Last night the Christina Board of Education, in front of a packed house, passed the Memorandum of Understanding between the district, the Delaware Department of Education and Governor John Carney’s office with a 4-2-1 vote. Board members John Young and Elizabeth Paige voted no while member Angela Mitchell abstained. The tense meeting, which lasted over three hours, had Carney sitting in the audience the entire time. While the News Journal, WHYY, and WDEL all came to the meeting, many parts of the meeting were not covered in their articles. Continue reading “As Christina Passes MOU, Carney Wants Charter Students To Come Back To Christina”
It looks like you need special permission to introduce legislation to help students with disabilities. At the Joint House and Senate Education Committee today in Delaware, State Rep. Earl Jaques asked one of the presenters of the special education strategic plan if she checked with the Delaware Chamber Of Commerce first before pushing legislation for special education diplomas. Currently, many students with disabilities with complex and intensive needs get a certificate in lieu of a diploma. Many businesses will not hire these young adults after graduation because they do not have a diploma.
The legislation, which was filed last week by State Rep. Kim Williams, would award these students a diploma based on modified standards. It is not exactly the same as a regular diploma because of those modified standards, but it is still a diploma. That way, these students would be able to check the box on job applications indicating they have a diploma.
During a question and answer session after Michele Marinucci and Bill Doolittle gave the special education strategic plan presentation, State Rep. Earl Jaques (also the Chair of the House Education Committee) asked Marinucci if she consulted with the Delaware Chamber of Commerce and the business community over the proposed legislation. Marinucci indicated she had not. I took severe offense to this question from Jaques. As if legislators need some type of special permission from big business to allow things to get better for people with disabilities. We don’t need permission from the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber should be begging for this type of bill to allow equal access to employment for ALL Delaware citizens. As State Senator Anthony Delcollo pointed out, there exist certain laws already such as the Americans with Disabilities Act that prevents discrimination against disabled citizens.
The entire Delaware certificate system needs to disappear. There are plenty of jobs where former students are more than qualified but this discriminatory certificate prevents them from getting those types of jobs. Our legislators and Governor need to stop bowing down to big business in Delaware and do what is right for ALL the citizens, especially the most vulnerable. While big business lobbyists run rampant throughout Legislative Hall telling legislators how they should vote and which bills they support and which ones they don’t, our legislators are missing the point of making laws. It should be what is best for all the citizens, not just those with the fattest wallets. There are those legislators who understand this, State Rep. Kim Williams being one of them. But far too many listen to those who have the most money.
While Jaques indicated he doesn’t want to see potential problems arise from persons with disabilities just checking a box and not being qualified for those jobs, there is also a thing called an interview process. As well, many job applications do ask an applicant about their qualifications to meet the need for the job. Having a certificate instead of a diploma is an instant barrier that serves to weed out these job applicants from the get-go. I find this practice disgusting and barbaric. For this comment to come from Jaques, who has publicly acknowledged having a grandchild with Autism, I found it particularly disturbing. I’m sure he is trying to get all his ducks in a row and making sure there has been enough stakeholder engagement. And while I do agree the business community should certainly be a part of the discussion in how to best help students with disabilities and improve upon the process, I do not think any group involved in getting common sense legislation through needs permission first. I wonder if Jaques read my article on the current Chair of the Delaware Chamber of Commerce from yesterday. Maybe then he would understand why I am vehemently opposed to any pre-consultation with the damn Chamber over education legislation.
The actual presentation was top-notch. The plan is designed to help students with disabilities and schools to improve special education. While the plan is not set in stone and is a “living document”, I think it is a major step in the right direction. This group did their homework and while I always think there should be more parents not affiliated with any other organization on these things, there is an excellent amount of diversity from all aspects of special education. To see the actual strategic plan and what was discussed today, please go here.
I did see one moment of political maneuvering and it was very blatant in my opinion, but since I am unable to verify that as fact, I will stop right there. I will say it did not involve anyone involved with the Special Education Strategic Plan. But I expect more from that legislator than to ask questions on behalf of the Governor. If the Governor’s circle of advisers want to ask a question, they should just do it themselves. They are more than welcome to do so. By using a legislator to get a point across is just slimy in my opinion. Especially when it really doesn’t have much to do with the actual presentation being discussed and more about a priority of Governor Carney. I will say to this legislator as well as Carney’s guy, the article I posted yesterday with the actual plan embedded into it was posted on the Solutions for Wilmington Schools Facebook page and was read by many.
In another brilliant moment of the Joint committee session, State Senator David Sokola (the Chair of the Senate Education Committee) suggested to Marinucci that they should really take a look at Finland’s special education and what a bang-up job they do recognizing special education needs at an early age. State Rep. Sean Matthews replied to Sokola’s statement that the educational barriers that exist in Delaware, such as charter and choice school enrollment preferences, do not exist in Finland. He indicated Finland is at the top of education in the world because they do not have those barriers and grant equal education to all in Finland. As well, Matthews said you don’t see actions like “counseling out” going on in Finland. That is a practice with certain charter schools where parents are told “we aren’t sure if your child is the right fit here”. While I don’t know how much this goes on now, it has been an allegation thrown at certain charters in Delaware. Many students in the past would wind up back in their traditional school district in the middle of a school year. Many of these were also special education students. Sokola is a firm believer in enrollment preferences, usually those that protect the largest school within his own voting district, Newark Charter School.
In terms of the entire House Education Committee it would have been nice if the Republican House members actually stayed for the entire presentation. About twenty or so minutes in they all walked out. But along those lines, State Rep. Melanie Smith was a no-show as she usually is. No offense to the GOP guys, but if you are on a committee you should stick around for, you know, the actual meetings. It is special education. Not sure what was more important than that. But I digress. On the Senate side, the only missing Education Committee member was Senator Bryan Townsend.
Despite Jaques’ assurance to me yesterday that this meeting would be on the live audio feed on the General Assembly website, it was not. But there were also issues in getting a smart-screen going for the strategic plan presentation so I would chalk that up to technical issues going on. Legislative Hall is a very old building.
Once upon a time, in the not-so-magical land of Dover, a meeting took place. It was one of those back-door meetings that the ruler of the state liked to convene. These were not public meetings in the sense that anyone could attend. They were usually those of the secret sort where only a select few were invited to attend. But because the Governor was attending, he felt obligated to report it on his public schedule. He did this sometimes in an effort to show an illusion of transparency.
In attendance were Governor Carney, Senator David Sokola, State Rep. Earl Jaques, Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting, Dr. Paul Herdman from Rodel, and Betsy DeVos, the United States Secretary of Education.
It was Christmas Eve and all through the Woodburn the stockings were hung near the space heater with care. Carney put on his favorite Christmas album on his new record player. He loved the songs from his youth and they were all included on “Rudolph and Friends”. The eggnog was passed around to the attendees. Little did they know two others were also in attendance… of a sort. Continue reading “The Woodburn Christmas Conspiracy”
Delaware State Representative John Kowalko sent a letter to State Rep. Paul Baumbach and State Senator David Sokola about the in-circulation school board member removal bill. He asked some specific questions regarding the origin of this legislation. I would love to see a response from both of them on this. You may have seen part of this in my initial article on this, but Kowalko goes into more detail. As well, Nancy Willing of The Delaware Way blog pointed out something that didn’t catch my eye until she wrote it:
Note the time Baumbach’s aide floated the bill for co-sponsorship is minutes after reporter Jessica Bies published her story on Christina’s likely rejection this morning of Carney’s most recent MOU draft.
Less than a month until the legislators come back in session…
I sent the following inquiry to Representative Baumbach and Senator Sokola. I received a response from Representative Baumbach that he would not discuss the motives nor intentions of this proposed legislation so I am forwarding the same missive (and attachment) to all members of the Delaware General Assembly. It follows and is attached.
I suspect that this proposed legislation, being circulated for signatures by Representative Baumbach and Senator Sokola, may impose a constitutionally challenged contradiction to decisions made by the voters of Delaware. To suggest that an Executive branch (Governor appointed and unelected) board should have the authority to overturn the decision of the voting public disregards both separation of powers and constitutional rights of those elected. If either of the two sponsors or the promoters of such a piece of legislation have a problem with individual board members (as seems to be the case here) then they should come up with a lawful process attended to by lawful entities. This is the type of overreach that causes the public to doubt the sincerity and legitimacy of the laws we create and pass. I hope the sponsors of this proposed legislation will quickly withdraw this legislation.
I would also ask the sponsors of this legislation to explain to me and my fellow legislators what has provoked them to solicit sponsors to support such draconian action. Perhaps Rep. Baumbach or Senator Sokola can give us examples of purported or actual wrongdoing by former or current board members. I would also suggest that the sponsors divulge who solicited such legislation/authority. That might allay suspicions that this is simply an effort to coerce and silence board members, specifically board members who have criticized some of this Administration’s plans. I respectfully await a reply from the sponsors before I will consider adding my name and suggest that all my colleagues do the same.
Representative John Kowalko
I guess nobody puts Baumbach in a corner! Meanwhile it looks like Senator Bryan Townsend is all “I have a six month old baby. I’m staying out of this one!”
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 “State Rep. Paul Baumbach Asking For Ouster With Pending Legislation Allowing State Board of Education To Remove Local School District Board Members”
Ever since Regulation 225 hit the Delaware Registrar of Regulations, I’ve been scratching my head over it. I’ve gone back and forth on it a few dozen times. To be crystal clear, I support any anti-discrimination measure for ANY student. No questions asked. Some of the Facebook comments I’ve seen from some who oppose the bill are filled with hate and misunderstanding. I’ve wondered what the purpose behind all this was, and today I may have received an answer. Continue reading “Is Regulation 225 A Union-Busting Measure? Know When You Are Being Used!”
There is so much going on tonight. First up is the first Town Hall meeting (which I filed a FOIA complaint against the Governor’s Office and Christina School District for a violation of the seven day notice) for the Governor Carney let’s screw with Christina School District one more time. Second is the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education meeting in which they pick up a new board member and tackle the resolution similar to the Christina resolution on sanctuary schools and all that. Finally, it is the Capital School District Board of Education meeting. My son goes to school there again so I have a vested interest in what goes on in their district. I can’t possibly attend all of them. So which one am I going to? Who gets the honor? Continue reading “Tonight”
Last Thursday, Delaware Governor John Carney held yet another secret meeting. This one was with Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting and several legislators whose districts are a part of the Christina School District. Those legislators were Senators David Sokola and Bryan Townsend and Reps Earl Jaques, Ed Osienski, Joe Miro, Mike Ramone, Melanie Smith, and John Kowalko. The subject: those damn test scores for Christina!
Carney was pulling the usual “why are Christina’s reading and math scores so low?” If I were a déjà vu kind of guy, I would say it is the same record spun by Governor Markell and former Secretary of Education Mark Murphy. Sokola talked about capacity and too much of it in Christina. Ramone talked about how the state has closed failing charter schools and why not public schools. Jaques talked about how we need to fill schools with psychiatrists and psychologists while not realizing budget cuts have affected the ability to properly staff schools with educators and resources before we even need to get to that point. Miro talked about… who knows! But Kowalko talked about the funding cuts that have already happened that is causing the suffering of poverty students in Christina. He suggested Christina consolidates two of their high schools and actually build a Wilmington high school for Wilmington students so they aren’t bussed all over Christina School District.
Governor Carney is proving to be more of a Jack Markell wannabe than I ever thought he could be. I agree with Kowalko. When Markell cut the reading specialists Governor Ruth Ann Minner created years ago, the problems in Christina got bigger. When Markell began his dance with corporations to “fix” education it got worse. Now we’ve had three years of Smarter Balanced and, as predicted, the scores suck. They suck bad. No one in power ever stops to think the test is the problem. No, we must get new leaders in our schools. We have to fix poverty in the schools. How about creating real jobs, for real people? Not these new start-up tech companies Carney gets excited about. Cause they aren’t going to fix poverty. They are only going to further the divide between the haves and the have nots.
Kowalko told me the only legislator who made any sense was Senator Townsend. The rest, he felt, were playing the same skipped record on Delaware education particularly in Christina. And Secretary Bunting… I don’t know where your head is at these days. You’ve been drinking far too much of the Rodel Kool-Aid lately. Taking money away from districts (see recent articles about match tax) and just giving it away to the charters is not a solution. For someone who came from a large district with financial issues, you sure do seem to be forgetting what is truly needed in education. Who is advising these people? How many other secret meetings are going on? Thank God we have legislators like Kowalko who value transparency above all else.
Rep. Melanie Smith is one of the true catalysts, along with other charter-loving legislators, who don’t care about Christina. They care about the charters they want their kids and grandchildren to go to. And a few of them who have relatives that teach at charter schools. The jig is up. You aren’t fooling any of us with your grand posturing and false bravado. Smith, Jaques, Sokola, Ramone, Miro… enough already. The charter lobbyists don’t need to shove anything up your ass. You do it gladly all on your own.
We have a Secretary and Governor who allow situations like the train wreck that is Providence Creek Academy’s administration and the continuing de facto segregation factory called Newark Charter School. You want to put your money where your mouths are? Don’t let the charters bitch for one iota of a second about match tax and all their other funding whining when they get to keep their damn transportation slush fund. It is a disgrace. Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter. Most of you support it as evidenced by your budget vote every single damn year. The ones that say no to that… those are the ones I respect down at Legislative Hall. The rest of you are phoneys pretending to be lawmakers. Allowing charters to suck at the public teat while cutting funds from districts. And Bunting… perhaps the biggest traitor of them all allowing this to continue. I thought coming from a district you were going to be the watcher on the wall against this crap. But you have proven to be just like the other Governor mouthpieces for education.
Thanks for State Rep. Kim Williams for getting the word out on this. Yes, this task force is meeting tonight. At Legislative Hall in the House Hearing Room on the 2nd floor. From 6:30 to 8:00pm. Come, give public comment.
I don’t know who the members are except for the following State Reps and Senators: State Reps. Earl Jaques and Joe Miro and Senator David Sokola and Brian Pettyjohn. I’m guessing since Dave is biking somewhere in Illinois or Ohio at this point, he won’t be there. That is an interesting group right there. I’m assuming Earl is the Chair of this cabal since he is the one funning the meeting. Come, or be square! We know the Delaware Charter Schools Network won’t have a membership because of Rep. Williams last minute amendment on the bill.
Seriously, whose idea was it to have meetings in the middle of the Summer? The Dept. of Education is the coordinator. So I just answered my own question, duh! Sorry for the late notice folks, but I literally just found out about this myself!
Suckers! Governor Carney vetoed the 5 mile radius bill. Big deal. We all knew he didn’t really have a choice. But don’t think for one second Senator David Sokola and Newark Charter School Head of School Greg Meece didn’t plan all of this the second the bill went into circulation. Did any of you think for one second Meece would give up his beloved 5-mile radius for NCS? Come on! This is Delaware Politics 101 folks!
This was never about Wilmington students. This was ALWAYS about Newark Charter School. They do NOT want anyone outside of their 5-mile radius crossing that line. Sokola knew the bill had legs so he found the perfect amendment to kill it: exclude the Wilmington portion of Christina. It would get all the civil rights activists going off and it worked like a charm. Lest we forget, this is the same State Senator who messed around with the opt out bill every single chance he could. How many of us were there when he scheduled many bills during a Senate Education Committee meeting and the opt out bill, House Bill 50, was delayed for a week? Remember the whole “Assessment Inventory Task Force” crap? That was him. Remember the charter school audit bill which was fantastic under State Rep. Kim Williams’ original incarnation until he got his charter-dirty hands on it. And what about House Bill 399, the bill that would have given teachers a choice of using the Smarter Balanced Assessment or other tests for their evaluations? He put so much crap in his amendment and watered it down to nothing. This is classic Sokola.
Don’t believe for one second that NCS had issues with transportation logistics. They didn’t want the 5-mile radius to go away. Period. That’s all this was ever about. I have no doubt Sokola was cheering me on when I wrote about how his version of House Bill 85 would result in a massive lawsuit against the state. This is what he does. He turns gold into poison ivy. But all the clowns up in Newark keep voting him back in over and over again.
As for Meece, he is never going to change. He loves the fact that HIS school is the “best” in the state. He loves the fact it’s the biggest as well. And he has stacked the deck with the sibling enrollment preference. That way all his favorite families can keep bringing their kids there. He might throw a prize our way by taking in some special education kids. Make it look like he is trying. But he isn’t. He’s just playing the game. And with Sokola by his side, he always wins.
Everyone on social media is talking about Carney and Wilmington. How Carney did or didn’t help Wilmington kids with his veto. Do you really believe Carney didn’t know what Sokola and Meece were up to the entire time? See the game for what it is folks. It isn’t about change. It’s about the status quo.
Lucky for Sokola, he got to go on a cross-country bike ride with former Governor and good buddy Jack Markell. They are somewhere in middle America right now, sweating their hineys off in spandex. I have no doubt Meece is thinking “Yes, we win again!” while wondering if he should go for a threepeat on Blue Ribbon status so he can brag that they are 1 in 5 trillion schools who ever got the hat trick. They played all of us for suckers, again. And they will do it again. As long as Sokola has his little amendment followers and enough whine to go with his charter cheese, this scene will play out again. And again. And again. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that Meece and Sokola ever worried about this bill at all. Gravy!
House Concurrent Resolution passed the Delaware Senate a short time ago with amendment by Delaware Senator to take charter schools out of the district consolidation task force’s discussion. A prior amendment in the House from State Rep. Earl Jaques included charter schools in the task force discussion. Oddly enough, Senator Bonini’s amendment didn’t remove a representative from the Delaware Charter Schools Network from the task force.
Senator David Sokola said this bill did not have to be heard in committee but felt it was an important enough topic to have that voice.
Senator Bryan Townsend expressed hope that charters would be a part of the task force’s review. He said the intent of the legislation is a coordinated school system. He recognized Delaware’s unique education system and understood the ideological discussion of Senator Colin Bonini but still felt all Delaware public schools should be part of that system.
Senator Bonini’s amendment passed with 12 yes, 8 no, and 1 absent. For the concurrent resolution, it passed with 17 yes, 3 no, and 1 absent. I imagine it will come back to the House tonight.
Senator Townsend’s Senate Concurrent Resolution #39, requesting an advisory opinion from the Justices of the Delaware Supreme Court on the efficiency of Delaware’s public school system, was defeated in the Delaware Senate with 9 yes, 10 no, 1 not voting, and 1 absent. House Bill #142, dealing with training for School Resource Officers in situations dealing with students with disabilities, passed the Senate with 20 yes and 1 no. The Kim Williams sponsored bill goes to Governor Carney for signature.
This is a concurrent resolution, but an important one. For years, Delaware has been floundering public education in our state. Senate Concurrent Resolution #38 would seek the opinion of the highest court in our state to find out if we are even following our own Constitution with what has been going on. For some reason it was left on the table during consideration in the Senate, which means they will get back to it at another time. But this is timely and necessary. Sponsored by Senators Bryan Townsend and David Sokola and State Rep. Sean Matthews.
To read the full text of the legislation, please go to the below document.
Unbelievable. So much for “shared sacrifice”. Why are Delaware charter schools keeping their Transportation Slush Fund? Are you kidding me with this? According to commenter Connie over at Delaware Liberal, it is still in there.
Also- epilogue language- the transportation fund for Charters– STILL THERE! Also- $7 million for Charters. All this while forcing districts to use the match tax.
And El Som over there said:
Meaning, while JFC gouges public education and flatlines grants-in-aid, charters are held harmless.
I really shouldn’t be surprised. In these days of financial doom and gloom should I even be shocked that charter schools are not asked to sacrifice their golden goose? They are essentially allowed to do whatever they want with that money as long as it fits in the box of educational purposes. Which means they can’t go out and get a foot massage with the money. One of Senator David Sokola’s biggest arguments about the five mile radius bill being removed but not giving a preference for Christina’s Wilmington students was the cost of transportation to his beloved Newark Charter School.
I am NOT against charter schools. I am against bullshit like this. And as long as we have sycophants like Rep. Melanie Smith who wants HER daughter to go to Newark Charter School, she will do the charter school’s bidding. If that isn’t a conflict of interest, I don’t know what is. But Governor Carney DOES NOT CARE. The majority of our legislators DO NOT CARE. They don’t care if the elderly have less than they have now as long as charters get what they want. I don’t blame the charter schools themselves. I blame the policy-makers who do this. If someone gave me what is essentially free money and I were in the charters’ position, I doubt I would object.
I expect one hell of a battle tomorrow night at Legislative Hall. Meanwhile, in response to the Republicans resolution to continue funding the state if the budget doesn’t pass, State Rep. Sean Lynn introduced House Bill 290 today with sponsors including Pete Schwartzkopf, Valerie Longhurst, and John Viola. Kicking the can down the road, Delaware style.
Delaware citizens deserve better than this. We have known about this huge budget deficit for months. Why are they waiting until the last minute to get it done? I am losing faith in the left and the right. And the budget hasn’t even been released because they are STILL writing it. If only Sean Goward had been elected Governor…
It appears de facto segregation is just as okay with the majority of the Delaware Senate as it was with the Delaware House of Representatives.
The Delaware Senate just passed House Substitute 1 for House Bill 85 with 12 yes, 4 no, 2 not voting, and 3 absent. The no votes belonged to State Senators DelCollo, Henry, Marshall, and McDowell. Those voting yes were Bonini, Bushweller, Cloutier, Hansen, Hocker, Lawson, Lopez, McBride, Poore, Richardson, Sokola, and Walsh. Lavelle, who originally voted yes, switched to “not voting” and Senator Simpson stuck with his original not voting.
An attempted amendment, similar to the failed amendment in the House, would have removed the very controversial part of the bill that would disallow Christina Wilmington students to be given the same preference as the Greater Newark Christina students for Newark Charter School. Sokola argued it was an unfriendly amendment. The amendment failed with 6 yes, 8 no, 5 not voting, and 2 absent.
Senator Robert Marshall said he believed the amendment would open the preference to everyone in the Christina School District and if parents really wanted their child to get an NCS education, they would find a way to make sure their child gets there.
A representative from the Delaware State Education Association testified they would be in support of the amendment which echoed their stance at the Senate Education Committee meeting two weeks ago.
The bill will go to Governor John Carney for signature. I call on ALL to contact Carney’s office in deep opposition to this bill that I fear will set up the State of Delaware for a massive lawsuit for furthering de facto segregation. He needs to veto this discrimination factory of a bill!
To see how your legislators voted on this horrible bill, please go here: http://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail?LegislationId=26068
House Concurrent Resolution #39 would create a School District Consolidation Task Force. Yes, another task force in Delaware. Because we must always have a group of people sitting around a table before we can do anything. This task force would study if it is worth consolidating school districts in Delaware. This is something I actually favor. Nineteen school districts in little old Delaware? There are school districts in other states with more students than the entire student population of Delaware. I believe it will happen, but the question is how many? I don’t think there should be more than five. Expect a lot of battles on this one. I am fairly sure nineteen superintendents won’t want to give up their titles. Some would have to if this went through. This will be one of the hottest topics in the second leg of the 149th General Assembly beginning in January, 2018. I’m calling it now!
Where it goes from here is the House Education Committee. It is on the agenda for the meeting tomorrow (must be nice to be the Sponsor of the bill AND the Chair of the Committee). But tomorrow is the last day of committee meetings before the General Assembly closes up shop this year so this is my guestimation on what will happen: clears House Education Committee, gets a House vote in the affirmative, gets sent to Senate Education Committee, a suspension of rules allows it to bypass the committee, Senate votes yes, and the task force gets going late summer/early fall.
*Updated with new legislation, votes on the floor, and committee agendas for tomorrow
Confused by all the Education legislation floating around in Delaware? Can’t keep track of it all? Don’t worry, I can’t either sometimes. But I felt it was necessary to reestablish my old tradition of putting it all together. I will update this as the Delaware 149th General Assembly finishes off the first half of this session on June 30th and when they reconvene in January 2018. Below are all 50 of the education bills that have come up in the 149th General Assembly just this year alone. More legislation will come by the time it is all done on June 30th, 2018. Continue reading “ALL The Delaware Education Legislation In The General Assembly: Signed, Passed, Pending, & Tabled”
The Delaware Senate Education Committee tackled the 5 mile radius bill today with some explosive comments from Senator David Sokola, mostly in response to a public comment. Warning: some of the comments conveyed today will get people very angry. Continue reading “Senator Sokola: “Maybe Christina Should Give One Of Their Buildings To Newark Charter School””
House Substitute 1 for House Bill 85 is on the agenda for the
Sokola Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, June 7th at 3:30pm. State Senator David Sokola has stuffed the agenda with six bills, but in a half-hour time span. Most of the other bills shouldn’t raise too many eyebrows though. The House Education Committee canceled their meeting on Wednesday. Even though most people have their eye on the budget, it is always a good idea to see what else is going on. Between this bill, the Coastal Zone Act reorganization, legal marijuana, death penalty, and Lord knows what else will come up, we need eyes and ears more than ever down at Legislative Hall!
I will say upfront I oppose this bill because of the House Substitute that removes the Christina School District Wilmington students from this. This added language (which was insisted on by Senator Sokola) only serves to benefit one school: Newark Charter School.
To see what is on tap for ALL the committee meetings, this week, please go here: http://legis.delaware.gov/CommitteeMeetings
A bill is circulating among Delaware legislators that would give school boards more power with raising taxes. In my view, this is just another way to shift state funding to local school boards. The bill hasn’t even been given a number yet and it is important to know it is only in circulation, which means State Rep Earl Jaques is looking for sponsors. I heard, through that infamous Delaware grapevine, that Senator David Sokola is on board. Funny how Sokola didn’t mention this at all at the Education Forum the other night. The pending bill is dated 5/11/2017 and given that Sokola is the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, he would definitely know about this.
I said it yesterday, and I’ll say it again: watch out for stealth legislation coming out between now and June 30th that will most likely tick a lot of people off. The Delaware Education Hunger Games just went up to a new unbelievable level!
Updated, 2:52pm: State Rep. John Kowalko just released the following statement about this bill in circulation:
In one of the most blatant attempts to shift the blame and the costs for the irresponsible and destructive $37 million cuts to public education, Senator Sokola and Representative Jaques, chairs of the Senate and House Education committees, are circulating legislation that purports to enable local school boards to fund rather than cut a number of necessary programs. The elimination of these programs, due to the proposed funding cuts, will spell disaster for the children, educators and public school districts. This bill is a blatant attempt to shirk the Legislature’s responsibility to adequately fund public education and seek the necessary revenue to do so. The taxpayers should not overlook the additional fact that the proposed $37 million in cuts will not include $6 million that is left to the charter schools to fund these same programs. The prime sponsors of this proposed legislation, who have been less than aggressive supporters of equal treatment and funding between charter schools and traditional schools, instead seem to feel that the public will find tax increases imposed by a volunteer (unpaid) board of elected citizens as palatable. I imagine that another benefit will be to disguise and hide the fact that the General Assembly is abdicating its responsibility and authority to raise revenue for public services not to mention that any school board choosing to use such authority would probably doom the chances of success for any future referendums, regardless of their legitimacy.
Delaware’s budget deficit hit a new stage last night when Christina School District students took over State Rep. Paul Baumbach’s Education Forum at Newark High School. As well, Senator David Sokola said the issue with the 5 mile radius bill was about transportation. It was an evening full of dodged questions and skirting around the issues. It was a night when things were as confusing as Twin Peaks and the Mighty Thor put her hammer down! Continue reading “Paul Baumbach’s Education Forum In Newark Taken Over By Students And Teachers”