The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission faces a full House vote tomorrow to determine if their redistricting plan survives or dies on the vine. Both House Joint Resolution #12 and House Bill #424 are on the House agenda tomorrow. Expect the full WEIC contingent to attend the vote. My advice: arrive early and count on sitting in the balcony. Bring a seat cushion.
I have a feeling how the vote will go down tomorrow, but I’m going to hold off on my prediction until after. Let’s just say this will be a very lively discussion on the floor. Funding is going to be the number one argument. Speaking of funding, I found out tonight that the Education Funding Improvement Committee (EFIC) had their final meeting yesterday and their report is due to the General Assembly by June 30th. There will be zero recommendations from the committee on unit-based or weighted funding formulas for Delaware education. None of the members of the committee could get a consensus on any one recommendation.
There was a considerable amount of House members going in and out of the House floor during their regular session. More than usual. I expect there to be a flurry of activity tomorrow before the vote. Any legislator that is on the fence is going to get pounded all day tomorrow prior to the vote. I imagine the House Republicans are going to all vote no, but I’ve been wrong on these things before.
The very frightening scenario coming out of this legislative session is based on three things not happening: the WEIC redistricting plan, no legislation determining an equitable education funding formula, and House Bill 30 not passing (or even getting a vote). That will mean for all the work and time people on these committees are have advocated for a change in education funding will have been in vain. It will be for nothing. I actually warned WEIC at their very first meeting that having too many groups discussing education funding was going to be an issue. I also warned them not having representation from Kent and Sussex County would be a problem as well. No one ever listens to the blogger!
I think this is what Jack wanted all along. A way for him to skate out of Delaware and be seen as an education hero, but none of the parties could come to a consensus. Never mind that a lot of the issues are based on policies he brought forth as Governor in failed education reform. He will say he tried his best, but it was a rigged game from the start and he knows it. After the General Assembly leaves in the wee hours of July 1st, Jack will already have vetoed House Bill 399 in his mind. He will become the lamest of ducks and he will begin counting the days until he moves on to bigger and things. And he won’t go alone. I’m already hearing very strange rumors to that effect, but for now they are just rumor. All I can say is watch for Jack and friends to keep playing the art of misdirection and don’t believe everything you hear coming out of Jack’s mouth. What may appear to be devastating for some will just be a part of the game. John Carney doesn’t have a playbook so he is just going to copy Jack’s. He is already beginning to round up different groups based on Jack’s agendas to begin his campaign, or lack thereof.
I will be blogging live from the House tomorrow and the second the vote goes down, you will know. You can also listen by clicking on the audio for the House on the General Assembly website, just below the bill search section. They will be convening on the House floor for their voting session at 3pm. Before that, the House Education Committee will meet at 1:30 to discuss legislation pertaining to charter school audits, school bullying reporting, and school board terms.
If you don’t care about the WEIC redistricting vote, you should. This is not just a Wilmington bill, but a Delaware one. What happens in Wilmington impacts the entire state, good or bad. I’ve gone back and forth on the redistricting more times than I can count. I changed my mind again as recently as today. The plan is epic in scope but the key will be implementation. Everything rides on that. But even if it passes and the Governor signs it, there are still ways for not only WEIC to stop the plan, but also the boards of Red Clay and Christina. One thing to remember is that if the House and Senate passes the redistricting plan, it will be an unfunded mandate. It will then be up to the Joint Finance Committee to allocate the “necessary and sufficient funding” of $7.5 million over the next two fiscal years for a total of $15 million. As well as the transition costs. The kill switch is there if that funding is not put into the budget. Plain and simple. As Tony Allen said today at the House Education Committee meeting, if the funding isn’t there, the commission voted unanimously to stop everything.
Every single Delaware State Representative needs to keep their own constituencies in mind when casting their vote tomorrow. Will this be good for all of Delaware and their own district? We will know the answer to this one in less than 24 hours…
To see the Executive Summary of WEIC, read below: