Bi-Partisan Education Bill Could Be A Game Changer For Delaware DOE

On Saturday, Delaware State Representative Jeffrey Spiegelman wrote a letter to the editor in The State News.  He announced a new piece of potential legislation that would severely limit some of the shenanigans the Delaware Department of Education has done in recent years.  This bill would prevent the DOE from implementing any rule, regulation, or administrative procedure during a current school year unless approved by the local school board.  They would have to implement any regulations over the summer so the schools can budget accordingly, as well as implement the changes without any interruptions to students and staff in the middle of a school year.

This bill hasn’t even been released yet, but it should gain traction fast.  It seems like every time the DOE wants to make new rules, the local school districts are the ones that face the consequences.  For example, the Priority Schools weren’t even announced until September 4th last year, already into the new school year.  It came as a shock to Christina and Red Clay, and they were not happy about it.  Had this been done over the summer, it could have given the districts and the school boards more time to prepare and strategize before all the students came back.  It would also show the DOE they can’t do whatever they want whenever they want.  It’s easy to sit down in Dover and make all the rules, but the reality on the ground is vastly different.  I look forward to seeing what happens with this legislation!

Spiegelman is in his 2nd term as a Republican State Representative for the 11th District of Delaware.  When he isn’t doing the legislative thing, he is an adjunct professor at Wilmington University and Delaware Technical and Community College.  Other legislators are attached to this potential bill, but as of “press time” I have not received an okay to put their names on it.  The other co-sponsors on the bill are Senator Greg Lavelle and State Representative Earl Jacques who also serves as the head of the House Education Committee.

Vice President Biden Wants Body Cameras For Police, Why Can’t We Get Charter Boards To Record Their Meetings?

Vice President Joe Biden said he wants body cameras for police so they can record everything.  I don’t mind this idea at all.  It would avoid any questions that may arise during a confrontation, like Ferguson.  We need more transparency in another big area in Delaware as well: charter school board meetings!

Last year, State Rep Deb Hudson sponsored House Bill 23, and nothing came of it.  It sat there, waiting for Delaware Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf to release it and put it on the ready list.  The Speaker did nothing with it.  The bill would have to be written again and go through the whole process all over again, but it would be worth it.  I’m sure many parents from charter schools like Academy of Dover, Providence Creek, Moyer, Family Foundations Academy and Academia Antonia Alonso wish they knew what was said at different times in the past year.  This would be the best time for a legislator to introduce this type of legislation!

Which legislator would do it?  Will Hudson pick up the baton again or should it be handed off to someone else?  Someone with more influence on Schwartzkopf preferably.  I know Kilroy would have a parade if this passed!  Publius would have a heart attack!  About 6-7 public school districts do this already in the state, along with the Delaware State Board of Education.  Our children deserve more than board minutes that don’t give much information.  We want and need more!

Family Foundations Academy Still Has Some Big Unanswered Questions

Yay! The school has been saved by the graciousness of the Delaware Charter Schools Network!  We can all go back to our regular business.  Except for this one little item:

ONLINE CHECKBOOK DETAIL TRANSACTIONS

Department: FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY – Vendor: FOX ROTHSCHILD LLP
for
Period: FY 2015 Period 1 thru 6

No. of Payments: Amount:
5 $214,730.93
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 11/5/2014 $8,367.50 374930
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 9/24/2014 $155,000.00 362670
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 12/8/2014 $18,107.93 385007
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 11/5/2014 $13,255.50 374930
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 8/28/2014 $20,000.00 354800

Department: FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY – Vendor: FOX ROTHSCHILD LLP
for
Period: FY 2014

No. of Payments: Amount:
12 $140,000.00
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 5/2/2014 $10,000.00 321286
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 9/9/2013 $10,000.00 255886
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 4/8/2014 $20,000.00 313887
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 2/11/2014 $20,000.00 297503
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 1/9/2014 $10,000.00 288236
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 8/8/2013 $10,000.00 248818
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 6/19/2014 $10,000.00 337991
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 12/5/2013 $10,000.00 280331
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 10/15/2013 $10,000.00 265941
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 4/11/2014 $10,000.00 315273
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 11/14/2013 $10,000.00 274705
FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY LEGAL SERVICES 6/13/2014 $10,000.00 335458

We know this isn’t for Auphsite.  They already got paid:

Department: FAMILY FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY – Vendor: AUPHSITE HOLDING COMPANY
for
Period: FY 2015 Period 1 thru 6

No. of Payments: Amount:
22 $85,081.96

So how does a charter school of 800 students manage to accumulate $354,000 in attorney fees?  With one check alone being $155,000, this had to be something big.  Does this have anything to do with it?  From Avi Wolfman Arant’s Newsworks article last week:

The school’s lawyers recommended Family Foundations conceal that audit from the state, which did not become aware of the document until December.

Sorry, this school can pin everything on Moore and Brewington all they want, but there is something deeper at play here….