You find all sorts of things looking at a school district’s board meeting agenda. Tonight, Chair of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and Dan Rich from the Public Policy Institute at the University of Delaware will give a presentation to the Red Clay Consolidated School Board on Red Clay’s role in WEIC. This is the presentation they are giving tonight, and it includes a very key section! See if you can figure out before I write it after the obligatory Scribd document…
Okay, if you read through the whole thing and didn’t just scroll down real quick, you know exactly what section I’m talking about, with nine words bolded for emphasis:
Will the implementation plan recommended by WEIC be limited to redrawing boundaries?
•No. Simply redistricting is of no value without a comprehensive plan for school reform.
•The WEIC plan must include funding, parent and community engagement, and wraparound services.
•The WEIC plan will present a comprehensive package and ask the State Board to approve the entire package.
As Tony Allen is fond of saying, the devil is in the details, and that is one hell of a detail. I wasn’t aware the State Board had the authority to approve the entire package. I thought they only had authority for the actual redistricting. Where is the General Assembly’s role in this? And this commission will go on for six years? Does this mean they can go to the State Board whenever they want to implement changes without legislative approval? That is a HUGE mistake. ENORMOUS! GIGANTIC! The State Board should not have that much authority. They are unelected and appointed by the Governor. They never vote against his wishes. This is the devil in all of this. Here is the exact wording from the Governor Markell signed House Bill 148:
(g) The WEIC shall work with and across all governmental agencies, educational entities, and private and nonprofit institutions to promote and support the implementation of all recommended changes from the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee (WEAC). The WEIC will oversee the redistricting of school districts as set forth in this Chapter. The WEIC also will also monitor the progress of implementation and recommend policies and actions to the Governor and General Assembly to facilitate progress and to promote the continuous improvement of public education on dimensions addressed by the WEAC recommendations. In addition, the WEIC will develop a transition plan, including a timeline, for the provision of necessary services to schools and students affected by the implementation of the changes recommended by WEAC. WEIC shall also develop a resource plan regarding transitional resources to effectively implement school district realignment. Both the transition plan and resource plan must be submitted first to the State Board of Education and then to the General Assembly and the Governor for final approval. Both are due for submission and related action by December 31, 2015.
This is a very slippery slope to start off on. If I were the Red Clay board I would clarify this very important omission in their presentation TONIGHT!