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Dayton superintendent put on leave; board leader says ‘nothing to do with students’

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 12:36 AM
Updated: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 2:04 PM

DPS Superintendent Rhonda Corr placed on leave

Dayton school board member Joe Lacey said Wednesday that allegations of racial discrimination mentioned by the board Tuesday night are not the main reason Superintendent Rhonda Corr was put on leave. 

In fact, Lacey said attorney Beverly Meyer’s report clears Associate Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli of those charges, and clears Corr of nearly all of them, while acknowledging that some of Corr’s behavior may have been “unprofessional.” 

MORE: The tumultuous tenure of Rhonda Corr

But Lacey said there are separate allegations against Corr only, not related to the racial discrimination issue, that are the reason Corr has been put on leave. He declined to comment on the nature of those separate allegations.

Corr has not responded to requests for comment.

DPS superintendent on leave

Lolli echoed Lacey’s statement that allegations of harassment or discrimination against her were unfounded.  

“Never in 40 years have the words discrimination and or harassment been associated with my name and reputation,” Lolli said. “They won't be in the next 40 years either because they do not describe who I am or what I stand for.”

MORE: Who is acting Dayton superintendent Elizabeth Lolli?

EARLIER: Dayton school board members late Tuesday night placed Superintendent Rhonda Corr on administrative leave and promoted Elizabeth Lolli, associate superintendent, to acting superintendent.

School board President Robert Walker was very limited in his comments Wednesday morning. 

MORE: What Dayton school board said about superintendent in evaluation

Asked why Corr was put on leave and Lolli promoted if both were named in allegations of discrimination and harassment, Walker said he “cannot get into those questions.” 

He said the pre-disciplinary hearing notice against Corr, which is supposed to detail the reasons for her potential discipline, is still “in process.” 

But Walker did clarify one issue, in light of recent accusations against other educators. 

“I can say emphatically that it has nothing to do with students,” Walker said. “As a matter of fact, her relationship with young people as she went through the schools and engaged with them was really healthy and positive.”

RELATED: Harris fills Baguirov’s seat on Dayton school board

According to a DPS online video stream of the meeting, the school board approved four resolutions when they came out of closed executive session:

  • Approving a Nov. 21 report and recommendation of compliance officer Beverly Meyer concerning allegations of racial harassment and discrimination alleged against Corr and Lolli.
  • Relieving Corr of her duties as superintendent and placing her on paid administrative leave effective immediately.
  • Agreeing to issue a pre-disciplinary hearing notice to Corr, detailing the reasons for potential discipline.
  • Naming Lolli as acting superintendent, effective immediately, at the salary level set forth in Corr's current contract, but retaining the benefits set forth in Lolli's current contract.

On all four resolutions, the vote was 6-0. Board member Hazel Rountree was absent.

Corr could not immediately be reached by phone for comment.

Three newly elected Dayton school board members whose terms have not yet started participated in a portion of an executive session last night before the vote on Corr. 

Corr was placed on leave by the school board just before midnight Tuesday after a long executive session.

Jocelyn Rhynard, one of the new members who will not take office until January, said she does not yet have detailed information about the existing board’s decision to place Corr on leave. 

“I have not had any discussions with anybody (since last night’s votes),” Rhynard said. “I look forward to doing that, and when it is appropriate for me to become privy to information, I’m sure that I will be part of that conversation.” 

Rhynard, Mohamed Al-Hamdani and Karen Wick-Gagnet – who were elected to the school board Nov. 7 – were in the audience at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. 

Rhynard said those three were invited into a portion of the closed executive session near the end of Tuesday’s meeting “to discuss some matters that we needed to be brought up to speed on.” 

RELATED: Waynesville school issue passed by 7 votes, recount ahead

She said she could not comment on what matters were discussed in the closed session, and added that she, Wick-Gagnet and Al-Hamdani were gone from the meeting when the board emerged from executive session around 11:30 p.m. 

The fourth person who was elected Nov. 7, William Harris, was actually appointed to the board at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting to fill the last six weeks of Adil Baguirov’s term. So Harris did participate in both the executive session discussions about Corr’s status, as well as the votes to place her on leave and name Lolli acting superintendent. 

“This is certainly a surprise. There have been a lot of dramatic upheavals in the last year and a half, which is one of the reasons I decided to run,” Rhynard said. “I look forward to finding out more information. And I look forward to being part of a board that will bring stability to the district. There are lots of changes that I would like to make and I look forward to being a part of that process.”

Reached early Wednesday, school board member John McManus declined to say much.

"We have been advised by (legal) counsel that we are not permitted to comment on a pending matter," he said.

Corr was hired by DPS in June 2016 to her first full superintendent post after 25 years in Cleveland schools, then brief stints as a high administrator in the Chicago and Indianapolis school districts since 2013.

After Corr was hired, the district had some highlights — escaping the threat of state takeover, solving some long-running busing problems and improving textbooks, computer access and career tech options.

But during that same period, Dayton Public Schools were also put on OHSAA probation for trying to rig a football game, had a long, painful contract fight with teachers that nearly led to a strike and on the most recent state report card, ranked second to last in Ohio on state test scores.

After the teachers' contract fight was resolved, the teachers union issued a vote of no confidence in both Corr and the school board.

At Tuesday night's meeting, the "yes" votes to put Corr on leave came from four members who will remain on the school board next year -- Walker, Sheila Taylor, John McManus and Harris -- plus the outgoing Ron Lee and Joe Lacey.

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Winter Weather Advisory issued for tonight; possible morning slick spots from overnight freezing rain

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 3:57 AM

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


  • Winter Weather Advisory for ALL from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 8 p.m. Wednesday
  • Rain and freezing rain possible Tuesday morning
  • Snow accumulates Tuesday night to Wednesday

>> 5-Day Forecast


TUESDAY: Some snow showers have made their way up from the south with temperatures being at or below freezing for the morning, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. Rain and freezing rain will mix for the next couple of hours with main roads staying above freezing after a mild and sunny day, but a light ice accumulation could develop on elevated surfaces, bridges, and overpasses before and around sunrise. Drivers should take their time if they are out before the sun comes up. Temperatures improve by climbing to the low 40s after sunrise with some dry time expected in the middle of the day. Moisture brings rain showers back towards late afternoon with cold air transitioning everyone to snow for evening hours between 7 and 9 p.m. Expect snow to accumulate through the night. Winds will gust around 30 mph this afternoon and tonight, so drivers should watch for slick roads and poor visibility as a result. 

>> Don’t deflate tires to drive on ice, snow

WEDNESDAY: A messy morning commute is expected with temperatures in the 20s and snow still falling. Winds will still gust around 30 mph, so blowing, drifting, and poor visibility are possible. Snow will taper off into the afternoon as moisture shifts east, but overall most of the Miami Valley will end up with around 2 to 4 inches of snow with some areas seeing closer to 5 inches. It’ll be breezy for the rest of the day with mostly cloudy skies and highs in the mid-30s. Chilly temperatures overnight drop to the low 20s. 

>> Remember these things when driving in snow

THURSDAY: Refreeze or lingering snowy roads are possible early since temperatures will be in the low 20s. However, they’ll be big improvements through the day as sunshine returns and temperatures peak in the low 40s. Expect it to be dry throughout the entire day. 

FRIDAY: A sunny start with clouds increasing through the day. Highs will peak in the mid-40s as passing showers develop overnight. 

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

SATURDAY: Morning temperatures starting in the upper 20s could mean a brief wintry mix. Rain showers through the afternoon may end as wet snow. Highs reach in the low 40s. 

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Winter storm: Freezing rain, sleet and snow taking aim at region

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 7:34 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 4:18 AM

Spring may be about to arrive, but winter will not give up without a fight. A Winter Weather Advisory will go into effect for all of the Miami Valley at 8pm Tuesday and continue through much of Wednesday. A wintry mix Tuesday will change to snow by evening and increase in coverage and intensity Tuesday night. Snowfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches will be likely, with isolated higher amounts.

Spring will officially arrive at 12:15 p.m. today, but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature. A winter storm is taking aim on the Miami Valley and will bring a mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow to the region starting this morning.

RELATED: Winter Weather Advisory in effect 

Precipitation is expected to develop early today across the far southern Miami Valley and spread northward toward I-70 by daybreak. Much of the precipitation will fall as rain, but as temperatures drop toward daybreak, a band of freezing rain is possible.

RELATED: Remember these things when driving in snow

The morning commute may not be too bad, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said. 

"The last few days of mild temperatures has helped push road surface temperatures well above freezing. That means that main roads should just be wet early Tuesday," he said. "However, elevated surfaces like cars, bridges and decks could become slippery."

SEE: WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

But the wintry weather won't be over yet. 

A Winter Weather Advisory will go into effect as of 8 p.m. tonight and continue until 8 p.m. Wednesday. A break in the precipitation is expected midday today before returning in the evening. As temperatures drop after sunset, snow will become the primary form of precipitation and it will increase in coverage and intensity tonight, Elwell said.

"Snowfall amounts will generally range from 2 to 4 inches by mid-morning Wednesday," Elwell said. "But isolated higher amounts are possible.

RELATED: Don’t deflate tires to drive on ice, snow

This is something we'll have to watch closely as new model data comes in." 

Motorists should prepare for a slow morning commute Wednesday with improving conditions in the afternoon, he said.

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Nearly 1,200 without power in Preble County

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 5:00 AM

Nearly 1,200 DP&L customers are without power in Preble County.

According to the DP&L website, power is expected to be restored by 6 a.m. The outage was reported around 4:35 a.m.

>> Winter Weather Advisory issued for tonight; possible morning slick spots from overnight freezing rain

It’s unknown what led to the outage.

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Smoke, flames from Fairfield apartment building prompts crews to respond 

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 2:06 AM

Crews responded to the 1400 block of Sherwood Drive on fire reportedly coming from the third floor of an apartment building Tuesday morning, according to Fairfield police.

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Cause of Xenia house fire on Glen Kegley Drive under investigation

Initial reports indicate smoke and flames were showing around 12:25 a.m., prompting crews to evacuate the building.

We will continue to update this story as additional details become available. 

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