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 DPS agenda, or lack of one vs the real agenda

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

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

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

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

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

So we wait.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

DPS continues controversy with bizarre moves

The Ohio High School Athletics Association sent a clear signal to Dayton Public Schools last year after they identified DPS District Athletic Director Mark Baker as the linchpin to the attempt to throw the Dunbar/Belmont football game. Instead of letting Baker go, and moving forward, DPS under former Superintendent Rhonda Corr, dug its heals in and gave him a two year contract.

This is what happens when people like City Commissioner Jeff Mims is advocating for you from the sidelines. Even though Mims left the school board and the state school board for his eventual throne on the City Commission, he still thinks he’s the man behind the curtain at DPS. Why else would he be the co-chair of the illegal task force on School Closings?

When OHSAA vacated Dunbar’s win in the tournament for failure to sit players for 2 games due to the bench clearing brawl at Thurgood in January, moving Thurgood back into the tournament, DPS decides to go to court to force Thurgood out and Dunbar back in. How does this help DPS students at Thurgood?

Legal action should have been taken against OHSAA- when they declared that students enrolled in Charter Schools now had to play sports at the school closest to their home- instead of closest to their charter school- and kids were torn from program after program- DPS sat on their hands. Because they aren’t really in it for the kids- they are in it for the money, just like the charters.

thumbnail of Incident File – Dunbar v Belmont – 1.26.18 – Redacted_Redacted

Redaction done by DPS staff. Click document to view full PDF

Defending Dunbar and Rookie Coach Chuck Taylor seems odd, especially after they had ordered Chuck to sit two games for his calling a parent a bitch. I’m unable to confirm if Taylor did in fact sit two games. From the attached reports on that incident:

Mr. Taylor in the Dayton Public Schools Athletic Handbook it states: Our goal is to not only be successful in our endeavors, but also to act according to the ideals of both good sportsmanship and good conduct on and off the court. Our program should operate with: integrity, honor, respect, and accountability. The use of the word “Bitch” to refer to a parent regardless of the situation showed a disrespect for women and our parents in which the Dunbar Varsity Team and the Dayton Community witnessed. This sets a poor example for the young men under your leadership.
Due to the severity of this incident I am imposing a two game suspension that will be served on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 and Friday, Friday February 2, 2018. Lastly we cannot always control the actions of our parents but we must control the way we react to them.

The program has been in total disarray since Baker was given his contract, and then forced the most successful coach in Dayton athletic history to the side to replace him with Taylor.

I’ve been informed that both Mark Baker and Dunbar principal Crystal Phillips are on paid administrative leave right now. This is unconfirmed at this point.

Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli held a really stupid, short press conference on Thursday night with the three members of the slate, Harris, Al-Hamdani, and Wick-Gagnet standing mute behind her. The board members refused to comment, however, the choice of the three is telling.

The three remaining members who made the mistake of hiring Baker and letting former coach Pullen go, were no where to be seen: McManus, Walker and Taylor.

The lone independent candidate, Jocelyn Rhynard, seems to be doing her standard silent analysis of the issues, and may or may not weigh in before this is said and done. She’s cautious to the point of being ineffective so far.

What seems to be missing from all this is accountability at the top. Over Mark Baker according to the organization chart left over from the Corr era- is PR hack Marsha Bonhart, who had to have a hand in directing the press conference where nothing good was done.

It’s obvious that Lolli has no idea of how this is playing publicly. since she has zero connection to the community. Generally, this is seen as an embarrassing sidestepping of the actual need for action.

Litigation is never the best strategy for the court of public opinion unless you are either the underdog or absolutely guaranteed a win. DPS is neither in this case and will end up with even more egg on their face.

The only right course of action was to fire Bonhart, Baker, Phillips, Taylor and allow Thurgood to move forward and put this shitshow behind us and beg forgiveness from OHSAA.

Instead, we’re risking expulsion from OHSAA if we lose, and then, DPS will see even more exodus of students who used to stay in Dayton to be a part of powerhouse sports programs.

This school board and superintendent are getting horrible legal and strategic PR advice. You read it here first.

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.

 

The right answer on closing schools and hospitals

Small group breakout session of NAACP community meeting on Dayton Public School closings

Small group breakout session of NAACP community meeting on Dayton Public School closings

The Dayton Unit of the NAACP had another community meeting tonight about what the people they elect are doing to them. Much outrage, lots of talk, and nothing will change.

Sorry, you had a chance to not re-elect some people, and choices on who to put on the school board- but, you didn’t vote, and those that did, voted for people I didn’t endorse. But, that’s beside the point.

On the school closings. First off, if you aren’t outraged about the “Task force” that was named and tried to meet in secret, that’s your first mistake. Second, you elected four new people to the school board to effect change. So far, we’ve still not finished firing the idiot Superintendent Rhonda Corr who the last board hired over a totally qualified, DPS grad, black male. Didn’t see the NAACP up in arms when David Lawrence wasn’t even allowed to be a finalist. Then, there is the question on why is the new board continuing with Dr. Elizabeth Lolli instead of opening up a posting for Superintendent right now- when all the positions across the nation are being posted? You wait too long, and you get the Rhonda Corr’s of the world applying. Lolli was one of two key Corr hires- the other quit and sued- and if not for that lawsuit, Corr would still be causing chaos. Lolli has yet to tell anyone what her plan is to fix DPS- instead, she seems to be preoccupied in sucking up to the task force.

We need a real Superintendent who can convince parents that DPS is safe and well run. We need a superintendent who can bring students back, and help them succeed. Remember, the last “A” we got in yearly progress was based on the work of the last Superintendent and her Chief of School Innovation David Lawrence.

Someone has to be able to tell us where all these kids went and why. That’s something that should have been tracked by DPS every time a student left. My guess is the rapid changes of adding middle schools, having four bell times, high turnover of teachers, the stabbing at WOW, the throwing of the Dunbar/Belmont game, the crazy school board meetings- all are factors in why parents said “great things are happening anywhere but in Dayton Public.”

But, many of the people at this meeting don’t even have kids in the district. What worries them is why are they still paying for new buildings- that will be handed over for pennies on the dollar to charters or other private businesses? That’s what happens when a building isn’t used for 2 years by state law (this is what happens when you let Republicans Gerrymander the state so they can take control, even though this was a mostly Democratic state before they finagled the districts).

Tomorrow night- some other group is hosting a meeting about the closing of Good Sam Hospital.

My position is I don’t care what Premier has open or where. The people of greater Dayton are already screwed because we’ve allowed a duopoly to buy every medical practice in the city, operate in collusion via the “Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association” – GDAHA (who has a seat on the DPS task force btw) and raise prices and deliver less than amazing care.

However, over the years, the taxpayers have subsidized Good Sam and Premier by allowing them to operate their money machine as a non-profit and evade property taxes. In fact, in more than a few cases, we’ve had to fork over tax dollars to help them do things like beautify their neighborhoods or build some new buildings etc.

What real city leaders should do is tell Premier it’s fine and dandy for you to close down Good Sam, but, no, you can’t demolish it. Not until it’s been placed up for auction to make sure there aren’t other players who would like to compete to provide non-profit health care.

I’m sure The James or the Cleveland Clinic, or the UC Hospital Network or some other mega-medical institution might be interested in operating a hospital there, and would be happy to buy the buildings and maybe even pay taxes. Deny the demolition permit, force Premier to allow our community hospital a chance to remain.

Or- to possibly serve as any of the following:

  • A new jail/drug treatment facility. Since Sheriff Phil Plummer seems incompetent when keeping prisoners alive in the County Jail, maybe the city should stop allowing its citizens to risk being given a death sentence because they couldn’t make bail for a minor misdemeanor. Turning Good Sam into a rehab center might bring jobs and dollars back to the community- as well as provide a real way to stop mass incarceration.
  • Turn it into a huge retirement home. Considering the geniuses that Premier and UD hired to “program the Fairgrounds” gave a report saying our population is losing young people and getting stuck with old folks- projections for nursing home facilities are good. This one is already built. Find an operator that can manage it- and provide a specialized geriatric hospital that’s directly connected.
  • Turn it into a Sinclair Campus- since we’re already paying out the butt for Sinclair- no need to buy the church right next to Greene and Warren County lines- for $10M- donate the building to Sinclair and move their health sciences program into… wait for it…. an actual hospital. Let them work with real patients who can’t afford Premier or Kettering prices- as part of their learning experience. Who wouldn’t want to stave off bankruptcy for a chance to get life saving treatment at cut-rates?

Of course, none of these ideas will happen, because, when it comes to the Monarchy of Montgomery County- the demolition contractors and construction companies all pay well to buy their future contracts. If we keep desecrating the West side- more money for demolition- right?

While Cincinnati and Columbus are booming, Dayton is doing everything it can to tear itself down. As always, follow the money, and you get answers.