Our only role at this point is to save those babies from having to attend Red Clay because we’re already doing a great job…we need to prevent these children from going to this district. -Mel Spotts, Colonial Board of Education
I always knew some twist was going to come along in the whole Wilmington redistricting initiative. Something would happen during the process that would cause people to say “Where the hell did that come from?” That happened last night at the Colonial School District Board of Education meeting. To end the suspense, the Colonial board voted 7-0 to keep their Wilmington students. Let me repeat this, they do not want their Wilmington students leaving their school district and going to the Red Clay Consolidated School District. Approximately 350 students. You can listen to the audio recording here.
Unlike Christina and Red Clay, the Colonial board never passed a resolution in favor of the recommendations or findings from the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee. Existing Delaware law, in addition to the legislation from Senate Bill 122, allows for the bypass of a referendum if the school district boards involved in the redistricting effort passed a resolution in favor of it. Colonial, in researching their board minutes, never did. The only involvement with WEAC was a presentation to the school district on 2/23/15, but this was a workshop and just a presentation.
What this means for the whole Wilmington Education Improvement Commission is not known. This is the monkey wrench thrown into the gears of the entire plan. In my opinion, Colonial was underestimated and not given the proper attention they should have received. All of the focus seems to be on Red Clay and Christina. Colonial seems to be very concerned about the approximate 350 students that would be affected by the redistricting to Red Clay schools. In their audio recording from their board meeting last night, board member Mel Spotts stated:
I would like to make a motion, based on the data provided, that our students in the Colonial School District stay within our borderlines and are not a part of Wilmington reconfiguration.
The board then passed the motion on a unanimous 7-0 vote to let the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission know they are out of the redistricting process. What this will do the future of the WEIC/redistricting initiative is going to be a big question in the coming weeks. But I am fairly certain WEIC Chair Tony Allen and Governor Markell will not be happy about this. I’m sure the phone calls will be coming fast and furious to Colonial Superintendent Dusty Blakey very soon, if not already.
I’m also hearing implementation of the redistricting, if it even goes through at this point in time, won’t be until 2018.
*To clarify, if the Wilmington redistricting does go through it is understood that Brandywine School District would receive these students which Ms. Spotts understood later on in the WEIC portion of the board meeting. But the motion still passed.
*As well I reworded the portion with Senate Bill 122 to clarify what is in existing Delaware code prior to SB122 and what came as a result of it.