Why Did Mike Matthews Bill The General Assembly For Almost $250,000?

Mike Matthews

Earlier this week, Red Clay Educators Association President Mike Matthews sent the Delaware General Assembly an invoice for $235,000.  What was the reason for this?  You didn’t think it was going to be that easy, did you?  I am putting in the read more tag so you can, you know, read more!  There is a very good reason why he billed our legislators.Apparently the Red Clay teachers, along with many teachers throughout the state, have been mired in computer issues.  It’s the end of the school year and everyone is trying to get grades in, update IEPs, and all the other assorted stuff teachers have to do.  The time involved under normal circumstances is burdensome at best.  But when the bandwidth slows to a crawl, it is a nightmare!

So if you were representing the largest school district in the state with the most teachers, what would you do?  An RCEA member sent me a copy of the invoice and email Matthews sent to pretty much everyone!  I’ve seen some pretty funny stuff in my day, but this is great!  I’m fairly certain the Delaware General Assembly isn’t going to put this in the state budget by June 30th.  Last week, the Joint Finance Committee decided to take away $3 million from the state budget designated for increased bandwidth across the state.

From: Matthews Michael
Sent: Wednesday, June 8, 2016 3:01 PM
To: McDowell Harris; Henry Margaret Rose; Marshall Robert; Lavelle Greg; Cloutier Catherine; Lopez Ernesto B; Blevins Patricia; Sokola David; Peterson Karen; Poore Nicole; McBride David; Ennis Bruce; Lawson Dave; senator-colin@prodigy.net; Bushweller Brian; Townsend Bryan; Simpson Gary; Pettyjohn Brian; Hocker Gerald; Richardson Bryant L; Potter, Jr Charles; Bolden StephanieT; Keeley Helene; Brady Gerald; Smith Melanie A.; Heffernan Debra; Short Bryon; Johnson Quinton; Hensley Kevin S; Matthews Sean; Spiegelman Jeff; Hudson Deborah; Mitchell John L; Schwartzkopf Peter; Longhurst Valerie; Johnson James; Mulrooney Michael; Bentz David; Williams Kimberly; Smyk Steve; Ramone Michael; Miro Joseph; Baumbach Paul; Osienski Edward; Kowalko John; Viola John J; Jaques, Jr Earl; Carson William; Paradee Trey; Outten Bobby; Lynn Sean M; Bennett Andria; Peterman Jack; Yearick Lyndon D; Wilson David L; Kenton Harvey; BriggsKing Ruth; Gray Ronald; Short Daniel; Dukes Timothy; Collins Richard G; Markell Jack
Cc: Daugherty Mervin B; Broomall Hugh; RCBOARDMEMBERS; Godowsky Steven
Subject: Attention Needed re: Bandwidth Limitations

Dear Delaware Legislators:

Last week it was reported that the Joint Finance Committee removed a request in the budget that would help bring $3 million of expanded bandwidth and Internet capacity to our schools. First, thank you to Department of Education Secretary Steve Godowsky for including these much-needed funds in his department’s budget request. Unfortunately, many of the schools around the State are woefully under-served when it comes to both technology availability and the bandwidth needed to run the technology at maximum strength. Please know that the JFC’s decision to cut the proposed bandwidth funds has consequences. And those consequences have made themselves known to educators in the most challenging way possible.

At the end of every school year, educators have a range of professional responsibilities they must complete, whether it’s report cards, IEP progress monitoring, getting ready for Extended School Year, or finalizing their DPAS-II observations and evaluations. Many of these activities — and more — require the use of the IMS system to get the work done. At multiple times over the past week, my members in the Red Clay Education Association have reported that the system has been down and they’ve been unable to complete the work they need to do to meet their professional responsibilities in a timely fashion. 

In Red Clay, we negotiated three “grading days” to be used during the school year so members can complete things like report cards and IEP progress monitoring. This is the second year of these “grading days” and they’ve proven to be very popular with teachers and specialists. But when the system doesn’t work on these days because of bandwidth limitations, then how can our members get their work done? Invariably, our members will have to do a portion of this work on their personal time when they should be spending time with their children, friends, and families. This is unacceptable and the State must address this as soon as possible. Our schools need more bandwidth as we continue to march forward in this Digital Age.

Until then, I’m attaching an invoice. Because our members aren’t able to complete this essential work during the time that was negotiated, they will have to do this work on their own time. As such, we feel our members should be able to bill the state for the time taken from their personal time. The invoice reflects our District’s current Extra Pay for Extra Responsibility rate multiplied by the seven hours of negotiated “grading day” time multiplied by the 1200 teachers in our District. If the State refuses to step up and appropriately provide the needed bandwidth for our schools to operate, then our members should be made whole for the time spent outside the work day completing things that could have been done in school.

As usual, I look forward to continuing the dialogue with you all. Feel free to reach out to me at any time and I hope the rest of the Legislative Session goes by well for you all.

All the best,


PS…Please also pass Rep. Kim Williams’s HB 30. It’s beyond time that we begin fully funding Basic K-3 Special Education in all our schools.

I didn’t bold anything for emphasis.  Matthews did that on his own in the original email.  For those who may not know, Matthews’ term as RCEA President ends at the end of June.  He is going back to teaching.  What the future holds for him is anyone’s guess (I have an idea or two) but I have no doubt we will hear MUCH more from the mind of Mr. Matthews!


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