Travelling to Sussex County, the Cape Henlopen School District is a very unique district. The taxpayers in Cape Henlopen pass referenda at a much higher rate than most districts in Delaware. This is considered to be a wealthier district in the state. Their student count has gone up by about 600 students over the past four years. Cape doesn’t have as many schools and their student count is significantly lower than, say, Caesar Rodney. Yet they have more administrators with less students and less buildings. This is, in large part, due to the fact that the taxpayers are more willing to pass referendum which establishes local funding for school districts. With that being said, they have two less administrators making over $100,000 than they did four years ago. Continue reading “Cape Henlopen School District Salaries Over $100,000”
While this was not a whole-scale investigation like some recent district or charter school audit reports, the Auditor of Account’s report on the Statewide Unit-Count Agreed Upon Procedure between the Cape Henlopen School District and the Delaware Department of Education did show some flaws in the system. State Auditor Tom Wagner released the report today.
Out of the five schools that were selected for the audit, representing audits of 114 students, six students were included in the unit count that should not have been, two from Milton Elementary School and four from the Sussex Consortium. As well, all five of the schools did not properly maintain their official Unit Count file as required by state law. The Auditor has no capability or authority to mete out any consequences to the district. But the report is sent to the Offices of the Governor, Attorney General, Controller General, and the Office of Management and Budget.
A recent due process hearing in Delaware, filed by the parents of a child with a mood disorder, gave an example of the first thing parents should not do with special education. The due process hearing was against the Cape Henlopen School District. The parents claimed the district did not fulfill their obligation under IDEA with manifestation determination. The case also showed a glaring flaw with special education law in the Delaware code, one I hope a legislator picks up on in the 149th General Assembly beginning in January. Or if a very brave soul with a great deal of tenacity picks up the baton and literally runs for their life during the last two days of the 148th General Assembly and miraculously gets a law like this passed in the next two days, that would be a true miracle. What did the parents do that ultimately caused a dismissal of the case? Continue reading “Delaware Special Education Due Process Hearing Showcases What Rights A Parent Should NEVER Give Up”
The Cape Henlopen School District Board of Education will hold a board meeting tonight to vote on proposals that will change the enrollment patterns of their elementary and middle schools in the fall of 2017. A new elementary school called Love Creek will be built by then and the board recognized this will change the boundaries for which students go to which schools.
At issue with many parents is what happens with Richard Shields Elementary School if they go with one of the proposals. After six proposals have been presented, the Superintendent is leaning towards Proposal F, but the board prefers the newer Proposals G, shown in the below document. The Board feels the greatest priority should be having a balance of low-income children in each of their schools. Currently, Shields has a population of 27% low-income students, but with the proposed changes that could increase that level to 42%. Love Creek, the new school, would have a 26% low-income population. Many parents felt the priorities should be students attending schools closest to their homes and how the changes would affect families in the district. Parents are concerned about changes in school climate, similar to what happened at Skyline Middle School in the Red Clay Consolidated School District this year. They also feel that forced busing is not the way to go. Other parents I spoke with were okay with the changes and feel there should be more equity between the schools in the district. While not official, the students who have been choiced to a school already will be allowed to stay, but if a student is moved through the reorganization they will not be allowed to move back to their original school through choice.
As per the Delaware Dept. of Education website, Cape Henlopen as a whole had 5,170 students as of their September 30th count.
The board meeting tonight will be held at Beacon Middle School at 6pm which could decide the schools 2,600 students go to in the Cape Henlopen School District. 185 students have been choiced by their parents within the district while 273 students from other districts were choiced into Cape Henlopen. For their race and ethnicity profiles, 66.7% of Cape students are white, 14.3% are Hispanic/Latino, 13.7% are African-American, and the other almost 6% are either a multi-racial, Asian or American Indian. For the 2014-2015 school year, the average district expenditure per pupil was $15,254.
For their elementary schools, the DOE profiles (which are based on the September 30th counts) look like this currently:
Brittingham: 41.1% white, 31.7% Hispanic/Latino, 21.1% African-American, 57.4% low-income, 15.4% English Language learners, and 12.5% special education
Milton: 72.6% white, 11.4% Hispanic/Latino, 11.7% African-American, 30.2% low-income, 5.1% English Language learners, and 14.7% special education
Rehoboth: 75.5% white, 10.3% Hispanic/Latino, 9.3% African-American, 34.7% low-income, 5.3% English Language learners, and 9.5% special education
Shields: 71% white, 10.2% Hispanic/Latino, 8.5% African-American, 23.7% low-income, 3% English Language learners, and 8.7% special education
This is an important message for ALL Cape Henlopen School District parents: You need to opt your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. If they started already, do not let them take one more second of this test. Refuse The Test! The Network of Public Education is calling for a National Opt Out of these high-stakes tests. They aren’t effective at all, and everyone knows it. These tests are being used for nefarious purposes. Do not believe the lies coming out of Governor Markell and the Delaware Department of Education. They care more about corporate profit than your child. It doesn’t matter if your kid is smart. It doesn’t matter if you are Democrat or Republican. What matters is your child, and their education. This is not education. It is a mockery of education.
Please give the principal of your child’s school a letter on Monday morning indicating you are opting your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Let the school know you want your child to receive academic instruction while the other kids are taking the test. If they tell you that you can’t opt your child out, look them in the eye and say “Yes I can, and if you make my child take this test I will call the police.” To get support from other parents, please join the Cape Henlopen Opt Out page.
I can’t forget the third referendum that took place today. Down in Sussex County, a wide majority of voters agreed for increased taxes for the Cape Henlopen School District. While this referendum was under the radar in Delaware media, I am quite sure it was important to the folks down in this district. Congratulations Cape Henlopen!