Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley Focuses On Education In First State Of The City

Feb 12, 2014

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley gives her first State of the City.
Credit Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley kept her focus on jobs and education at her first State of the City speech Tuesday.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles coming to the U.S., Mayor Whaley started by channeling the Fab Four to sum up the state of the city.

“I could try to convince you that everything in Dayton is 'ob-la-di, ob-la-da' if we could just ‘let it be,’” she said. “But my commission colleagues would probably tell me—you can’t do that.”

But Whaley quickly got serious, talking job growth and partnerships with local CEOs and committing to continue to work with the city’s largest employers to retain jobs. Echoing her inaugural speech, she called out education as the “one overriding issue that impacts all our economic development strategies.”

The last report card from the state gave Dayton Public Schools dismal ratings on test scores, graduation rates, and year-over-year improvements.

“The kids who attend low-performing schools are being cheated. Cheated out of their futures,” Whaley said.

The mayor has formed a committee of 50 educators and leaders to hold public meetings on education and advise the city commission, a move she hopes will help unite Dayton-area leaders to improve the schools from all angles, including charter and private schooling.

Whaley also discussed the city's income tax renewal coming up on the May 6 primary ballot. The 1/2 percent income tax goes to support infrastructure and operating costs for the city.