Tonight at the Christina Board of Education meeting, the board voted in favor of NOT eliminating the following in their schools and the district based on recommendations from their Chief Financial Officer, Bob Silber and Superintendent Richard Gregg. This was under the direction of “Minimize the number of students impacted by cuts.”
Elementary & Secondary Strings
Elementary Instrumental Music
A motion to reduce elementary specialists (such as music, library, etc.)
A motion to decrease technology investment
Reduce Department Budgets
Reduce School Budgets (based on need)
Change Credit Recovery Delivery Model-Integrate SPA with High Schools
The following DID pass the board:
Reduce EPER (Extra Pay for Extra Responsibilities)
Do not fill Vacant Non-Academic positions
Decrease in Professional Development
While these are good for the positions and programs not eliminated, those holes in the budget will have to be filled somewhere with other cuts, which could mean up to 100 teachers being cut from the district as well as higher classroom sizes. This isn’t a good situation no matter how you slice it. I don’t envy any school board faced with these decisions largely set in motion by Governor Carney’s proposed budget for FY2018. He is recommending districts be able to raise match taxes without a referendum. Many districts are balking at this scenario presented by Carney. However, they have to give notice to teachers about returning this month, well before the Delaware General Assembly gives their final vote on the budget which will occur on either June 30th, or more likely, the wee hours of the morning on July 1st.
Remember when the Delaware State Board of Education wanted to change a key word from “shall” to “may”? That created a resolution unanimously passed by the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission that if the “necessary and sufficient funding” is not available at two milestones of the redistricting plan, it will collapse. End. Finish. Kaput.
Today, the House Education Committee did two things: they lifted House Bill #424 from a tabled status and released it from the education committee with eight votes in the positive. But the discussion before the vote was somewhat tense. As the meeting started, no House Republicans were present. Slowly but surely, two of them came in: State Reps. Joe Miro and Tim Dukes. State Rep. Deb Heffernan started the questioning about the Red Clay Board of Education’s role if the funding is not there. After a considerable amount of confusion, WEIC Chair Tony Allen and Dan Rich clarified that the amount for the first two years just for the funding changes is $7.5 million each year for a total of $15 million. In the Governor’s proposed budget, he allocated $6 million: $4 million for the funding changes and $2 million for WEIC transitional costs.
Based on Tony Allen’s statement about the resolution, the necessary and sufficient funding of $7.5 million for FY2017 will not be available even if the General Assembly passes House Joint Resolution #12. Yesterday, DEFAC determined Delaware’s revenues are lower than projected a month ago so now there is less money in the state budget for next year. Will the WEIC redistricting plan get out of the General Assembly alive? Or will the Joint Finance Committee give the money to the redistricting plan if it passes both the House and the Senate?