Red Clay Superintendent Race Down To Three

In the coming months, Red Clay Consolidated School District will have a new Superintendent.  All indications are pointing to three final candidates.  Who are they? Continue reading

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Delaware Education Roundup October Edition

There are always gems to be found when you comb through district and charter board minutes, agendas, and websites.  I did that last night and found a ton of stuff!  Instead of coming out with a dozen or more articles about it, I thought I would just combine all of it one fell swoop!  There is A LOT of material in here so dig in! Continue reading

Breaking News: Red Clay CFO Jill Floore Named Interim Superintendent Effective November 1st

I didn’t see this one coming!  The Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education just unanimously approved an Interim Superintendent effective November 1st.  Jill Floore, the district’s chief financial officer, will fill the Superintendent shoes after current Superintendent Merv Daugherty leaves the district the same day.

The motion, put forth by board member Jason Casper, was quickly voted on with a unanimous vote by the entire board.  More details to come!

Breaking News: Red Clay Superintendent Merv Daugherty To Resign

The Red Clay Consolidated School District community will be in shock over this.  Superintendent Merv Daugherty will be resigning as of November 1st.  A tweet sent out this morning indicated he will be accepting a position out of stated.

Daugherty has been with Red Clay a long time, from July, 2009 to the present.  He saw the district through the dreaded Race To The Top years, priority schools, the rise of educational technology, and the strange new era of competency-based education and personalized learning.

Daugherty was the Delaware Superintendent of the Year for the 2015-2016 school year.

The Red Clay board will have to get moving now if they want to find a new Superintendent by the time Merv retires.  Most Superintendent searches can take a good 5-6 months.  This gives them less than 3 months.

I wish Merv all the best in his retirement.  I’ve dealt with him many times and he would respond to me in a timely fashion.  Good luck Merv!

Updated, 9:43am:  Red Clay just announced the following on their Facebook account-

The Red Clay Board of Education will meet in executive session on Aug. 28, 2018 to discuss naming an interim superintendent, engaging a search firm to assist and guide the board in moving forward and the process the district will use in its search for Dr. Daugherty’s replacement. Details will be released shortly thereafter.

Updated, 9:48am: Red Clay sent out the following press release about Daugherty’s resignation-

A Dangerous Bill In The Delaware General Assembly Could Cost School Districts Millions Of Dollars!

If a certain bill goes through, look for future referenda in several school districts! Continue reading

The Discussion About Racism Is Important But So Is The Tone. Tales From A Red Clay Board Meeting.

Last week, at the Red Clay Board of Education meeting, a huge and heated conversation took place about the lack of diversity at Cab Calloway School of the Arts.  It turned into something ugly and what I would not expect from a sitting board member. Continue reading

Super Merv Stops Red Clay Board From Violating State Law

In the matter  of replacing former board member Mike Piccio’s seat last evening, the Red Clay Consolidated Board of Education came very close to breaking the law.

A motion to appoint a replacement came up.  Delaware state law dictates that a school board shall replace a vacant board seat with an appointee until the next regular school board election.  Piccio’s former seat expires in 2019 so the new appointed board member would only serve on that seat for nine months.  The vote came…

Three board members voted yes and three voted no.  A tie vote meant the motion failed.  But it really shouldn’t have come up for a vote because of what exists in state code.  As well, it is also board police in conformity with state law.  State Rep. Kim Williams, who was in attendance at the meeting, immediately recognized the glaring error and immediately notified Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty.  As she wrote on Facebook at the time:

The Red Clay Board vote was 3 no to 3 yes to fill the vacant school board seat in District E. The motion failed because of a tie vote. The policy states the following: A vacancy for any reason other than the expiration of a term shall be filled by appointment for the remainder the fiscal year. A new member shall be elected at the next regular Board Election to fill the remainder of the previous member’s term.  They did not follow the board policy.

Daugherty forced the board to rescind their vote.  At this point, the Board is accepting letters of interest from those who reside in the Wilmington nominating district.

The board voted for the President and Vice-President titles.  Martin Wilson is the new President and Faith Newton is the Vice-President.  The board will vote on the appointee for Piccio’s seat at their October board meeting.

Can A Superintendent Of A School District Join A Charter School Board?

To my knowledge, this is a first.  A New Castle County school district Superintendent has been nominated to join a charter school board.  I know board members from a traditional school district are not able to join a charter school board, but I don’t believe there is anything in Delaware state code that would prevent a Superintendent from joining.  With that being said, I believe this would be a HUGE conflict of interest for both the charter and the district.  Continue reading

Red Clay Board Votes To Keep The WEIC Train Moving, But With A Caveat

The Red Clay Consolidated Board of Education had a special meeting tonight to discuss the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and the redistricting of all Christina School District students into Red Clay.  The biggest issue at this point is funding.  The Board passed a resolution with a 4-1 vote to keep it going, but it was explicitly understood that if the funding is not available, it is dead.   Superintendent Merv Daugherty said if the funding isn’t there by July 1st, 2016, Red Clay will not move forward.

I know many are cheering for this, but I say pull the plug now.  With the budget and elections being the biggest issues in Delaware come January, the General Assembly will have a very hard time justifying the costs for this while making crucial cuts elsewhere.  And there will be cuts without more revenue.  And just wait until it becomes mainstream that the WEIC plan will most likely hinge on an increase in property assessments for the entire state.  I don’t mind paying my fair share for schools, but when the anti-referendum crowd finds out, they will be incensed.  If you thought the right and the left were at odds on some issues now, just wait until that topic becomes a part of social media.  It will get ugly real fast!

I like Tony Allen and many folks on WEIC.  I think their plans are based out of a concerted effort to do what they feel is the right thing for the students of Wilmington.  But this is not the time, not with the monetary issues facing this state.  For all the money all these education foundations and think tanks donate, have we heard any of them offering to pony up some cash?  Hell no.  Because it is a traditional school district thing.  Bank of America is incorporated in Delaware.  You would think they would have pride for not just charter schools but also our traditional schools.  Where is their huge donation to all of this?  They have a crucial player spearheading all this.  Meanwhile, I am hearing more and more people accepting the Common Core but they still hate the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  What many don’t realize is the two go hand in hand.  The reason the test is so jacked up is because it is based on Common Core.  But people are actually calling them “the standards” now.  You can wrap a ribbon around crap, but it is still crap.  Do not be lulled into acceptance folks.

Colonial backed out, and it looks like Brandywine may as well.  Christina’s teachers have no assurances they will be able to keep their jobs if the redistricting goes through.  Christina is going to be facing their own hefty financial issues by the end of this school year.  Murders continue in Wilmington, and Dover is having its fair share of homicides as well.  Drugs are rampant in this state.  We have adults acting out against students, albeit rare, but it is happening.  There is the elephant in the room called racism, and it exists in this state.  It is real, and it is happening right now.  By the time Delaware becomes a powder keg, Governor Jack Markell will exit stage left, leaving a legacy that future generations will come to hate him for.  What will Rodel, the Delaware Department of Education, and the State Board of Education do without their leader once he is gone?  The General Assembly is going to have their hands full, and I can guarantee you if they push the property assessment thing, the landscape of Legislative Hall will look very different come January 2017.

Red Clay’s Conrad In Violation Of Board Resolution On Parent Opt-Out of Smarter Balanced Assessment

The Conrad Schools of Science just came out with their 2016 Choice Application, and sure enough, it has a twelve point rubric.  Two of the points are based on the student’s Smarter Balanced Assessment math score.  If a student was opted out by his parents, what happens with this rubric?  And so it begins.  Expect to see more of this from certain Delaware schools.  Didn’t the Red Clay board pass an opt-out resolution last Spring indicating no student would be penalized for opting out?  I believe they did.  Sounds like Superintendent Merv Daugherty needs to have a talk with this magnet school…

Red Clay Board Unanimously Passes Parent Opt Out Resolution

Tonight, the third school board in Delaware, Red Clay Consolidated, passed a parent opt out resolution, which you can read below. The vote was unanimous among the six board members present, with no discussion needed. This is after several individuals, myself included, gave public comment supporting the board.

This is a pivotal moment in the Delaware Parent Opt-Out movement. Three of the biggest school districts in the state now officially honor a parent’s right to opt their child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Following Capital and Christina, Red Clay is now a part of this school district triumvirate.

Superintendent Merv Daugherty reported to the board that the letter the school district sent to parents who opted their kids out was based on Federal and State dictated guidelines, but the district approved all requests. Not that it was their decision, but I appreciate it. To date, Red Clay has between 50-60 opt outs (waiting on clarification), Christina has 113, Colonial had 62 as of last night, and Capital is lighting the way for all districts at 11% of their student body, which could be between 400-700 students if they are counting the entire student body or just those grades taking the assessment.

Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams was in the audience, and State Rep. Michael Ramone left early. Yvonne Johnson and Bill Doolittle with the Delaware PTA, RCEA President Mike Matthews, a parent, and myself all gave public comment supporting the board. Doolittle announced the latest ESEA reauthorization bill also has a parent opt out clause within the bill.

The next stop on the Parent Opt Out train stops at Legislative Hall on Wednesday April 22nd, at 2:30pm (waiting on the official agenda to come up to confirm that time, check http://www.legis.delaware.gov for clarification). Apparently, the entire House Education Committee meeting is designated for this one piece of legislation, House Bill 50, which is somewhat unusual. I would get there early for parking and to get a good seat. I will be there, as will several other parents. I will be very curious if Governor Markell or Mark Murphy would dare to show their face there.

In the meantime, I will celebrate Red Clay’s board resolution and encourage ALL the other boards to take this measure as well. For now, I’m calling it the CCR effect (not Creedence Clearwater Revival). Add in DSEA and Delaware PTA’s recent resolutions, and there is a very big coalition that will take aim at the DOE next Wednesday…