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Dayton Schools' Budget Improves, Local Program Being Explored in Frankfort

The Dayton Board of Education adopted its working budget last week.
The $8.8 million budget includes a $1.312 million carryover from last year, as well as a contingency fund of more than $972,000. That contingency fund is 11 percent of the budget, up from 2.8 percent when Superintendent Jay Brewer took over as head of the district. The positive budget news follows last week's revelation that the district has improved its academic standing and is now rated as "proficient".
Enrollment is up over last year with 889 students attending Dayton Independent Schools. The attendance for the district so far is 97 percent, and Rick Wolf, Director of Teaching and Learning, said that the numbers showed that kids were learning how to show up every day, a very important lesson in life.
Heather Dragan, principal of Lincoln Elementary, said that all of her students had completed their MAP testing, and that a program developed in the elementary school called Core Life Work is being looked at as a pilot program for the state. The program has weekly themes, such as setting goals and good manners, and students work on those themes. The students also deliver the morning announcements to the school. On Friday, Brewer went to Frankfort with the creators of the program to explain how it works and to show the merits of the program.
Dragan also told the board about a program that she developed where each classroom adopts a retired teacher.
Ryan Kellinghaus, principal at Dayton High School, explained that the special education programs have made great strides, going from 41.2 percent failure to 31.25 percent, to 23 percent this summer.    
Kellinghaus said that the goal is to cut the percentage another 10 percent. He also said that because one more student qualified on testing, the senior class now has 33.3 percent of its students rated as college-ready, which is up from 31.6 percent.
The high school improvement project has been put out to bid again and the new bids will be opened October 11. The previous bids were too high.
Students from around the district were honored as students of the month at the beginning of the meeting.  Also, Beth Fields-Hunt was named employee of the month while the artist of the month was Mallory Kubala, and the athlete of the month was Trevor Simpson. Photos are below.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
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