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Ahead of State Testing, Dayton Schools Leader Says District Takeover Law Should Be Abolished

April Laissle
Board member Jocelyn Rhynard address the crowd at a town hall meeting at Thurgood Marshall High School on Thursday, March 21.

Dayton Public Schools parents came to voice their concerns about the district at a town hall meeting Thursday night. The meeting, held about a month before the start of state standardized testing, comes at a critical time for DPS. The struggling district is facing state takeover in September if student test scores don’t improve this year. 

At the meeting, parents and community members discussed a number of longstanding DPS issues, including transportation and the use of long-term substitute teachers.

They also brainstormed ways the district could improve.  Nathan Shields, a teacher at Thurgood Marshall High School, suggested beefing up test preparation.

“OST (Ohio State Tests) preparation bootcamps could be held during breaks," said Shields. "Inviting students to get additional support and instruction as we gear up for testing season."

Board member Jocelyn Rhynard has been thinking about testing season a lot lately. The district has earned failing grades on state tests for the last two years. This year’s results will determine whether the district is taken over by a state Academic Distress Commission in the fall. Rhynard says she’s been talking to state lawmakers about eliminating the takeover system.

"The state takeover law doesn't work it hasn't worked in Youngstown or Lorain or East Cleveland," said Rhynard. "They don't want to have a system in place that hasn't worked in the past. And there is real consensus to change things. The question is what will the change be what will it look like."

This month, state lawmakers announced two bipartisan bills related to state Academic Distress Commissions. One, introduced by Democratic Rep. Kent Smith and Republican Rep. Steve Hambley, would put a moratorium on further state takeovers. Another, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Joe Miller and Republican Rep. Don Jones,  would abolish the system all together. Both bills have yet to move out of committee.