You may have guessed this given its recent spending spree, but now we have some proof that Dayton City Schools is rolling in the dough. The extra cash, it seems, is the result of leaving 150 or so positions unfilled—most of them teachers, their work covered by long-term subs. What’s next for the district? You guessed it – more spending! On intervention specialists. (Dayton Daily News, 5/31/18) Also rolling in the dough, apparently, is Akron City Schools. While the main reason for the windfall is favorable changes to the district’s insurance program, that fact merits only a tiny side note in this story, which is about how Akron City Schools is heroically draining away students from those dastardly charter schools. Probably. I add the caveat because the data included here are nearly incomprehensible and do not lead me to the same conclusion the journalist makes. But that has often been the case for me with ABJ charter school stories going way back. (Akron Beacon Journal, 5/30/18)
Dedicated Gadfly Bites subscribers may recall the sad saga of META Solutions, an educational support organization once described as a “shadow government” by the intrepid reporters at TheMarion Star. It is still around and still in business using taxpayer dollars, despite some potential accounting and legal issues still to be worked out, but they’ve had to cut costs and personnel to do so. Oddly enough, a discussion of insurance factors in here too. Even after all this time—and all the electronic ink spilled by the Star—I honestly can’t tell you what school districts pay META Solutions to do. It’s something about supporting school districts in their use of technology, but that’s as far as I can tell. I wonder if the districts know? (Marion Star, 5/25/18)
The Elmwood school district in far northwest Ohio has a problem. Despite having a robust-sounding pre-K program, officials there have noticed what they call “a trend”: more 5-year-olds than ever are just not developmentally ready for the rigors of Kindergarten. Rather than incurring a crap ton of intervention time for those students, and rather than “setting them up for failure” in Kindergarten, Elmwood has created an intermediate step between pre-K and K. It is called “begindergarten”. I don’t know if it’s because of that revolting name or because parents smell some sort of rat, but for some reason registration for the class is lagging. This despite the fact that officials are selling it hard and despite the fact that their Kindergarten class appears to be oversubscribed by quite a ways. (Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune, 5/31/18)
Finally this week: a tempest in a tempera paint pot. St. Mary Central Catholic School in Sandusky tried to tamper with tradition when it suggested earlier this year that it would renovate the high school art room to create more classroom space. The process would have destroyed a wall on which seniors had painted farewell artwork for many years. The social media outrage was white hot, as you might imagine. (Sandusky Register, 5/31/18) Editors at the Register—with nothing much else to do, one supposes—weighed in on the topic as well. (Sandusky Register, 6/1/18) Not sure whether it was the editorial board’s “dead kid” argument or the no doubt devastating Facebook meme storm that swayed them, but the school’s leadership has decided to put off the renovations for another year. Ars longa, vita brevis, amiright?
Jeff Murrayis the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,