The State Board of Education still has four members. Which is their quorum amount. Governor Carney, with ten days left in the 149th General Assembly, has not put forth ANY nominations for replacements. Delaware State Code mandates four members on the State Board. If Carney does not put forth nominations until after the General Assembly goes into recess from July 1st until mid-January 2019, he could order the Delaware Senate back into session to confirm nominations. That isn’t unusual but typically doesn’t happen until October when it does occur. Which means our State Board of Education is operating at a bare minimum for the next four months. Which means if just one member doesn’t attend a meeting they can not take action on any item, even approving their minutes.
I have an extreme issue with keeping this body at four members. Any regulation or appeal the State Board hears would only have four members voting. One no-show could shut something down very fast. It is a recipe for disaster. Simply put, they cannot operate the way they are supposed to. As an example, what happens if Secretary of Education Susan Bunting decided to put a charter school on formal review for some reason? The State Board would have to vote on that. Is four members enough to give that conversation the full weight for a matter that serious? There is a reason there are seven members.
I was told by Jon Sheehan, Governor Carney’s Education Policy Advisor, the State Board of Education would be restored by June 30th. So where are the nominations? Since there are none today, that leaves one last Senate Executive Committee meeting to do this, which would be next Wednesday. At that point it is the last week of the General Assembly. I would worry about the quality of the nominations if it is rushed at the last-minute.
Two weeks ago, the Joint Sunset Committee released the State Board of Education from Sunset review. The only unanswered question is who the State Board’s Executive Director will report to- the State Board, the Delaware Department of Education, or a hybrid of both. Meanwhile, the deadline for applicants to replace Donna Johnson expired June 9th. Which means someone will most likely get that job soon. But will there even be a functional State Board of Education for them to direct?
I still feel as though the State Board of Education should be elected by the people. Having a Governor hand-pick who he wants on the State Board of Education all but ensures people will get picked who would follow his agendas. It is something our legislators could change but nobody wants to tick off the Governor. Many of them agree but lack the stones to actually do it. I say have an elected State Board of Education and get rid of “Secretary-only Regulations”. Those are the ones, like Regulation 225, that the State Board of Education does not vote on. Which is preposterous in my opinion.
Updated, 3:37pm: I spoke with Jon Sheehan a short time ago who assured me that three nominations will be introduced next week and he anticipates a full State Board of Education by June 30th.