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
If you thought the arrow Delaware Governor John Carney shot through Christina School District’s heart was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet! Plans are afoot. And what will be left standing after Carney does his coup d’état will shock everyone! Continue reading
Last night, the Christina School District Board of Education voted again to table a vote on the Memorandum of Understanding between the district, the Delaware Dept. of Education, and Governor Carney’s office. From the sounds of it, Carney is getting very impatient with Christina. Board member John Young included a quote from Carney and his response to it on a Facebook post today.
“I’m disappointed that the board did not act tonight to address the serious challenges facing students in these Wilmington schools. We have made it a priority to work in collaboration with Christina to do right by these students. We have offered significant new resources to support educators and students in Wilmington. We can’t afford to wait and delay on this issue any longer.” – John Carney
Well, we do share an emotion: It’s so disappointing to have a partner at the table use this situation for political gain. Not surprising, just disappointing. The MOU currently on the table is the Governor’s version. It makes barely a fraction of the commitment necessary to help our students, is the furthest thing from “significant resources”, and seems to be hyper-focused on only getting one thing done: a dual-generation center. This leaves all our K-8 students in the rain holding a wet bag of nothing, Governor John Carney. Your charged declaration proves what I have sadly suspected: this plan isn’t about helping our students at all. The board, while tabling this terribly lopsided version, ardently pledged to stay at the table and work. I know that’s what I’m committed to doing. I’d really rather not spend much effort like this responding to divisive nonsense like your declaration; however, I will not sit idly by as you disparage the process and hard work of all partners, including your own staff. Let’s get to work instead of name calling and finger pointing, Governor.
As always, I’m right here.
Young gave his cell phone number after the last sentence but I do not feel comfortable providing that on a blog. When Young addressed him as Governor John Carney, that was linked to his Facebook profile.
I think things are about to get very interesting in Christina. As I’ve written before, Carney does NOT like anyone challenging him. He takes that very seriously. Will Carney try to pull some type of “priority schools” stunt on Christina if they do not act on the MOU? I would be willing to bet he will. Something will happen. I have no idea what that is.
As well, the Christina board voted NO on their final Fiscal Year 2018 budget. While this does not mean the state will stop disbursing funds to the district, it could affect their local payments. It certainly did not make Christina Chief Financial Officer Robert Silber or Superintendent Richard Gregg have a good night. Things are getting interesting up there.
The latest Memorandum of Understanding concerning Governor John Carney’s plans for Christina has an ask of $18.5 million in additional state funding to implement the plan. This is, of course, based on approval by the Delaware General Assembly as they hammer out the FY2019 budget over the next six months.
The latest draft of the MOU, authored by Carney’s Education Policy Adviser Jon Sheehan, is a red-lined version. The new wording in the document is all red-lined. Keep in mind this is more than the initial ask from the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission. Carney, from all reports I’ve heard, wants this plan to go through more than anything in the world. How much so? He will most likely do anything to make it happen. I’m not sure why he has made this his top priority in education matters. I think it is a red herring with danger signs written all over it. I believe he is counting on the Christina Board of Education to vote no on it so he can launch some dastardly punitive action against the district. I believe it is the same tactic Governor Markell used with WEIC. Get everyone talking about it knowing full well the General Assembly wasn’t going to approve it. The key difference between this and that is with WEIC the state already had a budget deficit when faced with that vote. This time around, Delaware is boasting of a budget surplus. I believe there are some smoke and mirrors with their numbers and I believe there is some fuzzy math with their formulas. We shall see.
From a legislator’s point of view, the funding for this is based on Wilmington schools. As WEIC learned the hard way, giving extra and significant funding to one portion of the state and not the rest is not an easy task. Like I said the other week, everyone and their mother will be jockeying for their share of the mystical “budget surplus”. In an election year, incumbents will NOT want to tick off voters in their districts. I think Carney knows this. Or he is that stupid. But I’ll go with the former on this one. Which is why I think it is a red herring.
The latest draft appears to have concessions granted to the Christina Board from their last discussion. The Christina Board wanted to change the timeline from the 2018-2019 school year to the 2019-2020 year. But the wording in the draft suggests Carney wants the Dual Generation Center up and running in 2018. If that went through, there would definitely be some type of building movement by August of this year.
In the meantime, check out the latest Jon Sheehan penned draft of the MOU which the Christina Board will vote on at their next board meeting on January 16th. It would have gone to a vote tonight but the meeting was postponed due to inclement weather.