Updated, 3:15pm: The meeting at 7pm tonight is a regular meeting for parents. But the DAPSS’ board is meeting from 5-7pm where they are expected to go into executive session. Here is the deal though- if more than half of those board members stick around for the parent meeting, it MUST be declared a public meeting and they MUST put up an agenda for it. Circumstances do allow for special or emergency board meetings, but they have to call it such and follow the appropriate steps.
Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security is holding a special board meeting tonight. They are inviting all parents and students to attend. That isn’t normal. What is the crisis at the charter school now?
Herb Sheldon and Tara Williams were placed on leave a week into the new school year. They no longer appear on the website for the school so it seems they are no longer employed there. I reported Sheldon was enrolling “ghost students” at the school. These students did not show up elsewhere on the state attendance system because they moved out of state or attended private schools. In Delaware, schools get their funding based on their student count.
Last fall, the Delaware Department of Education conducted an unannounced unit count at the school which led to their formal review and probation earlier this year. As part of that probation, the school must surrender their charter to the Delaware DOE and have Colonial School District become their authorizer. Either way, the Delaware DOE will not be involved with the school after this school year as a charter authorizer. If Colonial backs out, the school will no longer exist after June 30th, 2019.
For the school to announce an emergency board meeting on the heels of this is unprecedented. What is so important they are inviting all parents and students to attend? Is Colonial backing out? Will action be taken against the school again over the shady enrollments? Or is it something else?
There has been significant police presence on the campus this year, more than ever. Reports of fighting among students have dramatically increased this year. Teachers have been injured. One long-time teacher has been out over a week due to injuries sustained trying to break up a fight. While fighting is a situation that occurs at any American high school, the number of incidents is higher in the past month.
The new Head of School, Margie Lopez-Waite, is hardly ever there. She splits her time between Las Americas ASPIRA and DAPSS as she is the Head of School for both. It has become obvious Lopez-Waite bit off more than she could chew with DAPSS. While her intentions may have been noble, to save a school, she can’t commit full-time to DAPSS because of her obligations to ASPIRA.
The following message was sent to families about the meeting tonight. If they get a crowd like they did last May, expect fireworks. At that meeting, public comment ran for over an hour as frustrated parents and staff voiced their displeasure at the lack of transparency and rumors circulating about planned changes at the school. I would love to know what the “recent events” are.
DAPSS Info: Important message to DAPSS families. Please be advised that we will be having an important school meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, September 25th at 7pm in the multi-purpose room. We apologize for the short notice but it could not be avoided due to recent events. Please make every effort to attend this important meeting with or without your cadet. We will send a follow up message after the meeting for those not able to attend in person. If you have any questions, you can call the school at 302-322-6050.