Today’s meeting of the Dayton Public Schools facilities task force will be open to the public, DPS Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said last week.
The task force’s goal is to make recommendations to the school board in April on how to position DPS for growth in enrollment and what to do with the district’s under-used buildings, with the possibility of some buildings being closed next fall.
The task force originally planned to have unannounced closed meetings, leading to a dispute Jan. 9 with the Dayton Daily News and WHIO-TV about public and media access. That Jan. 9 meeting was canceled just as it was about to begin.
“For the Dayton Public Schools, the task force is a really important addition to our study of what we need to do to right-size the school district,” Lolli said. “The opportunity to have the media report out the information to everyone will be important to us.”
The next meeting — at 10:30 a.m. today — and at least one other meeting to follow will be open to the public, but will not have a time for public comment. The task force plans to have at least two community meetings in March solely devoted to public input.
FIRST MEETING: Task force cancels meeting after dispute
The task force also plans to tour multiple DPS schools that could be at risk of closure, but Lolli said those events will be closed to the public because of the need to tour the schools during the school day.
Task force co-chair Mohamed Al-Hamdani, a new school board member, said the task force is an important opportunity for Dayton schools to reconnect with parts of the business community that have become detached from the school district.
Fellow co-chair Jeff Mims said while the question started with facilities, a key goal is to build a plan that brings more students back into Dayton Public Schools. According to Ohio Department of Education data, DPS loses 10,000 students who live within its boundaries – more than 900 students via open enrollment to other public school districts, 2,600 to private school vouchers and 6,700 to charter schools.
A school closing and reconfiguration plan could result in frustration that pushes more students out, or a better organized operation that draws students in, depending on the details. Lolli said collaboration will be a key.
“With the task force input, we believe that we can make a better decision, including that information with our parental and community stakeholder information, as well as our own data that we’ve collected,” she said.
Rhonda Corr update
Beverly Meyer, the attorney whose report was key to Superintendent Rhonda Corr being placed on paid leave, met with school board members and DPS attorney Jyllian Bradshaw in a closed executive session Tuesday night.
Bradshaw would not comment on whether the meeting was about Corr. Asked about the district disciplinary process for the exiled superintendent, Bradshaw said hearings were “in the process of being rescheduled,” the same answer she gave last month.
David Duwel, one of Corr’s attorneys, confirmed there had been no official change in her case.
At $150,000 per year, Corr has earned $23,653 in base salary for the 41 weekdays she has been on paid leave so far. Her contract also calls for the district to pay her retirement contribution as well as $1,500 per month for expenses.