Carney’s Pick Of Susan Bunting For DE Secretary Of Education May Not Be The Wisest Choice

Today, Delaware Governor-elect John Carney picked Indian River Superintendent Susan Bunting as the Delaware Secretary of Education when his term begins in January, 2017.  This is probably the worst choice he could make and it has the potential to become ripe with scandal.Yesterday, I received a letter in the mail from “IRSD Employees” with a ton of information not even hinted at in the audit investigation performed by Tom Wagner’s office last month.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves.  I contacted Carney’s Chief of Staff Doug Gramiak and his Communications Director Albert Shields.  No response was received from either of them even though I stressed the urgency of the matter.  I apologize for the quality of the pictures, but this was done very fast without the ability to improve them.

*Updated with better scans of the letter mailed to my home yesterday, 4:46pm.

 

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Carney announced Bunting as his pick about five minutes ago.  In the press release, he wrote the following:

“Susan is among the most knowledgeable educators in Delaware, and has committed her career to improving public education in our state, and doing what is best for Delaware students,” said Governor-elect Carney. “She will help us refocus the Department of Education as a support agency to help districts keep high-quality teachers in the classroom and better address the needs of their students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. I’m confident Susan is the right person for the job.”

I tried to warn Carney but it appears I was too late.  This is going to be a VERY bumpy ride and it does not bode well for education in Delaware…

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25 thoughts on “Carney’s Pick Of Susan Bunting For DE Secretary Of Education May Not Be The Wisest Choice

  1. Let me educate you and some of the obviously uneducated employees in the IRSD. All Career and Technical education teachers (CTE TEACHERS), school nurses and skilled and technical industry teachers are paid for their content area/private industry experience in addition to educational level. CTE and skilled and technical industry teachers include agriculture, nursing instructor, plumbing, electrician, construction, culinary, business, some graphic design/computer systems, etc.

    Although there are some districts that choose not to, Most Delaware districts pay for this private industry experience as years of experience on the teacher. This is permitted because the private industry experience is deemed necessary for the content area.

    All IRSD CTE teachers have been paid for their private industry years of experience in addition to their teaching years of experience for more than 20 years when this was permitted.

    As a point of clarification, Jeff Bunting is a business education teacher who is eligible for education and private industry years of experience. He was in private industry for 25 years before entering education through the alternative routes to certification program just like many of our CTE teachers so he was eligible for those years of experience just like his CTE colleagues. He also has a MASTERS plus 60 for education. Mr. Bunting is paid on the teacher scale just like his other CTE colleagues are also given credit for private industry experience and education.

    Shame on you and them for not getting the facts right but choosing to intimate improprieties.

    It is extremely intellectually lazy of district employees to take such a covert approach when, once again, they have bad information. Every employee’s information is public information. All they had to do was ask to see salaries, but I guess that would require these cowards to show their faces.

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  2. FYI, it is my understanding from a source in the district that the auditors reviewed Mr. Bunting’s salary in comparison to his CTE colleagues and found no improprieties, but I am sure you will fail to report that information.

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  3. The information was not “hinted” at because they were NO findings. Can you bother to report correct information and not innuendo?!?!

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    1. Mr. Hartzell, these are not my findings. This is what appeared in the letter sent to my home. Even if I didn’t get this letter, I still would have objected to Susan Bunting as the Secretary of Education for the $350 million dollar deficit Delaware.

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  4. So now you are blaming Dr. Bunting for the state of Delaware’s deficit. I did not know she had that much influence! Or, in the alternative, do you propose the dissolution of DOE as a whole?

    This letter certainly does NOT express the views of all employees of the district. If the cowards would come out of the shadows, I would tell them in person, but, alas, cowards will ALWAYS be cowards. It would have expected more research from you.

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    1. Now who is assuming things Jarvis? I don’t blame Bunting for Delaware’s huge, and mounting, deficit. But is it prudent for a new Governor to pick a Secretary of Education where financial prudence seemed to be swept under the table for a LONG time? The DOE is going to have to make some serious cuts in their education budget. Every department is. Sorry, I can’t picture Bunting as the captain of that ship. I don’t think any Delaware Senator should either.

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    2. I don’t find these employees to be cowards. Quite the opposite. We both know damn well if they publicly spoke about what they wrote exactly what would happen. Let’s not try to paint that picture any different here. All I did was post a letter. That doesn’t involve research. It involves scanning and cropping for size purposes.

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        1. HA! You don’t know me very well Jarvis. If it is personal in nature, of course not. But I very much believe this letter was sent to me because they KNEW I would make it a part of the public interest. So since you seem to know everything Jarvis, was this entire letter wrong and you have proof to refute all those concerns?

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          1. Fair enough on the personal. I have a lot of respect for that. There are parts that are wrong and misleading. I addressed some of that earlier. If these employees are protected by IREA and DSEA, they have recourse if they feel the district retaliated against them.

            I have heard that Char Hopkins has taken a job at Seaford School District and that her position will remain unfilled and those duties will be divided among current central office employees. Also, two current central office employees will be going out to schools in assistant principal positions. Currently, IRSD does not fill the following administrative positions to which the state of Delaware needs based unit count says the district is entitled: 1 assistant superintendent, 2 directors, 2 assistant principal positions, and 1 principal position. That information has been stated publicly.

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    1. Considering when I do a Google search under “Jarvis Hartzell” and “Delaware” and NOTHING comes up except six references to comments you made on this blog, I’ll take my chances… But for the sake of argument, I’ll take out “Delaware”. Nope, nada, nothing.

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  5. I will answer that this letter does not speak for me. I don’t think it speaks for many of my friends either. There is a part of the letter that I do agree with and that is that there are parts of central office that is top heavy. I have heard people complain about the administrator who handles homeless issues who has less to do than other administrators. I was told he travels from school to school throughout the day, hanging out with his friends. In fact, he will spend hours behind closed doors “chatting” when there is no meeting or no reason to be there. His favorite hangout seems to be the G.W. Carver school. My friends see him there several times in any given day. Does he get paid for mileage? The letter said there is a fleet car. Does he use it? Does he have a meeting more than one time a day?

    As the letter said, this is not a huge district. Are the concerned employees who created this letter worried about this potential waste of taxpayer money?

    Just some thoughts and questions from a newer IRSD employee.

    I appreciate that you allow opposing sides to be aired.

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  6. I actually don’t believe that this is from the employees at IRSD. I have heard more opposition, not from teachers, but from random people on FB. In fact, most of these “observations” in the letter sound more like random people in the district and not teachers, but hey, what do I know?

    Personally, I would not post this letter on my blog until more research is completed, but that is just me.

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  7. I do believe the letter was from IRSD employees. Yes, they may be protected by IRES and DSEA, however, that would not prevent those employees from being rejected from their co-workers and administrators.

    I am a life long resident of IRSD and know that the district has had many problems at the top level through the past several years. I am also one of the many tax payers in the district and get very tired of having to “foot the bill” for all the non-tax payers. The government says children are entitled to a Free Public education, however, education is only Free to those who don’t own property. There is a way that every one can pay their fair share if the school boards and the General Assembly would spend a little time on the matter and work on a solution. Its just easier to “stick” it to the tax payer.

    I have been doing a lot of research since the first referendum failed (which I voted NO). I believe the entire state of Delaware Department of Education needs a completed overhaul. Does anyone realize there are 280+ staff at the DOE alone. That’s one staff at DOE for every 5 educational staff within the IRSD district.

    Talk about Top Heavy, I believe 280+ staff at DOE is excessive and reform needs to start there and work its way down. Also, NO referendums should be brought out for public vote in any Delaware School District until reform is completed at the very top.

    When the IRSD referendum comes back up March 2, I will vote NO again.

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  8. Susan Bunting’s letter to the teachers says it all. As does the districts policy for the supt. of schools. She is responsible for every aspect of the operation of the school district. She restates this very fact in her letter. Failure to do this in the Miller situation is called “negligence”. Then placing “glowing evaluations” in Millers file, as reported by Wagner, is called “incompetence” or “misconduct in office”. We don’t know who signed those evaluation….but we do know the only employee who out ranks him was the superintendent…
    Also Susan repeats the false statement that the school board president made in the Coastal Point recently…i.e. that only the Attn. Gen. can take legal action against Miller. Surely the Secy of Ed. to be has heard of a civil suit! Maybe there was a secret deal to allow Miller to resign in exchange for a promise not to take any legal action as a board of ed? Surely the Senate will want to ask these questions in her confirmation hearings.

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  9. Mr. Elder,

    As an employee in the district, I was disappointed with the findings of the audit. At the same time, I know that Dr. Susan Bunting will move this state forward as the Secretary of Education. I am sure Dr. Bunting would have done some things differently, but she is human like everyone else, and, in the end, puts kids first. I am sure the legislators will agree. Governor Carney believes in her. With his extensive local, state and federal experience and perspective, he believes in Dr. Bunting. Do you believe that you know better than our governor?

    I do have some questions and observations for you:

    I understand that Mr. Miller retired, not resigned. Delaware law does not stop or garnish a retiree’s pension so Mr. Miller’s retirement. It would be illegal for the state to do so. At least that is what I have been told. As a former union employee in both Maryland and Delaware, shouldn’t you understand the difference?

    In your previous positions, did you ever see people make mistakes? I think you probably spent your career arguing that they do make mistakes and that they should be given a second chance?

    Why do you dislike Susan Bunting so much? What has she ever done to you?

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  10. Mr. Elder,

    Don’t you think it is smarter for the school board members to wait for the criminal side to be determined before any civil actions?

    My law enforcement relatives tell me that. Would you agree or disagree?

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