Dayton schools to raise GPA requirement for sports eligibility

Dayton’s school board unanimously voted this month to raise athletic eligibility standards, meaning students with grade-point averages between 1.0 and 1.49 will no longer be eligible to play school sports next fall.

School board vice president Jocelyn Rhynard said the recommendation came from Dayton Public Schools’ Athletics Advisory Board after a detailed discussion. School board member Will Smith said the athletic board strongly supported the move.

Explore2017 story: DPS lowers eligibility bar for sports, adds tutoring effort

“When we had our first meeting, pretty much every principal and the coaches on the call were in agreement that we want to raise (the GPA floor),” Smith said. “But to raise our standards up, we have to raise all the work we put in to make sure we get our kids where they need to be.”

In 2017, the school board lowered the eligibility standard from a 2.0 GPA to 1.0. Students between 1.0 and 2.0 had to meet the requirements of their school’s Athletic Academic Intervention Program, which included GPA improvement and attendance at regular study tables.

Rhynard told the school board this month that those study table efforts “didn’t last very long.”

Under the new policy, students with GPAs between 1.5 and 1.99 will be eligible for sports if they meet those same intervention program requirements. Students above 2.0 are automatically eligible.

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Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said she will work with Executive Director of Athletics Victoria Jones on how the study tables will be managed and DPS will work to keep struggling students engaged.

The minimum eligibility requirement from the Ohio High School Athletic Association is just that students pass at least five one-credit courses or the equivalent during the most recent quarter.

Beyond that, each local school develops its own policy. According to documents on the schools’ websites, Stebbins High School only requires the OHSAA standard, Northmont requires a 1.0 GPA, and Centerville’s policy is the same as the new Dayton policy (2.0 GPA or 1.5 with study table intervention).

Financial update

The Dayton school board also changed its cash reserve policy so that DPS only has to keep 5% of a year’s expenses in reserve, rather than the 10% that had been the standard.

The board approved Treasurer Hiwot Abraha’s updated five-year financial forecast, which predicts the district will run out of money at the start of the 2023-24 school year.

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After operating a combined $65.3 million in the black in 2017-18 and 2018-19, to bring DPS’ cash balance to $114 million, the district finished $7 million in the red in 2019-20 after filling open positions and making salaries more competitive with surrounding districts.

DPS now projects to be in the red by $13.6 million this year, with revenue flat, then projects a huge jump in spending in 2021-22, putting the district more than $40 million in the red each of the next two years.

Other recent DPS news:

  • The board approved the resignation of Belmont High School Principal Donetrus Hill, and appointed Karen Spaulding-Chicketti as interim principal. Spaulding-Chicketti has served as an assistant principal at Belmont before.
  • David Harmon was hired for the district’s open chief of human resources position. Harmon was superintendent of the Benjamin Logan school district north of Springfield until earlier this year. He left that job via a severance agreement after a “deteriorating relationship” with the school board led to three written rebukes, according to the Bellefontaine Examiner.
  • The school board approved a new three-year contract with the paraprofessionals/aides union. The deal includes a 2% pay raise this school year.
  • The board approved a $236,000 purchase requisition to buy RTA bus passes for high school students, once the district returns to in-person classes.
  • The district approved a $150,000 purchase requisition to buy “multiple original pieces of Skyscraper artwork” for DPS buildings from the Bing Davis Art Studio And Gallery.

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