The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission will hold their next meeting on Tuesday, February 28th. On the agenda is an appearance by none other than Delaware Governor John Carney and Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting. This will be interesting!
This week, Carney gutted a proposed weighted funding formula for the FY2018 state budget stating there is no money for it. WEIC doesn’t work at all if the money isn’t in that budget either. The state is facing a $350-$400 million dollar budget deficit. In November, WEIC Chair Tony Allen publicly announced that if WEIC doesn’t go through he can foresee some type of legal action against the State of Delaware. Interestingly enough, WEIC member Meredith Griffin filed today to run for the Christina School District Board of Education for the election in May. That sets up that election for a four-person race with still another week to file for potential candidates. This week, issues of race and due process came up in Red Clay stemming from an incident at a basketball game between A.I. DuPont High School and Delaware Military Academy. Carney and Bunting are getting an hour to talk. That is actually a long time. I can’t say if I’ve ever heard Carney talk about education that long. I don’t know if all of these issues will come up at the meeting, but this meeting comes at a very interesting time. This will also be a big moment for Secretary Bunting as she is new in office and will be tasked with restricting the Delaware Dept. of Education.
WEIC and it’s earlier incarnation, WEAC, have been around for two and a half years. Eventually, WEIC presented a plan to send Christina Wilmington students to Red Clay along with several other initiatives throughout the state to improve education for high-needs students. After a long and drawn-out battle with the State Board of Education, WEIC’s plan turned into legislation. That legislation failed to pass in the Delaware Senate. New legislation extended the planning period for another year. But with this year’s budget deficit looking dismal, will WEIC get the bypass again? If it does, what will folks like Tony Allen and Jea Street’s next move be?
This could be a crowded meeting. Get there early. And what is up with five minutes of public comment? They may want to stretch that out!