The Delaware Charter School Transportation Bonus, Allowed By Many Legislators!!!

I know Kilroy has touched on this quite a few times, along with other bloggers, but why in the hell are charters allowed to keep money that public school districts can’t?  Is this their way of compensating for “lack of funds” they cry about all the time?  Cause they sure are getting a lot of left-over cash as you can see by the below documents!

John Kowalko has forwarded this to MANY folks via email, and I didn’t realize the full scope of it.

Despite Speaker Schwartzkopf’ s false and exaggerated claim to the contrary I am willing and able to explore facts and reach legitimate compromises despite his unjustified and false accusations to the contrary. Here is  a prime example where I attempted to compromise on an issue before the Education committee and the Joint Finance committee and that attempt was rebuffed with ultimately harmful consequences to the taxpayers’ money and trust in the General assembly.

    Over the past five-six  years epilogue language in the budget has been created and passed that contravenes existing code directing that transportation allotments to public schools and charter schools provided by the taxpayers and not used for transportation purposes must be returned to the general fund. This has enabled Charters to use this money for any purpose with no accountability to taxpayers or the general assembly. After numerous futile attempts to have language in the epilogue that continually contradicts and violates existing law be forbidden I was faced with the reality that the attitude of leadership was to not tamper with the epilogue process. I agreed to delay my efforts to reform the epilogue system and allow supporters of unfettered and unaccountable access to the excess school transportation funding to bring legislation that would repeal existing code although I stated that I would oppose such an irresponsible action. I was able to muster opposition to proposed legislation that would have repealed the existing code mandating accountability of transportation funding and returning of any funds not used specifically for transportation and the sponsor withdrew the legislation knowing it did not have support. Contrary to the Speaker’s contention that I refuse to compromise, I did not propose legislation that would impede the often necessary use of epilogue language in the end of session budget dialogue. I did, however, make it perfectly clear that if this practice of continually rewriting and contravening existing code were to persist I would be forced to propose legislation to reform this abuse.

     Please note in the attached information that Family Foundations, the school whose leaders have been accused of misuse of funds, received in excess of $707,000 in transportation money and kept more than half of that money- almost $400,000- for ‘other’ uses.

    Over the last four years I have strenuously and vocally objected (always agreeing to attempts at compromise) to this use of epilogue language  that has been specifically added to the budget in spite of the fact that it directly contravenes existing code. This ensures that this use of this money is not accountable to the taxpayers and the General Assembly and violates the principle of specific purpose allotments of taxpayer money. This is akin to a blank check being issued to charter school management and you only need to look at the “Family Foundation” numbers attached to draw your own conclusions. Throughout Representative Schwartzkopf’s tenure as  majority leader and speaker he has turned a blind eye and deaf ear to my documented attempts to rectify this betrayal of the public trust and I find it very appropriate under current circumstances to point out how situations such as the Family Foundations scandal are able to develop and continue.

    Please review all of the documents attached and if you feel the need for clarification, I have kept the records of these dialogues and proposals and will engage in any conversation on the subject.

    Sometimes compromise is a necessary and even good thing. I compromised last year on both of the bills I had been working on . However, sometimes compromise is not. When one party is simply wrong, compromise is wrong also. It does not benefit the people we represent.

 Representative John A. Kowalko Jr.

DFER: Without Annual Testing, How Can We Compare States?

It all comes back to hedge funds…

Diane Ravitch's blog

According to Politico.com, Senator Lamar Alexander is considering eliminating the federal mandate for annual testing in grades 3-8. Charles Barone of the hedge fund managers’ “Democrats for Education Reform” is alarmed by this proposal, claiming it is an “equity” issue that would make it impossible to compare states.

Why the need to compare test scores is an equity issue is unexplained. Apparently Barone–who used to work for Congressman George Miller, senior Democrat on the House Education Committee–is unfamiliar with NAEP. That is the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which has been testing American students since 1969. It has been comparing states since 1992 and disaggregating scores by race, gender, language, and disability status. I hope proponents of annual testing will soon explain how comparing states creates equity. We know that Mississippi has lower scores than Massachusetts, whether we test annually or every three years. The gap is not changed…

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Another Delaware Charter School Head Of School Suspended Indefinitely

I’m waiting on confirmation on this, but I am hearing from multiple sources that yet another Head of School at a more recent Delaware charter school has been suspended indefinitely by their board.  While I won’t name the school or the chief yet, I can say this is yet another example of why all charters in Delaware need to be scrutinized and audited immediately.

I can say this is not a charter that has been in the news too much lately, so it is not Family Foundations Academy, Gateway, Reach, Moyer, Providence Creek, Newark Charter School, Charter School of Wilmington or Sussex Tech.

Delaware DOE, your charter schools are falling apart.  What the hell is going on?  Do you even review these schools?  And what the hell is the purpose of the Delaware Charter Schools Network and Kendall Massett?  They prop up charter schools but when they go south, they do nothing.  Delaware legislators, you need to pass some immediate legislation to stop the insane antics of these charter school administrators.  It has gone beyond the point of crazy and is affecting the entire state.

Has Family Foundations Academy Become Eastside Charter 2? Sure Looks Like It!

Read this, and then read below for more!

I can’t wait to see the votes on this.  There would have to be a quorum of the board for each vote.  I hope the board minutes accurately reflect which of the previous board members were present, who voted on what, with all the yeas and nays, and how exactly four board members from another charter school essentially took over the school.  It looks like the last two members of the previous FFA board will resign as soon as replacements are found.

I’m sure Governor Markell will have no problem with this cause he loves Eastside Charter and their standardized test scores.  It sounds like some backroom deals were made for this to happen.  I wonder who initiated all of this.  Will Mark Murphy and the State Board base their decision for FFA’s charter renewal on the past or the future?

Updated, 9:20am: I just found this on the FFA website-