Last weekend, I reported Governor Carney nominated three new State Board of Education members and also nominated existing member Dr. Audrey Noble for President of the board. Due to health reason, Noble asked to be withdrawn from consideration. Instead, one of the three new State Board members Carney nominated was confirmed as the President yesterday.
Whitney Townsend Sweeney is the new President of the State Board of Education. As I reported the other day, Sweeney is an Investment Director at Schroders. She is a University of Delaware graduate and served on the Delaware Financial Literacy Institute. I don’t see much in terms of education background with Sweeney based on her LinkedIn profile. This will be interesting to see.
She will replace outgoing State Board President Dr. Dennis Loftus who resigned this month. As well, the two other nominees were confirmed by the Delaware Senate yesterday. They are former State Rep. Vincent Lofink and Candice Fifer. I look forward to meeting all three.
The General Assembly website does not indicate when Noble’s nomination for State Board President was withdrawn but shows it was introduced on 6/22/2018.
Two bills closely tied with public education passed in the Delaware House of Representatives today which clears them through the General Assembly and await Governor Carney’s signature. Another bill passed but goes back to the Senate due to an amendment.
Senate Bill #234, which gives the Delaware Secretary of Education the ability to suspend a teacher’s credentials due to an arrest from abuse or other egregious crimes, passed the House with a 41-0 vote. As written in the synopsis of the bill, this will… “include situations involving felony crimes against children or where there is a clear and immediate danger to student safety or welfare“.
Senate Bill #242, which will establish Pay for Success programs in Delaware passed with 39 yes, 1 no, and 1 absent. The sole no vote belonged to State Rep. Rich Collins. An amendment placed on the bill in the Delaware Senate would create a working group to explore how Pay For Success would be implemented in public education, both early childhood education and K-12 education. I am still torn on Pay For Success but this would allow some time for the Working Group to really take a look at how this would work to make sure it didn’t conflict with existing federal laws (such as IDEA) and to set up parameters. Pay For Success is where an outside investor would come in, pitch a program with measurable outcomes, and if approved, would set out on this program. If the program works with those outcomes, the State would pay the company back. If it doesn’t, they wouldn’t. The bill sets up Pay For Success for all state agencies.
Senate Bill #172, which is meant to increase the transparency of education funds, passed the House but an amendment clarifying some language on the bill which causes it to go back to the Senate for a final vote (provided they don’t put any amendments on it). That bill passed in the House with 41 yes votes.
On the Senate side, they passed House Bill #268 which deals with Senior property tax credits, but due to an amendment placed on the bill in the Senate, it will go back to the House.
Finally, Delaware Governor John Carney signed both the budget bill and a bill giving one-time bonuses to state employees and retirees. Both the Bond bill and the Grant-In-Aid bill will come up for a vote on the last day of the Delaware General Assembly, Saturday June 30th.