Do Or Die Time For WEIC As House Votes On Redistricting Resolution Tomorrow

The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission faces a full House vote tomorrow to determine if their redistricting plan survives or dies on the vine.  Both House Joint Resolution #12 and House Bill #424 are on the House agenda tomorrow.  Expect the full WEIC contingent to attend the vote.  My advice: arrive early and count on sitting in the balcony.  Bring a seat cushion.

I have a feeling how the vote will go down tomorrow, but I’m going to hold off on my prediction until after.  Let’s just say this will be a very lively discussion on the floor.  Funding is going to be the number one argument.  Speaking of funding, I found out tonight that the Education Funding Improvement Committee (EFIC) had their final meeting yesterday and their report is due to the General Assembly by June 30th.  There will be zero recommendations from the committee on unit-based or weighted funding formulas for Delaware education.  None of the members of the committee could get a consensus on any one recommendation.

There was a considerable amount of House members going in and out of the House floor during their regular session.  More than usual.  I expect there to be a flurry of activity tomorrow before the vote.  Any legislator that is on the fence is going to get pounded all day tomorrow prior to the vote.  I imagine the House Republicans are going to all vote no, but I’ve been wrong on these things before.

The very frightening scenario coming out of this legislative session is based on three things not happening: the WEIC redistricting plan, no legislation determining an equitable education funding formula, and House Bill 30 not passing (or even getting a vote).  That will mean for all the work and time people on these committees are have advocated for a change in education funding will have been in vain.  It will be for nothing.  I actually warned WEIC at their very first meeting that having too many groups discussing education funding was going to be an issue.  I also warned them not having representation from Kent and Sussex County would be a problem as well.  No one ever listens to the blogger!

I think this is what Jack wanted all along.  A way for him to skate out of Delaware and be seen as an education hero, but none of the parties could come to a consensus.  Never mind that a lot of the issues are based on policies he brought forth as Governor in failed education reform.  He will say he tried his best, but it was a rigged game from the start and he knows it.  After the General Assembly leaves in the wee hours of July 1st, Jack will already have vetoed House Bill 399 in his mind.  He will become the lamest of ducks and he will begin counting the days until he moves on to bigger and things.  And he won’t go alone.  I’m already hearing very strange rumors to that effect, but for now they are just rumor.  All I can say is watch for Jack and friends to keep playing the art of misdirection and don’t believe everything you hear coming out of Jack’s mouth.  What may appear to be devastating for some will just be a part of the game.   John Carney doesn’t have a playbook so he is just going to copy Jack’s.  He is already beginning to round up different groups based on Jack’s agendas to begin his campaign, or lack thereof.

I will be blogging live from the House tomorrow and the second the vote goes down, you will know.  You can also listen by clicking on the audio for the House on the General Assembly website, just below the bill search section.  They will be convening on the House floor for their voting session at 3pm.  Before that, the House Education Committee will meet at 1:30 to discuss legislation pertaining to charter school audits, school bullying reporting, and school board terms.

If you don’t care about the WEIC redistricting vote, you should.  This is not just a Wilmington bill, but a Delaware one.  What happens in Wilmington impacts the entire state, good or bad.  I’ve gone back and forth on the redistricting more times than I can count.  I changed my mind again as recently as today.  The plan is epic in scope but the key will be implementation.  Everything rides on that.  But even if it passes and the Governor signs it, there are still ways for not only WEIC to stop the plan, but also the boards of Red Clay and Christina.  One thing to remember is that if the House and Senate passes the redistricting plan, it will be an unfunded mandate.  It will then be up to the Joint Finance Committee to allocate the “necessary and sufficient funding” of $7.5 million over the next two fiscal years for a total of $15 million.  As well as the transition costs.  The kill switch is there if that funding is not put into the budget.  Plain and simple.  As Tony Allen said today at the House Education Committee meeting, if the funding isn’t there, the commission voted unanimously to stop everything.

Every single Delaware State Representative needs to keep their own constituencies in mind when casting their vote tomorrow.  Will this be good for all of Delaware and their own district?  We will know the answer to this one in less than 24 hours…

To see the Executive Summary of WEIC, read below:

House Bill 399 Passes Delaware House of Representatives With Unanimous Vote

As expected, House Bill 399 passed the Delaware House of Representatives with a unanimous vote of 39 yes and two absent.  An amendment was added to the bill to take out some redundant language for an administrator’s role in terms of the teacher evaluations.  The amendment passed on a voice vote.

Jaques told his peers in the House that he serves on the DPAS-II Advisory Committee as the Chair of the House Education Committee.  He indicated that DPAS fails in surveys constantly.  He said this bill would allow for all five components to be weighted equally in 2017-2018.  The bill said a single test would not be an indicator of a teacher’s performance.  There would be a pilot program for the legislation.

 

Even If WEIC Passes The General Assembly, It Could Still Fall Apart Over Funding Issues

Remember when the Delaware State Board of Education wanted to change a key word from “shall” to “may”?  That created a resolution unanimously passed by the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission that if the “necessary and sufficient funding” is not available at two milestones of the redistricting plan, it will collapse.  End.  Finish.  Kaput.

Today, the House Education Committee did two things: they lifted House Bill #424 from a tabled status and released it from the education committee with eight votes in the positive.  But the discussion before the vote was somewhat tense.  As the meeting started, no House Republicans were present.  Slowly but surely, two of them came in: State Reps. Joe Miro and Tim Dukes.  State Rep. Deb Heffernan started the questioning about the Red Clay Board of Education’s role if the funding is not there.  After a considerable amount of confusion, WEIC Chair Tony Allen and Dan Rich clarified that the amount for the first two years just for the funding changes is $7.5 million each year for a total of $15 million.  In the Governor’s proposed budget, he allocated $6 million: $4 million for the funding changes and $2 million for WEIC transitional costs.

Based on Tony Allen’s statement about the resolution, the necessary and sufficient funding of $7.5 million for FY2017 will not be available even if the General Assembly passes House Joint Resolution #12.  Yesterday, DEFAC determined Delaware’s revenues are lower than projected a month ago so now there is less money in the state budget for next year.  Will the WEIC redistricting plan get out of the General Assembly alive?  Or will the Joint Finance Committee give the money to the redistricting plan if it passes both the House and the Senate?

Current Delaware Filings For Elected Office As Of 6/20/16

It’s that time of year again when the General Assembly winds down and the election season becomes the top priority in the state.  This is a list of filed candidates for either statewide office or the General Assembly.  Blue means there will be a Democrat Primary while Red means there will be a Republican Primary.  If a district or office is in bold, that means there will be a contest for that office on Election Day.

Delaware Election 2016

Deadline To File for Office: July 12th, 12 noon
Deadline To Register To Vote For Primary Election: August 20th
Primary Election: September 13th (7am-8pm)
Deadline To Register To Vote For General Election: October 15th
General Election: November 8th (7am-8pm)

President:

Hillary Clinton (D)
Bernie Sanders (D)
Donald Trump (R)

Delaware Governor:

Sean Goward (L)
Lacey Lafferty (R)

Congress: US Representative

Sean Barney (D)
Lisa Blunt Rochester (D)
Michael Miller (D)
Bryan Townsend (D)
R.E. Walker (D)
Scott Gesty (L)
Hans Reigle (R)

Lieutenant Governor:

Sherry Dorsey-Walker (D)
Brad Eaby (D)
Greg Fuller (D)
Bethany Hall-Long (D)
Kathleen McGuiness (D)
Ciro Poppiti III (D)

Insurance Commissioner:

Paul Gallagher (D)
Trinidad Navarro (D)
Karen Weldin Stewart (D) (Incumbent)
George Parrish (R)

Delaware General Assembly

State Senate:

District 1: Joseph McCole (D)
District 1: Harris McDowell III (D) (Incumbent)
District 1: James Spadola (R)
District 5: Denise Bowers (R)
District 5: Catherine Cloutier (R) (Incumbent)
District 7: Patricia Blevins (D) (Incumbent)
District 7: Anthony Delcollo (R)
District 8: David Sokola (D) (Incumbent)
District 8: Meredith Chapman (R)
District 12: Nicole Poore (D) (Incumbent)
District 13: David McBride (D) (Incumbent)
District 14: Bruce Ennis (D) (Incumbent)
District 14: Carl Pace (R)
District 15: Dave Lawson (R) (Incumbent)
District 20: Perry Mitchell (D)
District 20: Gerald Hocker (R) (Incumbent)

State Representative:

District 1: Charles Potter (D) (Incumbent)
District 2: Stephanie Boulden (D) (Incumbent)
District 3: Helene Keeley (D) (Incumbent)
District 4: Gerald Brady (D) (Incumbent)
District 5: Melanie George Smith (D) (Incumbent)
District 6: Deb Heffernan (D) (Incumbent)
District 6: Lee Murphy (R)
District 7: David Brady (D)
District 7: Bryon Short (D) (Incumbent)
District 7: David Wilson (L)
District 8: S. Quinton Johnson (D) (Incumbent)
District 9: Richard Griffiths (D)
District 9: Monique Johns (D)
District 9: Kevin Hensley (R) (Incumbent)
District 10: Sean Matthews (D) (Incumbent)
District 10: Dennis Williams (D)
District 10: Judith Travis (R)
District 11: Jeffrey Spiegelman (R) (Incumbent)
District 12: Deb Hudson (R) (Incumbent)
District 13: John Mitchell (D) (Incumbent)
District 14: Don Peterson (D)
District 14: Peter Schwartzkop (D) (Incumbent)
District 15: James Burton (D)
District 15: Valerie Longhurst (D) (Incumbent)
District 16: James Johnson (D) (Incumbent)
District 17: Michael Mulrooney (D) (Incumbent)
District 18: David Bentz (D) (Incumbent)
District 19: Kim Williams (D) (Incumbent)
District 19: James Startzman (R)
District 21: Mike Ramone (R) (Incumbent)
District 22: Lanette Edwards (D)
District 22: Joseph Miro (R) (Incumbent)
District 23: Paul Baumbach (D) (Incumbent)
District 24: Edward Osienski (D) (Incumbent)
District 25: John Kowalko (D) (Incumbent)
District 26: John Viola (D) (Incumbent)
District 27: Earl Jaques (D) (Incumbent)
District 28: William Carson (D) (Incumbent)
District 29: Trey Paradee (D) (Incumbent)
District 30: William Outten (R) (Incumbent)
District 31: Sean Lynn (D) (Incumbent)
District 33: Karen Williams (D)
District 33: Morgan Hudson (R)
District 33: Charles Postles (R
District 33: Robert James Scott (R)
*State Rep Harold Peterman not seeking re-election*
District 34: David Henderson (D)
District 34: Lyndon Yearick (R) (Incumbent)
District 35: Robert Mitchell (R)
District 35: David Wilson (R) (Incumbent)
District 36: Harvey Kenton (R) (Incumbent)
District 37: Paulette Rappa (D)
District 37: Ruth Briggs-King (R) (Incumbent)
District 39: James Brittingham (L)
*State Rep. Daniel Short has not filed*

Open Offices (no one filed yet):

Senate District 9 (currently State Senator Karen Peterson, not running again)
Senate District 19 (currently State Senator Brian Pettyjohn, expected to file)
State Rep. District 20 (currently State Rep. Stephen Smyk)
State Rep. District 32 (currently State Rep. Andria Bennett, expected to file)
State Rep. District 38 (currently State Rep. Ronald Gray)
State Rep. District 40 (currently State Rep. Tim Dukes, expected to file)
State Rep. District 41 (currently State Rep. Richard Collins)
**For Governor,  John Carney (D) and Colin Bonini (R) have not filed yet**
**If State Senator Bryan Townsend wins the US Representative seat, there will be a special election for the 11th Senate District after the General Election**

**If State Senator Bethany Hall-Long wins the Lieutenant Governor office, there will be a special election for the 10th Senate District after the General Election**