The battle between excellence and excrement at Dayton Public Schools

I’m going to recognize an anniversary to begin this post, it’s August 20, 2016, and bid packages were due for an ad agency to help Dayton Public Schools with their communications and marketing to herald a new dawn of a new superintendent. A superintendent that was chosen by a process run by a superintendent search firm.

There were three agencies that submitted responses to an RFP that stated the max contract was for $300K. I had put in weeks preparing my response- even working on the 18th of August, the day my father passed. It was one of the most surreal days of my life- and despite, all that, I believed my firm, The Next Wave, was uniquely positioned to help the district. I’d put together a team that I felt could and would, help, at a ridiculously low price. We’d priced out 3.5 man years of work for less than $300K, and the other agencies were both over $300K and only quoting 1.5 man years.

It was awarded to the highest bidder, and the public records requests after, showed how politics makes it’s way into everything DPS does. The bid reviewers at one point questioned if my photographer, Larry Price, had won a Pulitzer (never mind he’s won 2) and if my firm actually had video cameras- despite me filming board meetings and producing videos like this:

You can read all about all the bids here: Dayton Public Schools fail marketing 101 And btw, the “winning bidder” – Ohlmann group- had zero internal video production equipment.

And here we are 7 years later. I’m still making videos of DPS, at my own expense (and yes, these are out of my own time and money)

And the videos of Dr. Lawrence doing his community conversations:

And sitting through 4.5 hour board meetings that were so bad, I just did a recap live to explain how dysfunctional this board is:

The fact that this last video, which is 32 minutes long, already has 85 views, should tell you that people are interested in what the hell is going on at DPS right now.

But, wait, it gets better. In that 4.5 hour meeting, the board did do something, that rivals on criminal behavior, and is being done like a clandestine deal to supply weapons to terrorists in Nicaragua (wait, that really happened? Why, yes it did). The board, while debating to spend between $25K and $75K or so for a search firm to replace the perfectly fine new “interim superintendent” gave him a supplemental contract of $160K without really saying it in the meeting. Supplemental means in addition to his current, $135K a year contract, which means, the person that they don’t and didn’t have enough sense to vote 7-0 to appoint (it was a hairy 4-2 vote), and have questioned endlessly about his leadership towards tested, proven educational methodology, is now getting paid $295K a year. With no superintendent contract.


24 Aug 2023- after REPEATED requests for confirmation, the pay is actually NOT SUPPLEMENTAL, but a REPLACEMENT, and Lawrence, a Black man, is being paid LESS than the previous white lady who performed horribly.

The Public records responses will come in a future post- along with internal communications, which may show an intentional action by DPS Board members or DPS employees to mislead this journalist. This is unacceptable.

The word Supplemental still means the same damn thing.

Here’s the Business Manager contract:

That’s right, no contract. If there’s one thing they teach you in running a business, it’s to put it in writing- everything in writing, where there are expectations and conditions involved in job performance. We still have yet to hear anything from the board about what their expectations are for a superintendent, and what standards they expect to have for their national search.

Lolli, at her peak of incompetence and arrogance, was making $215K a year plus a bunch of bonuses. Her performance, as shown in the charts and slides presented to the brain dead board, showed scores that would make a K grade (you know, below F, below G, H, I, J grades…). In fact, I’m not so sure most people could get higher scores on standardized testing by random guessing than DPS students under Lolli.

Now, as long as the board is going to insult him with 1 year “supplemental” contract and the term “Interim” I’m perfectly OK with the $295K. In fact, it’s a steal. I doubt someone like Dr. Kurt Stanic would even step into the excrement of this board and district for less, and none of them could hit the ground running. Lawrence knows the community and the community knows him.

Unfortunately, I know it’s impossible to remove idiots from School Boards in Ohio unless they rape a kid (or maybe do whatever Jocelyn Rhynard claims Will Smith did to her). But, spending this kind of money on someone you haven’t locked into a multi-year contract basically tells every other larger district in the country that Lawrence is a magician. This board is almost advertising for other districts to come steal our super.

The only answer really is, that all of them resign. They aren’t protecting our interests or advancing the improvements to the district that are on the way. I guarantee, by year 2’s test results, the charts and graphs will look a lot better and the progress will be real. And Lawrence will be laughing all the way to the bank working in a major district doing his magic, that we should have had 7 years ago.

Sign a contract, put options in it, with performance clauses and payments. Don’t be stupid. And, don’t try to hide it. We see you.

If you enjoyed reading true breaking news, instead of broken news from the major media in Dayton, make sure you subscribe to this site for an email every time I post. If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps! Please also subscribe to the Youtube channel for notifications of every video we launch – including the livestreams.