Appoquinimink Gouges Taxpayers For Special Education Tuition Payments But $5 Million Is Unaccounted For

The Appoquinimink School District Board of Education approved an action item on Tuesday night to cover “rising special education costs” in the district, according to an article by Amy Cherry and Yossi Goldstein with WDEL.  To say the reasoning for this tax hike, which will cost the average Middletown resident on average of $65 a year, is misleading at best, would be an understatement.  According to the Appoquinimink Director of Finance, Dr. Charles Longfellow:

“Tuition, which is for special education students, is an (estimated) $815,000 increase (for 2017),” explained Longfellow.

That is the basis for their case.  But in Delaware, special education funding comes from three sources: the feds, the state, and local funding.  Is this $815,000 increase just the local increase or overall?  For “tuition”, which is based on special education students choicing out of the district to another district to attend a special school, like the Delaware Autism Program or the Delaware School for the Deaf, the sending district has to pay the other district that portion of funds.  As well, it could also be to cover funds for students sent to alternative schools within the district, but since Appoquinimink has no alternative schools, this is a moot point.  In a sense, it is the customary tuition, but the districts pay each other.  Students in Appo don’t tend to choice out at the higher rates other districts have to deal with.  But students with disabilities in Appo do tend to choice out more than students with disabilities in other districts, as detailed by the Statewide Review of Education Opportunities report commissioned by the Delaware State Board of Education last year:

SWDChoiceBarExplanation

Appo’s biggest student population drain is MOT Charter School.  Since the Delaware Department of Education hasn’t published these reports since 2014, it is very difficult to tell just how many students choice in or out of Appo.  However, in looking at choice students historically, Appo tends not to bleed out as many students as other surrounding districts.  Even more misleading is the fact that, aside from basic special education funding for students in Kindergarten to 3rd grade, the special education funding from the state is based on the number of special education units in the district.  If you have more special education students, you would get more state funds.  However, and where tuition funds come into play, when the school cannot provide the special education services to the student based on the individual special education allotment of funding for that student, the state doesn’t pay more.  And if the student attends a special school in another district, this is where the tuition costs are created.

But Appo seems to justify this tax hike on their district website:

At the beginning of each new fiscal year, school districts must review their financial obligations and establish school tax rates to be collected on their behalf by New Castle County. A system of checks and balances is in place to ensure fiscal responsibility. This includes a review by the volunteers who serve on the District’s Financial Advisory Committee and approval of the Board of Education. Current and historical tax rate information is available in our budget documents accessible via the links to the right.

It’s funny they bring up the District Financial Advisory Committee, because when you click on that section of their district website, you see no reports or a list of the members of this committee, just a log-in for these special members.  Delaware law states each public body must show how the committee representation is made up.  While actual minutes or committee members are not required to be listed on a district or charter website, most districts and charters do show this information to support a level of transparency.  But not Appo.  They don’t even show meeting times, agendas, or minutes for their version of a Citizens Budget Oversight Committee.

But even if the district had a massive influx of special education students choicing in or out of their district after the official September 30th count (which determines special education funding from the state for each district), we should see that reflected in their final budget approved by the board on 2/23/16, right?  Not so.  Their tuition tax did increase by $90,000 from last summer until February of this year.  However, only 30,000 of that was for special schools out of the district.  Furthermore, on page 12 of the budget, it states they transferred $276,000 out of the tuition pool to another bucket of funding.  As well, it was projected the tuition fund would be at $8,407,661 in the initial budget, but due to the transfer and an unidentifiable increase in “Instruction and Operations” to the tune of $425,630.00, it left the district $702,039 in the hole.  But it gets more interesting on page 15 when it shows projected revenue of $8,503,168 for the year coming from property taxes.  But there is no viable proof anywhere that justifies a $720,000 increase for this in FY2017.  At least not in special education.  Upon careful review of this budget, they actually overestimated their initial special education costs by over $100,000.00 for the receipt of federal IDEA-B funds, which means they must have had a decrease in students with disabilities, not an increase.

To make matters worse, I checked to see how much Appo spent on special education in FY2016.  Since none of our districts or charters are consistent with how they code education funding in many areas, it took some time to find Appo’s portions.  According to Delaware Online Checkbook, Appo spent over $1.8 million dollars in FY2016 to cover related services for special education in the district.  That is what they spent under the categories for basic, intensive, and complex.  But those covered special education salaries.  When you look at their tuition payments, I’m not seeing $8,503,168 or anything close to that number.

AppoTuitionPmtsFY2016Instate

AppoTuitionPmtsFY2016OutStateorPrv

I looked in every possible category to see if it these tuition payments could somehow be miscoded and I found absolutely nothing going towards other school districts.  In the above pictures, I also included funds going to Delaware and out of state residential treatment centers.  So at a maximum, Appo spent a little over $3 million in tuition payments for FY2016.  Perhaps they haven’t paid some of the bills for this?  I checked the prior year, and we are looking at a little bit less in FY2015:

AppoTuitionPmtsFY2015InState

AppoTuitionPmtsFY2015OutState

So where did over $5 million in funds allocated in their budget for tuition payments go?  This is a question only Appo can answer, and I expect we will find out after this article comes out.  Keep in mind, this is budgeted funds, so it isn’t missing like someone stole it.  They spent it somewhere else when tuition funds are specifically earmarked to cover special education costs.  The only other areas where a district board can approve a tax warrant is for reading and/or math specialists and minor capital improvements.  In FY2016, Appo spent about $983,000 on reading and math specialists.  To be on the safe side, I reviewed a few other districts budgets and what they have allocated for tuition.  For the most part, those districts matched their budgeted amount and what appears on Delaware Online Checkbook.

According to the Delaware DOE school profile site, in FY2015, the feds provided 2% of the district’s overall funding, 67% came from the state, and 30% from local taxes with an average district cost per student of $11,226.00.  If you compare this to the average for the rest of the state, the feds provide 10% of funds, the state  pays 59% and local funds make up the remaining 31%.  So why does Appo receive such a small amount of federal funds?  Most of that has to do with Title I allocations, which go towards schools with high concentrations of low-income students.  For Appoquinimink, their low-income population represents 14.7% of the students in the district.  For the state, this average is 36%.  As well, the state average for students with disabilities is 14.4% while Appo has a lower number at 11.8%.  To break this down even further, the most expensive category of special education is students in a complex status.  These are students who need one-on-one support at all times and many related services which are very costly.  Appoquinimink has a very low number of this special education population compared to other districts in New Castle and Kent County.  The two closest districts in terms of student populations, Brandywine and Indian River, have much higher populations of complex special education students.  Appo is at 58% of Brandywine’s total complex population while they are at 36% of Indian River’s number.  Even against Colonial, who has 1,000 less students in their overall population, Appo comes at 37% of their complex special education population.  We know the district isn’t losing special education students to MOT Charter School because they only have 4 complex students with disabilities and only 69 special education students overall.  What does that tell us?  Either there aren’t that many complex special education students in Appoquinimink or their parents send these students to private schools.  The Middletown/Odessa area is growing at an incredible fast rate, however, it is also one of the more affluent areas of the state.

“That’s why the state and feds protect the right to get this money without going to referendum–they prescribe the services, how to identify them, what needs to be offered,” said Appoquinmink Public Information Officer Lilian Miles.

Of course they protect the right.  It allows them to pay less of the allocations they should be paying for special education.  But the district doesn’t seem to care, because one way or another they will get this money.  They don’t care if they have to gouge the taxpayer.  Perhaps those are harsh words, but in light of the biggest fabrication coming from Miles is this absolute lie:

Miles said the population of special education students has doubled over the past five years in Appoquinmink, though it remains a very small percentage of the district’s student body. The growth is representative of what’s happening all across the Middletown area.

Wow, the special education population doubled?  That is a massive increase Ms. Miles.  However, your statement doesn’t hold water.  In checking on the Delaware September 30th Enrollment unit count reports, I found Appoquinimink had the following special education populations from FY2011 to FY 2016:

FY2011: 839

FY2012: 963

FY2013: 976

FY2014: 1,038

FY2015: 1,125

FY2016: 1,268

Even using Common Core math, it is easy to determine that 839+839=1,678.  Being that the difference between 839 and 1,268 is 429, I would hardly call that a “doubling”.  Unless they are counting the students with disabilities who either graduated or turned 21 over the past five years and are no longer a part of the district population in those numbers, than yeah, I could believe that statement.  But it would be a statement built on false pretenses.  Granted, the district’s population of complex special education students did double from 43 to 87 students but would that be enough to cover $8 million dollars in tuition costs?  Not even closeWhat astonishes me even more is either their board was oblivious to this outright lie or they really didn’t care.

If a tax warrant weren’t approved, Miles said funds to cover special education would have to come from the general operating budget.  “You don’t want to short the 90 percent by taking money from their pot–you just have to work to get it right,” said Miles. “It’s raising taxes for the services you are required to provide for this special population.”

So, Ms. Miles, if those funds won’t come out of the general operating budget based on revenue from what I view as a fraudulent tax increase based a board’s suspension of disbelief over special education populations within the very district they oversee, what are you using those funds in the general operating budget for?  And furthermore, say nothing happens as a result of this article which happens in Delaware way too much for my liking, and we have already caught you in a major lie concerning the most vulnerable of children, how do we know those funds would even go towards special education?  Especially since nine districts put basic special education funding all in one bucket to the state, as opposed to allocating those funds towards buckets like occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapy, and whatnot.  And only Appo and Capital put funds going towards complex and intense special education students in these lumped groups, thus making it impossible to find out how much these two districts are paying for certain types of services.  But at least you aren’t Brandywine who seems to throw it all in one bucket for basic to regular special education students, assuming they have NO intense or complex special education students.

But according to the special education section of Appo’s website, at least they are fully aware of which bucket these funds should go in:

The most common types of special education services are: Reader or interpreter; Assistive technology; Speech therapy; Occupational therapy; Life-skills training; Personal counseling or therapy; Transportation assistance; Physical therapy; Hearing-loss therapy or audiology; Job counseling or training.

I would strongly suggest the Appoquinimink Board of Education reconvene in an emergency session to rescind their vote cast Tuesday night and actually review this situation for what it is.  How dare this district and board use special needs children in their quest for more money, and to add insult to injury, charging every property tax paying citizen in the district to get that money.  I looked on the boarddocs section of their website, and most traditional school district boards provide documents to go along with items like this.  Not so with Appoquinimink.  So there is no way for the public to see this huge increase needed for special education funding based on an already missing $5 million dollars for this purpose.  Anyone involved in this should resign now or face charges for fraud.  Furthermore, any tax warrants for New Castle County have to be approved by county council.  I would strongly recommend this council not even entertain this farce.

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Appoquinimink Gouges Taxpayers For Special Education Tuition Payments But $5 Million Is Unaccounted For

  1. So what happened was that since Special Education can be warranted without a referendum, the moved money out to create a shortage and then warrant that amount to be filled, thereby bypassing the referendum process altogether…..

    This is what happens when you elect corporate credentialed people to your board of education…. Corporations are oil; education is water. They do not mix and create something good… The oil does not burn; you can’t drink the water.

    Like

    1. This goes WAY beyond moving the amount they wanted to cover the shortage. There is $5 million that is earmarked for this very specific purpose that doesn’t have payments going out. The new tax warrant covered $815,000. What happened to the prior tax warrants they are collecting money in to go towards the $5 million that is NOT going towards that purpose? Which is why I emailed Tom Wagner at the auditor’s office, and cc’ed all the state reps and senators in that area, Godowsky, Ken Simpler, Matt Denn, and the Governor to get an audit inspection going on this ASAP!

      Like

  2. Dude, I was at the meeting. I go to most of them. You need to maybe attend to get information straight. Choice in and out numbers are available to anyone who asks – I have several times. Lil Miles got the facts wrong – you’re correct there – but as part of the presentation they told us that while the special services population is only 20% larger than in 2009, the cost of mandated services for that population has nearly doubled. They even gave the specific numbers of special ed units in 2009 vs 2015. If you were at the meeting earlier this year when the totals from the out of district placements came in, you’d see the board members and staff rightly shocked by the amount of money other districts charge for services – maybe the Board needs to be pushed to more quickly looking into bringing these services in house, but they’re certainly aware. I asked specifically when the documents from Tuesday’s meeting would be available on BoardDocs and was told, by the Superintendent’s secretary that because she’s off the rest of this week, it would be Monday the 18th. Again, I attend meetings almost every month and those documents are available the next day almost every month. Further – have you asked the district for the information you can’t find? I’ve often asked for info and never been turned down even one time. Usually an email to the superintendent gets returned within 24 hours and the request is filled within 48. You seem more interested in digging out corruption than actually investigating whether it exists. Lord knows Delaware has a lot to hide, but you’re not much more than a muckraker if you’re not doing the actual work to get information and verify what you claim.

    Like

    1. Thank you for commenting RS. I went back and listened to the 2/23/16 audio recording, found here: http://www.apposchooldistrict.com/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=264252&type=d&pREC_ID=video&showMore=1&titleREC_ID=10003949 where this is talked about for a few minutes. I didn’t hear anything about the board having issues with bills from other districts for these costs. If you could kindly direct me where I could find this public board discussion, I will be more than happy to update the article. I have discussed matters with your PIO in the past, Ms. Miles, mostly regarding parent opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. She actually asked me to NOT engage with parents who have legitimate concerns about the test and want to opt out. Furthermore, I spoke to her last year and this year about a potentially illegal letter that was being sent to parents when they opted their child out and both times I was told they would look into it w/no follow-up. I’ve emailed Burrows about concerns about the testing, DOE influence, and data walls with NO RESPONSE. So there is a clear history of my attempting to reach out to the district with ambiguous responses or no response. So forgive me if I didn’t reach out to them on this issue. Especially since I was able to find out more information through state websites than on the district website. Which is very difficult to navigate through and seems to be missing a lot of information I see on other district websites. I’ve been called many things, and I will certainly add “muckraker” to the list.
      In terms of the actual numbers, where is it listed on the website aside from the budget? Why are no contracts with outside vendors ever put on the website or on boarddocs? Why are there no financial advisory committee members listed, agendas for their meetings, or minutes from their meetings? Why did the board approve a Fin. Adv. Comm. when there was no quorum at that Fin.Adv.Comm meeting? Why do I need to ask to see information which should be readily available for the public to see? Why did the district only spend $3 million on tuition pmts in FY2015 and FY2016 but they budgeted over $8 million in FY2016 for it? If those funds were used for that purpose how could I possibly find it? If they were not properly used for that purpose, how were they spent? If you can answer all of these questions, I would be more than happy to update the article or even do it over. But until then, I will stand by what I wrote.

      Like

  3. Kevin, or editor of this blog.
    You should be held liable for slander, and defaming the people you wrote about in your article. I am confident that your reporting is all wrong. I have lived in the district for 8 years. I have 2 children in this district and moved from up north for the reputation of the district and the product it delivers. From the accusatory tone in your article, it is apparent you are sitting behind a computer and launching idiotic smear attacks against an excellent district who is extremely transparent in what they are doing. I am sure that they dont always get it correct, but wow what a coward and complete fool you will soon be. 5 million dollars? Really? You are accusing officials and board members of FRAUD and being THIEVES. As for the state checkbook on line, I don’t think it shows everything. I have attended board meetings and this topic sounds familiar. I am remembering something similar from several years ago about an issue that came up during a meeting and I think a board member made reference to the state checkbook. During the discussion a citizen was talking about a single Administrator or group of District Office Administrators in relationship to pay and district expenses. The topic of discussion was that Appoquinimink Administrators were the highest paid in the state based from information they had obtained from websites similar to what you reference. I thought someone said that certain expenses can get catergorized differently by each district so sometimes what you think you are looking at is not accurate. From salary, special education, transportation and probably a few other things. I am not an expert, but I do believe the district and board members are smarter than you give them credit. Only time will tell, but I am confident that when the truth surfaces it will be something so obvious that the phone call you did not want to make because you are lazy will no doubt show how wrong you are. When you have EGG on your face, will you still post an apology because you were wrong? I doubt it. I will do one better. I will attend next months board meeting looking for an answer to your article. WILL YOU? I look forward to meeting you there.

    Brian Wilson

    Like

    1. Brian, the state checkbook shows everything that is put into it. You may not like how I worded things, but when a district uses “rising special education costs” to get a tax warrant to get more money from hard-working citizens in a school district, that is what we are looking at when their numbers don’t add up at all. We know, based on the board discussion from 2/23/16, there was a projected increase in tuition costs. It was openly discussed. However, what the CFO did NOT do was give a breakdown of what those increases were. He did say they would get the bills in March. So they were paid, to the Christina, Red Clay and Colonial School Districts. That was only for the tuition payments to other districts. They paid two checks to Christina, one for $1,101,171.94 and one for $413,090.12. One went to Red Clay for $86,326.02 and one to Colonial for $80,792.86. They made 136 payments to out of state or in-state residential treatment centers in the amount of $1,350,334.44. There were also two payments going to Del-Tech for tuition payments totaling $6,000. I don’t know if that was supposed to be for the actual tuition tax payments or not, but for the sake of argument, let’s say they are. So that totals $3,037,715.80. They budgeted $9.01 million for this a year ago and bumped it up to $9.1 million for it in February. So there is actually about $5.5 million that isn’t showing on Delaware Online Checkbook, a system designed to report payments going out from every public body in the state. But yes, you are right, not every district and charter codes things the same way. But what you may not have bothered to look into is the fact that they are supposed to. The state provides all of them the actual codes for things. But for some reason, half the districts put it in the right codes for special education, but Appo and eight other districts seem to think it is okay to lump it all into one big bucket with no transparency for what goes where. To make matters even more complicated, only Appo and one other district put the funding for the more intensive and complex special education students into two other buckets, with, once again, no transparency to where those funds are going. Now we know, based on their preliminary budget for FY2016, they went up for their tuition tax by nearly one million from what they paid out at the end of FY2015 to what they budgeted for in FY2016. See this: http://www.boarddocs.com/de/asd/Board.nsf/files/9ZCSDA6E46F7/$file/FY2016%20Prelim%20Budget%20v2.pdf
      If you look at what they paid out in FY2015 for tuition costs to other districts or residential treatment centers, that totals $2,989,075.13. So the difference between what they paid between the two years is $48,640.67. The board said Tuesday night they were projecting an $815,000 increase in “special education costs” for FY2017. We know, based on the $48,640.67 difference between two years that the tuition costs for out of district special education students, whether they went to a special school in another district or a residential treatment center, didn’t go up $815,000.00. Going back even further, if you look at the budget amendment approved by the board on 6/9/15, they raised the tuition costs for $480,000 based on a difference between costs for the Delaware Autism Program, Maryland School for the Blind, Advoserv, and Shorehaven between FY2014 and FY2015. So it would stand to reason those costs would increase dramatically in FY2016, right? Wrong. The amount they paid for the Delaware Autism Program in FY2016 was $1,101,171.94 which was actually almost $16,000 less than what Appo paid them in FY2015. But yet, this was the only argument the board made about rising tuition costs at their 2/23 board meeting. The conversation went on for about five minutes with one board member wondering if Christina, who is only administrator for the Delaware Autism Program, may have been overcharging them and wanting the DOE to do an audit on them. Let’s keep in mind the district was sending out $1.6 million to other residential treatment centers because Appo was unable to serve those children. We can’t ignore that. I’m not saying it was their fault or anything close to that. Those are decisions made through the ICT Council for the state. But the board didn’t discuss that at all, what they could possibly be doing to take a strong look at why so many Appo kids were going to places like that. It was only about the money, the budget, and trying to find some justification for what amounted to about 1/9th of the spending for kids with Autism. But we still haven’t answered where that other $5.5 million (now $6 million since the board pushed the tuition budget up to $9 million from their preliminary budget back in July 2015 which was approved by the board). But we find the answer to that in two places: the above mentioned budget amendment which shows:

      99970020/99999 Tuition/General: increase $475,000. Between 9/30/2014 and 5/29/2015, the district’s count of students served in our in-district needs-based Special Education programs increased by 44. If this increase were to happen before September 30th, we would have received 6.34 state teaching units and additional associated state funding and related services units and/or dollars to support the students’ educational and related services. These costs fall upon the Tuition Tax fund once all state resources are utilized.

      So all of a sudden we learn that there is a Tuition/General part of the tuition that serves students in the district. And they are using this fund to pay for special education costs not covered by the state after the September 30th count. In June of FY2015, they amended the budget to reflect this change. Why they waited until the very end of the school year, after school was already out, without knowing when the 44 new special education students received special education services or what categories they were in which determines how many units the district gets based on the different kind of needs, but budgeted this amount as if it was for the whole year, raises red flags with me. Back to the 2/23/16 board conversation, they talk about having addition special education kids during FY2016 which Longfellow tells them a $90,000 adjustment was already made to cover this. We know, based on the board approved final budget from 2/23/16, that tuition taxes revenues pay for “in-district programs as well as out-of-district placements for students with disabilities” based on what they wrote on page 14 here: http://www.boarddocs.com/de/asd/Board.nsf/files/A7FMJS57C634/$file/FY2016%20Final%20Budget.pdf

      So we now know, after all this, that the other $6 million generated through the tuition tax goes toward this Tuition/General fund which is covered in the district. Now if the board is projecting an $815,000 increase in special education costs, and subtracting out the $48,640.67 difference in what they paid for out of district placements, that leaves us with $766,359.33 for what will go towards the Tuition/General fund to cover students in the district. What are they basing that number on? We don’t know, because based on RT’s comment the district doesn’t put up the documents which give this information up prior to a board meeting (like most districts do):

      I asked specifically when the documents from Tuesday’s meeting would be available on BoardDocs and was told, by the Superintendent’s secretary that because she’s off the rest of this week, it would be Monday the 18th. Again, I attend meetings almost every month and those documents are available the next day almost every month.

      So not only will they not be up the day after the board meeting, but we have to wait until Monday to see them. Now the board met for a special workshop on June 22nd, and two of the items they discussed were unit count and the budget. But since there is no audio for workshops, you would have had to attend to hear that meeting and what was said. I would imagine, based on that type of agenda, that they discussed the possibility of presenting this tax warrant. But I am assuming here, so I won’t do that. With little to no transparency surrounding this unforeseen $815,000 increase in special education costs which warrants getting additional taxpayer money, I am at a loss for why the board would suddenly request this. As well, my “laziness” in not calling them was already explained based on past attempts to communication with the district. We already have the PIO of the district giving false information to the media, so why would I trust what they told me anyway? You are basing my article on the assumption that I have no idea what I’m talking about. You obviously don’t know me or haven’t been reading this blog the past two years. If you had, you would know I pay very close attention to school funding, special education, and transparency. If you think this district has excellent transparency skills, I would urge you to take a look at other districts websites, as well as their boarddocs, to see how they compare. Take a look at their financial page on their district website and see how they put none of their monthly budget statements on there. See how their citizen’s budget oversight committee members aren’t even listed nor are there any minutes or agendas for their meetings. See how they compare on Delaware Online Checkbook, a state run website which shows how all public agencies in this state pay their expenditures. Compare where Appo puts things compared to other districts. Have you wondered why Appo is such a great district? It is well-known throughout the state that they poach more experienced teachers from other districts and their teacher salary costs are higher than other districts because of that. As a result, their pensions and benefits are higher than most on average as well. And since the special ed kids with more serious issues tend to not stay in the district because the district doesn’t want to provide the services for them but the board wants to bitch about the costs for services they don’t want to give, sorry, I don’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling about this district or board. Which as a result makes their high-stakes standardized test scores look better because they don’t have those high-needs kids. As well, they don’t have the low-income populations most districts have so they don’t have to contend with those issues as much. So yeah, you can love on a district that looks great on paper but fails to take care of the kids that need it the most, forcing parents to send their kids to another district to get the services they are federally entitled to have. Your district is no better than the other districts in the state who have to deal with issues far surpassing the needs of Appos. When Appo has to contend with those same issues and services ALL of the populations that live in their own district and still does better on tests that don’t really matter except for the companies that want to destroy districts throughout the country, than you can consider me impressed. Until then, I really have no desire to attend one of their board meetings and listen to them pat themselves on the back. I can listen to the audio recording they put on their website (six days after the fact mind you).

      And for the record, trying to get a tax warrant for unidentifiable purposes with no clear ability to see where those funds are going, I’m pretty sure, is fraudulent. You may choose not to see it that way and that is your choice. It is more than obvious, at a minimum, this board needs to probe a bit deeper into things like this when they come up. Cause if I could find out all this information over the past 36 hours, and some of these people have been on the board for years, than there are serious issues with their ability to oversee and govern the district they swore to do. I don’t know any of these board members personally, but I have listened to several of their audio recordings. They may receive training on how to run a board, but being on a board is much more than that. Especially when it involves kids. What I’m curious about though, Mr. Wilson, is if you are so confident my reporting is wrong, why would you even need to attend the next board meeting to look for an answer? It sounds like you may have some doubt already. Follow that instinct instead of blindly believing everything is coming up roses.

      Like

  4. My question is for those who commented. When Kevin’s report is confirmed as the facts they are…. will you be apologizing?? I find it interesting that “Brian Wilson” would attack like this without looking into it further. My guess is that “Brian Wilson” is from the district or a board member.

    Like

  5. Kevin,
    I have not read your blog before until yesterday. Joe, my neighbor, forwarded me the link and basically said, “you have to read this.” I apologize for
    over reacting to your article. I did look at the state checkbook and Appo’s website. I did find it difficult to navigate the pages as I am not familiar with the codes and general wording as you appear to be. So now I dont know what to believe. I plan on writing the board members for an explanation. Not sure if they will respond. Have you had any contact with any of the board members? How could they all miss what you are saying? I tried calling District Office to speak to Superintendant and no one answered the call. They must take off Friday in the summertime. I guess the teachers get 3 months off so the district office people need the same extra vacation time on the taxpayers dime. I have to work 60 hours a week and I don’t get any comp time or overtime. Working for the state must be a walk in the park. Thanks again for flushing this out and let me know if the past year all adds up.

    Brian

    Like

    1. Very shortly after I wrote the artice, I did email the Superintendent (Matt Burrows), their CFO (Dr. Longfellow), and their PIO (Lillian Miles). Aside from the out-of-office reply indicating Burrows would be out of the office until 7/25 which also had in the title “potential spam” which indicates to me any emails I sent to him prior to this were marked as spam (even though the titles of my emails would have clearly indicated what the email was about and he clearly knew about my blog by that point). I have yet to hear from any board member or anyone from the district that could shed light on this matter.
      I don’t disparage teachers for taking off in the summer. Students get off too. Teachers, I believe, or at least they used to, have the option of getting paid the 9 or so months they work or get paid year round for a lesser amount. Having worked for little over a year as a para and a sub, I can understand why teachers need off in the summer to decompress. Hell, in Europe most of the continent takes off for the month of July!
      I will fully admit I didn’t understand education funding for a long time. It took me a long time to finally get it. I won’t profess to be a master, but I don’t think anyone is. Especially in Delaware where inconsistency seems to rule the day!

      Like

  6. Daisy,
    I work in PA and drive 2 1/2 hours each day. We moved here for the reputation of the schools. We wanted our children to get the best possible education because private education is not an option. I do not have any “ties” to the district. I do not have the time to commit being a board member. I do appreciate what they do, but I am troubled by Kevins report. See my previous post. I admit I was upset when I first read it, but following his logic I could not get the numbers to match either. I really hope it is something obvious we are missing. Just to think the amount of people it would take to pull this off is mindblowing.

    Brian

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s