Dayton schools face short summer, leadership turnover

Dayton superintendent Elizabeth Lolli speaks at the March 16 school board meeting.

Dayton’s school board on Tuesday approved a “back-to-normal” school calendar for 2021-22, and approved yet another district leader’s resignation.

Dayton Public Schools students will be in class through June 29 this year because DPS was the only district to completely stop classes between Thanksgiving and Christmas as COVID cases surged.

ExploreA year of online vs. in-person: how schools handled COVID

After a short seven-week summer, students will be back in class Aug. 18. The 2021-22 calendar has its normal holiday and spring breaks, and a May 27 last day for students. Teachers, who are regularly involved in building these calendars, get a six-week summer, then start work Aug. 12 and finish May 31.

“We want to get back to normal and this is probably the year to bite that bullet,” Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli told the school board in a previous meeting.

DPS-linked summer schools and camps for those students participating will mostly be packed into July, just after the school year ends.

Personnel changes

DPS Business Manager Gary Dickstein will resign June 30 at the end of the school year. Dickstein, who was hired in October 2019, has overseen many of DPS’ operational adjustments tied to COVID, as well as contracting millions of dollars in school renovations approved by the school board.

Dickstein, who worked more than 25 years at Wright State, said Tuesday he is still weighing his next step.

Explore2020 story: Dayton schools face leadership turnover

DPS often has significant leadership turnover. In 2020, the district lost an associate superintendent and its chiefs of curriculum and special education, replaced its athletic director and executive director of transportation and went through two chiefs of human resources.

That second associate superintendent position has not been filled, but Lolli said she’s used to working with only one, veteran Shelia Burton. But she called the looming business manager vacancy “problematic” and said the district is already talking about posting that job.

Odds and ends

** On the continuing building renovation work, the board approved an $827,700 contract with Waibel Energy Systems to upgrade the HVAC and building automation systems and at Stivers and Wogaman schools. They also approved $1.1 million in security camera upgrades for 10 more DPS buildings by Graybar Electric.

** New union contracts with 2% raises were approved for both clerical and operations staff represented by the Ohio Association of Public School Employees. The district’s bus drivers are now the only union still working under an expired contract.

ExploreShort on drivers, DPS asks families to get students to school

** Two DPS bus drivers complained to the board about Lolli’s statement on Facebook last week that driver absences were hurting families’ ability to get to school. The drivers say it led to parents and students taking their frustrations out on other drivers who go above and beyond the call of duty. Lolli and several board members responded, saying they appreciate the work of DPS’ many dedicated drivers.

** The board approved a new mentoring collaborative between the district’s Males of Color office and Wilberforce University, specifying ways the groups will work together.

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