Susan Bunting meets with some interesting people. Get a peek at who and some of the inner workings of her world at the Delaware Department of Education! Continue reading
Last night, I wrote about how Delaware Secretary of Education and Brandywine Superintendent Dr. Mark Holodick broke the law by brokering a Memorandum of Understand with the Buccini-Pollen Group. It turns out Bunting and the Delaware Department of Education snuck in a “Secretary-Only” regulation which means the State Board of Education did not have to vote on it.
Regulation 415, which covers Voluntary School Assessments was never even brought up by the State Board of Education in their meetings. They always put Secretary-Only regulations as a topic on their agendas, even if they don’t vote on them.
Bunting and Holodick still broke the law with the MOU because the Regulation wasn’t finalized until Mid-September of this year. They acted in haste for some reason and finalized their own MOU in anticipation of the Regulation. They made a huge mistake with that MOU and they should be held accountable.
How did Susan Bunting amass so much power in less than two years? Why is she abusing that authority to the best of her ability? Why isn’t she being held accountable for her decade-long knowledge of Patrick Miller’s theft of funds in Indian River School District? These are very dark days at the Delaware DOE. Led by a woman with the morality of a snake.
Our Delaware General Assembly needs to change the way regulations happen in this state. That is where a ton of shady stuff goes down. We have too many state agencies that circumvent the Delaware General Assembly and do what they damn well please! Enough! They also need to bring down the authority of the Secretary of Education in Delaware. There is far too much the Secretary can do as one person without any true meaningful public input.
This guest post is brought to you by Walden:
Let’s speak candidly. My bones do not rattle. I do not quake in my boots. But, my blood still curdles when officials – in a juvenile show of power – abuse Delaware’s Justice System and those departments that represent the students and parents who may find themselves manufactured into that system.
Your behavior is reprehensible. It sends a very disconcerting message to those you have been appointed to serve. Yes, you may serve at the pleasure of the Governor, but your service is to the citizens of this state. Even the scruffy guy, in a hat and glasses reading the newspaper in the lobby of public building. Yes, even these genres of citizens have rights. That you wasted the time of the Capitol Police and the tax dollars that pay them as part of a self-aggrandizing chess game is reprehensible.
You are no better than the districts and charters who knowingly abuse DYFS to intimidate parents. Tired of dealing with a contentious parent? Play the DYFS card – fabricate abuse and neglect accusations. The ignorant result of filing nuisance claims designed to bury families in fear and intimidation, is that you are directing resources away from children who truly are abused and neglected. Draining our already underpaid and overworked child protection system is the classic Delaware Way. Yet, the “look what we can do to you” approach does not work with the most dogged of advocates. Your spin on the classic strategy did not work. Now, I’ve long felt that those who lie to state agencies that result in the wasting of funds should be prosecuted in the same manner the Attorney General prosecutes those who make false police reports. It’s a pity that there isn’t parity between classes. Sadly, your indictment will not come from the judicial system, but from the unbridled public.
The evidence will speak for itself. You work in the Townsend Building. Mr. Ohlandt is not “just” a blogger, his work has propelled him into the field of freelance reporting. He visits the Townsend building on a regular basis. The doors to this building are unlocked to allow public access. He legally entered this public building often to attend the same meetings you attend. He took a seat in the public lobby. The lobby had a couch and some chairs, even a floor to rest his weary feet upon. He sat down to read the paper while he strategized how to ask that next question. He cordially greeted your PIO. Under the reasonable person standard, it’s clear that Mr. Ohlandt’s actions did not rise to the manner of committing a crime. You can’t call a guy you know, a guy whose face is broadcast across the banner of his exceptionally popular blog, a guy whose work has been picked up by national education expert Diane Ravitch, a suspicious person and reasonably think it won’t go unnoticed or unreported. You can’t make a false police report. In fact, the response was so disproportionate and unprofessional it has called into question your own conduct.
I realize you rule Title 14. I’d like to introduce you to Title 11, Chapter 5:
B.Abuse of Office
- 1211 Official misconduct; class A misdemeanor.
A public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, intending to obtain a personal benefit or to cause harm to another person:
(1) The public servant commits an act constituting an unauthorized exercise of official functions, knowing that the act is unauthorized; or
(2) The public servant knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of the office; or
(3) The public servant performs official functions in a way intended to benefit the public servant’s own property or financial interests under circumstances in which the public servant’s actions would not have been reasonably justified in consideration of the factors which ought to have been taken into account in performing official functions; or
(4) The public servant knowingly performs official functions in a way intended to practice discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, handicapped status or national origin.
Official misconduct is a class A misdemeanor.
I strongly suggest rereading (3) and compare your fact pattern. Using your office, you contacted the capitol police to investigate a suspicious person. You report a person that you know by name and sight as a “suspicious person.” Harmless? No. Your suspicious person is an investigative journalist, whether by accident, training or both, who has unearthed and published a crypt of evidence that paints a picture of you committing malfeasance during your tenure as superintendent of the Indian River School District. The work Mr. Ohlandt has completed thus far has likely imperiled your own financial interests. Your behavior leads one to question, what else is Susan Bunting hiding? How close is Mr. Ohlandt to ground zero?
Oh Susan, I do believe you have Murphy’d yourself. Your incredulous behavior, your lack of decorum, your total disregard for open government, your absolute pig-headedness obliterated any last standing of respect held by others for you. Though I am certain you received quite a few pats upon the back in the wake of your suspicious person report, I can assure that as each left them room or rested he phone on its cradle your supporters had one shared continence… a smirk, of the kind those try to hide when they realize has crossed the line. Trust that those who where so quick to offer support did so not because you Murphy’d Kevin Ohlandt. But, because you Murphy’d yourself and your head is so far into the sand you made a politically and legally disastrous decision.
Yes, Susan, Delawareans on Thursday had a new word in their vocabulary. “Murphy’d,” as in your behavior was equal to or more atrocious than that of Mark Murphy. Even Markell came to understand Murphy was completely incompetent for the position of head Arse in Education so much so that he manufactured Murphy’s early exit from the state’s top education post. Today, stand tall as you are no better nor more competent as Secretary of Education than the gym teacher that faded into oblivion.
Truly, I am saddened for you. When you play games with bloggers, you detract from the work at hand – maligning the Christina School District, as has been a constant goal of your Department for nearly two decades, the blindness upon which you look upon your charters, and vile satisfaction your department receives for the constant de-stabilization of our lowest performing 5% of schools as measured by a pathetic test that does nothing more than determine which student is poor and which student is disabled. Spare the re-education. I received the mailer. It will make good kindling in the fall. It will not however provide stability to those who need it most.
Oh Susan, what have you done? You legitimized Kevin Ohlandt. Something none before you have dared to do. You took baby out of the corner and made her do the lift. You invited the monster under the bed to lunch. You rewarded the jackass that de-stabilized the interstate by heaping tons of dirt next to the foundation that resulted in a literal traffic disaster for the entire Northeast. You made Jack Markell look…successful. You jacked Skip. You put a game of tit for tat before your job – the education of Delaware’s students.
You Murphy’d yourself. And that is how you will be remembered. News cycles may be short. New verbs, they tend to last a long time. Just ask parents what it means to be Baker-acted.
Walden is a highly opinionated investigative writer that uses a pseudonym to protect its children and family from retribution.
“Tell the truth, or someone will tell it for you.”
― Stephanie Klein, Straight Up and Dirty
Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting called the police on me today for sitting in the PUBLIC LOBBY of the Townsend Building! Continue reading
In February of 2017, during the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center crisis, a Delaware Department of Education employee working as a Prison Education Teacher gave information to the News Journal about the situation. The next month, Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting fired him for “misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty” according to public court documents. Continue reading
Over the past few weeks, I’ve written several articles about Patrick Miller and Dr. Susan Bunting. As sources continue to give me more information, the news from Governor Carney and the Delaware Department of Education in response to this have been non-existent. Half the state knows about this but the state agencies involved with this are on mute. Continue reading
The former Superintendent of Indian River School District who is now the Delaware Secretary of Education, Dr. Susan Bunting, was well aware Patrick Miller, the former Indian River Chief Financial Officer, was stealing money. Despite telling the Auditor of Account’s office, Delaware media, and the staff of Indian River that she was shocked and had no clue about what Miller was doing, she knew. In fact, she knew going back to at least 2008. Continue reading
As part of their audit investigation with the State Auditor, the Superintendent of Indian River School District and the Director of Personnel told the Auditor of Account’s Office there had never been any formal complaints against their former Chief Financial Officer, Patrick Miller. They lied. Warning: some of the language used by Patrick Miller in the parent’s complaint is NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Continue reading
It is time the people spoke up and emailed Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting!
The match tax saga continues! On August 4th, a bunch of Delaware legislators sent Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting a letter regarding the proposed plan for the match tax. Bunting’s response shows no sign of bending from the original plan. While Bunting believes this is a win-win for districts based on other exclusions to the local funding formula, only one district seems to make a windfall from them. And believe it or not, that district is Christina.
Below are the letter sent to legislators from Bunting, the new “procedure” for charter and choice payments, and a breakdown of the changes and how they financially impact the districts.
For Red Clay, they are taking a $124,000 loss based on this plan. I would love to know what the ten “newly approved categories” are for exclusions on the charter bill. It looks like the districts that are getting the biggest hits are Capital, Red Clay, and Smyrna. While some may laugh at those figures, remember, that could be an extra teacher. Or a paraprofessional. In your child’s class. Notice how Bunting did not provide a summary of how MUCH the charters are going to get from this. Add in their should be illegal charter school transportation slush fund, and it adds up to a lot of money! Cause that first number of $828,465.11? That will more than double in two years. So all those schools that currently show a surplus of funds will see that evaporate. Meanwhile, the charters will just get more and more money.
This is how the Delaware DOE works. They try to make crap look like gold. They compare things that aren’t always related and say “Look, it isn’t as bad as you thought!” They do the same thing with standardized test scores. I fail to see Bunting’s justification for doing this with the match tax. If you agree, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know you do not support this match tax scheme. As pretty as that picture may look, it will be uglier next year and the year after when those first numbers go deeper in the red. The plan is to reduce the match tax exclusion to nothing by the 2019-2020 school year. Bunting has until September 1st to make a final decision on this. Let’s make some noise!
Some issues I see with the timetable on this stem around the budgetary process that goes down each year. School districts and charters are subject to the final passage of the budget bill. This doesn’t typically happen until June 30th/July 1st each year. At that point, all the business managers have to figure out what it all means. That is not an easy task, whether it is a district or charter. So for the DOE to say they want any meetings scheduled with them by June 15th is ludicrous in my opinion. They should wait until all the business managers have time to see what the final budget does to their own budget first.
At the Christina School District Board of Education meeting two weeks ago, Chief Financial Officer Robert Silber gave insight to a very interesting meeting at the Delaware Department of Education concerning the recent decision to give Delaware charter schools a portion of match tax funds through the local funding formula. Silber’s description of Delaware Secretary Education Dr. Susan Bunting’s reaction during this meeting was surprising.
The memo that they also sent to districts said that due to the uncertainties associated with the budget, we’re holding off on a determination of match dollars until legislators made a determination around how the proposed reductions were going to occur. They didn’t want, as they expressed it to us, they didn’t want to make a decision in advance that may have been different based upon the budget (state) for this year since there were a lot of talk legislatively around match tax. The Department then came out with a position statement that said they believe match taxes are operating expenses and as an operating expense should be included. District business managers then turned as a group and said to the Department, as part of the process, that we would like to have a meeting to discuss that. That meeting occurred last Thursday (August 3rd) and I would say that the Secretary and a member of her staff were there, listening. But there was no decision rendered at that meeting and we have not seen anything since that point in time to know whether or not they listened to our concerns. One of the concerns that we expressed, and is probably the easiest one for me to grasp around, is that when you take a look at the various match components that exist, one of those matches is for reading resources. Reading resource teachers are, by the definition of the dollars enabling legislation to begin with, was very specifically targeted to elementary schools. So we posed the question to the Secretary, once these dollars go into the formula, those same dollars are going to a high school. It doesn’t make logical sense and we asked that be considered. She’s considering it.
Come on Dr. Bunting! As someone who comes from a traditional school district, you know how this stuff works. Charters lobby for more money, whether it is justified or not. Just because they want it doesn’t mean it is right. I get that everyone wants a piece of the funding pie but sometimes the taste isn’t so palatable. Don’t give in to this Bunting! We live in a state where charters are able to keep their excess transportation funds. It is VERY hypocritical for the Department of Education to give in to the charters while that anomaly exists. We need a Secretary who will stand up to these freakish money requests from the charters and do what is right! We need a home run here, not a bunt!