Breaking News: State Bullies Christina Into MOU That Breaks The Law!

Christina/Carney MOU

Governor Carney and the Delaware Department of Education almost had us.  They were THIS close.  In another 24 hours or so they could have gotten away with it.  Their plan to completely evaporate the Christina School District Wilmington student population will depend on the vote at the Christina Board meeting tomorrow night.  But they NEVER told us about the loophole.  Does a Memorandum of Understanding give a state Governor the power to “waive” a law?  I think not!

The kicker to all this is buried in Delaware state code.  Title 14, §504A, under “Powers”:

(6) Contract with any school district, or any other public school or private nonsectarian, nonreligious entity also empowered to enter into contracts, for any and all real property, equipment, goods, supplies and services; provided, that a school district must make unused buildings or space (defined as space no longer needed, permanently or temporarily, for non-charter school purposes) buildings or space in buildings available to a charter school, and shall bargain in good faith over the cost of rent, services and maintenance related to such space;

So what does this have to do with the MOU between Christina, the Delaware DOE, and Governor Carney’s office?  A whole heck of a lot!  Under the MOU plan, Elbert-Palmer and Pulaski would close down.  The property would be owned by Christina.  The MOU gives clear understanding of what Christina could do with those buildings- work with the community and Christina would have authority over those buildings.  But an MOU is NOT embedded in state code.  The above section from Title 14 is.

So is this the game plan?  Christina signs the MOU and the Wilmington schools consolidate.  Under state code, if a charter school wanted to occupy those buildings, they could.  So here comes a new charter in Wilmington, ready to invade the Christina School District population once again, thus swiping more students from the brand-spanking newly renovated schools.  Then that building empties out.  Now the charters have dibs on another, and so on and so forth.  Pretty nifty plan!  No more Wilmington kids in those Christina schools.

Unless Governor Carney convinces the General Assembly to reconvene in the next 24 hours and change the law.  Too bad they are on recess while the Joint Finance Committee has all those budget hearings.

It was a nice gambit Governor.  You came very close.  I pray the Christina Board wises up very fast.  Anyone planning on voting yes for this may as well resign from the board and get on the board of the Delaware Charter School Network.  Because word on the street is they have recently been complaining about, you guessed it, their ability to use empty school district buildings.

Greg Meece, the Head of School over at Newark Charter School, stated in a public forum last Spring that he would love to open up a Wilmington Newark Charter School so he could spread the magic into the city.  You may get your wish if the Christina Board votes in favor of the law-breaking MOU tomorrow night.

If you plan on attending this meeting tomorrow night, please bring popcorn.  I have no doubt I will bring some Entenmann’s Chocolate Chip Cookies because that’s how I roll.  7pm, Sarah Pyle Academy, Wilmington.  This is education theater!

8 thoughts on “Breaking News: State Bullies Christina Into MOU That Breaks The Law!

  1. The end of the Choice concept. Keep it affordable or go private. The whim of Charter creators or students that wish to travel outside their local school should not be the taxpayer’s problem. The State is no longer paying the tab for busing, so local should be just fine. Vo-Te
    cs, potentially, serve the Public by training high-grade technicians (like duPont techs) that will attract future tech employers, to share the tax load. Some Charters could join the Public Vo-Tec system, the academic Charters should be absorbed into and uplift the Public school system that supposedly has Public oversight.

    Wilmington East side students should merge into Brandywine and Colonial to keep it local until a Wilmington School District is re-established. A quality Public education for all, any objections- go Private!


  2. Please explain the true nature of the MOU complaint.
    The MOU attempts to consolidate underutilized buildings and staff. Secondarily it attempts to address academic deficiencies which are really beyond the staff’s control in this placated environment.

    1. Non-contiguous district is counter intuitive for Wilmington students and suburban students alike.
    2. Non-contiguous district is financially taxing due to the required transportation/facilities/ staff and lack of equally supporting tax bases in addition to the differential concentrations of high needs children.
    3. Non-contiguous district pits dissimilar groups against one another by forcing ideological and behavioral differences into direct conflict. While all want good education, how it is supported, what is expected, and who pays for it are paramount to whether it is successful.

    If vacant buildings are then available for potential Charter use, why is that concerning? The schools could be sold or rented at a benefit to the district. Why would students and parents vacate their known school for completely unknown charters? This belies an unrecognized belief that our public schools are incapable of providing the necessary services entrusted to them and parents would then vacate to the great unknown. Is that the belief and logic for the argument posed above?:
    “So here comes a new charter in Wilmington, ready to invade the Christina School District population once again, thus swiping more students from the brand-spanking newly renovated schools.”

    Strange use of words to describe attempts to address educational need: “invade” “swiping”

    Is it the belief that if offered a choice, parents would ‘choose’ their children’s school differently. If so, then logic would dictate that the traditional schools need to address the problems rather than let them perpetuate.

    Hasn’t Christina offered to accept charter school applications? If the Wilmington section of the Christina district were to become primarily, district managed charter schools, wouldn’t that be a good thing for the district to provide better choices for its residents?

    Understanding what the real complaint is, is paramount to understanding how to address the MOU. The non-contiguous district, its costs, its failures and its conflicts are the complaints. Perhaps the district concern is really that its ineffectiveness and inability address root problems will be more prominently displayed. From a different vantage point, if charters and consolidated Wilmington schools were beneficial to Christina’s bottom line, wouldn’t that enable Christina to be in a better financial position to address their other school issues? The city and state will inevitably have to contribute more money as it directly affects their populations in Wilmington. They already charge a city wage tax for the ‘privilege’ of working in Wilmington, why can’t some of that money help pay for it’s residents’ children?


    1. Why is it our job to educate you? All your questions would be answered if you bothered to learn about it instead of using your logic without knowing the rules of the universe you’re deploying that logic in.

      If you understood the state funding system you would understand where the problem lies and solutions would suggest themselves to your logical mind. But without that crucial information your logic doesn’t apply here.

      C’mon, this is education. Do your homework.


      1. Well Alby, if it was so obvious then it should be very easy to solve right?? Wait, no one has been able to solve the ‘obvious’ because they are unwilling to do what needs to be done. I didn’t create the school funding criteria. Educational professionals and legislators did. Wait, it doesn’t work- Surprise! Maybe the homework that’s needed are facts rather than ‘wishes’. If ‘Weighted’ funding is one of your ‘logical solutions’, it has NOT been proven to accomplish what it claims it will do. PERIOD. Weighted funding does not consistently or substantially improve academic performance.

        These rules of which you speak, would these be the same ones which have produced school districts and schools with 3~5% pass rates? If so, I’d say without a shadow of a doubt, the rules aren’t working. Residents shouldn’t have to be legislators to comprehend funding formulas for why their children’s schools aren’t performing.

        Are you inferring that the educational money that is supposed to follow a child (to a charter) is a problem for traditional districts? Isn’t that same money being supplied to the district that is returning a 3~5% pass rate? Why on earth, or the universe, would a parent want to send their child to a different, non traditional school when the results in the traditional school are so ‘impressive’. In your universe it may be impressive. In your universe my logic is flawed. In my universe, the funding formula created by educational and legislator ‘wonks’ is meaningless because the results aren’t there. In my universe and in my logic the schools should be providing acceptable education. 5~30% pass rates on MINIMUM competency tests is not acceptable. What funding formula and what degree in finance is needed to comprehend why parents aren’t getting their money’s worth?

        Alby, if you have honest answers to any of my questions, I’m all ears. You’ve provided nothing in response to why making vacant school buildings available to charters is detrimental to the finances of the district. You’ve provided nothing to contradict my claim that a non-contiguous district, burdens the district financially. You’ve made no comment contradicting the facts that Christina city schools are not performing well due current geographical inconsistencies. In other words, if you don’t want to contribute or provide ‘crucial’ information then please don’t waste time attacking me. The MOU is an attempt to consolidate schools that are underutilized and performing badly. In my universe, that will immediately save the district some money and allow staff to utilize resources more easily because they will be under the same roof. That’s all. It doesn’t fix social constructs in Wilmington. No teacher or administrator can ‘fix’ a student’s home life.


  3. Christiana is non-contiguous to Wilmington’s Eastside, Red Clay is also non-contiguous due to the natural barrier of the Christina and the absurdity of having to cross thru the heart of the City. Only Brandywine and Colonial fit the bill. Wilmington wants its district back and it is necessary for the two districts to step up and the State to focus on district creation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What would christiana have done any different? the same thing theyve been doing for the last 10 years? thats worked well. this plan will only be in place for the next 3 years till the new governor/secretary of ed comes along and decides there is a better mouse trap

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Arthur, a lot of what Carney wants CSD did under Waste to the Top. Longer school days/years. The only difference I can see is that there is conjecture about smaller classrooms. However, I can’t fathom how the two schools that will be converted into k8’s while creating more classroom space for the new smaller classes. Or did I dream that one? Also, Bayard had a massive reno about 10 years back to make it into a middle school. Now, we have reno it backwards. I’m getting tired of reconfiguring buildings on the whim of politicians who don’t understand education and turn a blind eye to poverty. If parents want their kids at Eastside, sobeit. We shouldn’t punish the district because parents are using their law-provided “choice.” I am so tired of hearing how Christina is failing the city. How the city needs its own district. How it should be absorbed into District XYZ. I think it’s time for Newark to cede from the Christina School District – leave it where it’s headquartered in Wilmington – and let Newark create its own again. That may sound harsh, but it’s no harsher than expecting teachers to remediate in 6 hours what happens during the other 18 hours of a child’s day. Don’t claim re-segregation. Neighborhood schools did that for us.
      You claim to care, Carney, but do you LISTEN?


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.