Three reasons the Dayton school levy failed-

1) It was a lot of money- and with gas at $3+ a gallon, many Daytonians are scraping now to make ends meet.

2) While the charter schools may not provide as good an education- they do one thing a lot better than the Dayton Public Schools- it’s called Customer Service.

3) In a competitive market- schools must become a brand- and tell their story in a compelling fashion. It’s called Marketing- and as long as Dayton Public Schools continues to use Penny Ohlman Neiman and Steve Avakian- (a high priced political consultant who lives in Boston- and flies in to work on DPS stuff- at DPS expense) it won’t get any better. “A new day is dawning” and “Moving ahead” may as well as been “we suck but” and “we’re just a bit better.”  Whoever suggested Dr. Mack be the frontman on TV spots should be shot- he’s as stiff as a board.

You can say it failed because of number 1- but, if number 2 and 3 were done right, it wouldn’t have been such a massive spanking.

Remember- people will still spend $100 for a pair of Nike shoes- because they THINK they get the added value.

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5 Comments on "Three reasons the Dayton school levy failed-"

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Bruce Kettelle

Five of Nine distrcts passed levies in Montgomery County yesterday. Some like Jefferson were renewals but others picked up some new money like Northmont.

I don’t think reason 1 is the primary blame. I think the amount asked for in Dayton and Brookville was a lot to expect all at once. I agree they could do better marketing but they also need to do some product research to see what the consumer is willing to buy (ie:15mils, 10mils, or 5mils etc)

Nike would still sell shoes at $300 a pair but not as many. In the school’s case they need to price it so at least 50.01% think it is a good price.

I realize these mils are determined on percieved need in the district, but now they are tolking about 400 job cuts instead of 200 if they were only asking for half as much.

I don’t know what effect it is having but I imagine some voters are also being distracted by the discussions in Columbus to rework school funding. Are they hoping this will save their schools and that the state will be more responsive if they don’t pass a levy? I met one voter that feels this way.


Once again an example of failed Brand Management. I especially liked your comment on doing marketing research to see what the market will bear.

School levies would pass darn near 100% of the time if they invested a little marketing research and put forth what the citizens were willing to pay. The way it is currently done the school gets nothing rather than making concessions. The school board’s perceived need is irrelevant unless they can prove their value to those people who fund them.

John Ise

Don’t underestimate what a serious blow this is to the city (& region). The School District is no means perfect, but showed signs of progress. Ask yourself, does defeating the levy enhance or detract Dayton from atracting “Creative Class” types. What to do? Put it back on the ballot (with modifications and better marketing) again and again (maybe with the business community springing for the bill to hold special elections) until passage.

See Ellen Belcher’s excellent take on this:


There was an interesting article on the racial aspect of the defeat in todays’ DDN, which references an article in the Saturday edition.

Apparently the white voters voted pretty heavilty to defeat the levy.

I ran some census numbers on this, and it was pretty suprising to me that 49.6% of white school aged children (K-12) attend private schools while only 4.7% of the black kids do. This is a rather large discrepency as Dayton is a fairly low-income community for both races.

So I’d guess another reason the levy failed is that the parents of the white schoolkids (or about half of them) voted to not pay taxes for a school system they are not using.

David Esrati
David Esrati

When you say “attend private schools” are you including charters as private, or only pay to play schools?
There was another article in todays DDN where they suggested that high gas prices may have something to do with the vote against the levy- of course that wouldn’t have broken down across race lines the way it did.