On my wall is an Einstein quote: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
At the Dayton Public School Board meeting last night, a 17 year old young black male had the room in tears. “I’m a young black male” and he’s succeeding because of someone they fired on the November Eighth- because the leadership has no imagination and limited knowledge. From today’s Dayton Daily news:
Several Dunbar students passionately asked the board to bring back the school’s early college coordinator, Dwon Bush, who was laid off last week. She oversaw the process of students taking college classes at Sinclair, and her departure left them asking what would happen next.
Jamont Mathews talked about how Bush encouraged him when he was struggling, helping him succeed to the point where he’s been accepted to Tuskegee University. “You don’t know what I’ve been through,” Mathews said, breaking down in tears. “Don’t take this away from me.”
Source: DPS board postpones further layoffs 
But, here’s the thing- if the board hadn’t hired a rookie from out-of-town, and had competent PR, the money to continue Ms. Bush’s contract would have appeared faster than Dr. Baguirov bugged out last night.
Who went out to ask the Sinclair Foundation to subsidize Ms. Bush’s salary? To bridge it? Until enrollment goes back up? No one.
Who thought to ask the Principal how critical this position is to Dunbar- the “Early College Academy”? No one.
Who told this story of success? Before the leadership acted with bad data, supplied by incompetent staff, and adjudicated by some HR consultant who doesn’t know this organization at all.
It’s time for some heads to roll.
The board decided to not act in haste with imperfect data last night, but how can they let the previous mistakes made with imperfect data stand?
For example: MariJane Recob, director of the Challenger Center, actually brings revenue to the district. The “consultant” probably had no idea of what the Challenger center is- or that it’s one of 50 in the country, and that there would be training costs in bringing in a replacement.
Dwon Bush used to be the principal at Belle Haven. In switching over to running the Sinclair coordinator spot, the “consultant” probably just looked at the salary and said “cut.” Not realizing, that if you want Dunbar to be taken seriously and be able to attract students, the coordination with Sinclair may be more important than the Principals job- that’s why it’s called an “Early College Academy.”
No doubt, there are other people who this board was willing to cut, based on imperfect data, bad advice, and with the guidance of a rookie superintendent who never bothered to learn what was working before she felt she “had to break it to fix it.”
There are places this district could save plenty of money. One example, the site that hosts DPSTV- where I had to wait 2 days to get the footage of Jamont- starts at $2,388 a year. Youtube is free.
The board had 3 employees getting paid overtime during the 5.5 hour meeting- to put the chairs away. Save that for the next day.
It’s time to reverse all cuts of direct instruction/pupil interaction, and delay until summer. The administration positions, support positions, etc- how many can be eliminated via retirement? Reassignments? How much are we spending on outside legal counsel each year to make up for a legal counsel who just got a $30K a year raise and is giving the district poor counsel?
And, how many abatement deals did this board grant to companies like GE, Emerson, CareSource etc? Maybe next time, we ask our corporate citizens to pay their fair share.