DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Dayton Public School Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to accept the teacher contract.
Tuesday signaled the end of summer for thousands of kids around the Miami Valley. First day bells rang across Dayton Public Schools as students and teachers geared up for a new school year.
DPS faced a number of issues before back-to-school, but district leaders and parents said they were optimistic Tuesday that the new year would go smoothly.
Bus drivers were up before the sun prepping a new fleet of vehicles. The district added additional drivers, more than 100 upgraded buses and rolled out a new staggered start schedule in order to maximize resources and resolve transportation delays.
“Now we can ensure students don’t have to sit on a bus for 90 minutes any more,” Superintendent Rhonda Corr said of the upgrades. “They will arrive in a more timely fashion and be picked up in a more timely fashion. The new buses are obviously going to be safer and cleaner and look nicer.”
Superintendent Corr boarded one of the buses for its inaugural trip.
She and other district leaders spent much of the summer in contentious contract negotiations and narrowly avoided a teacher strike.
After agreeing on teacher contracts, the Dayton Education Association representing district teachers and staff agreed almost unanimously with a ‘vote of no confidence’ in Corr and the DPS School Board. Despite the teachers’ apparent lack of trust in district leadership, Corr said she’s confident the new school year will bring about closure on the tumultuous relationship.
“I’m not even thinking about that. We’re moving forward,” Corr said. “Teachers are back in the classroom. (We’ve agreed upon a) very fair contract, fiscally responsible contract. Everyone’s back and I’m not looking back. We’re moving forward.”
At Eastmont Elementary School Tuesday, students eagerly skipped to class, blissfully unaware of the stress and disagreements brewing a week earlier.
Second grade student Layne Melton said he was especially excited for his new teacher.
“She’s nice,” he said. “I like my teacher.”
Eastmont parents said they were relieved to see the teachers and full time staff in their children’s classrooms, instead of on the picket line.
“I’m very excited for all of the students int he Dayton Public Schools,” said Eastmont parent Shaun Bruhn. “They deserve the education and I’m glad the teachers pushed stuff to the side and really thought about the kids’ education.”