Dayton Public Schools: Valerie Elementary, 4020 Bradwood Drive.
Photo: Staff photo by Jeremy Kelley
Photo: Staff photo by Jeremy Kelley

Dayton schools meeting today: Fate of buildings hangs in balance

Dayton Public Schools will likely gain a new permanent superintendent at today’s board meeting — but one who might be leading fewer schools by the end of the meeting.  

The board is expected to elevate Elizabeth Lolli, the acting superintendent, to the top position. And after that, the board could vote on whether to follow Lolli’s recommendations and close at least two schools before the next school year. 

RELATED: Board: Dayton’s new schools superintendent led through ‘very tumultuous time’

Under a proposed plan, Valerie Elementary and the Innovative Learning Center will be closed after this school year. 

The board meets today at 5 p.m. at DPS headquarters, 115 S. Ludlow, a building that would also close, if the proposal made last week by Lolli is approved by the board. 

More schools at both the elementary and high school levels could be closed in the future, according to the three-year capacity plan. The process generated an impassioned response in the community by some, including Dayton resident David Esrati, who filed a lawsuit challenging the district over open meetings laws. 

RELATED: Dayton plan would close elementary school, study closing high school 

On Monday, a Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge denied a preliminary injunction sought by Esrati to halt the school capacity plan process. Esrati alleged an Ohio Open Meetings Act violation because he was denied access to bus tour of DPS facilities by the School Facilities Task Force. 

Judge Richard Skelton did write that the 20-member panel formed to help Lolli was a public body — disagreeing with DPS and Dayton city attorneys. 

RELATED: Judge says Dayton schools task force public, but denies injunction 

While the board appears now legally unencumbered to vote on the recommendations, many steps could still prove controversial with some students and parents.  

Lolli has made a recommendation to consolidate the district’s seventh and eighth-graders from seven into four schools, except those at Stivers School for the Arts.  

Since Lolli’s presentation last week, the measure up for a potential vote has been modified: Current seventh graders at Meadowdale High School, Belmont High School, Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy and Charity Adams Earley Girls Academy would stay one more year at those schools and then transition into high school.

Lolli has led the Dayton district since former Superintendent Rhonda Corr was put on paid administrative leave in November.  The district accused Corr of unprofessional behavior, creating a hostile work environment and falsifying documents.

Last Friday, DPS board members announced that Lolli had signed an agreement through July 31, 2021 to replace Corr, who parted ways with the district in January after 19 months.

RELATED: Dayton pays superintendent more than $100K to go away 

A 40-year educator who has twice been a superintendent elsewhere, Lolli will be paid a prorated salary of $150,000 annually through July 31. The remaining years she will be paid a base salary of at least $175,000 annually in addition to other benefits.

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