District Spends $6M on Scoreboard After Hiring Fewer Teachers, Bus Drivers

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A special Dayton (Ohio) Public Schools board meeting this week saw members vote 6-1 to pay for a $6 million scoreboard as part of the district's football stadium renovations with money transferred from a fund used to pay teachers and bus drivers.

As reported by the Dayton Daily News, the funds directed toward the scoreboard weren’t spent this school year because DPS didn’t hire as many teachers and bus drivers as the district had planned, according to discussion at Monday's meeting.

Total cost for work at Welcome Stadium exceeds $30 million.

“But we never spelled out how we were paying for the $32 million,” school board member Joe Lacey said during the meeting.

DPS business manager David Lawrence said there had been some confusion about a final estimate prepared by the former stadium project manager, Skanska, and where all the money for it came from, Elieen McClory of the Daily News reported.

Treasurer Hiwot Abraha said in March the district planned to use existing money to pay for the stadium: $12.8 million came from a previous settlement with the Ohio Department of Education over inadequate state funding; $9.25 million came from federal COVID-19 funding that DPS said will be used to improve air quality and social distancing at the stadium; and $6 million, approved in February, came from the district’s capital improvement fund.

Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said Monday’s action was based on money that wasn’t already used. She said the stadium project is still on schedule and on budget. “This action will not impact next year’s budget because funds that were not spent this year will be used for the transfer,” Lolli said.

Board member Gabriella Pickett, the lone "no" vote, asked why the district had not yet done much fundraising for the project. Officials estimated roughly $10 million would need to be fundraised for an additional field and a field house. Lolli and Lawrence said the district is working on a plan for fundraising, according to the Daily News.

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