There is a serious problem at DPS with staffing schools this year. It’s not the fault of Parallel Employment Group, which was exceeding the fill rate contracted by the district. The problem lies with the chaos and turmoil being caused by the superintendent, Dr. Libby Lolli who has the HR skills of Attila the Hun. The list of supervisory changes throughout the district is epic. People she handpicked to put in positions of authority last year, are now “resigning” at record rates. Her former HR chief is going back to being a principal. She hired in an HR Firm on a half-million dollar contract, a firm with only two employees- who has been sneaking through $5K additional funds requests under the boards noses. The firm may have personal/professional connections to someone high up in the DPS castle, because they certainly don’t have a track record of success or credibility to handle this job. One of the two principals of the firm was embroiled in a long term lawsuit connected to her former employer. As far as I can tell, they don’t even have an office.
When you realize that the high absentee problem isn’t caused because of the staffing firm, but instead is rooted in a hostile work environment, a board member should look a little closer at the firm they are switching their partnership to. There is usually only a good reason for switching your corporate brand- that your old one is sullied in some way.
Tuesday, the school board approved a three-year $12.9 million contract with a new provider for substitute teachers and staff at the district’s schools. ESS Northeast, LLC, formerly Source4Teachers, will replace Parallel Employment Group as the contractor providing substitutes for Dayton Public Schools.
DPS data showed that Parallel exceeded the terms of its contract this spring, but the district was simply asking for more subs than the contract anticipated, with occasional, hard-to-manage spikes. A representative from Parallel on Tuesday encouraged the school board to table the contract vote, but they did not.
Looking up Source4Teachers, we find articles of other districts that ended their contracts with them due to fill rates under 55% In Philadelphia, this was the boards experience:
Source4Teachers promised 75 percent on the opening day of school and 90 percent by January – but on its best days it barely hit the District’s minimum, never going higher than 55 percent on any given day.
Philadelphia moved to Kelly Educational Staffing which is a national firm.
In Trenton NJ, the district got in trouble with meeting IEP requirements under Source4Teachers:
Source4Teachers CEO Kendley Davenport acknowledged the company’s “complete failure,” but claimed services are getting better….
Due to Source4Teachers’ inability to provide staff, the district violated the Individualized Education Program (IEPs) of many children with special needs. There is pending federal civil rights violations against the district for the inconsistencies.
Davenport said after the Cherry Hill-based company was unable to meet the district’s needs early in the school year, he made operational and personnel changes….
The real question is why would the board even consider approving the Superintendent’s recommendation to replace a company that exceeded the contract requirements with this firm, when the superintendent and her staff should have been given an F for basic math?
The document the school board reviewed and approved Tuesday night included itemized costs for 14 projects and listed a total first-year cost of $26.16 million. But a Dayton Daily News review of the information revealed that the numbers didn’t add up. The total of the 14 separate items comes to $30.26 million.
Asked about the discrepancy Wednesday, Lolli said it was probably a typo. But when this news organization pointed out that the numbers were exactly $4.1 million apart, Lolli agreed that the high school busing amount likely had not been included in the document’s total.
~ibid Dayton Daily story
Board member John McManus, the only one not drinking the “Culture of Corruption” kool-aid that seems to be the drink of preference for the rest of the school board wisely voted no. Handy doorstop, Robert Walker abstained from this vote, thereby abdicating his responsibility to do his job again.
HR has many problems in DPS, and the board isn’t getting any reports of how many lawsuits are being filed against it – or how they are fairing in them. One “teacher of the year” was perp walked out of the all-girls school mid-year in disgrace, only to win arbitration against the district resulting in both large legal costs and them owing her “an apology” which will probably mean six-figures to the district by the time you factor both her pay and the temps pay they wasted. And, why would she return? She had a job with another district almost instantly- at a higher pay. No one who teaches in Dayton is there for the exceptional pay except for leadership of the sinking ship. Giving more raises isn’t the answer- respect is, but that may as well be a four letter word in Lolli’s vocabulary.
It’s too bad the district isn’t the primary focus of the FBI/DOJ investigation because past deals that were rushed by the board like the Chrome Books, the sale of the former Patterson Co-Op site to Caresource, the bus deal, and the marketing contract to the Ohlmann Group all smell of pay-to-play and questionably legal actions by this administration. In the mean time, despite scores moving lower, the district gets a pass from the Statehouse which dismantled the penalties for failing at your job if you are a school board or school leadership.
The only people paying for this chaos is the teachers, who were never here for the money.