The Gateway Lab School Board of Directors went through a radical shift between their July and August board meetings. Four board members disappeared but nothing was found in the minutes or audio recordings stating those board members resigned. As well, changes to their by-laws might have been done illegally. Continue reading
It appears former State Rep. Liane Sorenson and longstanding State Board member Barbara Rutt have resigned from the Delaware State Board of Education leaving four members left. Delaware Governor John Carney has not put forth any nominations for any replacements of the vacant positions, including that of former State Board President Dr. Dennis Loftus who resigned last month as well.
A quorum for the State Board of Education is four members. If any of the existing members do not show up to a State Board of Education meeting the board could take no action on any item at their meetings. That would mean no regulations, no appeals, nothing. This is who we are left with:
The Delaware General Assembly has one month left for the 149th General Assembly. It actually ends on June 29th since the 30th is on a Saturday. As well, the Delaware Department of Education is on the hunt for an “education associate” to replace former Executive Director Donna Johnson who resigned early last month. The deadline for that application is June 9th.
Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting is the Executive Secretary of the State Board of Education but she is not considered a member of the board and has no voting privileges. This is not good at all for the State Board.
If East Side Charter School had no board meeting in December, and their January board meeting didn’t occur until January 28th, how in the world did their board approve the loaning out of four board members, their head of school, funds, and teachers to Family Foundations Academy? Why has nobody else even brought up this question? By the time the State Board of Education and Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy decided on the fate of FFA, the East Side board took over the FFA board and had their arrangement in place, with Dr. Lamont Browne serving as Executive Director of both schools. But if the Board never voted on it, who made the decision?
Charles McDowell is the Board President of East Side Charter. He is now the Board President of Family Foundations Academy. He is also on the board of Early College High School in Dover. That’s three charter boards he sits on. Is he the one calling the shots? If you read the last Early College High School board minutes (November 2014), it seems like he is in charge even though he isn’t the board president.
While the East Side/FFA arrangement is unprecedented in Delaware, I would think the East Side Board would have to approve a reallocation of funds of that magnitude and what amounts to a loan. But that is nowhere to be found. And how did the East Side board members take over? Was there a quorum of the old FFA members? Did they vote to add the new members and then resign? Don’t new board members have to wait a month to vote on new items? Hmm, more than meets the eye here. And lest we forget, Kendall Massett at the Delaware Charter Schools Network set up this deal…
I had to do a double-take when I read this, but yeah, this happened! Only five members of the Prestige Academy 12 person school board were present at their December 15th, 2014 meeting. In order to have a quorum to vote on anything at a board meeting, a majority of board members have to be present.
According to their own bylaws:
ARTICLE VI: MEETINGS OF THE BOARD
Section 1. Compliance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
The Board shall conduct its meetings as if it were a “public body” as defined in 29 Del. Code § 10002(a), and according to the requirements of Chapter 100 of said Title 29 (the “Act”). In addition to the published notices required by the Act, notices of each meeting of the Board shall be forwarded to its members by any method that preserves proof of such notice.
Section 2. Quorum.
A quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting of the Board shall consist of at least one-half the voting Directors then serving, except as may otherwise be required by law.
*Bolded for emphasis on my part
So there you have it, as per their own by-laws. So what happened at their December 15th board meeting? Aside from the fact that it was at a bar (which was in the agenda believe it or not), Buckley’s Tavern, they did indeed vote on items as per their own board minutes. But what if a student wanted to come to give public comment? Would they be able to do that without a parent present at a bar? This didn’t happen, but I just have a thing about board meetings occurring at a place that serves liquor. Yes, this is also a restaurant, but I didn’t know school boards can have meetings at places that aren’t available to every member of the public. Did the board have their 45 minute meeting and then get drinks after? I would certainly hope so!
I have a feeling more Prestige news may be coming out very soon…
In the meantime for Prestige Academy, you may want to update your website. Having to click on 2012 links for your board minutes, and then going through a couple more links, is not really showing how transparent your school is. Many people would just assume you haven’t updated your website since 2012!
Read this, and then read below for more!
I can’t wait to see the votes on this. There would have to be a quorum of the board for each vote. I hope the board minutes accurately reflect which of the previous board members were present, who voted on what, with all the yeas and nays, and how exactly four board members from another charter school essentially took over the school. It looks like the last two members of the previous FFA board will resign as soon as replacements are found.
I’m sure Governor Markell will have no problem with this cause he loves Eastside Charter and their standardized test scores. It sounds like some backroom deals were made for this to happen. I wonder who initiated all of this. Will Mark Murphy and the State Board base their decision for FFA’s charter renewal on the past or the future?
Updated, 9:20am: I just found this on the FFA website-