More concern in DPS after district reveals plan to 'right-size' the district

More concern in DPS after district reveals plan to 'right-size' the district (WKEF/WRGT)

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - There’s more concern in Dayton Public Schools after the district revealed it’s long-awaited plan to ‘right-size’ the district.

The proposal was first discussed in January, when at the time more than half a dozen schools were on the chopping block due to low involvement, inefficiency and repair costs. At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, acting superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli presented information from months of touring district buildings and meeting with the community.

Spread out over a three-year period, major points in the plan include closing and demolishing Valerie Elementary and moving those students to Meadowdale, while moving 100 Meadowdale students to other locations this fall. Additionally, all seventh and eighth grade students will move into either Wogaman, EJ Brown or Wright Brothers for the upcoming year. Rosa Parks will also move all kindergarten classes out, catering only to preschool.

However, many community members spoke directly to the board about their disappointment in the process.

"The information was so convoluted that it's hard for a lot of us to understand,” one resident said.

The board is expected to vote on the proposal next Tuesday, worrying families who are trying to make sense of it.

"We haven't had enough time to respond to what the recommendations are,” said Mark Donelson.

"We are processing that information and continuing to listen to our community,” board president Rev. William Harris Jr. told Fox 45’s Shavon Anderson.

Donelson questions whether the plan could backfire, further pushing out families.

"I'm concerned for my tenants because I'm a landlord in the city of Dayton,” he said. "They move to Kettering because they want their children to go to Kettering schools. I don't hear that same thing in Dayton."

The board told Fox 45 that this plan isn’t set in stone. If it does come up for a vote next week, they could delay based on what they hear over the next seven days.

"Any decision that you make you're going to always have two different sides, maybe three or four,” Harris said. “You just have to do the best you can.”

The extended proposal includes an intense student recruiting campaign for Dayton Boys Prep, starting fall 2018. Through 2020, there will be annual reviews district-wide, which could mean closures for another building in 2019. After reviewing the effectiveness of recruiting students into district, the board will then decide whether to close a high school in 2020, including Dunbar Thurgood, Belmont or Meadowdale.

The full plan is available on the district’s website.

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