serve on the board of. Lolli is making a beeline for Phil Parker of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce and Rick Stover– who is tied to everything business interest in Dayton- including CityWide Development. She’s talking to Tommy Owens – about marketing, when she wouldn’t talk to me, and also meeting with Bill Burges from Cleveland- who ran the campaign for “The Slate” of Harris, Al-Hamdani, Wick and the unfortunate loser Paul Bradley.

Used to be this had to go through purchasing- because it was mandated- now, we can just hire at will. BTW- someone find a company website for Tommy Owens please? I can’t find it.

Lolli isn’t working for the full board. She’s not informing the full board. If I was the board members cut out of these communications, I’d fire her.

But, then again, 3 of the board members were involved with hiring Rhonda Corr over David Lawrence and can’t admit they made a mistake. And four new board members don’t know what the Sunshine laws are.

Same screwed up situation, different actors. Sorry people, Tricks are for kids, not the way you move a district forward.