Next Tuesday, January 15th, Delaware Governor John Carney and Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting will hold a press conference at Legislative Hall to announce a weighted funding system for Delaware students. Luckily, this blogger got the details of it this evening. The devil, as they say, is in the details. Continue reading
If a certain bill goes through, look for future referenda in several school districts! Continue reading
After weeks of work, all of the Delaware Public Education salaries over $100,000 have been posted with a few exceptions. Those are four charter schools who either did not respond or will in the next couple of days. But there is more than enough data to make some sense out of all this. Many asked why I was posting these. There were several reasons: requests, comparisons, money tracking, and general curiosity. But the main reason was to see if I could answer the age-old question- “Are there too many administrators?” Finally, I am prepared to answer that. Continue reading
At the House Education Committee meeting today in Delaware, House Joint Resolution #12 which would have allowed the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission redistricting plan to move forward, was tabled. State Rep. Charles Potter, in his introductory statements, recommended the bill be tabled to add amendments which would otherwise have caused the plan to die in the House Education Committee. While no amendments have been added to the legislation as of yet, it is most likely in regards to the issue of property assessments. One of the recommendations of the redistricting plan is to allow the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education to incrementally raise property taxes without a referendum. Many House Republicans oppose this. Once the amendment is added I will certainly put it up.
Several supporters of the bill gave public comment to urge the General Assembly to move forward. A few opposed the legislation based on inequality for students throughout the state. Many members of the House Education Committee were either not present or skipped the meeting entirely.
While some spoke about how this will provide extra funding for students with disabilities, there is no mention of this in Governor Markell’s proposed budget. I advised I support the bill if that funding is restored AND State Rep. Kim Williams’ House Bill 30 is approved to provide this essential funding for ALL students with disabilities in basic special education in grades Kindergarten to 3rd grade.
State Rep. Helene Keeley gave a very powerful speech before the committee voted about the situation with students in Wilmington and how the drug epidemic has ravaged the city. The committee will meet next week to discuss HJR #12 with the soon to be added amendment.
In reading the public comment for the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission’s Interim Redistricting Plan to be voted on by the Delaware State Board of Education on January 21st, I noticed many things. The first of which is Red Clay’s elderly population does not like this plan at all.
Many of the feelings in the public comments feel they have been taxed enough given that Red Clay just passed a referendum last year. Some even suggested that the full release of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee recommendations taking place after the referendum was done deliberately. These public comments are through December 14th, 2015.
One of the most interesting public comments comes from State Rep. Charles Potter. In an earlier message, he states he fully supports the plan, but towards the end he backtracks and opposes it. His reason? He claims that Colonial School District, whose board voted to back out of sending their Wilmington students to Red Clay in October, has less than 200 students but receives $3.8 million dollars. He doesn’t specify where those funds come from or the nature of them. If anyone has any solid information on this, I would love to see it. I have heard some reference the fact that Colonial owns some of the property on the Port of Wilmington, but this has been a back and forth between both WEIC and Colonial for a few months now and I have yet to see something in writing indicating this one way or another.
Many of the Wilmington resident public comments are in support of the plan, albeit with some reservations. The Wilmington Education Strategy Think Tank even suggests Red Clay and the Brandywine School District merge.
There are numerous public comments in hear that are well worth reading, especially if this plan does get approved. There are valid points on both sides of the coin. Public comment will be accepted until January 14th.
The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission is proposing a plan for funding of the redistricting effort currently in the planning stages. WEIC wants the state to look at increasing property assessments to raise more funding for our schools. How do you feel about this? With Wilmington schools as a test for a weighted formula funding, which would start there first, will Kent and Sussex counties support this without more funding going to their own schools? WEIC does not have any true stakeholder input from Kent or Sussex right now. I urge every Delaware citizen to read the below document and let WEIC know how you feel about this, as well as your state legislators. Because if the State Board of Education passes this plan, it will go to the 148th General Assembly for a vote.
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.