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.

 

 

 

DPS enters the final countdown

Sorry, I’ve been busy with the real world lately, not enough time to spare to write about the soap opera/tragedy/dramady that’s the Dayton Public Schools over the last 2 weeks.

I’ll start with the contributions of the only Board Member who is running for re-election that we know of- Joe Lacey. He shouldn’t. That said, here’s his genius share at the last meeting, at the end, in closing comments, yes, our preliminary test scores went up, but, so did everyone in the state- and they went up more. So, our Annual Yearly Progress- the factor that “saved us” from State takeover and was a false flag to rally around, isn’t really happening. In fact, we still suck. Yet, Rhonda has a 3 year extension. Go figure.

Tonight, he decided to stick his foot in his mouth discussing the retirement of Horace Lovelace, one of the few master principals the district still has working for it. Apparently, the amazing thing about Mr. Lovelace was that, according to Lacey, was that Lovelace could do such amazing things with the problem children (aka black boys). Joe still doesn’t understand the why of single sex schooling – and as the meeting took a break before the executive session, he was called out by two Kiser employees who read him the riot act. He tried to wiggle out of his racist comment as a misstatement. The ignorance was deafening. I’ve got it on tape- so come election season, he can expect to see it combined with his past escapades of disrespecting the public combined into a very nice video hit piece to make sure he doesn’t return to do more damage to the district.

I’ve been waiting for someone to help me out and pull all the HR spreadsheets from June 10, 2016 to June 10 2017 to clearly show how many teachers, administrators and staff have abandoned ship. 20% attrition is probably on the low side- but Ms. Judy Spurlock actually told the board, without any facts, that it was lower. No one caught it. Rookie Rhonda said 20% attrition is normal- to which the proper answer should have been, you’re fired, but no one on the board has a spine, or a functioning brain attached. No organization can afford a 20% attrition rate- the turnover costs alone, in terms of onboarding, hiring, training, mentoring and then the acclimation process almost guarantees failure, or if nothing else, a stepping stone district, which is what we will forever be until we offer competitive pay.
Here’s an NPR article from 2016 lamenting the 8% attrition rate and the teacher shortage.

Also on the agenda was another incompetent incomplete presentation by Dr. Sheila Burton. One slide with four changes in transportation. Back to zones, 4 bell times, no 30 minute rides, and last but not least- cutting off transportation to private day care. The board jumped on this last one- telling day care operators to buy their own damn buses. McManus in particular. Then came public comments and the truth about the daycare situation came out- parents can’t send their kids to DPS if they don’t have day care. All the kids are Title 20 funded- and it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. You want to drive parents out of the district- or to charter schools- that often include after school care…. next you know- the board and district are reversing themselves. Nevermind, the busing situation with 4 bell times makes a mess for parents with kids going to different schools. Only an idiot would think that 4 bell times is the answer.

Of course, the answer, which I proposed in the short film, “There ain’t no “F” in Dayton,” of staffed neighborhood bus stops never was in the mix. That would save the district time, gas, and cut down on the number of accidents caused by trying to take buses down streets designed for horse and buggy.  It also helps with attendance issues- and building community relations- but, nooooo……

Last meeting, this meeting, resignations keep coming. Corr even admitted that she couldn’t find a replacement for Horace Lovelace this late in the season, but, why worry, she’s too busy paying $160K to Huffmaster to PREPARE for hiring replacements for the strike.

Yep- they get the money whether the negotiations work or not. After the strike begins, then we start paying as many as 600 temporary teachers to half-ass do what 800 full time teachers under her command still fail at- make real, tangible academic progress and stop the district from being a shit show.

The strike vote has been taken. She still thinks there is a chance to play hardball with the DEA, despite ignoring every warning sign that they are sick of this BS coming from downtown. We have no money and have to RIF in November, then we have money to buy out a capable administrator, who by the way, was replaced by three people, 2 of which she hand picked, paid more- and then had one quit after a year. And, btw- we still had money to give administrators a $300 to $350 a month expense bonus…. and we don’t have money for a raise after 4 years? Rhonda’s own contract is richer than former superintendent Lori Wards.

This week, she hired 2 $90K administrators to handle PR- without even notifying the other applicants that the job was filled. Previously, the old PIO made less than that- with 30+ years with the district. And this is on top of her hiring the most expensive ad agency bid on the RFQ last spring. Welcome to DPS Marsha Bonhart – formerly of Channel 2 and DCDC- to your new $87K a year position of Director of Public Relations and Media, and Dr. Venita Kelley who will make $89K a year as Director of  Strategic Communications and Public Relations. I assume they will also both get the $300 a month expense accounts as well… but Rhonda says these two replace 3- maybe 4 positions, since they hadn’t filled Jill Moberley’s job, Jill Drury’s job or Ken Kreitzer’s job. Oh, and remember- Drury was the only one who knew how to manage their website. I know Marsha, and she’s not going to be actually running the website or designing the brochures- and I’ve yet to meet a PhD who could either…. hmmmmm.

And, btw- where is either of these ladies experience with turning around a failing brand?

There were questions tonight on the hiring of Miami University to to an IT survey. Since the contract was under $50K, it wasn’t bid. But, for this, the board wanted a presentation on what they’d do. Yet, when the PR contract was bid, they were told that their involvement in the evaluation process was strictly verboten and would be a problem- even though it was for $350K. Nice way to stick to standards.

The news media was all there- and asking questions of Rhonda and  Board President Dr. Walker about the strike. The reality is, they are the reason there will be a strike, and they refuse to take responsibility. That the community isn’t calling for a replacement board, or state takeover at this point is unreal.

Just another performance of the greatest (side) show on earth. Welcome to Dayton Public schools.

Afterthought: better use of the Huffmaster money by the board: fire Rhonda, settle with the teachers, and move forward.