Something is up in the Christina School District involving Superintendent Richard Gregg. The following appears on Board Docs for their next Board of Education meeting on July 10th: Continue reading
In the matter of replacing former board member Mike Piccio’s seat last evening, the Red Clay Consolidated Board of Education came very close to breaking the law.
A motion to appoint a replacement came up. Delaware state law dictates that a school board shall replace a vacant board seat with an appointee until the next regular school board election. Piccio’s former seat expires in 2019 so the new appointed board member would only serve on that seat for nine months. The vote came…
Three board members voted yes and three voted no. A tie vote meant the motion failed. But it really shouldn’t have come up for a vote because of what exists in state code. As well, it is also board police in conformity with state law. State Rep. Kim Williams, who was in attendance at the meeting, immediately recognized the glaring error and immediately notified Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty. As she wrote on Facebook at the time:
The Red Clay Board vote was 3 no to 3 yes to fill the vacant school board seat in District E. The motion failed because of a tie vote. The policy states the following: A vacancy for any reason other than the expiration of a term shall be filled by appointment for the remainder the fiscal year. A new member shall be elected at the next regular Board Election to fill the remainder of the previous member’s term. They did not follow the board policy.
Daugherty forced the board to rescind their vote. At this point, the Board is accepting letters of interest from those who reside in the Wilmington nominating district.
The board voted for the President and Vice-President titles. Martin Wilson is the new President and Faith Newton is the Vice-President. The board will vote on the appointee for Piccio’s seat at their October board meeting.
The Delaware State Board of Education has always been ridiculous with their public comment policy. You cannot give public comment on any action item on their agenda. Further complicating this absolutely ludicrous scenario is a proposed change which will be up for action at their next meeting, on Thursday March 23rd. The State Board of Education will take action on moving public comment from the beginning of the meeting until towards the end. Thereby ensuring that the public is put on the bottom of the list. There are certain groups that put public comment at the end of meetings, but the State Board of Education needs to hear from the public prior to voting or discussing items. The very nature of attempting to contact a member of the State Board of Education is futile. Everything goes through the Executive Director, Donna Johnson. The State Board of Education will be having a meeting tomorrow at 12 noon to discuss the policy recommendations from the Joint Sunset Committee, a group of legislators who are taking a hard look at the State Board of Education.
As far as this latest action item, I am vehemently against this. The State Board meetings are very long at times and to make members of the public sit through the whole thing just to give public comment is absurd. I hope the State Board votes no on this insane idea.
Last month, the Christina School District Board of Education failed to pass a resolution regarding safe harbor for students in the district who could be targeted by ICE officials. Never one to quit, board member John Young wrote a policy for the board to look at for their next meeting. I like this policy. It is very thorough and states explicitly what can and should happen. I would be shocked if the board didn’t pass this one. I hope the discussion has the same harmony the above picture of the board has!
The Christina School District Board of Education will review the amount of spending their Superintendent can spend before they have to get board approval at their monthly meeting tonight. The current limit is $20,000. Previously, it had been $50,000 but after their second failed referendum attempt in 2015, the board lowered the amount.
$50,000 is a key figure with Delaware Superintendents. In Delaware code, any contract of $50,000 or more has to go through the request for proposal process in the state. Many school districts circumvent this by having contracts for $49,000-$49,999. These kind of budgets can be controversial. School boards lose some power when the districts write those kind of vendor contracts.
As well, the board is reviewing this type of spending for school principals with another proposal to raise that amount without a signature from $10,000 to $25,000.
With many citizens in Delaware demanding greater transparency of school district funding, this could be seen by those advocates as more continuous evaporation of schools and districts not giving crucial financial information to the public.
The board also has an item on their agenda, if approved, would give the board more ability to participate in legislation and regulations that could affect the school district. If implemented, this would give a board member the ability to go to Senate and House Education Committee meetings as well as State Board of Education meetings and give public comment on behalf of the board. The policy would also mandate that any board member speaking about education policy would have to state in public these are individual thoughts and not reflective of the Christina School District of Board of Education. For the past two years, the board has declined to join the Delaware School Boards Association which usually has their own representative at these types of meetings.
The board will also discuss the upcoming implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act and what that could mean for the district. I highly recommend board members participate and comment on this confusing legislation and make sure their voice is heard.
The board meeting will be at Gauger-Cobbs Middle School beginning at 7pm this evening.
FISCAL MANAGEMENT POLICY
CONTRACTS & REAL ESTATE POLICY
It is the height of arrogance to come up with a board policy that strikes at the heart of parental rights. Especially for a school that goes by “choice theory”. Campus Community School, a charter school in Dover, wrote a policy which explicitly states all students must participate in the Delaware State Standardized Assessment. Currently, this is the Smarter Balanced Assessment. I know Campus Community had one opt-out. What this policy does not explicitly state is what happens if a student does not participate. To me, that is just bullying and intimidation if you are going to throw that out there like that. I heard from people that it would be a bad time to opt their kid out because of their charter renewal. I don’t have much sympathy for that statement.
When are these schools going to learn that if a parent does not want their child taking this test, and they have the courage and strength to opt their child out, no matter what, there is nothing they can do to stop them. If people in Delaware thought opt-out was big last year, just wait and see what happens next Spring. You can’t imagine…
In the meantime, take a look at the anti-opt-out measure this school has taken. All I can say is good luck with that! Later today, this school faces the Charter School Accountability Committee at the Delaware DOE for their charter renewal. I’m sure they will get kudos from them for their strong stance against parent opt-out…
On September 8th, the Christina School District Board of Education has their next regular public meeting and the agenda released looks mighty interesting. There are two policy statement proposals up for first reading that look to address issues on the actual Board.
5. Board Policy Manual: Proposed Revision Policy Section #01.07–Policy Statement on Board Meetings–First Read
6. Board Policy Manual: Proposed New Policy Section #01.18–Policy Statement on the Responsibilities of Members of the Board–First Read
To say there have been issues on this board would be an understatement. But are these potential policies designed to correct those issues or to single out members individually through policy? As Christina struggles to meet a budget deficit, other items include potential actions to mitigate those losses. As well, the board could vote on a new opt-out policy for the district which had a first reading at the regular August board meeting. Also on the agenda is an item about an acting superintendent…
UPDATED, 10:50am, 9/1/15: I have heard the two policies concerning the board are by two different members: President Harrie Ellen Minnehan and Board Member John Young (also the Transparent Christina blogger). This will be very interesting indeed!