Dayton officials are seeking public comments on a plan to close or consolidate Dayton Public School-district facilities.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, members of the Dayton City Commission and DPS officials Thursday launched a new 16-member task force that will work to identify underutilized administration buildings and schools for potential shutdown after the current school year.
The task force plans to study the impact of closures and meet with Dayton residents before deciding which neighborhood schools to shutter. Acting DPS Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli says the goal is for more schools to operate closer to capacity.
“That makes it fiscally sound, if you’re about 70 percent," she says. "It’s really about making sure that we have the right enrollment numbers and making sure that we do what’s appropriate for the community.”
Michael Howard attended the early morning meeting. The single parent's 15-year-old son attends Meadowdale High School in West Dayton, one of the lowest-enrollment schools in the district.
Howard says he's concerned his high-performing Sophomore son may be forced to disrupt his studies and transfer to another school if Meadowdale ends up being closed.
"I go to the basketball games, I go to the football games. I support the school, and he likes the teachers. I understand the school system is under a lot of pressure, but I don't want to be caught at the last minute finding out the school is closed. Then, you have to go around and try to find another school that is college-prep. And I don't want him to lose that," he says.
"When you lose a school, you lose your neighborhood, you lose the togetherness. If you close Meadowdale, you lose that community, and I hate to see that go away."
Two public meetings that were originally scheduled for the week of January 8 have been canceled. Instead, the new task force plans to hold a series of community forums in March.
"Great cities require great schools. In order for us to provide the best possible future for Dayton's children, this task force is of the utmost importance," City Commissioner Jeff Mims said in a press release. "I am proud to be a part of the new partnership between the city and the schools."
Recommendations are due to the Board of Education by April, and could take effect next fall.
For information on how to submit your ideas for dealing with under-enrolled schools and other district buildings, go to the DPS website, or email: email@example.com.
The School Facility Task Force committee members are: Jeff Mims, Dayton City Commissioner co-chairMohamed Al-Hamdani, Board Member co-chairElizabeth Lolli, interim Dayton Public School SuperintendentBryan Bucklew, Greater Dayton Area Hospital AssociationRon Budzik, Dayton Business CommitteeBing Davis, Artist and Community ActivistShelley Dickstein, Dayton City ManagerDeborah Feldman, Dayton Children's HospitalBill Harris, Dayton Public School BoardTim Kambitsch, Dayton Metro LibraryTom Kelley, Montgomery CountyTom Lasley, Learn to Earn DaytonBrandon Policicchio, Dayton RTADavid Romick, Dayton Education AssociationRichard Stock, University of Dayton Robert Walker, Dayton Public School Board