Proposed MOU Between Christina and Red Clay, Appo, Brandywine, Colonial, and Smyrna Over Referendum Funds From 2003

As I wrote the other night, Red Clay, Appoquinimink and Brandywine want their share of the local funds for choice students from Christina stemming from the charter school settlement with Christina last fall.  It looks like Colonial and Smyrna have now jumped in as well.  The Christina Board of Education will hold a special board meeting on May 24th to discuss this issue.  The below document shows how much it would cost Christina if approved.

Red Clay, Brandywine, & Appoquinimink Go After Christina For The Same Bling The Charters Got In Settlement

Christina School District is about to get screwed again!  But not by the charters this time.  This time it is districts who should be their allies!

Okay, time to let the cat out of the bag.  A month ago, and if you blinked you missed it, the Christina Board of Education discussed and voted no on the Chief Financial Officer of their district negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding between Christina, Red Clay, Appoquinimink and Brandywine.  The MOU would have given authority to the CFO of Christina to send those local funds to the three other districts for students that choice to those districts out of Christina.  The board said no.  Look for a special board meeting sometime next week.  From what I’m hearing, now the Superintendents of the districts (all four) want to have the MOU between them.  Welcome to Christina Richard Gregg!

That’s what happens when you open Pandora’s Box like that with that stupid settlement between Christina and the charters.  I’m talking to you four Christina board members who voted FOR the settlement and then voted against rescinding the settlement a week later.  Did I not distinctly hear that it would set a precedent?  That it would come back to bite them in the ass?  I know I said it.  I believe a few others did as well.  Karma truly is a vengeful and mean bitch.

Do I have anything against Brandywine, Appo, or Red Clay for going after these funds?  I don’t know.  The timing sucks.  And how soon until Colonial jumps on the train?  All this happened because, supposedly, according to some commenter named Elizabeth, Jack Markell had some secret deal with Lillian Lowery and Christina when she became Secretary of Education.  The way I’ve heard it, Lowery was involved in a lawsuit when she became Secretary and Captain Jack wanted it all hush-hush so all sorts of crazy crap happened.  I heard that from someone who used to be on the board who hasn’t been too quiet about it over the past year or so.  Funny how stuff gets out in The First State.

So what happens if Christina’s board says no again?  Will the big three (and possibly Colonial) get their feathers in a twist and file a lawsuit against Christina as well?  My gut tells me Christina’s board will be forced to vote yes because of the precedent set in the charter settlement.  So last week, the board announced they will be laying off 44 or so teachers.  Will this cause that number to rise?  And how the hell does their CFO Robert Silber still have a job there?

How much money are we talking?  I don’t think it would be as much as the cha-ching the charters got, but it will leave a mark on their budget.  At this point, anything more is suck city.  Here’s a novel idea… how about going after Jack Markell and Lillian Lowery for their side deals that went on.  Better catch Jack quick before he goes on his Forrest Gump tour of America!  Yeah, like that will ever happen.  Captain Jack seems to have some special immunity shield around him.  It’s a special kind, where you screw things up for eight years and you get to go biking into the Pacific sunset.

Education never gets boring in this state.  But this will not be a joking matter for the teachers and staff in Christina School District.  These are good people who have been the victim of these education funding games for many years now.  Throw in priority schools and the constant labeling and shaming of the district.  I feel bad for all the districts right now.  Students and teachers should not be the sacrificial targets because the adults in charge can’t get their shit together.  Sorry to be so blunt, but I’m really getting sick of it.

Here’s the kicker!  I submitted a FOIA to the Delaware Auditor of Accounts office a couple of weeks ago.  This is what I asked for:

Please provide, in PDF format, all reports, letters, guidance, or inspections for any Delaware school district, vocational school district, or charter school generated by the Office of the Auditor of Accounts that is not listed on the Auditor of Accounts website for fiscal years 2014, 2015, and 2016. This would include any of the above listed documents sent to members of the General Assembly, the Delaware Department of Education, the Office of Management and Budget, Office of the Controller General, or the Office of Management and Budget that would be considered a public document 29 Del. C. Paragraph 10002(1).

Wanna know what I got?  Bupkis, that’s what!  I got the petty cash letters sent to a handful of charters last year along with the letters about that specific situation sent to various state agencies.  For three fiscal years!

Wanna know what that means?  The Auditor of Accounts office is NOT auditing ANY school district unless it is an investigation based on something submitted on their tip line.  Which means that office is breaking the law.  But the General Assembly won’t give them the funds to do their job as required by Delaware State Law (which the General Assembly does: create laws).  So who do we take to court?  The Auditor of Accounts office or the General Assembly?  Who is tracking where the hell education funds actually go?  NO ONE!  Except myself and Jack Wells it looks like.  But yeah, let’s layoff teachers and make classrooms into sardine cans while people in district offices are making over $100,000 in salary.  Cause that makes a lot of fucking sense!  Let’s keep paying for state testing and all these one-to-on devices so we can just weed out teachers and turn education into a reformer wonderland!  as I said, I’m getting tired of all this nonsense.  And if I were a teacher, I would be too!  If I were a parent (which I am) I would be shouting this from the rooftops: Stop screwing over our schools!  And when I say schools, that primarily means the students and teachers.  That is the heart of it all.

Does Delaware Met Have The Audacity To Try And Fight Their Closure?

Very interesting!  The Delaware Met is having a “special” board meeting tonight.  Oddly enough, their initial agenda had an action item entitled “Discussion on Halting the Closure of the School”.  Now that action item is gone from the agenda.  For a board that meets so often in “special” board meetings, they sure don’t take the time to update their board minutes!  And having NO board meeting in November, in the middle of their formal review, has to be the stupidest idea I have ever seen in my life!  Unless they were counting their formal review meetings and public hearings with the Charter School Accountability Committee as board meetings…

Here is their updated agenda which does not reflect what was on the original:

Will Red Clay Dump WEIC At Their Special Board Meeting? Will Brandywine? Should Christina Teachers Feel Insulted?

The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and the redistricting of Wilmington schools from Christina to Red Clay has been controversial on its best day.  Colonial is saying no, and it looks like Brandywine might as well.  Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams attended the redistricting committee meeting the other day, and all sorts of information came to light such as:

Red Clay School Board will be holding a Special Board Meeting on November 2, 2015 starting at 5:30 at Red Clay’s District Office. The board may be taking action with regards to WEIC.

But where is the agenda for this Special Board meeting? I can’t see it anywhere on their board docs.  The only notice of it is here.  How long has this been planned?  Next week begins budget discussions with state agencies.  With a very large looming budget deficit, more than the public really knows (more on that later), there will not be funding for this initiative without making huge cuts to something else.  Has the Red Clay board seen the light, or is this just another meeting to talk about things?

Brandywine School District would like to maintain the current school boundaries.

I’m not certain how much this will impact things as Brandywine has never been a big player in all of this, but with both of the “other” districts backing out it sends a clear message.

Brandywine School Board will bring forward a board resolution at their next school board meeting with regards to WEIC.

Sounds like Colonial and Brandywine are on the same page.

DSEA is very concerned about teachers losing their job because of this plan; district lines being redrawn.

As they should be.  Where would those teachers go?

Dr. Daugherty replied back to DSEA and said Red Clay is not going to guarantee that Red Clay will hire everyone from the Christina schools. Christina schools will become a part of the Red Clay School District.

This is just wrong in my opinion.  Unless it is a reduction in work force.  Red Clay already has some of the most bloated classrooms in the state.  If I were Christina, I would back out unless their teachers have a written and assured safety net.

A comment was made, if the plan is just to move district lines and rename schools and not provide any resources or funding; don’t bother moving any further with this plan.

I agree.  It sounds exactly what Delaware State Board of Education member Pat Heffernan said a couple weeks ago at their meeting.

My fear of Red Clay dumping WEIC is the aftermath.  Will Governor Markell step in and issue an executive order “for the kids”?  My gut tells me he will.  Which is also going to be the time we start hearing the words “impeachment” if he does.  That type of executive decision would certainly shed some light on this and would gel with everything that has been going on behind the scenes for years.  Or I could just be paranoid…

Delaware Met Is Having Another “Special” Board Meeting Tonight

The Delaware Met is having a “special” board meeting tonight to discuss further issues with the school.  Who knows what this meeting will bring.  Two weeks ago, the board decided to keep the school open after serious discussion about whether they should stay open or not.  The DOE could put the school on formal review.  We should get some indication of this on Thursday at the State Board of Education meeting in Dover.  What makes this meeting interesting is the timing.  The Delaware Charter School Office has their hands full at 5pm this evening with a Public Hearing for four charter schools.  Campus Community, MOT Charter School and Providence Creek Academy are all going through their charter renewal while Mapleton Charter School of Whitehall put in a major modification to change their name to Discovery Charter School with a move to Dover.

Meanwhile, here’s the agenda:

The Delaware Met High School

Special Meeting Agenda

October 12, 2015

920 French Street

5:30 PM

 

  • Welcome
  • Financial Update
  • School Leader Report – Sean Gallagher & Jacqueline Adam-Taylor
  1.  
  • EMO Report In – Innovative Schools
  1.  
  • Public Comment

Youtube Video Of Delaware Met Board Meeting Part 2

Youtube Video Of Delaware Met Special Board Meeting Tonight

Delaware Met NOT Closing Says Matt Albright With The News Journal

This story WILL be updated, but Delaware Met is not closing for now as per Matthew Albright with the News Journal who tweeted the following 45 minutes ago:

This news is coming from their board meeting where at least two legislators attended.  One was State Rep. John Kowalko because he asked the board how many of them have educational experience.  The board canceled the executive session to discuss personnel.  But there are a multitude of unanswered questions here.  How are they going to be able to adequately service the students?  If the bulk of their students have internships, how does that work with a special education student who needs supervision? (These questions were not mine but were brought up to me today which raises a very good point).  What about all the conflicts of interest on the board?  What exactly happened for them to suddenly close the school last Thursday?  Who is the individual who originally emailed me on this?  Will the Delaware DOE, who notified the school they are concerned with their “financial viability” (which usually leads to a formal review), place the school on formal review? As soon as I know more, so will you!

Updated, 6:52pm: Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams tweeted the board voted to keep the school open.

Updated, 7:20pm: Delaware Met has 223 students, of which 60 are special education which gives them a 26.9% special education population.  They have 2 special education teachers and are looking to hire two paraprofessionals.  The school was actually closed for three days last week for professional development for teachers who seemed to be as lost as the students.  A former Moyer employee told the board he heard the Delaware Department of Education expected the board to close up shop tonight and that was what they wanted.  Innovative Schools said the school has a lot of money and they are good financially.  When it came time to vote if the school should stay open, the Board President looked at the Innovative Schools rep for approval, who nodded yes.  One member of the board kept referring to the students as her “babies”.  State Rep. John Kowalko barraged the board with questions.  Public comment was not given at the advice of the school’s attorneys (yes, at a public meeting).  One observer said there was gang symbol graffiti all over the cafeteria.  The board spent a significant amount of time discussing the school’s cell phone policy.  Yes, you heard that right.  Sounds like this school doesn’t have the first clue about what the hell they are doing.

What Happened At The Delaware Met Last Week?

Sources are telling me there was no school at Delaware Met on Thursday or Friday.  Kids got on the bus Thursday morning and arrived at the school.  When they got there, someone came on the bus and stated the school was having “electrical” problems and students were sent home.  That night, the school had a special board meeting.  Tonight they are having another with one to possibly take action on their charter.  On Friday, news started trickling about the school closing this week.

Now imagine, if you will, what happens with this.  You get up, send your kid to school, and get ready for work or a doctor appointment.  Your child comes back home and you aren’t there.  Granted, these are 9th and 10th graders, but what if they don’t have a key?  Or what if they may have disabilities and need some extra help during a normal day?  These are young teenagers, given two days off in the city of Wilmington and surrounding areas.  Free to possibly wander off and potentially get in trouble.  A school is like a contract.  If you send your child to school, you expect your child to be at school.  Did the school notify the parents right away of this sudden closure?  I’ve heard many parents were not too happy with this stunt.  There was nothing on their website or their Facebook page about this at all.  There was nothing scheduled on the school calendar for in-service days or anything like that.  Christina School District had a small fire at one of their schools and it was all over social media and the news.  With Delaware Met, not a peep.

All new schools have growing pains, but let’s look at the big picture.  If you aren’t ready to service students the day you open your doors, maybe you should close.  Why do charter schools insist on operating out of secrecy rather than transparency?  Don’t they realize that if they are open and honest and transparent it goes so much better for them?  In the past year alone we have seen situations develop at Family Foundations Academy, Charter School of Wilmington, Academy of Dover, Freire (before they even opened), Providence Creek Academy, and  now The Delaware Met.  While some events are more egregious than others, they all showed a simple lack of confidence and trust to handle a situation the right way.  Yesterday, another national blogger wrote about the number of charter schools that closed between 2001-2013.  While the list was not entirely accurate for Delaware (can’t speak for other states), it showed about 2,500 charter schools around America closed during this timeframe.  All too often, as is the case in Wilmington, these students just get tossed around from school to school to school.  That isn’t right.  Kids need consistency in their lives.  If some adults don’t know how to play in the sandbox that is public education, maybe they shouldn’t enter it.  It may look great to have on your resume “School Board Member”, or “Charter School Founder”, but if you don’t know what you’re doing it has a huge impact on kid’s lives.

As well, our very own Department of Education tries to make charter schools appear as if everything is awesome until they have no choice but to put a school on formal review.  But they are aware of the issues.  They need to take a direct hand in matters and be public about it way before the point of no return.