Greg Meece didn’t wait long. We still don’t have verification that all the charter schools signed the settlement between the Christina School District and the 15 charter schools. But Meece took his opportunity to brag and he did so with arrogance and a pompous attitude. Yes, NCS parents, this is your not so humble leader. I have no doubt this was Greg Meece’s favorite moment of the year. But the big question surrounds the truth. It was under the assumption the charter schools and their attorneys over at Saul Ewing offered the settlement. Other sources have all parties working together over the Thanksgiving weekend to hammer it out. But what Greg Meece states is something completely new. And there is another downright dirty thing in this letter which was not written in the settlement the way Meece wrote it. To me, that kind of negates the spirit of the settlement. The settlement explicitly stated this was not a case of wrongdoing on Christina’s part, but Meece’s one sentence inclusion in here suggests otherwise. That line is bolded for emphasis below.
As I was working on my article this weekend about Greg Meece and Newark Charter School, I went over a lot of articles pertaining to the lawsuit. Why on earth would Christina offer to settle based on their own Legislative Briefing? Furthermore, I don’t recall their board ever voting on action pertaining to the lawsuit. I would imagine only the Christina board could direct their attorneys to negotiate a settlement. The only vote they held about the lawsuit was the one regarding the actual settlement. So someone is lying. Is it Christina or Greg Meece?
Dear NCS Parents and Staff:
This regards the lawsuit that Newark Charter School, in conjunction with 14 other charter schools and four parents, filed against the Christina School District (CSD) and Delaware’s Department of Education (DDOE). The general idea of Delaware’s school finance law is that the property taxes paid by residents, which are initially held by the local school districts, should follow the child when families choose to enroll their children to a public charter or choice school in Delaware. In the case of CSD that was not being done. Charter and choice school students were not getting their fair share. The DDOE performed a detailed analysis of this past year’s funding between districts and charter schools. It concluded that CSD had excluded from charter schools more funds than it was allowed to exclude. Delaware law requires that the Secretary of Education make the final determination regarding the allowable exclusions from districts. In August, the Secretary of Education made his decision. This decision would have provided charter and choice students who live in the CSD approximately $450 more per student. In early September, over the charter schools’ objections, the Secretary reversed his own decision, due to outside pressures being made on him. This is when the 15 charter schools decided to sue both CSD and DDOE.
Both CSD and DDOE offered to settle the lawsuit before it went before the courts and the charter schools agreed to the terms of the settlement. Among the details of the settlement:
* The CSD now agrees that $5.5 million in revenue that had been excluded from the pool of funds shared among all students in the district, including those who attend our school, will now be shared with all charter and choice schools serving Christina students.
* The DDOE agrees to bring greater transparency to the process through which it determines each district’s Local Cost Per Student. DDOE is obliged to share information and seek input from charter schools as part of this process.
* We will be working with the CSD to examine whether opportunities exist to share resources to serve special needs students.
* Both CSD and DDOE agreed to cover the cost of the charter schools’ legal costs.
* In return, the charter schools agreed to relinquish claims on funds that may have been inappropriately withheld in past years.
As a result, the tax dollars that should follow your children to Newark Charter School will arrive for this school year and in future years. These funds will be put to good use here, where they belong and where they are needed.
I would like to thank you for your support as we worked through this legal process, and I’m happy to answer any other questions you might have. If you would like to see a full copy of the settlement, we will be glad to send you an electronic copy.
Gregory Meece, School Director and the NCS Board of Directors
Excuse the hell out of me Greg Meece, but did you just write a letter to parents indicating that Christina broke the law even though the settlement you just signed clearly indicates otherwise? I have to ask, what the hell is wrong with you? You just violated your own settlement with this public letter.
Meanwhile, the Christina School District put out a press release on their own website today which doesn’t have a few of the things Meece mentioned in his letter:
Christina School District Signs Principled Settlement Agreement
The Christina School District has signed a principled settlement agreement to a Civil Action by 15 charter schools regarding the sharing of local property tax revenue.
- In the annual certification of Christina School District’s Local Cost Per Student pursuant to Section 509 (e), both the 2003 Referendum Revenue and CSD’s expenditures posted against those revenues will be ignored. In other words, such expenditures will be neither included in, nor excluded from, CSD’s Total Local Operating Expenditures. This is important because under the statutory formula for sharing local property tax revenue with charter schools, if such expenditures are included in CSD’s Total Local Operating Expenditures, the 2003 Referendum Revenue shared with the charter schools would not be subject to the restrictions imposed by the voters in 2003.
- Beginning with Fiscal Year 17, the revenue generated by the 10 cent levy shall be divided by the total number of students residing in CSD and attending public schools in order to determine the per student share of the 2003 Referendum Revenue.
- The parties agree that the dismissal shall include all claims that were brought or could have been brought, in the Lawsuit regarding FY’17 or any earlier fiscal year.
- DOE will recommend a process to be used by the DOE in the future for determining Local Cost Per Student. In this process:
- Districts will have the opportunity to request DOE approval for Exclusions from Total Local Operating Expenditures, with Districts providing justification for their request.
- DOE will make a tentative determination responding to each requested Exclusion, together with DOE’s reasoning
- Districts will have the opportunity to discuss with DOE its tentative determination before such determination is final and included within the annual certification
- Prior to the annual certification, DOE will provide all charter schools with its tentative determinations, along with District justifications, and will afford the charter schools an opportunity to discuss such determination
- DOE shall establish a schedule by which it proposes to meet each of the steps noted above.