After being mostly absent in the discussions over the 400 odd issues up for contention in the contract negotiations between Dayton Public Schools and the Dayton Education Association representing the teachers, Rhonda roared into the negotiating room last Tuesday, excused the boards lawyers and they haven’t been let back in the room.
Of the 400 issues- about half are just grammatical.
The remaining 200 are serious. This is an ambitious attempt by a rookie to remake the district, and so far, the DEA has been unimpressed, leading to the invitation of a mediator.
The legal bills generated to the boards outside law firm have been large up to this point.
Now, we’re in the hands of Dr. Sheila Burton, Dr. Libby Lolli and lead by Rhonda Corr.
To be fair, the DEA hasn’t had any lawyers involved on their side of the table. The board has had Tabitha Justice of Subashi & Wildermuth and board lawyer Jyllian Bradshaw on their side of the table.
The DEA has already authorized a strike, and has promised to wait until after summer session to actually walk off the job, leaving time for last minute heroics, but, the question is will their members wait?
Teachers are now back in short supply, and other districts offer better pay, better benefits and much higher morale as enticements. DPS has been losing teachers at an insanely high 20% rate for the last few years, helping to contribute to the fact that this is the worst performing district in the state.
On Wednesday, I went to the community town hall at Belmont High School. Corr made every PR mistake possible in the span of an hour, leaving parents, teachers, coaches, bus drivers and concerned citizens feeling like they’d just witnessed a concession of failure speech.
She had no real answers on busing changes, which was her lead item- via her surrogate Dr. Burton who gave a lame powerpoint presentation basically outlining that DPS can’t get your kids to school now, or next year. Questions from the audience were better thought out than the new three bell time schedule, or on why DPS is training other districts bus drivers for free. “We did train 60 drivers but only 7 of them stayed” (8:41 on the video).
She goes on to say she’s working with her legal department to try to figure it out- the same legal department she dismissed from negotiations?
Other questions about why Mark Baker was given a 2 year contract, despite not meeting the standard other coaches must meet- namely, not being sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, got blown off- with “I can’t talk about personnel issues.”
Parents got hit last year with the major shakeup of the reintroduction of middle schools at the last minute.
Now, there is no confirmation that your kid will be able to be transported to the school they go to this year- next year. Parents, rightfully asked, “when will we know” which went unanswered.
Principals have reported teachers pulling up to the buildings with U-hauls to remove their personal items, something they’ve never seen at this level before.
It’s time to remove the board who hired this rookie, and to then remove her as well.
Dayton can’t afford to lose even more students to charters, to other districts, to vouchers, because our superintendent can’t lead.
Actually, I lied. Tomorrow night, Thursday May 18th, is the fun as Pecha Kucha Dayton hosts volume 31 at the Dakota Center- 33 Barnett St. at 7:30 PM. It’s a “Hack your city” edition with at least 8 or 9 interesting PK presentations, from bright, talented people. For those of you who are still living in the dark ages- PK is 20 slides, 2o seconds each- on any subject. Add in that’s it’s free, and has beer, it’s a lot of fun and brings an interesting group out.
Tonight, at 5:30, Dayton Public Schools Rookie Superintendent Rhonda Corr will be having a town hall at Belmont High School, 2615 Wayne Ave, Dayton, OH 45420. It’s free- needs beer, and will feature one hapless superintendent trying to explain the fine mess she’s gotten the district in since her arrival last July.
Feel free to ask her about how we were broke, needing a RIF in Oct- but flush enough in February to buy out David Lawrence, or buy 115 buses. Ask her why she gave District Athletic Director Mark Baker a 2 year contract, when the dust still hadn’t settled on the Dunbar/Belmont thrown game fiasco- but, can’t and won’t give any coach anything but a last minute 1 year supplemental contract?
Or, why the district and the DEA can’t seem to make any progress on contract negotiations this year?
Or, about the real estate deals?
Or how she has an ineligible Board Member?
Or the new busing plan- which pretty much will seal the fate of the remaining specialty schools- Boys Prep, Charity Early, Rivers Edge? And how the new zones won’t guarantee a return to segregation?
While the school board sits scratching their heads why they can’t keep staff (even after it’s explained to them over and over) and they do things that make no sense (failing to investigate Baguirov’s residency, giving Corr a raise and a 2 year extension, retaining Mark Baker as AD, the layoffs in the fall….) we now have a new rule which will further hasten the exit of staff from the district.
Currently, the coaching and building athletic director positions are “supplemental contracts” in addition to an employee’s pay. By being both a coach and a building AD, it’s possible to boost your pay by $15,000 a year – and have pay comparable to what a regular teacher would make anywhere else.
This new provision may be in violation of the current Dayton Education Association contract with the school, but my attempts to clarify that haven’t yet been fruitful.
A week ago Friday, Dunbar Coach Darren Powell was quoted in the paper, and a story ran the following Sunday that he still had his position for next year. Monday the board informed the paper that this wasn’t true, as they had not voted on any supplemental contracts. The paper ran a retraction on Tuesday. Powell was told to shut up and not talk to the media, at least until after the Mark Baker situation had resolved- which lead to the long executive session on Wednesday and the eventual 5-1 vote to rehire him- even though his contract, like the one for Superintendent Corr and Treasurer Abraha could have been voted on later. This board like to try to sweep it’s dirt under the rug as fast as possible hoping no one notices that the dirt is turning into a mountain.
Once again, coaches are in limbo. Conditioning for football has already begun for the fall season, without a contract, who is supposed to be in charge? And when you are both a coach and a building AD- which applies to about half the Football coaches- which job is more important to you? And, with the choice- is it time to take your skills elsewhere? Earl White has turned Belmont from a sports joke into a multi-sport contender in three years. Do you think he, with his 21 years experience, a masters degree in educational leadership, won’t be recruited to go to the suburbs? The postings expire in 10 days- leaving a very small window for the coaches and AD’s to chose their future path.
An anonymous letter has been circulating with serious allegations about other issues with Baker. It has been seen by members of the School Board, coaches, athletic directors. I do not believe in anonymous letters, but, since I can’t seem to get full transcripts of interviews with everyone involved on the Dunbar/Belmont fiasco- or the transcript of the OHSAA hearing, I’m running it.
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is out of deep desperation and my genuine concern for the students, coaches, athletic directors and all associated with the Dayton Public School District. I find that I must convey my disgust with what I have observed over the last seven months related to the Dayton Public Schools athletic programs and its appointed leader Mr. Mark Baker. Mr. Baker is under qualified for the job, and with each blunder, such suspicions are proving to be true. He was promised the DPS AD job before ever interviewing for the position by then Dayton Public Schools Chief of Schools Innovation, Mr. David Lawrence. Once evidence produced suggested that Mr. Baker was given an unfair advantage for the job, second interviews were immediately granted to all the candidates. The next time, a qualified candidate was recommended for the DPS district AD job, only to have his offer rescinded due to supposed public pressure and for the second time, Mr. Baker was handed the DPS AD job despite the fact he had no athletic director experience. Clearly, the fix was on.
The point of this letter of complaint is to bring to your attention a few major infractions that have occurred under Mr. Baker’s leadership, that to my knowledge has never been reported to the OHSAA. Mr. Baker on several occasions has purposely withheld significant violations that occurred in DPS from the OHSAA other than the Dunbar Early College High School football team using an ineligible football player in the fall of 2016, and he only reported that because it was self-serving. Also as a whistleblower, I must show how Mr. Baker’s gross incompetence has placed Dayton Public Schools and OHSAA at grave risk. Mr. Baker’s leadership style is confrontational and consists of intimidation and lying.
Mr. Baker proudly lets everyone know that he’s above reproach because he believes he has the complete backing of the Dayton Board of Education, Superintendent and OHSAA. Mr. Baker’s ineptitude causes him to call other athletic directors Statewide for answers to the simplest questions concerning eligibility and rule interpretations.
The following infractions and incidents occurred in 2016 and 2017 can be collaborated (sic) with any effort of a simple inquiry or investigation by your office:
In October of 2016, Ponitz ere High School, Freshman football team permitted a highly sought after private school seventh grader to play in their Freshman football game. The player in question is the son of the Ponitz assistant football coach, Mr. Derrick Shepard. When this incident began to leak to the public, Mr. Baker instructed the head football coach, Jim Place at Ponitz to handle the issue internally, and he wouldn’t report the incident to the OHSAA, and he didn’t. Coach Shepard received a suspension for the remainder of the football season, and it was one or two games with pay.
Mr. Baker permitted serval players from Community Schools in September 2016 to play football for Meadowdale High School without properly vetting their eligibility. After two games into the season, it was determined by the Meadowvale AD that the two players were indeed academically ineligible. Mr. Baker informed the Meadowdale head football coach that the players could continue to play because he didn’t want to punish the players for his mistake. Meadowdale lost both games in question but Mr. Baker never self-reported the player’s illegal participation to the OHSAA.
During Meadowdale High School 2016 Senior Football Night celebration Mr. Baker became furious once he learned the Meadowdale AD and football coach had failed to put a pre-game program together to recognize its senior football players. Mr. Baker entered the press box at Welcome Stadium and verbally reprimanded the Meadowdale AD. Mr. Baker then angrily came into Meadowdale football locker room before the start of the game and disrespectfully verbally lashed out on the head coach in the presence of his players and staff. Out of anger, Mr . Baker physically assaulted the coach in front of witnesses. Several Dayton Public School security staff had to separate them. Coincidentally, the head coach wasn’t rehired. The coach was informed one of the reasons was because he played ineligible players during the season, the very players Mr. Baker himself cleared to play.
In December 2016 the Meadowdale Head Football job was posted. In February 2017 Meadowdale High School granted interviews to fill the job. A selection committee selected Mr. Len Hampton. Mr. Hampton’s interview took placed (sic) without Mr. Baker’s knowledge. However, Mr. Baker wasn’t satisfied with the selection. He managed to persuade the committee to grant an interview to a candidate who was denied an interview because his paperwork was late causing him to miss the deadline. This person was Mr. Derrick Shepard, who didn’t score as high as others candidates during the interview process. Unbeknownst to most, Mr. Baker had secretly promised Mr. Shepard who’s an alumnus of Meadowdale the Meadowdale head football job, yes, the one and only Ponitz assistant coach suspended for playing his seventh-grade son in a high school game. Mr. Baker already reached out and formed an interview committee to ensure Coach Shephard’s selection which consisted of high profile Meadowdale alumnus and Mr. Sheppard, ex Hall of Fame high school football coach Pat Masters. Clearly, the fix was in.
Six days or so after earning the head football job Mr. Baker summoned Coach Hampton to his office at Welcome Stadium and told him he had to be reinterviewed for the football job by him and Mr. Keith Byars. Mr. Hampton informed Mr. Baker that he had already been interviewed, selected and named the Head Football Coach by the principal of Meadowdale High School. Mr. Baker told Coach Hampton that it was him alone that makes the final selections for all head coaching positions for DPS. Therefore, he would have to interview with him. Mr. Hampton, Who is a member of the teacher union excused himself from the meeting and immediately informed his union representative and principal of his dilemma. They in turned contacted Mr. Baker to let him know that his attempt to intimidate Mr. Hampton and interfere with their selection was a violation of union contract. Within 48 hours, Mr. Baker reluctantly apologized to Mr. Hampton, telling him it was all a misunderstanding, or was it?
Because of the entire 2016 Dunbar vs. Belmont high school football fiasco Mr. Baker failed to renew Coach Pete Pullen, former AD and Coach Darran Powell head football coach, basketball jobs cleverly creating a two-game in voluntary (sic) suspension at the start of the basketball season. Mr. Baker antics and power play worked to publicly embarrass and humiliate the Dunbar community and both fore-mentioned coaches. Because of a community uproar and a few newspaper articles both coaches were reinstated without explanation or apologies from Mr. Baker. As of the writing of this letter for reasons yet unknown the Dunbar head football job has yet to be filled and interviews delayed without explanation. Dunbar has currently four high profile Division I prospects, in which Mr . Baker has vowed if it’s left up to him Darran Powell will never coach them.
Mr. Baker arranged to have a female athletic trainer, Ms. Erin Cane, from Kettering Sports Medicine Center removed from Dunbar Early College High School when she refused to give him negative information about the Dunbar athletic program and coaches. Three weeks after Mr. Baker interviewed her he then implied to the Vice President of Kettering Health Network that he had reason to believed she was having sexual affairs with members of the Dunbar coaching staff. Without any proof, Ms. Cane without noticed, was assigned out of Dunbar where she had served for eight years. It’s clear this is nothing shorter than vicious slander aimed at Ms. Cane and every male coach at Dunbar Early College High School and speaks to Mr. Baker’s lack of character and unethical need to seek and get revenge against anyone who refuses to bow down to him.
Mr. Baker continues to try and convince people that he inherited a school district that was completely out of control and a total mess. He claims he inherited none loyal coaches across the district. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Mr. Baker started a staff meeting last week with building AD’s saying he has the power to replace them all and he will if they don’t start producing results. He was only giving the AD’s a year to turn things around, implying his contract will be renewed. Thus, unbeknownst to him AD’s are looking for other jobs outside our district due to his dictatorship style. Mr. Baker’s lack of decision making skills prove that he has no problem cheating and will cheat at every turn without conscience.
The school board hasn’t voted to rehire the Powell’s as coaches for football, although they have rehired them since the fiasco as track coaches. They believe because of the rehiring of Baker and new conditions in the contracts, they may not be the coaches next year. There is no evidence of any clause in the posting or in the School Board Policy manual (updated 12/5/16) that coaches will be ineligible due to being investigated or charged with any infractions of OHSAA rules as some had rumored.
The promise of a position in the future sounds like the work of Superintendent Rhonda Corr, who did the same thing to this writer when the RFP was out for the marketing contract (fully disclosed here).
There are still many questions surrounding the how much the board knows when making decisions. The main question is why was the Baker contract done while in the middle of the controversy? Rumblings of a tape existing that will damn Baker coming to light in the next week make this decision even more worrisome.
Seat of the pants decisions and timelines seem to be the new norm with Dayton Public Schools since Rhonda Corr was hired. At what point with the School Board realize that this isn’t how you build trust and respect with your employees? With the impending strike, forcing issues like a choice between coaching or AD, is just poking the bear at the wrong time.
You knew the school board was ready, all of them dressed in their Sunday best- Joe Lacey even left his hoodie at home and combed his hair.
The teachers were ready too. When I say 400, it’s not an exact count, but it was the most I’d seen. They were wearing red, and they weren’t happy.
Negotiations on a contract have been going south, and for too long. The disrespect of the October surprise putsch, the buy out of David Lawrence, the buying of a $400,000 time clock system, the hiring of the highest bidder to do bad “marketing and advertising” for the district, the massive bus purchase- all while claiming broke- and paying the superintendent that’s turned this district upside down more than the board was paying the stable and confident former Superintendent, Lori Ward, are all sticking points. Oh, that and Dayton teachers are expected to do more for less than any other district in the County- with a few exceptions- like Jefferson Township- which shouldn’t even have it’s own district.
After the teachers leader David Romick got done with his address, they all marched out to have a street corner rally, complete with podium. The news media followed.
The only people who left before Mr. Romick was done talking was the three representatives from the Ohlmann Group after they made an apologetic and pathetic presentation of what they’d done so far for at least $40K of wasted money (more on this in a future post). They don’t sit through school board meetings- or provide PR advice to the district, hell- they don’t even bother to shoot their own photos for their ads, they use stock photography. Gee, maybe that’s why my firm lost, we had a 2x Pulitzer prize winner for photojournalism on our team to shoot for our proposed work.
When it came to the speakers, a young, 2nd year teacher who appears to be hitting it out of the ballpark for the district went up and made a plea for her job security. She’s teaching at Westwoood- you know, the neighborhood the Dayton Daily nominated as the most dangerous ‘hood in the city. Every year, she has had to fight to keep her position. You have to listen- this is who you want teaching your kids. Her name is Joshita Reza, and one day, if we’re lucky, she’ll be superintendent of DPS.
Dr. Hazel Rountree, the Board VP is going to look into why Ms. Reza is having problems worthy of a visit to the podium. But, later, circles back, and appears to not have understood anything that Ms. Reza said. It all comes back down to respect, and this board and superintendent don’t respect anyone.
And, if you have the lowest pay, the worst academic performance in the region- people go where the work is easier and the pay is better. It’s not rocket surgery.
I spoke, once again asking for their resignations, and why no one has done anything to investigate Dr. Baguirov’s questionable residency eligibility to even be on the board. It’s a moot point really now, as he already got them to buy the buses for $10M and help his friends in the trucking business. That was voted on after the very long executive session (where those who stuck around were treated to hearing yelling coming from the secret lair).
Before the speakers were invited to the podium, Dr. Walker asked John McManus to read the rules. This isn’t the norm. One of the rules is that you aren’t supposed to single out a single board member, but speak to them as a whole. Well, although I singled out Dr. B- I asked them all to resign, since they haven’t done anything to verify his eligibility. At least nothing close to what they’ve done to check on the eligibility of a high school football player.
I’m go glad to hear that “Great things are happening at Dayton Public Schools”
That you put that up on billboards should be grounds to have you removed- for breaking truth in advertising laws.
Because, unless you are deaf, dumb and blind, you are missing the point of why 300 teachers keep coming down here and questioning your leadership.
But- I can tell you there is a way to make that true. Resign. All seven of you.
You see, allowing an ineligible board member to do deals with your proxy is grounds for removal from office. From the real estate deals that smelled fishy- to the hiring of the most expensive bidder to do the “Great things are happening” campaign- to the bus deal- you’ve been asleep at the wheel. Following prompts from a board member who doesn’t even live in the district- and hasn’t since 2015.
I’d like to see the rent receipts for his half million dollar house in the Vandalia Butler school district- tell us who does live in the mansion.
Because sure as bees make honey- Dr., if he really is a Dr., Adil Baguirov is in a bit of a pinch. He’s registered to vote in a Ten Thousand dollar house on Maryland Ave- where he supposedly lives with his business partner- Islom Shakhbandarov.
He failed to disclose many of his business dealings on his ethics statements. He failed to disclose his maze of shell companies.
What we have here is our own version of Henry Hill- here to sell you 76 trombones. A carpet bagger- who is possibly lining his own pockets with inside deals with CareSource- Miami Valley Hospital, the University of Dayton, and even Learn To Earn.
Never mind the bus deal.
Since you won’t do anything about any of this- I’ve taken the next steps to have Dr. Baguirov removed by a judge. The next step is to remove the rest of you by collecting 4500 signatures. I think the people in this room will gladly help me get them in record time.
It’s time to stop embarrassing the city of Dayton. It’s time we had a superintendent and treasurer that actually lead our organization forward. It’s time to end the insider deals- and stop the loss of staff attrition – which has approached 20% annually.
Please, do us a favor- abdicate now- and save yourself the embarrassment- we’ve already got 13 people running for office to replace 4 of you. Do you need further evidence that the community doesn’t approve of your choice in superintendent or how you are running the district?
Because once we remove all of you- then we can legitimately claim “Great things are happening at Dayton Public Schools.”
Of course no response. Dr. Baguirov’s business partner and housemate for voting, Islom Shakhbandarov was sitting right next to the podium and filmed me as I spoke. As soon as the board broke for their executive session, Shakhbandarov ran to McManus asking why he didn’t cut me off for talking about his partner- McManus said “I just read the rules, it’s up to the board president to enforce them.”
I say fire the coaches, the athletic directors, the principals, the superintendent and move forward. Nobody was there to make sure this young man was eligible, or that his eligibility was being managed properly. The video speaks for itself- the kids didn’t want to “throw the game” and showed their disgust for this cockamamie scheme. Only thing I’m sure of is, this wouldn’t have happened if Superintendent Chaos Corr hadn’t run David Lawrence out of the district. Lawrence was previously over Baker- and, attended most of the sporting events- and knows how to calculate eligibility.
When the board came out of executive session, Dr. Hazel Rountree was missing. She’d walked off the job. Should be grounds for termination. When the going gets rough, or Hazel doesn’t get her way- she just gets going. This proves that she’s not worthy of her seat.
Joe Lacey was the only one who voted not to retain Baker. He’s a little late to the whole discussion at this point and doing nothing more than grandstanding. Of course, he dosn’t bother to hold himself responsible for putting Corr in charge of this circus. Watch the video of Corr and Lacey while he has his rant around the three minute mark.
Baker got his contract- with a 5-1 vote, with Hazel absent without leave. On his way out, Coach Powell said to me “We’re done” – knowing that they were going to be the only ones to take a hit for this gross failure to do the right thing.
Speaking of doing the right thing, the board still won’t address the eligibility of Dr. Baguirov at all. Thus, all failing their legal responsibility to follow their own rules.
The head of security who was tasked to spend all the time in the world interviewing everyone involved in the Dunbar/Belmont fiasco, hasn’t had any time to investigate Dr. B. Imagine that.
I’ve requested all the interview transcripts through a public records request for publication later.
When black people in Dayton screw up, leave no stone unturned. When it’s a slick talking, nattily dressed, carpetbagger who can’t make up his mind if we’re broke or flush- no investigation warranted.
As they always say the best defense in America is being rich.
In the continuing saga of the eligibility of a Dunbar football player, the Dayton Daily news, decided to write their fifth story beating the dead horse, but never conclusively telling anyone who killed it.
Re-reading the report by Director of School Security Jamie Bullens, it does seem to focus almost entirely on the eligibility of the player- and not address the game throwing attempt. How this can be excluded is a mystery- as it would go to the credibility of any of the people involved. When I read about the thrown plays- I assumed Dunbar just made some bad plays- but, then the Dayton Daily decided to pull down the footage from WDPS-TV and re-edit it with a whole bunch of cuts and commentary, as if it’s new news this week.
Here is the un-cut version with the questions that should be asked at the end:
Dunbar went on to win. The people of Dayton lost. The fact that a star athlete wasn’t eligible shows how badly we fail our kids. Word has it that since the seventh grade, he’s never made it through an entire season eligible to play. That’s the true failure here.
No news outlet has touched the story. The school board is pretending they don’t know about the information presented – even though I clearly notified them, and questioned the legality of their last meeting if he was allowed to participate.
But, what it comes down to is this: is this the kind of school district we can be proud of? Is this a district that instills faith in leadership? Would you want to send your kids to a district where a coach tells the team to throw the game? And, then, the coach, the athletic director, the district athletic director and the superintendent- all basically get a slap on the wrist?
The video is disgusting. How this wasn’t presented as part of the evidence to the school board in considering the future employment of the people involved is criminal.
Because of these many violations of the public trust, it’s time to begin the process of having a judge intervene and remove all seven members of this school board. It’s not been done very often, making precedent hard to follow, and it requires over 4,500 signatures of registered voters to make it happen. The teachers union, who is currently in stalled negotiations with the district, has had enough of the circus run by this board- and has pledged to have its members circulate the petitions.
We hope to have the petition language ready for the delayed board meeting next Wednesday, the 26th of April at 5:30 pm. The teachers are inviting all to come to show their support for the union and to support them in asking for regime change at the board of ed.
And while the throwing of a football game isn’t a reason to rally, the fact that this district has been on the verge of State takeover for years- and the leadership team who brought it out from under the gun- were dismissed by this board- to be replaced by disruption, disrespect, and now disgrace, it’s time to end the charade.
Let’s have a judge evaluate the practices of this board and decide if they are fit to serve.
List of candidates who have pulled petitions to run for office in Montgomery County Ohio as of April 18, 2017
If you need any indication of the level of disgust- Baguirov, Lacey, Lee and Rountree last ran four years ago unopposed.
As of today April 25, the Board of Elections lists 13 15 people who’ve pulled petitions for the four seats, and the petitions aren’t due until August 9th 2017. Here are the names, addresses and pull dates:
Bold is incumbents.
Mohamed H. Al-Hamandi 26 Hawthorn St. Dayton 45402 4/17/2017
Shondale Atkins-Dorise 817 Mount Clair Ave. Dayton 45417 11/23/2016
Paul F. Bradley 227 Green St. Dayton 45402 4/17/2017
Donald Domineck Jr. 1035 Superior Ave. Dayton 45402 4/4/2017
Ann Marie Gallin 40 Gebhart St. Dayton 45410 3/2/2017
William E. Harris, Jr. 1125 Cornell Dr. Dayton 45406 4/17/2017
Donna M. Hill 540 Heather Dr. Unit 3 Dayton 45405 4/25/2017
Claudia Hunter 4621 Prescott Ave. Dayton 45406 6/29/2016 Joe Lacey 207 E. Sixth St. Dayton 45402 4/21/2017
Tommy J. McGuffey, Jr. 1625 Tuttle Ave. Apt B Dayton 45403 1/11/2017
Thomas M. Nealeigh 1326 Ruskin Rd. Dayton 45406 12/6/2016
Jocelyn S. Rhynard 107 McDaniel St. Dayton 45405 2/9/2017
Dion Sampson 224 N. Williams St. Dayton 45402 2/22/2017
Jo’el Y. Thomas-Jones 33 W. Babbitt St. Dayton 454052/24/2017
Karen L. Wick 222 Warren St. Dayton 45402 4/17/2017
It’s safe to guess that the four petitions pulled on Monday are being run as a slate. Al-Hamandi just moved to Dayton, Bradley, Harris and Wick would be the group to watch. (full disclosure- I do work for Wick’s business Coco’s and have worked with her and the seedling foundation for years).
Ann Marie “Mario” Gallin, has been on the board previously. Of the 15, I know 10. Do I expect all to file, no. Do I expect all who file to get certified on the ballot- no. Do you have to pull the petitions publicly to file (could there be dark horses?) No.
Be sure to watch this race as it may turn into yet another “Kids First” type money burner.
However, if the board is removed, any and all may apply to be appointed to the board until the election, which should make it all very interesting.
It’s been three business days since I published the post that clearly identifies a serious problem with the residency requirement for school board member Dr. Adil Baguirov. You’d think the local news would pick the story up, or that the prosecutors office or the board of elections would have a statement? Nope. You’d think other school board members would be calling for an investigation- nada.
However, when the Dunbar coaches played an ineligible player against Belmont, knowing that he had played the week before at Taft as ineligible, there has been no stone left uncovered. Fingers pointed everywhere- and now the Ohio High School Athletic Association has weighed in as well- with probation and a fine. Wow.
I requested both the report from the Director Safety & Security, Jamie Bullens, a former Dayton cop with plenty of experience, and the OHSAA report and read them.
DPS internal report
Reading them, all I can say is add another ring to the three ring circus, with the coaches, athletic directors, principals all looking like clowns on parade.
How do you have a star quarterback failing to maintain his C average in the first place? There are no excuses for this- once again, Dayton Public Schools fails a student- all the rest really doesn’t matter.
Not a single one of these people did what was right for the students, and this goes all the way to the Superintendent.
The reason I bring her in, is because previously, David Lawrence was the guy who was over the rookie athletic director- and was known for his attention to the details of eligibility. Once Corr had demoted him, she forgot to appoint someone else to keep tabs on athletics- mostly, because she’s too busy at the same time with the self-created budget crisis and RIF that turned the entire district upside down for the entire month of November.
Here is the DPS Organizational chart- having LaMark Baker reporting directly to Rhonda Corr- the chart was supplied to me on Feb 3, 2017.
Dayton Public Schools Org Chart 3 Feb 2017
For the people who worry about the $10K fine- really? Considering Corr and the board had no problem spending 20+x that to buy out Lawrence’s contract- as well as to pay off Lori Ward, as well as for unnecessary time clocks ($400K) or to hire the most expensive ad agency to do sub-par work, or buy buses from people who do business with Dr. Baguirov….
If Dayton really cared about the students, we’d end this circus by having a judge recall the entire board, fire the superintendent and treasurer for gross incompetence, and ask the state to install a professional team to supervise the schools and pick a new superintendent.
The best choice to run the district is Dr. Elisabeth Lolli, who seems both competent and has integrity.
In the meantime, we’ll wait to see if anyone has the gumption or brains to ask Baguirov to step down.
If this is your first time finding out about this, this post is the full recap, with all the documentation to let you examine the process and see how to fail at issuing an RFP for professional services. First clue- don’t have a single marketing professional on staff to help you evaluate what you are buying.
Second clue: have someone who has no knowledge of how to pick an ad agency write the RFP/RFQ.
The initial RFP for “Comprehensive marketing services” issued by the Dayton Public Schools
With that said, here is the absolute failure that they issued to start the process. It was missing so many key pieces of information, like a budget, an objective, that it made me wonder if there was anything already written to serve as a guideline for picking an ad agency for governmental organizations. There wasn’t, so I wrote this for The Next Wave blog: Hiring An Agency: The R.F.P. Guide (for Governmental Organizations)
Well, actually I wrote it after the School Board missed their original start deadline of Sept. 21, and threw out the recommendation of their purchasing department who ran this “process” on November 1st. It was pointed out that their “RFP process” kept favoring big firms, who they’d already worked with, and that the scoring rubric seemed to be off- especially since my firm had real diversity qualifications (Certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business by the VA, HUBzone by the SBA, Ohio ED/GE). They also wondered how a team that included a photographer, Larry Price, who has won an Emmy and the Pulitzer prize for photojournalism twice, didn’t rank higher as “qualified.” Five firms applied. Due to a cc instead of bcc on an email, I knew who the competition was. Had the process been handled competently, my bid should have been very well received.
Superintendent Corr’s answer was to suggest they go out and ask other districts how it’s done. Next came a new instrument to ask for proposals- this one, a Request for Qualifications. The difference being that the purchasing department is supposed to be ranking how qualified each agency is to do the job – to suggest who the board should consider issuing a contract with. Since there isn’t really supposed to be any proposed work, the instrument should be administered in a way that’s kind of like the Pepsi Challenge- blind of branding, just asking to see examples of past work, and describing the skill set of each organization. Yes, you can ask for prices- for a set service, but, usually, you would leave out anything that would tip off an evaluator who submitted what.
DPS issues RFQ to replace RFP for marketing services
This wasn’t how they did it. In fact, much of the RFQ was a copy and paste job from the RFP. They were still asking for timelines, plans, and now, added how would you spend $75K. This time only 3 of the firms bid, with one subcontracting one of the other first round bidders to fill their “diversity” quotient.
The RFQ asked for a lot of “reporting” proof. Can you show that your marketing dollars spent were effective type things? Showing Neilsen numbers (as Ohlmann does for a lot of their response) doesn’t tell anyone how many widgets were sold. And, unless it’s the EFFY awards (Effectiveness), no ad awards shows actually care if your ad actually sold more widgets, but awards were important. Laughably, The Ohlmann Group bragged at length of how they’d won lots of “Mercury Awards” from the local ad club- the only problem is, they aren’t real awards given by judges- it’s a popularity contest- much like what the Dayton Business Journal does with “Best Pizza in Dayton” awards.
The RFQ, much like the RFP was based on a Board provided guesstimate of total hours of 3120- or 1.5 man years. This district is in much greater need of 1.5 man years- especially if they are hoping to do a rebrand. Both Ohlmann and The Next Wave would want to fix the website that was built in a proprietary content management system (supplied by the third bidder Upward) that has already cost the district a small fortune. Hilariously, it can only be maintained by one person in the district, the current default Public Information Officer Jill Drury, who came out of TV news and has no marketing chops.
DPS Q&A for the RFQ
There was a Q&A issued 2 days before the turn in deadline of 20 January, 2017. In it, it clearly put a cap of $300K on the project. My firm, The Next Wave bid under it, at a fixed price to deliver 3.5 man years or 7280 hours. And, as a caveat, as long as we were on retainer and doing the work we specified- all the other stuff that they never budget or foresee, we’d do it at the effective rate of $41 an hour. The other two bidders were considerably more expensive- with the average hourly rate of $113 for the “winner” picked by purchasing and hired by the board without a contract review before the vote.
Now, what I’m asking you the reader to do, is to pretend you care about your school district, and where public dollars are spent. And take the time to actually read the proposals submitted by each of the three agencies.
Then read the score sheets/evaluators forms. Then read the contract issued to the Ohlmann Group, waiving the 48 hour rule to vote on it a week early at a meeting without public comment. Then, you decide- who had the best plan, the most cost effective proposal?
That’s why The Next Wave proposal for a media spend of $75K a year was to hire someone in each neighborhood to meet the kids at the central bus stop and take attendance as the kids got on the bus. Then to follow up in the neighborhood with housecalls on homes where the kid may didn’t made it to the bus- and to try to figure out what the district can do to get the kid in school- all before the bus even makes it to the building. Novel idea? Creative? More valuable to the district than a TV campaign? You tell me. Some friends of mine who run a very hot shop in Minneapolis have a mantra- “Actions speak louder than words.” Doing things always beats talking about them in our book too.
Here are the documents provided by the DPS legal counsel for each agency. Note, she gave me scans of printouts, not the original high resolution PDF’s that each agency submitted, with the hope that the low-fi, non-ADA compliant docs wouldn’t be able to be posted and indexed as well- but, don’t worry- I ran them through OCR. Only The Next Wave doc has working links.
Note, the Ohlmann and Upward submissions both run 100 pages. The longest proposal we’ve ever done for a non-governmental client has run 6 pages. Why government purchasing departments think requiring so much information actually helps the process is beyond me.
The Next Wave RFQ response
The Ohlmann Group RFQ response
The Upward Brand Interactions RFQ Response
Next is the evaluators score sheets. We were told there were 5 evaluators and that one was the superintendent. One can assume the woman from purchasing who ran this mess, Teri Allen, was also one. Obviously, after me calling for her firing after the first round debacle, she’s going to score for anyone but The Next Wave.
The comments in scoring are very different for the three firms.
Of course, my mockery of the actual RFQ in our response- which had the audacity to ask for an Org chart when DPS barely has one, isn’t helping engender warm fuzzys, but, this district has serious problems and asking about org charts makes me wonder?
How does an Org chart make you do better ads? Websites? Video production?
The real key is to read the RFP and then realize the RFQ is yet another cut and paste job- looking to create “gotchas” instead of to actually evaluate what an agency is bringing to the table.
I always tell new clients that hiring an agency is a lot like dating- it takes almost a year before you really know enough about each other to do anything really great. Of course, if you baseline is decades of mediocrity, it’s not too hard to look amazing out of the box.
The RFQ scoring instrument
The last document is the actual contract, which was presented to the board on board docs as a $112,500 contract instead of $345K. Then there were the two additional “option years” making the whole thing a million dollar commitment.
The school board actually bought this contract, without reading it. Mostly because they were told they had a 90 day out (which was specified to all bidders in the RFQ).
The contract has one hinkey legal mistake, that should make it null and void:
2. In the event of a conflict, precedence shall be given to the following order: (1) this document, (2) the Request for Proposal, and (3) the Contractor’s proposal response, (4) “SOW’ for specified project scope.
Uh, what RFP? This was a response to an RFQ. The RFP had been withdrawn. Of course, you can’t see the top secret RFP, unless it’s actually awarded. Of course, The Next Wave proposal didn’t shy away from sharing our ideas fully- because, well, we actually care enough about this district to have done all this journalism to expose the incompetence at the top.
The DPS contract with the Ohlmann Group
The real question is, how many people will take the time to examine all this? Probably not many.
That’s why we produced a video to walk you through the whole thing- ending with the absolutely insane meeting between Board Members Adil Baguirov, Sheila Taylor and John McManus with the representatives from the Ohlmann Group.
We’ve already posted and talked about this meeting, and a few of you watched the whole 90 minute debacle. The meeting was mostly Dr. Adil Baguirov showcasing his marketing expertise, including advocating for the use of Flash- a web application that’s almost universally despised by any modern web developer and has never been usable on any Apple iOS device.
You are probably wondering what the next step is? It’s pretty obvious that after calling for the resignation of 5 board members, and Superintendent Corr, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll change their mind and hire us. Of course, come Jan 1, 2018, there will be four new board members who may want to be able to fully explain why the current board and their picks for Superintendent and Treasurer have caused this district more trauma than triage.
There is another post coming that should clearly change the course of coming board action, but, it will take a considerable amount of time to write and fully document. It’s the final chapter for one of the DPS pretenders.
In the mean time, to those of you who take the time to read all the docs, I’d love to hear your evaluation of this three ring circus.
There wasn’t supposed to be an executive session at last Thursday’s Dayton Board of Education meeting, but there was.
It was over 2 Dunbar assistant coaching positions. Sheila Taylor took offense to seeing Alfred Powell Sr. and Darran Powell, get hired as Assistant Boys Track Coach and Assistant Girls Track Coach respectively. What happened in Exec, I don’t really know- but, I do know that both of them are part of Dunbar Basketball Coach Pete Pullen’s brain trust. Pete Pullen who also got knocked out of being the Dunbar Athletic Director.
Why this was done just before the boys basketball championships is anyone’s guess. Why Dunbar lost by 30- well, that’s just what happens when the community loses respect for a district that made an irrational choice for superintendent, has been embroiled in controversy since she showed up, and has lost the confidence of parents- many of whom, took their kids to Trotwood.
The case for a different choice.
When the three finalists were released for the second round of superintendent candidates, the community saw one thing: disrespect.
Not making the cut was the defacto deputy superintendent, home town boy, graduate of Dayton Public Schools- Chief of School Innovation, David Lawrence. Who, btw, played growing up with City Commissioner Joey Williams who was on the 1984 Dunbar Boys Basketball team that won state. Lawrence won state in Track in 81, 82 and runner up in 84. His name is still on the wall at Welcome Stadium for his track records.
So when the two old friends watched the debacle at Trent Arena, they both noticed the former DPS parents, sporting Rams shirts.
It pained both of them, because, even if DPS academics weren’t tops, the City League football and basketball programs were always a point of pride.
And now that too, is slipping away, no matter how much new district AD Mark Baker tries.
The sad thing is, once you look at this slide deck- without the words to explain it- you’ll see that just like our athletic programs used to be tops- the board just bought out someone for “over $200,000” who actually had a plan to put this district back on track. Remember the “A” grade on Annual Yearly Progress- that pulled the districts rear out of the fire, was the last gift of the departed administration lead by Lori Ward and David Lawrence.
The other superintendent candidates, look like little league punters with their “plan” to fix things. Just watch the video, and read my analysis of The Three Ring Circus.
Why did our board pass over David Lawrence?
What I heard was that Dr. Adil Baguirov pushed hard for an outsider and convinced the weak members of this board, that any internal candidate wouldn’t have the skills to fix a large urban district- because if they did, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
Apparently, Baguirov is a pretty convincing salesman (as we’re seeing with the RIF, and the bus purchases, and of course the 1-to-1 computers which he takes full credit for), as the board passed Lawrence over for Rhonda Corr, a rookie superintendent who even had to explain her baggage of association with corrupt leadership and kickback schemes in Chicago.
Considering the questions this blog has raised about the RIF, the real estate deals, and now the bus deal, all with strong connections to Baguirov, one wonders if he didn’t handpick Corr so if any of his questionable behavior gets exposed, he has the perfect fall girl to pin it on?
Lawrence has said he has zero interest in coming back to DPS, especially with the current board. Face it, only the insane would accept a job working for this crew.
Considering his legal leverage over the board who broke their buyout contract with him in the process of approving it, there are grounds for removal of 5 of 7 board members, if citizens collect the mandated 4500 signatures. Would remaining board members McManus and Taylor pick 5 replacements that would be able to woo him back?
Would they have the balls to pursue termination of the just approved contract with Corr? Her negligence in causing this clusterduck should be grounds to void the recently signed 3 year contract with the deposed board.
Or, does Dayton find itself stuck with this rudderless ship? Word is local universities looking to give full ride scholarships to our best and brightest, aren’t getting calls back from Ms. Corr.
It’s sad that the kids of Dayton have to wait until January 1, 2018 for the natural process to replace the four fools who were unopposed 4 years ago. Word is Ron Lee, Hazel Rountree and Dr. Adil Baguirov aren’t even running again- and Joe Lacey should never see another elected position after any sane voter watched this video:
But, don’t worry, there is more dirt to come. It just takes me a while to put all these things into a format that’s clear for you.
If you’d like to support my efforts- just remember, there is a donation page https://esrati.com/donate
Thank you for paying attention. It’s time to stop the losing.
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.