DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Tuesday the Dayton teacher’s union is responding to the DPS Board of Education’s decision to furlough hundreds of staff and educators. The Dayton Education Association says its alarmed by the decision, adding it will negatively impact the quality of education offered and will cut down on services DPS families need. 

David Romick is the president of the Dayton Education Association. He says, “Everybody’s in a panic, morale is not good.” 

The Dayton Education Association represents music, art, physical education, and preschool teachers that DPS says it doesn’t need during online learning, along with school nurses & counselors. 

Romick is worried about how it will impact students’ physical and mental health. “Those kinds of people can really benefit our students and families. And those are the very people that are being laid off here.” 

In response to the concerns, DPS issued a statement that said in part quote: “employing people in a virtual setting in courses not conducive to high quality online learning is both educationally and financially questionable.” It continued: “with students at home, there is not enough work for nurses, bus drivers, school media specialists or counselors.” 

The staffers can be reinstated once in-person learning resumes, but that will be in at least nine weeks. Romick says they need jobs now, and not all of them may return. “We’re not going to be able to staff a district with holes in it in the middle of the school year. That’s not how this works.” 

Romick says other districts throughout the state have found a way to keep their learning conditions intact. “If we would have looked to other districts, they’re making this happen. They’re making this work for their kids, and we’re not doing the same for ours.” 

Read the full statement from DPS Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli:

The school year is beginning during a difficult time for everyone. With a commitment to better online learning, Dayton Public Schools developed a comprehensive virtual curriculum for students. Last spring taught us, that despite everyone’s best efforts, our students deserved a better online instructional model this year, to make as much progress as possible in core academic subjects.
The vast majority of our staff are now providing quality instruction and student services.
On the other hand, employing people in a virtual setting in courses not conducive to high quality online learning is both educationally and financially questionable. We therefore made temporary reductions in several areas. This is painful, made only a little less by the fact that the DPS-DEA Memorandum of Understanding provides affected individuals with health care paid at 100% by the Board of Education.
We made reductions because there are subjects where online instruction is simply less effective, like hands on classes in Music, Art and even PE. There, we are providing most content on video and twice weekly enrichment per grade level K-6 and with live classes for grades 7-8 in Art and Music; Health instead of PE has also been implemented in grades 7-12. This is more likely to succeed than hand on lessons when many students do not have special supplies, instruments, or equipment. Likewise, in Preschool parents have access to video lessons and books rather than attempting to engage preschoolers without essential materials like sand and water tables, dramatic play centers, books and more.
Furthermore, with students at home, there is not enough work for nurses, bus drivers, school media specialists or counselors. Dayton Children’s worked with us to ensure Student Resiliency Coordinators are available to help counsel children. The health center at Roosevelt Elementary is open for all DPS families. A counselor is still working in each building. Still, these areas all had reductions.
We do not take this lightly, are evaluating the situation carefully and regularly, and will resume in person instruction and bring temporarily furloughed people back as soon as health and safety permit.

DPS Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli