After seeing the stunts pulled by the Earl Jaques with House Bill 186, the Academy of Dover State Auditor report, and the very deliberate attempts by the Delaware Charter Schools Network to kill the bill, I decided to start digging into charter school board minutes yesterday which is how I found out the information on Odyssey Charter and Thomas Edison Charter School. By the time I published that information, I was pretty livid and disgusted, so I emailed the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate to get both House Bill 186 AND House Bill 61. This is what I wrote:
Good Evening Rep. Schwartzkopf and Senator Blevins,
I wrote two articles on Exceptional Delaware tonight about two Delaware charter schools, Odyssey and Thomas Edison. All my information was obtained from their own board minutes. These charters, along with Academy of Dover, Family Foundations Academy and Providence Creek Academy and two other unnamed charters are all having huge financial issues as well as investigations by Tom Wagner’s office.
Rep. Kim Williams has been monitoring these situations since last December when Family Foundations Academy was revealed to have fraud and waste going on with spending by their two heads of schools. She very wisely introduced House Bill 53, then House Bill 154, both of which were folded into House Bill 186. After a week of being in limbo, the bill was finally released from committee today. I am asking you both a huge favor here, and I know I have no position to make this request.
I am asking Rep. Schwartzkopf to place this, as well as House Bill 61 (allows for recording of all school board meetings) on the agenda for a House vote tomorrow, and if it passes, that Senator Blevins suspends Delaware Senate rules and petition these bills out of the education committee and have them on the agenda for a Senate vote before midnight on June 30th.
While we are cutting funds from services that desperately need funds, our charter schools are running amok. And these are only the ones we KNOW are doing stuff to warrant an investigation by Wagner’s office. For some reason, they are protected by organizations like the Delaware Charter Schools Network who may or may not know about many of these financial improprieties.
If we truly want to make Delaware education a top priority, it starts with oversight of our schools. This is beyond the point of absurdity. Thank you very much for your consideration on this matter and I pray you will make the right decisions here for the good of Delaware students.
If you would also like to see this action taken, please call Schwartkopf at (302) 744-4531 or email him at Peter.Schwartzokpf@state.de.us and call Blevins at (302) 744-4133 or email her at Patricia.Blevins@state.de.us and let them know you want votes on both of these very important bills. And I strongly recommend doing this prior to 2pm today!