Recently, a Gateway Lab School board member reached out to the former leader of the Delaware Military Academy, Chuck Baldwin, for potential recommendations for Gateway. This was presented at one of their recent board meetings in public session, therefore, this is a public document. The letter gives certain… well, I’ll let you read it and tell me what you think! I’m pretty sure those with their Delaware military charter history can guess his date error at first glance but I wanted to present the document as is! Continue reading
Enough already Paul Baumbach! In his second attempt at lowering school board terms, State Representative Paul Baumbach filed House Bill #278 yesterday seeking to lower school district board member terms from five years to four years.
In 2015, Baumbach’s House Bill #333, which sought to lower those terms to three years went nowhere. It was assigned to the House Education Committee but never came up. Due to heavy resistance to the bill, Baumbach did state he would probably come back with this bill at a later date. And he did!
Why is Baumbach so adamant about messing with school boards? Why does he not include charter school boards in this legislation? The answer is simple: he does not like certain school board members in the Christina School District. Which is fine and he is certainly entitled to his opinion, but his judgment is impaired when it comes to translating this to a statewide issue. I get that State Representatives are supposed to represent the district they were elected to, but they also pass laws for the entire state. It is not beneficial to make local issues a statewide issue. And once again, we have the very real question about WHO is asking for this legislation and how much of it is directed towards certain board members who frequently and publicly go against bad education policy in the state.
One thing I can say is State Reps in Delaware are elected every two years. So this is not a case of legislators being hypocritical. School board members do this because they want to. It is unpaid and requires a great deal of time and effort to be on a school board. I don’t think any school board member takes their responsibilities lightly. I wish more school board members would question things which Baumbach seems to have a problem with.
Yesterday, the News Journal Editorial Team covered the highly inappropriate school board member removal bill that is currently in circulation for sponsorship. They just so happened to throw in a part about school board member terms:
Also, lawmakers should consider shortening school board members’ five-year terms. Why should they have to face voters less frequently than governors, legislators and mayors?
Come on! Who are we trying to kid here? Is the News Journal Editorial Team now a part of Team Baumbach when it comes to this kind of crap? They just happen to say this on the SAME day Baumbach filed House Bill #282? I don’t mind term limits for any elected position, but school boards are NOT the same as governors, legislators, and mayors. There is a learning curve, but there is also the heart of a volunteer. There are charter school board members who have sat on their boards for over a decade! But not one word about that from the would-be demolisher of local board control Baumbach or this Editorial Team. I don’t always agree with some board members out there, but I do not think lowering the term for this function is a good idea at all.
Baumbach needs to re-examine his priorities and actually support the second largest school district in the state instead of trying to interfere with their governance process. Attending more of their board meetings would be a start. He wouldn’t dare interfere with Newark Charter School but it’s open target season on Christina. Could you be less transparent here Baumbach? Stop listening to the mouths of the few and start coming out with real and meaningful legislation that benefits the state. This is not good for your political health.
To read Baumbach School Board Terms 2.0, please see below:
I’ve seen some insane legislation in my day. This one takes the cake. State Rep. Paul Baumbach has put forth legislation which would give the State Board of Education the power to remove a sitting school district board member. Way to take the local out of local control and hand it over to the state there Paul! Are you kidding me? I wish this was some horrible joke, but it isn’t. How would Baumbach feel if some board could take away HIS power? This guy is begging to be primaried and removed from office. You can’t even make this stuff up! Continue reading
Currently, no Delaware charter school teachers belong to any organized teacher unions. As a result, the charter school leaders are able to do whatever they want with teachers and due process is a bit of a joke. This could all change if charter school teachers join the union. I have seen many a charter school teacher fired for no reason other than they disagree with something a charter leader says. Boom! Just like that!
Last night, Red Clay Educators Association President Mike Matthews posted the following on Facebook:
Fascinating story of the day: In our Know Your Contract training today, the always wonderful Laura Rowe provided the attached state law regarding sick leave. We had some good discussion on this topic.
Totally UNRELATED to this morning’s training, I received three messages from charter school teachers who told me that they were told that they can take no more than seven sick days per year and that “the charter trumps state law.” From THREE different sources with the SAME story.
Wanna know their names? No way. My lips are sealed. You see why charter school teachers deserve some due process protections by the union? Constant. State. Of. Fear.
My suggestion to those charter teachers? Your school is breaking the law. Your fellow teachers must band together and take a stand. Solidarity. Strength in numbers. Let’s start organizing now. My number is 302-547-4774.
And any of you charter school leaders reading this who THINK you know who talks to me and you want to try and intimidate them? Think again. Ever since those two op-eds I wrote in The News Journal were published last year, teachers at a dozen charter schools have been regularly coming to me sharing horror stories just like this.
And he posted the following pictures:
When are charter school leaders and boards going to realize they don’t rule the universe? Just because you have a charter doesn’t mean you are immune to state laws and regulations. Charter school teachers deserve the same protection as regular traditional school district teachers. I don’t care what my stance is on charter schools in general, teachers are teachers no matter where you teach. What say you Delaware? Is this something you can get behind? I would love to hear from charter school teachers on this as well, and despite my post last week about a certain employee in the Townsend building, all communications or comments on this blog are confidential unless you play games with me over a long period of time!
The obvious answer to my title would be “because it’s easy”. It’s not like I create these stories. They do it themselves. I just bring them to light for all of Delaware to see. Take Prestige Academy, and their board meeting at a tavern where they didn’t have a quorum and voted on stuff anyways. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. I knew Jack Perry was “resigning”, so I thought I would see what their board minutes say. I wasn’t looking for anything sinister. By the time I got to their board minutes, and I saw what I saw, it was just another example of a Delaware charter school doing whatever the hell they want, regardless of the law.
I get a great deal of flack on Kilroy’s Delaware in the comments section when I say something negative about charters. There’s one guy named Publius. You would think the charters could no wrong, and because the ability for “choice” is out there, it is the charters God-given right for any type of pre-assessment before a prospective student is selected. Another guy, named lastDEconservative, will side with Publius every chance he gets. They have their opinion, and I have mine. But because I want to try to help people, I have a big head and I won’t agree with anyone’s opinion but my own. Or so they say. I think they are hoping I will just go away, but that just encourages me to fight harder. Continue reading
I had to do a double-take when I read this, but yeah, this happened! Only five members of the Prestige Academy 12 person school board were present at their December 15th, 2014 meeting. In order to have a quorum to vote on anything at a board meeting, a majority of board members have to be present.
According to their own bylaws:
ARTICLE VI: MEETINGS OF THE BOARD
Section 1. Compliance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
The Board shall conduct its meetings as if it were a “public body” as defined in 29 Del. Code § 10002(a), and according to the requirements of Chapter 100 of said Title 29 (the “Act”). In addition to the published notices required by the Act, notices of each meeting of the Board shall be forwarded to its members by any method that preserves proof of such notice.
Section 2. Quorum.
A quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting of the Board shall consist of at least one-half the voting Directors then serving, except as may otherwise be required by law.
*Bolded for emphasis on my part
So there you have it, as per their own by-laws. So what happened at their December 15th board meeting? Aside from the fact that it was at a bar (which was in the agenda believe it or not), Buckley’s Tavern, they did indeed vote on items as per their own board minutes. But what if a student wanted to come to give public comment? Would they be able to do that without a parent present at a bar? This didn’t happen, but I just have a thing about board meetings occurring at a place that serves liquor. Yes, this is also a restaurant, but I didn’t know school boards can have meetings at places that aren’t available to every member of the public. Did the board have their 45 minute meeting and then get drinks after? I would certainly hope so!
I have a feeling more Prestige news may be coming out very soon…
In the meantime for Prestige Academy, you may want to update your website. Having to click on 2012 links for your board minutes, and then going through a couple more links, is not really showing how transparent your school is. Many people would just assume you haven’t updated your website since 2012!
In light of the Family Foundations Academy mess, and the ACLU Lawsuit against the state of Delaware and Red Clay Consolidated School District over segregation in charter schools, I thought I would run this poll again to see if the results differ from four months ago. I firmly believe transparency is desperately needed from all the charter schools these days!