Dan Bitler, board president for Dayton Business Technology HS, talks about efforts to keep the school open

Charter school asks DPS for 1 more year; decision likely next week

Leaders of the Dayton Business Technology High School on Tuesday asked Dayton’s school board to reconsider a one-year sponsorship renewal, so that the dropout recovery charter school does not close this summer.

In December, Dayton’s school board voted 5-1 not to renew its contract with the school, which is often referred to as Dayton Tech. It serves about 150 students at 348 W. First St. downtown. This potential closure is not part of the work of the facilities task force studying Dayton Public Schools.

Leaders of the charter school at first planned to seek a new sponsor, but then came back to DPS and asked for an extension of time to appeal to the school board.

Dan Bitler, Dayton Tech’s new board president, acknowledged that Dayton Tech had not hit some of its performance targets and needs to improve its strategic planning work.

He said the school would commit to creating a strategic plan with broad input, aligned with a new education plan. Bitler said Dayton Tech would review and adjust staffing, and provide better training aligned with the school’s “unique population.”

Principal Gregory Stone told DPS leaders that Dayton Tech serves many students who have dealt with drugs, mental health issues, pregnancy and other problems. Bitler said Stone does a great job of building trust in those kids.

“We deal with students who are at risk of dropping out of high school,” Bitler said. “These students didn’t make it through the basic Dayton Public School system and we offer an alternative for them to find an option to graduate … and move on to good jobs in technical fields.”

DPS school board president William Harris said Tuesday night that the board will consider the information that Dayton Tech presented and hopes to have a decision by the Feb. 20 school board meeting.

The DPS board initially rejected Dayton Tech after the 12-year-old school scored 58.3 percent on an evaluation led by administrator LaShawn Graham, well below the 75 percent target set by the Ohio Department of Education. That study covered areas including academic success, organizational performance and fiscal soundness.

On the 2016-17 state report card, Dayton Tech’s graduation rate was 50.2 percent, better than the state dropout recovery standard. The school also met the state standard for high school test passage rates, but was sub-par on student growth.

Graham said Tuesday that she still has several concerns that Dayton Tech would have to address, including a process for selecting governing board members, general management of the school, the instructional program and internal financial controls.

“(Stone) can’t do it alone. He has to have support for the school to work,” Graham told the school board. “If we give them a renewal for one year … the contract has to have performance measures (for DPS to track).”