Christina Backs Out Of Referendum Promise As Trust Evaporates

Last night at the Christina Board of Education meeting, it was announced the district would not rehire librarians laid off after the two failed referenda attempts last year.  The district passed the third referendum attempt on March 23rd, and one of the promises made was the district would restore positions cut as a result of the budget cuts last year.  Included in that was school librarians.  While there is no specific mention of librarian positions on the actual Christina website, it does appear on the CSD Paving the Way website which was run by the steering committee for the referendum.

PavingTheWayChristina

Even the Newark Post had an article in February where Glasgow High School principal Dean Ivory quoted:

Glasgow was one of many secondary schools that lost their librarians and though classroom teachers can still sign up to take their classes to the library, it’s not the same, Ivory said. A teacher in the school’s PATH program, whose class meets in the library, has taken on the extra responsibility of coordinating these class sign-ups, he added. If this year’s referendum does pass and schools can start adding staff again, Ivory said the librarian is one of the first positions he’d bring back. “That was a very painful cut,” he said. “But if it comes down to it, do you want to lose a math teacher or a librarian?”

So much for keeping their word!  So where will the funds promised to librarians go to now?  I gave First State Liberty a very hard time for how they handled the last referendum.  But it looks like I should have been putting some pressure on the district as well.  This news is very disappointing to say the least.  What purpose does it serve to betray not only the librarians that were cut last year, but also the taxpayers in your district?  This is why the referendum process needs to go.  It has become like a Presidential election: all sorts of campaign promises that never happen.  Social media comments regarding this broken promise are not being kind to the district.  Shame on Superintendent Robert Andrzejewski for making promises he had no intention of keeping.

The district has already been under the microscope for immediately hiring outside vendors immediately following the referendum, including Demosophia which is helping the district to create a Strategic Plan in regards to their behavior and climate.  Some felt hiring a former Title I administrator from the district as an outside consultant was a bit too much.

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15 thoughts on “Christina Backs Out Of Referendum Promise As Trust Evaporates

        1. From what I’m hearing, Bob informed the board of the decision on behalf of the building principals who didn’t have room in their budget for it. Even though part of the referendum funds were earmarked for them…

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          1. Then please explain Harrie Ellen. It’s my understanding that building leaders are being given the choice to hire the librarian or a teacher to reduce class size. When faced with that choice, the one that has the most direct impact on the students would be most prudent. However, that was NOT how it was put forward when we were campaigning for this referendum. It was implied that both would happen. Librarians would be rehired and class sizes reduced again. I am actually ashamed at this point that I so publicly and ardently championed both this district and the referendum. I put my good name behind it and already I am regretting it.

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          2. I, too, campaigned endlessly for the referendum. I never heard anyone state that librarians in particular were going to be restored. I think Brian Stephan’s explanation on here is the best I’ve read and he has a real lock on the understanding of school financing. Librarians are a hiring decision made by principals, just like last year cutting librarians was a principal decision. The state of Delaware does NOT fund librarians. Should they? Sure they should. That is an issue to go after the General Assembly about. It wasn’t that long ago that nurses came out of the teacher unit, also, bizarre as it sounds!
            Christina is going to restore the cut unit positions. An example is 12 monitoring paraprofessional positions were eliminated. We are going to increase the monitoring paraprofessional positions now by 12. The same with cut teacher units. How principals use those units is up to them. It depends on what their building population needs. The district does not order principals to have particular positions. Nor does the state. The state funds units (teachers, paras, etc) based on the school student count on September 30th.
            The referendum promised to “increase funding for students, classroom teachers and school support staff.” The root of the problems and the confusion here lies more with the state’s funding system than with anything at the school or district level. Nobody ever claimed, or at least I never heard anybody say anything at all about restoring all cut positions except possibly librarians. If the high schools and middle schools want to use a newly restored teacher unit as a librarian that is their right to do so. Nobody is telling them that they cannot do that, nor is anybody saying they must do that.

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  1. Kevin is 100% right. If you want to try and suggest that it was not very well understood that the message of this referendum effort was to restore CSD staffing while earmarking some monies for climate, discipline and some exploration of the future, then you’d be untruthful. And if you try and tell people that restoring meant everyone except librarians who were cut with the failed referendum, then you’d be insulting the intelligence of the taxpayers. Which is it, because right now it feels like both.

    Our actions as a district right out of the gate are not consistent with the intended sensibilities of the referendum…and the blame for that may lie in multiple places, but it most certainly does not lie with those willing to point at it and say “look, we may be getting this wrong”

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  2. Kevin, there were no “funds promised to librarians.” At least not in Christina’s referendum. Your quote above from Dean Ivory, the principal at Glasgow, is exactly right. He has the choice to use a teacher unit as a librarian. No one tells him he has to do that and nobody tells him he can’t.

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      1. While doing a little research today, I found this:

        Librarian/Media Specialist
        06/17/2016 | Christina School District | Wilmington | DE | USA

        POSITION: Librarian/Media Specialist LOCATION: Gallaher Elementary CLOSING DATE: June 17, »

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