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

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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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Family of boy who drowned in Dayton pool hires civil rights attorney Ben Crump

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 11:03 AM
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 6:06 PM

The family of a 6-year-old boy who died after drowning in a Dayton city-owned swimming pool wants answers about how long the boy was under water and why lifeguards were allegedly not watching the boy more closely.

UPDATE @ 5:53 p.m. (July 17): Niguel Hamilton’s family has retained the services of civil right attorney Ben Crump.

Crump, who has represented the family of Trayvon Martin and taken on other high profile cases, was retained by the Hamilton family to “pursue justice,” according to a statement issued Tuesday. 

“They don't understand how you have three certified swimming instructors and only four children in the pool, and yet you lose one of them,” Crump said of the family. “They're heartbroken, and they just are searching for answers.”

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The Hamilton family was paying for swimming lessons a Lohrey Recreation Center to prevent exactly this kind of tragedy, Crump said. 

READ: 2 pulled to safety from the Mad River at Eastwood MetroPark

The attorney was in town Tuesday and he said he’s helping the Hamilton family plan Niguel’s home-going celebrations this weekend. He said he also plans to push the city for an explanation of how the boy could have died. 

“The family has gotten no answers at this point,” Crump said. 

Niguel’s parents released a statement for the first time Tuesday: “No parent should ever have to endure such a preventable loss, and we want to make sure no other parents suffer a loss like this."

Crump added: "He had his whole life ahead of him. He never ever, ever, ever should have been taken this soon."

Services for Niguel are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Timothy Missionary Baptist Church in Dayton.

SEE ALSO: Boa constrictor skin found in Springfield, snake may be on loose

INITIAL REPORT

The 6-year-old pulled from a Dayton pool last week has died, according to the coroner’s office.

Niguel Hamilton died at the hospital Sunday night, officials said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Boy pulled from bottom of Dayton pool ‘brain dead,’ grandfather says

Hamilton was pulled from the indoor pool at Lohrey Recreation Center in Dayton on July 12.

The city released a statement Friday afternoon: “A thorough investigation is underway. Out of respect for the family involved, we will not be making additional comments at this time.”

A Dayton Police Department detective also has been assigned to the case.

Niguel Hamilton was one of about four children in the indoor pool for swim lessons at the center, the boy’s grandfather, Willie Hamilton said. 

“He’s happy, full of life, loving, smart,” his grandfather said Friday. “Niguel is a good kid. He is a loving kid. Everybody who meets Niguel loves him.”

The last thing Hamilton remembers of Niguel’s swim lesson is that he saw him with his class in the deep end, and that Niguel, who is 6 but small for his age, had just gone off the diving board with his instructor’s assistance.

Shortly after that, a lifeguard said they didn’t see Niguel in the water and asked if he had seen him, whether he had gone to the restroom.

“I got up, went to the bathroom and looked around and couldn’t find him,” Hamilton said.

The lifeguards then got everyone out of the pool and searched again, in vain.

Hamilton said he went outside to check for him, but when he returned he learned they found him at the bottom of the pool.

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Miamisburg to restrict cell towers for 5G mobile technology

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 3:52 PM
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 6:46 PM


            Miamisburg is one of several area communities considering design standards to regulate the location and size of small cell antennas and facilities for the latest wireless technology system, 5G. FILE
Miamisburg is one of several area communities considering design standards to regulate the location and size of small cell antennas and facilities for the latest wireless technology system, 5G. FILE

Restrictions on small cell phone towers have been approved by Miamisburg City Council.

Limits on locations on heights for the towers are among the guidelines approved in the 5-0 vote.

The restrictions go into effect immediately, city officials said.

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Legislation regulating the 5G mobile technology facilities is an issue several area communities – Centerville, Kettering and Springboro, among them – are addressing as Ohio law allowing municipalities limited authority over their placement takes effect Aug. 1.

RELATED: Centerville taking steps to prepare for latest generation of wireless technology

Miamisburg is “creating design and siting standards” for “small cell facilities and wireless support structures,” according to the legislation. The 20-plus page document covers issues ranging from applicability, procedures, standards, locations and right of way issues.

“Unfortunately, there will likely still be small cell facilities installed in areas that are not preferable from an aesthetic perspective,” according to a memo from Miamisburg Planner Ryan Homsi. “This ordinance is meant to prevent this from happening with the tools provided to municipalities by (state law) while still allowing this new technology to be added to the community.”

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Boa constrictor skin found in Springfield, snake may be on loose

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 12:05 PM
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 12:05 PM

Springfield boa constrictor

Clark County officials are warning residents to be on the lookout for a possible boa constrictor after shed skin of the snake was found in Springfield last week.

WATCH: Crews reunite a girl with her kittens after a house fire

On Friday, officials said the skin was found in the area of Home Road and Wildwood Drive.

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Snake skin found in Clark County

“Subsequent communications with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Reptilian experts indicate there is no direct danger to humans or large pets,” the Clark County Combined Health District said in a prepared statement.

LOCAL: 1 hurt in fire from ruptured gas line near new home construction in Springfield

Residents in the area are asked to pay extra attention to small pets and to be on the look out for the large snake. If spotted you are asked to call 937-390-5600 to report the exact location of the sighting.

Constrictor snakes are non-venomous, but can inflict harm, including a bite, the health department said.

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More comfortable weather on the way, weekend showers expected

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 3:19 AM
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 6:40 PM

Storms return by the weekend.

>> LISTEN: Cloudy with a Chance of Podcast: A podcast for weather fans 

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Lower humidity through midweek
  • Temperatures rise for the end of the week
  • Unsettled weather pattern for the weekend

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>> 5-Day Forecast

DETAILED FORECAST

This evening: A quiet evening with clear skies and a light breeze. Temperatures slowly dropping through the 80s with lower humidity.

Overnight: A comfortable night in the forecast with clear skies and temperatures dropping to around 60 degrees by morning.

>> LIVE Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar

Wednesday: Lots of sunshine is expected with the humidity remaining low. It will be pleasantly warm with highs in the lower 80s.

Thursday: A warmer day is expected with some high clouds around mixed with sunshine. Highs will rebound into the middle 80s.

>> County-by-County Weather 

Friday: Clouds will be on the increase through the day with a chance for showers and storms developing by late afternoon. Highs will be in the middle 80s with humidity on the rise.

Saturday: Numerous showers and storms are expected, especially during the afternoon and early evening. One or two stronger storms will be possible. Highs will be in the lower 80s.

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Sunday: A mix of clouds and sunshine will wrap up the weekend with a continued chance for a few showers or storms. Highs will hold in the lower 80s.

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