Dayton Business Technology High School, 348 W. First St., is a dropout recovery charter school sponsored by the Dayton Public School district. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

Dayton Tech charter school renewed for another year after closure threat

Dayton Business Technology High School will remain open for the 2018-19 school year, after the Dayton school board approved a new one-year sponsorship deal.

Dayton Tech is a dropout recovery charter school at 348 W. First St. downtown that has been sponsored by Dayton Public Schools for the past 12 years.

Months ago, DPS planned to non-renew the school’s sponsorship, citing academic and organizational issues, but the district gave Dayton Tech a chance to earn another year, and DPS Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli on Tuesday said the school did so.

“Their strategic plan was not fully developed, they had board policies that were not fully developed, and there were some financial things we had to have conversations about,” Lolli said. “All those things occurred, and we believe that we can support them for one more year. … They believe they’re ready to go and move forward, with our support and our help, so we’re willing to give them another opportunity.”

Dayton Tech board president Dan Bitler said the school made more progress in the past year than it had in five years.

“I think we’re in a position now where we can start growing,” Bitler said. “We have a marketing plan together to start improving our enrollment. We’re at 150 students, and we’re hoping to be much higher, maybe not next year, but the year after.”

As a dropout recovery school, Dayton Tech serves many students who are slightly older or have dealt with drugs, pregnancy and other problems. On its 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.

Bitler said policies, job descriptions and roles have been clarified, and the school is trying to hire a new principal to replace the departed Gregory Stone. Bitler expressed appreciation for the new one-year deal with DPS, but he said Dayton Tech needs to be prepared to find a new long-term sponsor in case DPS decides not to extend the pact.

“We’re in a much better position to get an external sponsor if it doesn’t work out,” he said. “DPS really worked with us and gave us an opportunity to prove ourselves.”

Lolli said DPS reviews the school monthly, with a larger annual review in the spring. She said DPS “looks forward to them growing and developing” based on improvements Dayton Tech has started.

Bitler said another long-term focus is improving relationships with Sinclair and career tech centers to provide better pathways for Dayton Tech grads to find high-quality jobs.

“We graduated our largest class ever, with 66 graduates,” he said. “We had a really successful year, and I think things are moving in the right direction.”