In an almost unprecedented show of foresight and planning, Dayton Public Schools sent out a notice of a special meeting yesterday at 1:44 pm.
In accordance with Section 3313.16 of the Ohio Revised Code and File: BD of the Handbook of Policies, Rules & Regulations of the Board, I hereby call for a special meeting of the Board of Education of the Dayton City School District, Montgomery County, Ohio, to be held on Tuesday August 22, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. Room 6S-115 of the Administration Building, located at 115 S. Ludlow St., Dayton, OH 45402.
The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Board to vote on recommendations from the Policy Committee. Following the vote, the board is expected to go into executive session to discuss matters of personnel and the sale and/or purchase of real estate.
The media is being advised of this meeting in compliance with the Ohio Sunshine Law.
More than likely, the discussion of real estate sales is Baguirov’s last chance to sneak a deal by the stooges before we have a new superintendent. Any action on the Patterson Kennedy site on Wyoming without a proper auction at this point should be investigated as criminal.
As to personnel, the only thing to discuss is if Superintendent Rhonda Corr resigns, is fired for cause, or is just plain bought out. This board is embarrassed by the teachers no confidence vote, yet doesn’t want to seem as if they are “reacting.”
Let’s go back to last month- when I called for them all to R-E-S-I-G-N, at the business meeting. Baguirov responded by asking the auditor up, but, then Corr called HR chief Judy Spurlock up to respond to my claims of mass resignation. If you watch carefully at the beginning, as Spurlock begins to hobble on crutches with a open laptop in hand, I go to her to offer to carry the laptop for her and was rebuffed. Then she stands at the podium and says we’ve only lost 93 teachers this year- and 89 this year.
So we went and tried to build a spreadsheet from the HR reports over the last year from Board Docs- but, they didn’t post the spreadsheets. So we did a public records request- and had a CPA analyze the data.
Comprehensive for School Year 2017.
The breakdown is neither pretty, or sustainable. Total resignations of staff is 600. Workforce of around 2400- which means 25% turnover. No professional organization can survive that.
Note: we had to correct a lot of issues- likely, keystroke errors, with names not quite matching. When we broke things down by schools- school names didn’t match, etc. If the board knew how to run an organization, they’d have asked for this report themselves, complete with pivot tables on which schools lost the most, and tried to interpret what’s been happening. But, no, even taking Spurlock’s word of half the true amount, didn’t set off alarm bells. If Corr isn’t gone by Wednesday, maybe a judge will see past their incompetence and criminal neglect of duty to manage our district properly.
Why speak to a board that doesn’t listen, doesn’t respond, and brought on the chaos and confusion that has ruled their last year- the reign of Rookie Superintendent Rhonda Corr?
The union voted almost unanimously to send a message – no confidence in the school board, no confidence in Rhonda Corr. There was no discussion of this. Just a lot of glad handing themselves and passing out participation trophies to each other for having a first day where kids got picked up and delivered by buses that ran on time. Seriously- every other district in the country can do this, only the worst district in the state can’t get this right.
So what should have happened?
After the vote to accept the contract, the issue of the no confidence vote should have been brought up.
The board should have responded with a public vote of confidence or no confidence in the superintendent- so the public can know where they stand.
Although this can be done in executive session, this is a litmus test vote to let the people they represent know how they feel about the performance of the superintendent. It’s a hard decision- but a necessary one. Sticking your heads in the sand is not an option. A no confidence vote is a serious issue considering the entire DEA is half the districts workforce- and without them- there is no district.
Another scenario- John McManus, the only functional member of the board, should have said immediately after the ratification of the DEA contract, “while we are patting ourselves on the back for settling this contract at the last possible minute, may I remind the board that there are 10 other bargaining units, and none of those are settled. Our Superintendent, although claiming to be a master negotiator, cost us over $150K to Huffmaster for nothing. We let this happen. I am hearby promising to tender my conditional resignation to the new board members when they take office in the spirit of healing and recognition of the failures of this board in the past year to guide this organization in a way that would have earned the respect of the professionals we employ.
I would also ask the other two board members, Dr. Walker and Ms. Taylor to join me in this move.
To the four existing board members who have earned this vote of no confidence, I ask that you pledge to resign the day after the election results are finalized and make way for the new board immediately so this process of healing can proceed at the fastest possible pace.
As to the no-confidence vote in the Superintendent, I voice my own opinion of her performance and ask that each of you do that now. It’s time to clarify to those we represent what we think of her performance in light of this move by the DEA. If there aren’t four votes of confidence in her favor, I ask that we work to negotiate her separation from this district to be effective immediately, and Dr. Lolli be asked to serve as interim superintendent until the new board is in place.”
Of course, since McManus is the quintessential southern gentleman, we can’t expect him to go out on a limb and do the right thing.
As to the other 6, they have no clue what the right thing is.
I will be organizing a candidates forum soon for the 7 challengers. I don’t think there is any reason to give Mr. Lacey an opportunity to speak at this forum, since it’s been quite obvious that he’s had plenty of time to speak- including last night, and didn’t. The voters want change, and there is no reason to even consider his re-election.
If you disagree with not allowing him to participate- please rewatch this video:
Since this board brought Rhonda Corr on as superintendent, the district has moved from one crisis to another. The amount of chaos is exponential compared to anything the district has ever seen.
But, lets stick to the facts: The board hires and fires the superintendent, the treasurer, the auditor. The attorney is 50/50 split.
Rhonda, if she was the leader she thinks she is- should have been able to tell that her negotiating team wasn’t doing their job well before the final hour. Blaming Bradshaw is nothing but a hit and run. If you are wondering why Dr. Markay Winston, Corr’s handpicked senior leadership left– it was because she was tired of getting hit by Corr’s bus.
The no confidence vote by 800 plus teachers in both Corr and the Board is a good indication of how bad things have been. That Corr is taking credit for something that should have been done months ago, before she lost 100 teachers, is grounds for termination of her contract for cause. And the word is, that Treasurer Hiwot Abraha was the one who refused to certify the contract for 3 years because of her fiscal forecast- not because of anything Rhonda did.
This district will remain in chaos until a new board majority takes office in January, or earlier if anyone has any common sense.
The real question is, if someone polled this board, would they still publicly back their choice of Rhonda Corr? Is it time to replace her, as a token of consolation to the union who didn’t break the law by discussing the confidential negotiations a day before the final session? Can anyone in this district ever admit they made a mistake?
“Mr Esrati, we’re going to ask you to leave” said Dr. Robert Walker, president of the Dayton Board of Education at their “Board Retreat” on Saturday, June 24, 2017.
At issue was the board taking what was presented as a critical time sensitive vote, on a report from the Treasurer, Hiwot Abraha, a mere 4 days after their regularly scheduled “business meeting” on Tuesday.
Did Abraha have no clue that this was critical on Tuesday, or was this purely an attempt to slide things through without the normal scrutiny and public comment allowed at the regular board business meeting? Me thinks the latter, which is why I spoke up, and invited my ejection.
From the agenda on Board Docs:
“May I have a motion to approve the following items:
C) Purchase Requisitions
D) Resolution: Official Certificate of Estimated Resources
E) Resolution: Original Appropriation Measure for Fiscal Yer (sic) 2018”
“Subject Resolution: Original Appropriation Measure for Fiscal Year 2018
I recommend that the Board approve the following resolution for the Original Appropriation Measure for Fiscal Year 2017.
Section 5705.38 of the Ohio Revised Code requires the adoption and/or amendment of an Annual Appropriation Measure.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Education of the Dayton City School District the following sums be and hereby are set aside and appropriated as indicated in the 2017-18 Original Appropriations.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, pursuant to Section 5705.412 of the Ohio Revised Code, the the Board President, Superintendent, and Treasurer certify that the Dayton City School District has in effect for the fiscal year 2018 the authorization to levy taxes, which, when combined with the estimated revenue from all other sources available to the district at the time of certification, are sufficient to provide the operating revenues necessary to enable the district to maintain all personnel and programs for all the days set forth in its adopted school calendar for the current fiscal year.”
Lee and Baguirov were absent, and Sheila Taylor abstained from this vote (using good judgement) as Walker, Lacey, Rountree and McManus voted just like this wasn’t anything different than normal Standard Operating Procedure. According to the records on Board Docs, Taylor also abstained from the Superintendents recommendations.
EVALUATION OF SCHOOL BOARD OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES
The Board plans and carries through an annual appraisal of its functioning as a board. Evaluation is held in the month of June, or during a regularly scheduled Board retreat, with no other items on the agenda with all Board members present. This appraisal considers the broad realm of relationships and activities inherent in Board responsibilities.
PDF- click to enlarge or download
This wasn’t the only issue that they were going to vote on, nor was it the only thing the public should be informed of. An odd RESOLUTION TO AUCTION PROPERTY AND GOODS was included, without any specifics being given. This could be anything from extra desks to the real estate on Wyoming near MVH and UD, the site of the former Patterson Kennedy Elementary School, that this blog featured in my post and video “Dirty Deals Done Dirt Cheap”. Of course, I wasn’t still at the meeting when this was discussed, but how can a board vote to approve something as unspecific as this? And, why on a Saturday morning retreat, instead of the business meeting?
There is no other school board that meets as often, as long, or does more to disrespect the public than this one. The sheer number of meetings and length, force people who want to be involved or serve as checks and balances to go to ridiculous measures to track and follow. The Open Meetings laws of Ohio, known as the Sunshine Laws, unfortunately don’t even have a provision to stop this kind of obfuscation of the public business, but maybe they should.
While I stated they are breaking the law, it barely matters, because the Sunshine laws have the least amount of teeth for punishing misbehaving public bodies that could possibly written into law. Think of them more like a 20 year old cat with one tooth- not a tiger. However, one parent was so incensed by Saturdays actions that she’s ready to file a pro se action on Monday and is looking for affected citizens to join her in the suit. She’s had legal help in formulating the argument. Please message [email protected]if you want to participate.
Also note, seven more teacher resignations since Tuesday. How much longer is this board going to whistle Dixie while a contract isn’t put in place? Some observers have said that this boards actions, from the firing of former Superintendent Lori Ward, Treasurer Craig Jones, the hiring of the outsider, rookie, Rhonda Corr, to the strife of the RIF, to the payoff of David Lawrence, to the failure to negotiate, is all part of a plan to decimate the district and force State takeover- giving the Republicans in the State House their petri dish for replacing regulated public schools with charters city wide- much like what happened in New Orleans after Katrina. It’s a Betsy DeVos wet dream come true.
In other business, why is Ron Lee, with being absent so many times that he couldn’t vote on the Dunbar Coaching choice, still allowed on the board? The State Law, is 90 days, however, in a normal school board, this could mean 2 meetings in a row, however since Dayton meets almost 2x a week, maybe there should be a tougher standard. Of course, this part of the law is what would be used to send Dr. Adil Baguirov off the board for non-residency, something this board refuses to do.
The Darran Powell Question
From the board policy document pg 120:
No question decided by the Board will be raised again during the same school year except upon a motion to reconsider, made at the same or next Board meeting. Only a member who voted with the prevailing side may move to reconsider a motion that has been adopted. A majority vote of the entire membership is necessary to reconsider an action that has been taken.
Other than the new school year may technically start in July, by having this rushed meeting, and it not coming up, there can be no revote now on the hiring of Dunbar football coach Darran Powell, who was not hired last Tuesday. His petition for a revote now has 1547 signatures and 399 comments.
Final word: At least a few board members are beginning to see the sheer insanity of this “organization” that can’t get its business done according to schedule. Watch for future developments.
The kind of information that should be given at every meeting.
Also note, much of the “Superintendents presentation” – which has information of the type that should be given at EVERY meeting, shows some troublesome stats- like declining graduation rates, poor 3rd grade reading scores, and horrible enrollment stats for the coming year, despite the best efforts of The Ohlmann Group with their premium priced contract.
Don’t run a hiring promo crawl over a teachers resignation speech.
No other school board meets as much and does as little as the Dayton Public Board of Education.
Their agendas confuse the members, aren’t mobile friendly, provide almost zero usable information, and lead to massive confusion.
They have a “Parliamentarian,” Joe Lacey, who is a member of the board, which is far from ideal:
If the parliamentarian is a member of the assembly, that person has the same rights as other members, but should not exercise those rights to maintain impartiality, similar to the impartiality that is required of the chairman. In other words, the parliamentarian should not be making motions, speaking in debate, or voting.
This is only a part of the problem. But, at the end of the last board meeting, held on a Wednesday night (not the normal Tuesday- which makes problems for Mr. McManus who works second shift in Columbus) when “New business” came up- it wasn’t business at all- just speeches by the board. Rambling on about what you did the last week, while hourly employees wait is not in the best interest of the general public.
There are a million ways to run meetings. However, when a board of directors is meeting to review and guide an organization with a leader they’ve chosen to do a job, shouldn’t the leader do most of the talking? Explaining what the district is doing, why, and how its performance is improving? How initiatives are progressing, reviewing metrics? Updating on the status of directives she is given by the board? Never a public mention of posting the position of “Executive Director of Communications” at any meeting, but the posting was up and changed this week.
Nothing like that happens at DPS board meetings.
What an agenda should look like is something I’d love to show this board, but, since they refuse to investigate the eligibility of Dr. Adil Baguirov to be on the board, (he’s lived outside the district since November of 2015) I think the first order of business is to show this board the door.
That Corr didn’t know what meeting she was crashing the first time should make you wonder.
That two members of the board are meeting with a vendor- behind closed doors, should also concern you. Because, board members have no business conducting school business without a quorum in a regularly scheduled meeting- ever. We asked to film- but were told no.
There is no doubt the board needs marketing and public relations help- during the course of the Wednesday meeting when a whole big batch of teachers were resigning (a regular occurrence these days) and one of them got up to tell the board why she was leaving- the geniuses at DPS-TV were running a crawl across the bottom of the screen, asking teachers to come work for the district.
We have a technical term for this in marketing- it’s called cognitive dissonance, the rest of you would call this just stupid.
I have her “crawl segment” in the middle of my speech.
And as a final kicker, at the very end of the meeting, Rhonda Corr announces she’ll be introducing a student handbook at the beginning of next school year. This was directly out of our original marketing proposal to the district. We thought it would take over a year to create, with participation from parents, teachers, students and alumni. We thought it would be a tool to help explain the new values and focus of a newly rebranded district. So glad she’s just thought of this now, for next year. But, this is her Standard Operating Procedure by the seat of her pants. Remember the RIF? The Bus deal? Both rushed through as if a last minute afterthought. Sort of like holding a special meeting on a Friday morning, ostensibly to review a 5 year budget plan…..