The Christina School District held a Legislative Briefing for Delaware legislators this morning. The subject: the ongoing district-charter local cost per pupil. Answers were given in a very effective way by Christina’s Chief Financial Officer, Bob Silber. Legislators in attendance were State Reps. John Kowalko, Earl Jaques, Ed Osienski, Mike Ramone, Kim Williams and Senator Bryan Townsend. Most of the Christina Board of Education also attended as well as Acting Christina Superintendent Bob Andrzejewski. Some charter advocates, such as Henry Clampitt who now serves on the Gateway Lab School Board of Directors also attended.
Silber gave specifics on what he believes the Delaware Department of Education is attempting to take out of Christina’s exclusion list from their local funding. He also gave enlightening information on how the DOE specifically asked district Superintendents not to inform their local boards of the changes until a certain time. As well, the meeting held at the DOE last week with district Superintendents was for them only. No business managers were allowed to attend this meeting about education funding. Which is ironic given that the business managers would have the most insight into these issues. To me, it shows an unwillingness on the DOE’s part to make this a transparent and collaborative process.
Silber also presented a timeline of events from Christina’s perspective which almost mirrors my own that I posted last week. Silber did mention that their legal counsel sent a letter to the Delaware DOE on August 26th. The current status is that charter bills were pulled by Secretary Godowsky. Silber did say some districts in Southern Delaware paid their charter bills but Christina will not until the funding amounts are correct.
I walked away from this meeting more convinced than ever that this began with Newark Charter School and once the DOE got involved, they took over and went crazy with it with absolutely no justification or ability to succinctly present anything associated with this mess that is in any way legal. I will have more to say on this later when I transcribe the question and answer question with members of the audience, but in the meantime, feast on the presentation given by Silber. He hit a grand slam on this and evaporated the DOE’s position on this, in my opinion.
What is always fascinating with meetings like this is who is watching who when certain things are said or questions are asked.