You are hereFeed aggregator / Categories / Local Politics

Local Politics


Dayton Public Schools policy change will speed exodus

Esrati - Sat, 04/29/2017 - 17:25

While the school board sits scratching their heads why they can’t keep staff (even after it’s explained to them over and over) and they do things that make no sense (failing to investigate Baguirov’s residency, giving Corr a raise and a 2 year extension, retaining Mark Baker as AD, the layoffs in the fall….) we now have a new rule which will further hasten the exit of staff from the district.

From one posting of many that went live yesterday on the The Greater Dayton Area School Employment Consortium site:

Due to the increased duties and requirements from the district and the OHSAA standards, building athletic directors will not be considered for coaching positions.

Source: Dayton Public Schools – Building Athletic Director

Currently, the coaching and building athletic director positions are “supplemental contracts” in addition to an employee’s pay. By being both a coach and a building AD, it’s possible to boost your pay by $15,000 a year – and have pay comparable to what a regular teacher would make anywhere else.

This new provision may be in violation of the current Dayton Education Association contract with the school, but my attempts to clarify that haven’t yet been fruitful.

A week ago Friday, Dunbar Coach Darren Powell was quoted in the paper, and a story ran the following Sunday that he still had his position for next year. Monday the board informed the paper that this wasn’t true, as they had not voted on any supplemental contracts. The paper ran a retraction on Tuesday. Powell was told to shut up and not talk to the media, at least until after the Mark Baker situation had resolved- which lead to the long executive session on Wednesday and the eventual 5-1 vote to rehire him- even though his contract, like the one for Superintendent Corr and Treasurer Abraha could have been voted on later. This board like to try to sweep it’s dirt under the rug as fast as possible hoping no one notices that the dirt is turning into a mountain.

Once again, coaches are in limbo. Conditioning for football has already begun for the fall season, without a contract, who is supposed to be in charge? And when you are both a coach and a building AD- which applies to about half the Football coaches- which job is more important to you? And, with the choice- is it time to take your skills elsewhere? Earl White has turned Belmont from a sports joke into a multi-sport contender in three years. Do you think he, with his 21 years experience, a masters degree in educational leadership, won’t be recruited to go to the suburbs? The postings expire in 10 days- leaving a very small window for the coaches and AD’s to chose their future path.

An anonymous letter has been circulating with serious allegations about other issues with Baker. It has been seen by members of the School Board, coaches, athletic directors. I do not believe in anonymous letters, but, since I can’t seem to get full transcripts of interviews with everyone involved on the Dunbar/Belmont fiasco- or the transcript of the OHSAA hearing, I’m running it.

To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is out of deep desperation and my genuine concern for the students, coaches, athletic directors and all associated with the Dayton Public School District. I find that I must convey my disgust with what I have observed over the last seven months related to the Dayton Public Schools athletic programs and its appointed leader Mr. Mark Baker. Mr. Baker is under qualified for the job, and with each blunder, such suspicions are proving to be true. He was promised the DPS AD job before ever interviewing for the position by then Dayton Public Schools Chief of Schools Innovation, Mr. David Lawrence. Once evidence produced suggested that Mr. Baker was given an unfair advantage for the job, second interviews were immediately granted to all the candidates. The next time, a qualified candidate was recommended for the DPS district AD job, only to have his offer rescinded due to supposed public pressure and for the second time, Mr. Baker was handed the DPS AD job despite the fact he had no athletic director experience. Clearly, the fix was on.
The point of this letter of complaint is to bring to your attention a few major infractions that have occurred under Mr. Baker’s leadership, that to my knowledge has never been reported to the OHSAA. Mr. Baker on several occasions has purposely withheld significant violations that occurred in DPS from the OHSAA other than the Dunbar Early College High School football team using an ineligible football player in the fall of 2016, and he only reported that because it was self-serving. Also as a whistleblower, I must show how Mr. Baker’s gross incompetence has placed Dayton Public Schools and OHSAA at grave risk. Mr. Baker’s leadership style is confrontational and consists of intimidation and lying.
Mr. Baker proudly lets everyone know that he’s above reproach because he believes he has the complete backing of the Dayton Board of Education, Superintendent and OHSAA. Mr. Baker’s ineptitude causes him to call other athletic directors Statewide for answers to the simplest questions concerning eligibility and rule interpretations.
The following infractions and incidents occurred in 2016 and 2017 can be collaborated (sic) with any effort of a simple inquiry or investigation by your office:

  1. In October of 2016, Ponitz ere High School, Freshman football team permitted a highly sought after private school seventh grader to play in their Freshman football game. The player in question is the son of the Ponitz assistant football coach, Mr. Derrick Shepard. When this incident began to leak to the public, Mr. Baker instructed the head football coach, Jim Place at Ponitz to handle the issue internally, and he wouldn’t report the incident to the OHSAA, and he didn’t. Coach Shepard received a suspension for the remainder of the football season, and it was one or two games with pay.
  2. Mr. Baker permitted serval players from Community Schools in September 2016 to play football for Meadowdale High School without properly vetting their eligibility. After two games into the season, it was determined by the Meadowvale AD that the two players were indeed academically ineligible. Mr. Baker informed the Meadowdale head football coach that the players could continue to play because he didn’t want to punish the players for his mistake. Meadowdale lost both games in question but Mr. Baker never self-reported the player’s illegal participation to the OHSAA.
  3. During Meadowdale High School 2016 Senior Football Night celebration Mr. Baker became furious once he learned the Meadowdale AD and football coach had failed to put a pre-game program together to recognize its senior football players. Mr. Baker entered the press box at Welcome Stadium and verbally reprimanded the Meadowdale AD. Mr. Baker then angrily came into Meadowdale football locker room before the start of the game and disrespectfully verbally lashed out on the head coach in the presence of his players and staff. Out of anger, Mr . Baker physically assaulted the coach in front of witnesses. Several Dayton Public School security staff had to separate them. Coincidentally, the head coach wasn’t rehired. The coach was informed one of the reasons was because he played ineligible players during the season, the very players Mr. Baker himself cleared to play.
  4. In December 2016 the Meadowdale Head Football job was posted. In February 2017 Meadowdale High School granted interviews to fill the job. A selection committee selected Mr. Len Hampton. Mr. Hampton’s interview took placed (sic) without Mr. Baker’s knowledge. However, Mr. Baker wasn’t satisfied with the selection. He managed to persuade the committee to grant an interview to a candidate who was denied an interview because his paperwork was late causing him to miss the deadline. This person was Mr. Derrick Shepard, who didn’t score as high as others candidates during the interview process. Unbeknownst to most, Mr. Baker had secretly promised Mr. Shepard who’s an alumnus of Meadowdale the Meadowdale head football job, yes, the one and only Ponitz assistant coach suspended for playing his seventh-grade son in a high school game. Mr. Baker already reached out and formed an interview committee to ensure Coach Shephard’s selection which consisted of high profile Meadowdale alumnus and Mr. Sheppard, ex Hall of Fame high school football coach Pat Masters. Clearly, the fix was in.
    Six days or so after earning the head football job Mr. Baker summoned Coach Hampton to his office at Welcome Stadium and told him he had to be reinterviewed for the football job by him and Mr. Keith Byars. Mr. Hampton informed Mr. Baker that he had already been interviewed, selected and named the Head Football Coach by the principal of Meadowdale High School. Mr. Baker told Coach Hampton that it was him alone that makes the final selections for all head coaching positions for DPS. Therefore, he would have to interview with him. Mr. Hampton, Who is a member of the teacher union excused himself from the meeting and immediately informed his union representative and principal of his dilemma. They in turned contacted Mr. Baker to let him know that his attempt to intimidate Mr. Hampton and interfere with their selection was a violation of union contract. Within 48 hours, Mr. Baker reluctantly apologized to Mr. Hampton, telling him it was all a misunderstanding, or was it?
  5. Because of the entire 2016 Dunbar vs. Belmont high school football fiasco Mr. Baker failed to renew Coach Pete Pullen, former AD and Coach Darran Powell head football coach, basketball jobs cleverly creating a two-game in voluntary (sic) suspension at the start of the basketball season. Mr. Baker antics and power play worked to publicly embarrass and humiliate the Dunbar community and both fore-mentioned coaches. Because of a community uproar and a few newspaper articles both coaches were reinstated without explanation or apologies from Mr. Baker. As of the writing of this letter for reasons yet unknown the Dunbar head football job has yet to be filled and interviews delayed without explanation. Dunbar has currently four high profile Division I prospects, in which Mr . Baker has vowed if it’s left up to him Darran Powell will never coach them.
  6. Mr. Baker arranged to have a female athletic trainer, Ms. Erin Cane, from Kettering Sports Medicine Center removed from Dunbar Early College High School when she refused to give him negative information about the Dunbar athletic program and coaches. Three weeks after Mr. Baker interviewed her he then implied to the Vice President of Kettering Health Network that he had reason to believed she was having sexual affairs with members of the Dunbar coaching staff. Without any proof, Ms. Cane without noticed, was assigned out of Dunbar where she had served for eight years. It’s clear this is nothing shorter than vicious slander aimed at Ms. Cane and every male coach at Dunbar Early College High School and speaks to Mr. Baker’s lack of character and unethical need to seek and get revenge against anyone who refuses to bow down to him.
  7. Mr. Baker continues to try and convince people that he inherited a school district that was completely out of control and a total mess. He claims he inherited none loyal coaches across the district. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Mr. Baker started a staff meeting last week with building AD’s saying he has the power to replace them all and he will if they don’t start producing results. He was only giving the AD’s a year to turn things around, implying his contract will be renewed. Thus, unbeknownst to him AD’s are looking for other jobs outside our district due to his dictatorship style. Mr. Baker’s lack of decision making skills prove that he has no problem cheating and will cheat at every turn without conscience.
Thank you,
Very Concerned!

The school board hasn’t voted to rehire the Powell’s as coaches for football, although they have rehired them since the fiasco as track coaches. They believe because of the rehiring of Baker and new conditions in the contracts, they may not be the coaches next year. There is no evidence of any clause in the posting or in the School Board Policy manual (updated 12/5/16) that coaches will be ineligible due to being investigated or charged with any infractions of OHSAA rules as some had rumored.

The promise of a position in the future sounds like the work of Superintendent Rhonda Corr, who did the same thing to this writer when the RFP was out for the marketing contract (fully disclosed here).

There are still many questions surrounding the how much the board knows when making decisions. The main question is why was the Baker contract done while in the middle of the controversy? Rumblings of a tape existing that will damn Baker coming to light in the next week make this decision even more worrisome.

Seat of the pants decisions and timelines seem to be the new norm with Dayton Public Schools since Rhonda Corr was hired. At what point with the School Board realize that this isn’t how you build trust and respect with your employees? With the impending strike, forcing issues like a choice between coaching or AD, is just poking the bear at the wrong time.

 

 

Categories: Local Politics

When 400 teachers pack the room

Esrati - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 22:12

You knew the school board was ready, all of them dressed in their Sunday best- Joe Lacey even left his hoodie at home and combed his hair.

The teachers were ready too. When I say 400, it’s not an exact count, but it was the most I’d seen. They were wearing red, and they weren’t happy.

DEA members pack DPS board meeting Negotiations on a contract have been going south, and for too long. The disrespect of the October surprise putsch, the buy out of David Lawrence, the buying of a $400,000 time clock system, the hiring of the highest bidder to do bad “marketing and advertising” for the district, the massive bus purchase- all while claiming broke- and paying the superintendent that’s turned this district upside down more than the board was paying the stable and confident former Superintendent, Lori Ward, are all sticking points. Oh, that and Dayton teachers are expected to do more for less than any other district in the County- with a few exceptions- like Jefferson Township- which shouldn’t even have it’s own district.

After the teachers leader David Romick got done with his address, they all marched out to have a street corner rally, complete with podium. The news media followed.

The only people who left before Mr. Romick was done talking was the three representatives from the Ohlmann Group after they made an apologetic and pathetic presentation of what they’d done so far for at least $40K of wasted money (more on this in a future post). They don’t sit through school board meetings- or provide PR advice to the district, hell- they don’t even bother to shoot their own photos for their ads, they use stock photography. Gee, maybe that’s why my firm lost, we had a 2x Pulitzer prize winner for photojournalism on our team to shoot for our proposed work.

When it came to the speakers, a young, 2nd year teacher who appears to be hitting it out of the ballpark for the district went up and made a plea for her job security. She’s teaching at Westwoood- you know, the neighborhood the Dayton Daily nominated as the most dangerous ‘hood in the city. Every year, she has had to fight to keep her position. You have to listen- this is who you want teaching your kids. Her name is Joshita Reza, and one day, if we’re lucky, she’ll be superintendent of DPS.

Dr. Hazel Rountree, the Board VP is going to look into why Ms. Reza is having problems worthy of a visit to the podium. But, later, circles back, and appears to not have understood anything that Ms. Reza said. It all comes back down to respect, and this board and superintendent don’t respect anyone.

And, if you have the lowest pay, the worst academic performance in the region- people go where the work is easier and the pay is better. It’s not rocket surgery.

I spoke, once again asking for their resignations, and why no one has done anything to investigate Dr. Baguirov’s questionable residency eligibility to even be on the board. It’s a moot point really now, as he already got them to buy the buses for $10M and help his friends in the trucking business. That was voted on after the very long executive session (where those who stuck around were treated to hearing yelling coming from the secret lair).

Before the speakers were invited to the podium, Dr. Walker asked John McManus to read the rules. This isn’t the norm. One of the rules is that you aren’t supposed to single out a single board member, but speak to them as a whole. Well, although I singled out Dr. B- I asked them all to resign, since they haven’t done anything to verify his eligibility. At least nothing close to what they’ve done to check on the eligibility of a high school football player.

My speech:

I’m go glad to hear that “Great things are happening at Dayton Public Schools”

That you put that up on billboards should be grounds to have you removed- for breaking truth in advertising laws.

Because, unless you are deaf, dumb and blind, you are missing the point of why 300 teachers keep coming down here and questioning your leadership.

But- I can tell you there is a way to make that true. Resign. All seven of you.

You see, allowing an ineligible board member to do deals with your proxy is grounds for removal from office. From the real estate deals that smelled fishy- to the hiring of the most expensive bidder to do the “Great things are happening” campaign- to the bus deal- you’ve been asleep at the wheel. Following prompts from a board member who doesn’t even live in the district- and hasn’t since 2015.

I’d like to see the rent receipts for his half million dollar house in the Vandalia Butler school district- tell us who does live in the mansion.

Because sure as bees make honey- Dr., if he really is a Dr., Adil Baguirov is in a bit of a pinch. He’s registered to vote in a Ten Thousand dollar house on Maryland Ave- where he supposedly lives with his business partner- Islom Shakhbandarov.

He failed to disclose many of his business dealings on his ethics statements. He failed to disclose his maze of shell companies.

What we have here is our own version of Henry Hill- here to sell you 76 trombones. A carpet bagger- who is possibly lining his own pockets with inside deals with CareSource- Miami Valley Hospital, the University of Dayton, and even Learn To Earn.

Never mind the bus deal.

Since you won’t do anything about any of this- I’ve taken the next steps to have Dr. Baguirov removed by a judge. The next step is to remove the rest of you by collecting 4500 signatures.  I think the people in this room will gladly help me get them in record time.

It’s time to stop embarrassing the city of Dayton. It’s time we had a superintendent and treasurer that actually lead our organization forward. It’s time to end the insider deals- and stop the loss of staff attrition – which has approached 20% annually.

Please, do us a favor- abdicate now- and save yourself the embarrassment- we’ve already got 13 people running for office to replace 4 of you. Do you need further evidence that the community doesn’t approve of your choice in superintendent or how you are running the district?

Because once we remove all of you- then we can legitimately claim  “Great things are happening at Dayton Public Schools.”

Of course no response. Dr. Baguirov’s business partner and housemate for voting, Islom Shakhbandarov was sitting right next to the podium and filmed me as I spoke. As soon as the board broke for their executive session, Shakhbandarov ran to McManus asking why he didn’t cut me off for talking about his partner- McManus said “I just read the rules, it’s up to the board president to enforce them.”

The board ostensibly went into executive to talk about the bus deal and the contract extension for 2 years to District Athletic Director Mark Baker. Several speakers spoke about the whole eligibility/thrown game attempt disaster. There are definitely 2 camps on this.

I say fire the coaches, the athletic directors, the principals, the superintendent and move forward. Nobody was there to make sure this young man was eligible, or that his eligibility was being managed properly. The video speaks for itself- the kids didn’t want to “throw the game” and showed their disgust for this cockamamie scheme.  Only thing I’m sure of is, this wouldn’t have happened if Superintendent Chaos Corr hadn’t run David Lawrence out of the district. Lawrence was previously over Baker- and, attended most of the sporting events- and knows how to calculate eligibility.

When the board came out of executive session, Dr. Hazel Rountree was missing. She’d walked off the job. Should be grounds for termination. When the going gets rough, or Hazel doesn’t get her way- she just gets going. This proves that she’s not worthy of her seat.

Joe Lacey was the only one who voted not to retain Baker. He’s a little late to the whole discussion at this point and doing nothing more than grandstanding. Of course, he dosn’t bother to hold himself responsible for putting Corr in charge of this circus. Watch the video of Corr and Lacey while he has his rant around the three minute mark.

Baker got his contract- with a 5-1 vote, with Hazel absent without leave. On his way out, Coach Powell said to me “We’re done” – knowing that they were going to be the only ones to take a hit for this gross failure to do the right thing.

Speaking of doing the right thing, the board still won’t address the eligibility of Dr. Baguirov at all. Thus, all failing their legal responsibility to follow their own rules.

The head of security who was tasked to spend all the time in the world interviewing everyone involved in the Dunbar/Belmont fiasco, hasn’t had any time to investigate Dr. B. Imagine that.

I’ve requested all the interview transcripts through a public records request for publication later.

When black people in Dayton screw up, leave no stone unturned. When it’s a slick talking, nattily dressed, carpetbagger who can’t make up his mind if we’re broke or flush- no investigation warranted.

As they always say the best defense in America is being rich.

More to come.

 

Categories: Local Politics