Contract with the Community
In October 2008, the Dayton Board of Education pledged to improve student achievement while holding down costs, two foundational elements of its Contract with the Community. The contract sets hard benchmarks that Dayton Public Schools must meet before considering a future levy request of district voters. It is the result of a six-month study of operations and instructional programs in collaboration with the Community Leadership Committee, comprised of Dayton’s business leaders. The contract also provides for an Accountability Panel of business and community leaders to oversee district progress in the areas studied and report progress regularly to the community at large.
Dayton Public Schools is committed to running an efficient and transparent operation and taking aggressive steps to achieve those ends. With the help and support of community leaders and the recommendations of the Evergreen study and the Council of the Great City Schools review, we will increase student achievement and reduce student failure; improve our environments to ensure greater safety, and discipline; and strengthen DPS operations to make business practices, human resources and facilities more efficient.
After 16 years with no local operating levy and more than $77 million in cuts since 2002, Dayton Public Schools will return to the ballot with a 4.9-mill levy this November. To make it affordable for residents and businesses, the levy is less than one-third the size of the May 2007 issue—a modest investment that will begin to create the kind of district we need to reshape this city’s future.
Modest but steady gains made by DPS students on state test scores over a period of several years were halted by last year’s levy defeat. The resulting cuts of $30 million reduced our staff significantly and hurt educational programs that were working. Those painful but necessary reductions were in areas that helped students succeed. The November levy will strengthen programs that promote student achievement and reduce student failure.
The district has developed a Contract with the Community as a condition of future support. With sharply reduced millage, even if there is reform in state education funding, DPS will have to show substantial progress before returning to the voters in three to four years.
Dayton’s future depends on the sustained progress of its public school system. The success of Dayton Public Schools and our region will require passage of our November operating levy and implementation of district initiatives, including the Evergreen study and the Council of the Great City Schools review. We will move the district forward, reducing non-educational expenditures and dedicating more resources, energy and creativity toward better educational processes and results by employing the following strategies.
After 16 years of no requests of the Dayton electorate for increased operational funds, Dayton Public Schools is asking for a 4.9-mill operating levy on the November ballot.
We have reviewed industry operation standards to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of DPS operations, which include food and nutrition services, warehousing services and transportation services. DPS will do the following:
With passage of the levy, Dayton Public Schools will agree to the following Contract with the Community.
1. DPS will increase state test scores annually, reach the midpoint of Ohio’s large urban districts and meet current “Continuous Improvement” standards by 2012, with 80 percent pass rates on achievement tests by 2015. The 2008 levy is the first step to reach these goals.
2. DPS will limit spending and cut expenses where possible, so that within three years, general fund per-pupil expenses will be at or below the midpoint of Ohio’s big eight urban districts. DPS will bring the instructional percentage of the budget above the median of the big eight districts. [These measures will be adjusted for transportation, health care and charter expenses.] In collaboration with an Accountability Panel (see below), Dayton Public Schools will sustain its aggressive cost containment program.
3. With appropriate input from the Community Leadership Committee (CLC), and other key constituents, the Dayton Board of Education will appoint an independent Accountability Panel of business, community and educational leaders, which will include the Mayor/designee. The Panel will meet quarterly, review progress, and report to the community on DPS performance on academic and financial results. The Board will appoint the Accountability Panel by December 31, 2008 and convene it by March 1, 2009.
4. The Superintendent, with participation by the Accountability Panel, will develop detailed indicators for the Panel on academic progress and cost control that can visually display progress and be widely understood by citizens. Dayton Public Schools will staff the Panel and provide reasonable data as needed. Dayton Public Schools will share the Panel’s reports widely through personal presentations in the community, at Dayton Board of Education meetings and on the Dayton Public Schools website.
- Redesign and reduce our organizational chart
- Use the district website for public access to district financial information
- Develop a strategic plan, with appropriate input to implement agreed upon recommendations of the CLC’s Evergreen Study of DPS operations
- Consolidate non-school facilities and review excess property
- Train all employees (especially front-line staff) in customer service protocols
- Create and maintain a safe school climate
- Pursue systematically neighborhood schools concept: in student assignment office, with city of Dayton (creating safe walking zones for students)
- Provide targeted, professional development to administrative leadership and academic staff
- Positive Behavioral Support (grant funded)
- Working on the Work (Schlecty Center, School Improvement Funds)
High Schools that Work (grant funded)
- Maintain effective and efficient programs through regular budget reviews
- Review classrooms and building staffing patterns quarterly
- Create achievement metrics for district and public dissemination
Dayton Public Schools provides a high-quality education in a safe environment that prepares our students for success in school, work and life by providing a highly effective trained staff working each day with community resources.