Your “Yes” Vote At The Christina Referendum Tomorrow Is A “Yes” Vote For Students

The Christina School District is having their 2nd referendum vote of the year tomorrow.  It is absolutely important you vote, and you vote yes.  I will make one thing abundantly clear, I don’t live anywhere close to the Christina School District.  So why would I support a referendum that won’t impact my family?

Two words: Priority Schools.  I watched this district get labeled and shamed last year with the designation of three of their schools as “Priority Schools”.  The Delaware DOE and Governor Markell decided forcing these districts to conform to their standards would help these students do better on standardized tests.  I don’t subscribe to that ideology.  Never have, never will.  But I went to a few of their board meetings about this.  I watched their board and district, along with many parents, teachers, and citizens, agonize over what each and every part of this decision would mean to the students in Christina.

The board voted in their September meeting they would not accept the Memorandum of Understanding (basically a contract) the DOE wanted them to sign.  Doing so, the way it was written, would not guarantee protection for their teachers or school leaders.  But when I went to these meetings, it wasn’t just about the teachers and leaders.  It was about the students.  I remember attending a teacher press conference before one of their meetings where I heard a teacher talk about James.  James was a student Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy talked about at the first Wilmington City Council meeting.  He described all the problems James had and why the priority schools would help him so much.  Than a  few months later, I heard a teacher’s more realistic version of James.  How living in a city with a high rate of crime and violence can impact a student like James.  How sometimes teachers would do his laundry because no one else would.  And how malnourished James could be at times.

This was when I knew how much Christina truly cares about their students.  In a way I don’t see with such compassion and caring.  In the end, it came down to a resolution from an independent committee on education that saved Christina from signing over these schools to the DOE.  But if this district didn’t have the heart and soul of putting students first, they would have signed that MOU right away.  Instead, they formed groups to meet with true stakeholders: parents, members of the community, teachers, and administration, to find effective ways at helping these struggling students.

To the naysayers out there, I’m not sure why you don’t support students getting the supports they need.  I’m not sure why you want children to be given an education in classrooms with over 30 students, one teacher, and no paraprofessional.  As if many of these children didn’t suffer enough already with the stigma of being poor, you want to add to that suffering by cutting them off from what they need to get a good education?  It’s $4.50 a week.  Think about it.  Everything goes up in price.  But an extra $4.50 a week after five years to make sure your neighbor’s kid gets a good education is too much?  Really?

I used to do mortgage loan originations, and when determining someone’s financial eligibility I would ask about property taxes.  In some states, this is in the tens of thousands.  Delaware has, with little exception, the lowest property taxes in the country.  This is a benefit unparalleled in most of America.  But our children need these funds to survive.  Yes, survive.  Most of them come from low-income, minority households.  The special education population is higher than most districts.  For many of these children, school IS their sanctuary.  And you want to give them less?  Please make the right decision tomorrow and vote yes for a district that cares deeply about their students lives and educational outcomes.

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Kevin Ohlandt

I am a proud parent of a son with Tourette's Syndrome and several other co-morbidities. I write on this blog to educate other parents so they know a bit more about not only special education, but all the really bad things that are happening with public schools in Delaware and the USA. We are all in this together, and if our children aren't able to advocate for themselves it's up to us parents! We need to stop letting companies run our schools, and demand our children get a proper education. Our Departments of Education in our states have become weak with fear from the bullying US DOE, and we need to take back our schools!

4 thoughts on “Your “Yes” Vote At The Christina Referendum Tomorrow Is A “Yes” Vote For Students”

  1. First, everything does not go up in price. Look at computers. a $3K computer a few years ago is now <$500. How about gasoline? How does this happen? Free markets with a lot of choice and excellent management. Does Delaware have relatively low property taxes compared to PA, NJ and MD. Yes. That's why we are a haven for people retiring and running away from these states. But I always love the argument, we're the lowest so let's raise taxes with the highest states so we can financially crush the property owners too. Are you kidding me? A friend of mine, right across the boarder with PA pays over $6K in school taxes on a modest house. Is this our future?


  2. Less student for more money !!!
    Correction this is the third referendum. The last referendum ballet had two separate questions, which were voted on individually. The facts are there are little to no information about this doomsday budget, which is a scare tactic. 1.8 million dollars of cuts on an over 200 million dollar budget is less than 1 percent. If they were serious about making meaningful changes they would have went after a 2 percent budget cut, and a more modest referendum. In 2009 CDS had 17,200 students enrolled and a 201,031 million dollar budget. Now we have about 1000 less students enrolled and 20% higher budget. That’s all before this current referendum.
    CDS is its own worst enemy. They blame everyone for their lack of outcomes. They blame the DOE for tests, they blame the parents/charters for a loss of students, They blame poor students for low performance and They blame tax payers for not enough budget. At over 13,586 dollars per student we are in one of the highest funded districts in County in the top 20% of all public schools.


    1. Pat, would you like to know where so much of that money is going? Why don’t you ask Newark Charter School how much they get in local funding, and how much that has incrementally gone up each year. Which includes a transportation fund all charters get, with a slush surplus at the end. That’s right, whatever they don’t spend, they get to keep. You are still lower, even with Christina, than almost ALL of the states. You also have a school district in Wilmington and it’s surrounding areas. Of course costs are going to be higher. You have city children, many of which are low-income, minority and special education. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out costs are going to be higher for a district like that. But you just want to bitch about it. Just stop. You won’t be satisfied until this district is gone, and it’s a shame, cause kids are the ones who suffer the most. Just stop…


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