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To renew, or not to renew, is that even a question? DPS Superintendent Ward’s Contract

The Board of Education seems to be putting their elbows in their ears and saying “Nah, nah, nah, nah” while ignoring the upcoming deadline to review, renew or take action on Superintendent Lori Ward [1]‘s contract.

Coming due next month, Ward is paid almost $200,000 a year- and has been at the helm since taking over from Kurt Stanic in March of 2010.

The district is two years away from state takeover.

In today’s paper- we find out that:

The top Dayton Public School was Valerie PreK-6 School, at 44 percent, earning a D….

(in Graduation rates) Dayton Public’s high schools earned an A (Stivers), a B (Ponitz), and four F’s (Thurgood Marshall at 73.5, Dunbar at 66.7, Belmont at 59.1 and Meadowdale at 50.0).

Source: Charter schools fail in K-3 Literacy [2]

The board met at a retreat on Saturday, and went into executive session- but no mention was made of the contract or plans to either retain or replace Ms. Ward.

With scores like these, the decision should be pretty clear.

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Let’s be fair. Personnel decisions are one of the topics proper to executive sessions in Ohio. Now, considering the number and duration of BoE exec. sessions, they must be making tons of them.

As a point of comparison: the national high school grad rate hovers around 70%, and if we count only inner-city districts it’s around 50%. The worst in the nation are Detroit, Indianapolis, and Cleveland, all around 30% (note that Cleveland was taken over by the state, so if that happens here, it’s doing the same thing expecting different results).

So: Meadowdale at 50% is right at the national average for comparable schools, and the other DPS high schools are outperforming by comparison.

If we want to look closer to home, the best grad rate among charter high schools is Dayton Technology Design at around 60%. So the “school choice” movement is once again a failure by comparison, with DPS tied in one, close in another, and solidly (or spectacularly) ahead in most.

Maybe–just maybe–we should look to what Austin Texas has done in social services, or what Miami FL has done in administrative streamlining and teacher empowerment. Those are urban districts that have had some breakthroughs. Replacing a superintendent might be necessary, but maybe the problem is the bad road surface–or the engine–and not the hood ornament.

Dave C.

It sounds like a state takeover will probably occur no matter who is at the helm. I presume this means that the superintendent gets the heave-ho, so the question is Lori Ward for 2 more years, or hire someone else to get canned in 2 years?

Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Aaron Glett

I think the biggest problem with education today, is that we’re hiring educators to fix a social services problem. These kids perform poorly, because they don’t get fed well at home. They can’t participate in after school programs because their parents work too many jobs just to keep the lights on and can’t give their kids the attention they need. And social services don’t provide enough in a dignified way to actually make much of a difference outside of a few months of trouble. We have long winded, systemic problems being solved with bandaids. At some point, you have to remove the bandaids and clean the wound before you actually solve the problem.


You cannot fix what is broken at home in the family setting. We want the educator to be an attorney, babysitter, forced to submit to unfair ratings because the student would not behave. It is not the fault of the educator; the state judges the educator and punishes them for bad students not disciplined at home, thereby making the educator punished for poor performance because the student would not do his or her work. What is needed is core values at home with caring loving parents getting down to basics. Family values go a long way. Learning right from wrong and knowing their are consequences in parents as well as their siblings; If parents cannot have positive standards, moral, and ethical, loving them with god’s principles with them how can you have governmental, third parties, and educators take up the slack that is missing at home in the first place? It becomes ingrained in the society. This is why we see our deteriorating education system fail and to play the numbers with “FUZZY MATH” to have an appearance that the student is learning in the scores reported but is nothing more than smoke and mirrors because numbers do not provide everything on how a student learns, as these scores get new guidelines on a whim by the government as seen in the media almost daily so no one know anything; number scores cannot fix broken. Even with all the hype over scores and teacher performance, the USA is ranked 28th worldwide. A sad fact! Hint, A society or republic is only as good as it’s values that it puts upon it self. When one family couple decides to have children they should seriously consider how they want their siblings to be and they are the role model that it all starts at home in a stable loving home with family values with god’s principles being at the core. Some homes only have one parent barely able to make basic needs or none at all and how does or can anyone expect a student to learn or perform and even behave… Read more »


Just because we don’t think the case has been made beyond reasonable doubt for the superintendent’s firing, we’ve given up?

Some are claiming that part of Cincinnati’s success was due to decentralizaation–putting more decision-making in the individual school and less in the central office. That argues against your assertion that “leadership” (however that horse-flogged term is defined) at the top is so central.

And at the same time as Cincy’s schools were improving, its police force was faced with improving community relations especially among minorities–and so maybe some environmental issues are the place to focus.

It’s not so simple as firing the manager. Sometimes you need new ballplayers, sometimes a better scouting staff, and sometimes you just need to pack it all up and relocate.

Bill Mayers

Lori Ward has to GO!!!! She blames everything on PARENTS, STUDENTS and TEACHERS. Come on Lori, it’s YOUR job to solved these problems with the DPS! Your nasty, rude and unprofessional attitude is out of control. The report card went from an D to a F!! You are not doing your job and you should step down or be fired. It is the duty of the Board members to get rid of you and hire someone that can handle the position. Our children’s education, future and most of all safety are at risk. We want Lori Ward OUT!!