Brandywine Wins Referendum With Over 62% Of Votes Cast, Over 15,000 Total Votes Today

Wow!  The Brandywine School District won their second referendum attempt this year with a ton of votes and a wide margin between pass and against.  With over 15,000 citizens of the district voting today, this is huge.  Compare that to the recent school board elections in Delaware.  I doubt there were 15,000 total votes for the whole state!

BSDReferendumResults

Let It Go! Christina Referendum Calls For Change From The Past

BobAElsa1

Robert Andrzejewski, the Acting Superintendent for the Christina School District in Wilmington, led a battle cry last night to lift the district from their troubled past and send it to a bright future.

Hundreds of students, parents, educators, and citizens attended the Christina Referendum kick-off last night at Christiana High School.  The district wants to raise school taxes by 30 cents.  According to “Bob A”, the Acting Superintendent’s nick-name in New Castle County, the increase will result in an additional $16.2 million for the district allowing them to bring more quality resources to the district.  Bob A alluded to eventual magnet schools within the district.  In an apparent snafu, he said this would only cost taxpayers in the district an extra $300 a month or $15 a week.  Both are wrong, but we can put the blame on that towards Common Core which puts everyone’s math skills in serious jeopardy!

As Bob A talked about Christina escaping from his past, he brought up the movie “Frozen”.  He talked about “that song” and the main character, saying “What’s her name”?  Someone shouted “Elsa” which led Bob A to say “Yeah, Let It Go, Let It Go, Let It Go”.

Bob A railed on the current testing environment in Delaware during his speech, stating there is too much focus on testing and not enough on teaching to teach, which led to a round of applause from the audience.  Other highlights included a call for more vocational certificates to be issued from the district as more and more districts around the state incorporate co-op programs.

Senator Bryan Townsend attended the event, along with Braeden Mannering from 3B: Brae’s Brown Bags.  Board members Harrie Ellen Minnehan, Shirley Saffer, and John Young also attended.  There was a significant amount of energy which was missing in last year’s unfortunate two failed referendum attempts.  The referendum is on March 23rd.

Letter To Attorney General Matt Denn About Referendums In Delaware

I was asked to share the following letter to Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn about referendums in Delaware.  There are many districts gearing up for their own referendums: Brandywine, Christina, Appoquinimink and I’m sure there are others.  What do you think?  Should referendums stop being a social gathering?

Letter to Attorney General Matt Denn

After making inquiries to the Board of Elections I was advised to
contact your office for further help.

The recent decision by Chancery Court to proceed with the Lawsuit
against the Red Clay school district exposes the unethical and
blatantly dishonest tactics used by School Boards in their desperate
attempts to win referendums. It is essential you investigate these
abuses so that voting Citizens are not subjected to this constant
badgering which has eroded public confidence in the voting process.
Another case in point is the Milford School board, which held its 3rd
referendum in just 18 months. While permitted, this relentless use of
referendum to raise taxes that had failed twice before has resulted in
voter fatigue and charges of Voter fraud.

School Boards have a saying “just try again”. Milford has said “we
did” and when that didn’t work they cheated, bullied and lied.
Delaware Law guarantees all elections shall have Free and Equal access
however the Superintendent and Milford School Board have colluded to
deny those in opposition from this fundamental right.

Cheated; they checked the Board of Elections and saw that there were
250 more No votes at LuLu Ross Elementary in the May 2015 referendum.
So they eliminated LuLu Ross as a polling location thwarting the
people in that community their right to vote. They replaced it with
the High School where Senior students were enticed to cut class to
vote yes. In the previous referendum the Seniors were transported by
bus to Banneker Elementary to vote. The bus was supposedly paid for by
a quasi- official lobbying group which was initially headquartered at
the Superintendent’s office. Students were essentially pressured to
vote yes because of the constant threats that all sports and numerous
personnel would be eliminated.

Bullied; they scheduled a non-essential family night at Banneker which
was another polling site the very same night the polls were open to
voters. This activity could have been rescheduled but instead the
parking lot was full of cars and the hallways were full of young
students. This was a deliberate attempt by the Board to fill the
parking lot with families and vehicles to discourage the Handicapped
and Elderly who traditionally vote no from exercising their legal
right to “Free and Equal Access”.

Lied to; the School Board, along with the Superintendent and CFO told
the public they had slashed the budget, fired personnel and eliminated
many programs. Only problem with this was the truth; the actual 2015
budget was $51,006.000 whereas the 2016 projected budget was
$49,961,000.  A reduction of only $45,000.  Are these the deceptive
tactics and legacy the Superintendent and Board want to set as
acceptable behavior to our students and citizens?

Questions that need to be answered in by your office;

Did anyone within the Milford School system or its lobby organization
known as Buccaneer Tomorrow use any means of communication, written or
verbal to “encourage H.S. students to vote?  Did this constitute a
violation of Delaware law governing electioneering within the
designated voting area?

Did anyone within the school system contact parents of students asking
them to vote for the referendum using school resources and was this a
violation of Delaware law?

Why were voting booths eliminated at LuLu Ross?

Why was the non-essential family math night at Banneker not
rescheduled so as to not interfere with the People’s right to Vote?

Was there a Quid Pro Quo made with the Teachers Union regarding Raises?

Spyro Stamat
10284 Webb Farm Rd
Lincoln, De 19960

Delaware Senate Bill 165 Would Make Referendums Once A Year & Change School Board Elections To US Mail Only

Apparently there was a Delaware Senate Bill submitted on July 15th that I didn’t know about.  I found out because the House has a pre-filing day today so I thought I would check the Senate Side.  House Bill 165 would drastically change things with school district referendums.  Instead of a district having more than one referendum in a year, all school districts would have their referendum on the 2nd Tuesday of May.  This is also the same day when school board elections take place.  As for those school board elections, instead of having them at schools, they would take place through the US Mail system.  This bill is sponsored by Senator Karen Peterson and State Reps Michael Ramone and Deborah Hudson.  Co-sponsors are Senators Brian Bushweller and Margaret Rose-Henry and State Rep. Stephanie Bolden.  I assume a lot of this is in reaction to the Red Clay referendum last winter which is also part of a lawsuit.  To read the legislation, please see below:

Delaware Chancery Court Suggests Red Clay Redo Their Last Referendum In Legal Opinion

This hasn’t been discussed in mainstream media too much, but the Delaware Chancery Court just wrote a legal opinion concerning Red Clay’s last referendum.  The Red Clay Consolidated School District wanted to case dismissed, but the Chancery Vice Chancellor Laster denied the dismissal on October 7th. The entire opinion can be read here.  Keep in mind this is not an actual verdict, merely an opinion by a judge. Key highlights from this legal opinion are as follows:

Finally, to the extent this decision has erred by treating the Family-Focused Events as a reward for voting, at a minimum they were selectively targeted get-out-the-vote events designed to appeal to a readily identifiable group that Red Clay believed would support the tax increase. Viewed as such, the Complaint states a viable challenge under the Elections Clause to the Family-Focused Events. The Abbott decision stated that the purpose of the Elections Clause ―is to ensure that the right of citizens to vote in an election is unfettered.‖ 2008 WL 821522, at *19 (Del. Ch. Mar. 27, 2008.

The opinion goes into great detail about the events going on at various Red Clay schools the same day as the referendum.

Using the Family-Focused Events, Red Clay encouraged and facilitated voting by families with school-aged and pre-school-aged children. By doing so, Red Clay made the election unequal, not through traditionally negative means, but through positive means. Whether Red Clay‘s conduct went too far is necessarily a matter of degree, but for pleading-stage purposes, the plaintiffs have stated a claim under the Elections Clause.

The heart of the complaint behind this case was a woman brought her elderly parents to a school to vote.  She claimed parking was a huge issue and there were empty school busses taking up spots.  She claims her parents, who are disabled, were not given unfettered access to the polling booth.

Moreover, in the current case, Red Clay‘s selective get-out-the-vote efforts had negative effects on the elderly and disabled. As the Abbott decision recognized, a potential violation of the Elections Clause exists if the plaintiffs allege that ―their access to the polls was disturbed….‖ 2008 WL 821522, at *20.

Vice-Chancellor Laster denied the dismissal request by the Red Clay attorneys:

In challenging Red Clay‘s electoral interventions as a whole, the Complaint states a claim on which relief can be granted under both federal and state law. Red Clay‘s motion to dismiss is therefore denied.

The Vice Chancellor basically said if Red Clay does the Referendum again without some of the contested events taking place, and they have the same results, it would render the case moot.

Red Clay has the option of addressing the plaintiffs‘ contentions by returning to the electorate. This decision has concluded that the plaintiffs would not be able to state a claim for relief if Red Clay only engaged in certain types of conduct and avoided others, such as the Family-Focused Events and electioneering in close proximity to the voting rooms. If Red Clay called for a new special election and limited its electoral interventions, and if Red Clay‘s voters ratified the result of the February 2015 election by voting in favor of the tax increase, then this litigation would be moot.

This will certainly be an interesting case to watch if it does make it to trial.  There was a lot of heat put on Red Clay based on the events of this referendum, and even though Attorney General Matt Denn did not find anything wrong, several Delaware legislators did.  The final decision in this could change the way referendums in Delaware occur.  Or maybe someone will finally get the good sense to do away with it for good!