Why not? They already give millions of dollars to Delaware charter schools. Is it even legal for a traditional public school district to do this? I have no idea. But I think the very nature of a referendum should not be legal. Yesterday’s vote on the Christina referendum shows a clear disparity between traditional public schools and charters. When a charter needs funds fast, there are many organizations willing to donate funds. But when a district like Christina needs money, they have to beg for it. The charters will say they need to beg, but when they get extra funds from transportation funds, non-profits, and even DOE awards, you never hear them offering solutions for the districts that give them their main source of funding. Nearly 6,000 votes should not decide a source of funding for over 21,000 students and cause the termination of 200 teachers and support staff.
Legislators are already calling for change. Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko sent out an email this morning in response to very concerned constituents in the Christina District:
I do not pretend to offer lip-service or support from a distance. I will meet with a House lawyer this Friday and plan to compose and consider legislation that may be offered immediately to help and legislation to create a task-force with a reporting requirement no later than Jan. 1 2016 to offer a plan to change Delaware public education funding structures and eliminate the referendum process. I am open and willing to hear any and all suggestions to accomplish that and will meet with your group at your convenience to discuss this. I want to thank you for all of your hard work in trying to secure a favorable outcome on the referendum and to specifically applaud all of your group’s efforts to dispel the lie and the implication that some unidentifiable flaw in Christina Board/Administration/educators should cause voters to pause before casting a ballot in support of the referendum. These types of references did much more damage and influenced many, many more negative votes than the weak whispers of support voiced by some leaders with the caveat that the district was corrupt, misusing funds or populated with malcontents. Once again thank you all for your reasonable and intellectually honest assessment of the needs of our public school children.
Representative John Kowalko
With the topic of school funding already a hot topic in Dover, yesterday’s vote is just going to add fuel to a raging inferno. Add standardized testing, opt-out, redistricting of Wilmington schools, special education funding, Autism, charter school audits, teacher evaluations, change in the Department of Education and Secretary’s roles, and how to protect our schools. It is more than obvious that the biggest concerns in Delaware right now are around education. Should the General Assembly extend their legislative session to deal with these crucial issues? They essentially have five weeks left. Three days a week. With education committees meeting once a week for an hour or two. They need to do more and act quicker.