McGuiness Rewards Election Fix With A BIG Job

Remember last year when Kathy McGuiness won the election for State Auditor?  Remember all the public smearing of Kathleen Davies that the News Journal unabashedly did?  Remember WHERE they got all that information?  Remember McGuiness won the primary against Davies and Dennis Williams but probably wouldn’t have without the tarnishing of Davies?  Who was the primary force behind Davies ousting?  None other than Andrena Burd.  She was the one who was instrumental in Davies very long leave of absence and subsequent unemployment hearings.  Eventually, Davies was reinstated at the Auditor of Accounts where she currently works.

Not long after the primary, Burd managed to find herself at a cushy auditing job over at Delaware State University where McGuiness just happened to be on their board at the time.  It turns out loyalty is very rewarding for Andrena Burd.  One former employee had A LOT to say about her recent re-hiring at the Auditor of Accounts office.  And for the record, why does Kathleen McGuiness have to make such a big deal with these swearing-in ceremonies?  Is this just practice for her dream to become the Governor of Delaware?  Or does she have her eyes set on an even bigger prize?  In any event, let’s hear what the former AOA employee has to say!

Well, it seems Ms. Burd has landed back in the AOA and with a promotion at that.  All the other folks have left because of the stuff that went down.  But Burd stayed out of the fray till it was over and now McGuiness has hired her back.  Hmm… Probably to work on getting Davies fired again.  Burd is bagging and boasting.

Burd, who was discredited by the Unemployment Insurance officer and the MERB did not seem to faze McGimick too much.  After her testimony that she thought Davies violated standards it turned out as a complete embarrassment for Burd as she did not know as much as she portrayed.  She has no morals or ethics.

How much does McGimick owe Burd for getting her elected to the AOA?  A new position?  A promotion?  And this happened after Tammy Smith left the office.  Burd would probably have not gotten that position if Smith did not leave.  Burd set up Smith, Tatman, Judy, and others.  Glad I got out in time!!!  She got promoted while all others left.  A pretty good assessment of the situation.

How many individuals have left since McGuiness took over?  Quite a few and more to follow.

As for McGuiness’ campaign promise of more transparency coming from the Auditor of Accounts office, it seems she is the sole force on the office’s website.  Even under former State Auditor Tom Wagner you could see other names on there.  But this is McG’s show and it always has been.  I have yet to see ANY investigative audits coming out of the office but this doesn’t shock me.  I’ve heard tales of some crazy stuff going on there that would make the office seem as corrupt as ever but that is a story for another day.

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What Does Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting Do All Day? The Answers!!!

Susan Bunting meets with some interesting people.  Get a peek at who and some of the inner workings of her world at the Delaware Department of Education! Continue reading

The DOE Financial Transparency Gambit Brings Out Tons Of Public Comment

Last month, the Delaware Department of Education held a series of Community Conversations surrounding the mandates of Senate Bill #172.  The legislation requires the DOE to come up with a uniform method of allowing the public to compare finances between schools.  It is a cumbersome and large task.  It is also required by the Every Student Succeeds Act.  The DOE solicited public comment and boy did they get it!

I still go with the “every penny” scenario.  As in, I won’t be satisfied until we can see how every penny in public education is spent.  I’m pretty sure the folks at Rodel and DelawareCAN already have their claws into this and will make sure whatever comes out fits their own agendas.

Cocktails In Appalachia Alert: A Burd Lands On McGuiness’ Windowsill

Did Kathy McGuiness and another powerful Delaware figure work behind the scenes to get someone from the Auditor of Accounts office a new job following the News Journal smear campaign against Kathleen Davies?

In eight days, Delaware will elect a new State Auditor.  It is between Kathy McGuiness (Democrat) and James Spadola (Republican).  While McGuiness’ has vowed the office would be completely independent, as has Spadola, the lingering plotline of the destruction of Kathleen Davies still has questions.  One of those questions surrounds the destination of one of the architects of Davies’ ouster at the Auditor of Accounts office (AOA). Continue reading

It Is Time For DSEA To Regurgitate Themselves From The Bowels Of Rodel

I warned them.  Many times.  Sit at the table and you will be on the table.  The Delaware State Education Association was swallowed whole.  By who? Continue reading

Charter School Office At Delaware DOE Throws Transparency Out The Window

Good luck finding out any information on the many Delaware charter schools that are up for renewal this December.  Turns out the Charter School Office scrubbed that part of their website on Thursday.  This same office has also gone without a leader since July 1st, three and a half months after Denise Stouffer left the role for Providence Creek Academy.

While I’m sure the DOE will call this a simple technical error, that is one big error!  How do you empty a whole webpage?

I checked this page today because I knew the Charter School Accountability Committee would be holding their first meetings with the many charter schools under renewal this month.  The last thing I wanted to see was a blank page.

So which charter schools are up for renewal? Delaware Design-Lab Design Thinking Academy, First State Military Academy, Freire, Greak Oaks, Kuumba, Newark Charter School, and Positive Outcomes.  Maybe when the Charter School Office gets the email tomorrow morning about me writing this blog post they will restore the page.

The Charter School Office leader position has been posted twice for recruitment.  Does nobody want this job or is the DOE looking for someone in particular?  My bet would go to the former.  I’m sure any applicant would know that just having the role would put them in my crosshairs.  Which is fine as long as you are transparent and aren’t doing the shady charter school cover-up stuff that would cause me to write something bad about you.

We saw a charter school collapse this fall while the Charter School Office remained without a leader.  And now we should expect that office to deal with seven charter renewals?  Sounds like Secretary of Education Susan Bunting’s idea of the DOE as a support organization is a bit of a misnomer.  I see it as not-so-organized chaos.

Guest Post: Billie Jo Casapulla Bullock on Patrick Miller’s Abuse Of Funds From Indian River Volunteer Fire Company

Editor’s note: Billie Jo Casapulla Bullock worked at the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company until July 12th, 2018.  She volunteered there for seven years as an Emergency Medical Technician.  She was suspended in early June.  The board of the fire department, after a vote by the fire company, terminated Bullock after she had come forward about her discovery of financial improprieties stemming from Patrick Miller and had gone public.  Miller has seven relatives as members of the fire company.  Today, Bullock sent an email to every single legislator in the state along with Governor Carney, Attorney General Matt Denn, State Treasurer Ken Simpler and the Delaware State Fire Prevention Commission.

I am asking that the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company be looked into for fraud, abuse of authority and abuse of public trust.  It has been found by myself and the treasurer that the President Patrick Miller has been doing the above.  There is such a dictatorship at the company that the members are afraid to speak up and take action.  This is  what the treasurer sent to the fire chief after the vice president would not take action against the president and suspend him until an investigation was complete.

—– Forwarded Message —–

From: “Michael Eisenhauer” <meisenhauer1@verizon.net>

To: “‘Steven Deery'” <steven.deery@irvfc.com>

Sent: Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 3:05 PM

Subject: SCBA grant

It appears that FEMA intends to fund our grant.  I had to fill out paperwork for the bank to be aware of direct deposit of funds from FEMA.  Mike Penzotti called me and said that this is the process when they decide to fund grants.  My concern is this.  The Delaware Congressional Team will get involved and if we have issues that they become aware of I think we can kiss the grant goodbye.  There is one single issue that should have resulted in the suspension of the president.  He has been getting the News Journal since 2012and having it paid on the Credit Card.  He gets on the computer and inputs “News Journal (or Newspaper) Electronic version”, $15.00 and now it is $22.00 a month.  A member asked me for the password to read the paper but I don’t have it so I went to find it.  IRVFC does not have a subscription to the News Journal.  What the Company has been paying for since 2012, is for the Sunday print edition of the News Journal delivered to Patrick Miller. (editor’s note: I took out Mr. Miller’s home address and phone #.)  For the past 90 months the president for the most part has been falsifying company records for his personal gain.  I have documented a persistent pattern of abuse of authority and dishonesty on behalf of the President of Indian Rive Volunteer Fire Company.  I tested Mario Street and he took the information to Patrick and after that I quit communicating with Mario.  Mario made  a serious error by using his position at SUSCOM to get at BJ and he well feel more than just the heat in the near future.

Now, it is up to you Steven.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

Michael Eisenhauer

Treasurer

This letter shows just one thing that is happening.  This is just the TIP of the iceberg  After the treasurer and myself started to investigate we uncovered a substantial amount of misappropriated funds from Patrick Miller .

We all know how much the volunteer fire companies in the state receives from state and  county funding.  This is tax payers money and I feel that there needs to be more accountability within the fire companies to stop fraud. 

There are many other organizations that could use this funding if the fire companies are going to lie cheat and steal. 

I can say that the other fire companies that have found fraud stepped up and took action against the abuser, this is not the case for Indian River because Patrick Miller controls everything within the company.  Just like he did when he was the CFO at the Indian River School District.  He is still the same person and nothing has change and as you can see he has been abusing his trust at the fire company for a very long time.

To this day nothing has been done and Patrick Miller has been able to continue to do the above mentioned actions to now include trying to hide what he has done.  The financial oversight committee did request the state to do an investigation and Patrick Miller stopped that from happening.  At this point I think it is going to take the state to step in and take action to resolve this issue and bring trust back to the company and community.

Thank you for your time in this serious matter,

Billie Jo Bullock

Editor’s note: Wow!  Patrick Miller is at it again.  Not a state secret.  I’ve written about this before.  The problem is he keeps getting away with it.  At this point, I can only surmise that if he goes down he will take a ton of people down with him.  Including Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting.  Even though I’ve made Carney and Delaware aware of her knowledge of his theft in Indian River School District, they are ignoring it.  They don’t know what to do with it.  So they continue to act like a deer in a headlight.  Meanwhile, the rampant theft continues.  I believe the State Auditor’s office already has a lot of the information Bullock references.  But according to Miller, there is no investigation going on.  The Delaware State Fire Prevention Commission has yet to act on any of this.  Their next board meeting is next Tuesday but they don’t have an agenda for their meeting.  Which breaks FOIA law because that has to be put up on their website or on the Delaware Public Meeting calendar seven days before their meeting.  I would file a FOIA complaint but how many times can I do that with no accountability?  Sigh…

I would like to give immense praise and gratitude to Billie Jo Casapulla Bullock to stand tall in the face of this.  It takes a very courageous person to come forward and do what is right.  As a result, she was terminated.  That is retaliation.  That is illegal.  And it isn’t the first time this happened with Miller.  He is a walking, talking, and breathing menace to Delaware.  We have too many scumbags like that in this state.  I know some legislators did respond to Bullock and she gives her thanks.

We stand at a crossroads in Delaware.  We the people can no longer ignore the shenanigans going on here.  It is time to call people out, loudly and publicly.  Whether it is personal or in the public’s right to know, things MUST change.  Our state government is doing nothing.  I have many ideas on how to really change things.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  There will be more on this soon.

**UPDATED** Exceptional Delaware Under Attack!

Someone involved with my article about Susan Bunting yesterday is piping mad!  How mad?  They are reporting the post to Facebook as “spam”.  I tend to post to about 10-15 Facebook groups around public education or Delaware.  Every single one of those received a notification stating it was removed as “spam”.  But it goes further because the article was shared by over 300 people on Facebook.  Each one of those people are getting the same notification from Facebook.

Who is reporting this post as spam?  There are culprits aplenty with this one!  Could it be Susan Bunting herself?  Someone from the DOE?  The Governor’s office?  Patrick Miller?  His brother?  Chuck Bireley?  Leolga Wright?  Someone doesn’t want this out there, that is obvious.  Too late for that.  This is one of the highest-read articles I’ve written in some time.  Not to mention all my followers who received emails about it.  Good luck getting this one to disappear.

So if you shared this post and get the Facebook notification marking it as “spam”, please go to the review and hit “not spam”.  Thank you.  Transparency is hard work sometimes!

Updated, 8/1/18, 8:11am: It appears all the Monday morning Bunting posts have been restored on Facebook.  Even this article was reported to Facebook as well but it has been restored as well.  I was getting messages all night from people wanting to know why their posting of the link was reported.  These are the times we live in!

Bunting Has Technical Wiggle Room But That Is Also A Lie

Yesterday, I posted a controversial article about how Susan Bunting failed to disclose vital information to the Delaware Auditor’s office.  There was at least one (as of this writing) complaint against Indian River’s former Chief Financial Officer, Patrick Miller.  Since then, new information has materialized that sheds some additional information on what I am calling Millergate.  Once again, as in yesterday, there is language in this article that is not safe for work. Continue reading

Margie Lopez-Waite New Head Of School At DAPSS But Is Colonial Backing Out? Conflicts Of Interest All Over The Place!

After waiting an extra ten days to put up the audio of their June board meeting, the future of the Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security is once again in doubt.  Immediately into their board meeting, Margie Lopez-Waite resigned as President of their board and was than voted into the new Head of School position. Continue reading

Teachers & Parents Are NOT Happy With Odyssey’s Lack Of Transparency With New Leadership

Events at Odyssey Charter School have been bubbling for some time now but they are coming to a boil in recent weeks.  When the Odyssey Board of Directors chose not to renew Headmaster Nick Manolakos’ contract, they put forth Riccardo Stoeckicht as their new “Campus Operations Officer” and Denise Parks as their Head of School.  Between these two hirings, the school is looking at over $300,000.00 for these two positions alone.  But the shenanigans don’t stop there. Continue reading

Changes To Exceptional Delaware: Your One-Stop Delaware Search Engine!

I’ve been wanting to do this for years!  I’ve changed this blog to include links to every single Delaware school district and charter school.  As well, I’ve added all the Delaware media (newspaper and radio) websites.  I’ve included many State of Delaware websites: Delaware DOE, Governor Carney’s website, The General Assembly, Auditor of Accounts, Attorney General and more!  Various education support groups have been added: DSEA, Delaware Charter Schools Network, Delaware School Boards Association, Delaware Association of School Administrators and more!  You will still be able to find a list of current Delaware blogs as well as closed Delaware blogs.  I cleaned up those lists to take out ones that are not current anymore (nothing written in 2018) and those that are non-functional.  In addition, I’ve added some links to what I call “transparency” sites that folks ask me about all the time.  I’ve found a ton of information over the years at many of these links and so can you!

If you are not on these list of links and would like to be added, please let me know.  I try to get everything but I’m not perfect!

I hope these changes will allow Delaware citizens, parents, students, teachers and more be able to navigate through our state easier.  These are just the first of many changes coming to Exceptional Delaware!

Audit: All School Board Agendas, Minutes, & Audio Recordings; Caesar Rodney, Brandywine & Laurel Are Breaking The Law Big Time!

Transparency in public education is a must.  When more than a quarter of Delaware’s state budget goes to public education, the citizens expect, and rightfully so, transparency.  But some of our districts and charters struggle with transparency.

I haven’t done this since 2016, but I thought it was a good time to see how Delaware’s traditional school district and charter school boards were doing with transparency on their websites.  I checked for board minutes, board agendas, and board audio recordings. Continue reading

Teacher License Suspension and Pay For Success Bills Pass General Assembly

Two bills closely tied with public education passed in the Delaware House of Representatives today which clears them through the General Assembly and await Governor Carney’s signature.  Another bill passed but goes back to the Senate due to an amendment.

Senate Bill #234, which gives the Delaware Secretary of Education the ability to suspend a teacher’s credentials due to an arrest from abuse or other egregious crimes, passed the House with a 41-0 vote.  As written in the synopsis of the bill, this will… “include situations involving felony crimes against children or where there is a clear and immediate danger to student safety or welfare“.

Senate Bill #242, which will establish Pay for Success programs in Delaware passed with 39 yes, 1 no, and 1 absent.  The sole no vote belonged to State Rep. Rich Collins.  An amendment placed on the bill in the Delaware Senate would create a working group to explore how Pay For Success would be implemented in public education, both early childhood education and K-12 education.  I am still torn on Pay For Success but this would allow some time for the Working Group to really take a look at how this would work to make sure it didn’t conflict with existing federal laws (such as IDEA) and to set up parameters.  Pay For Success is where an outside investor would come in, pitch a program with measurable outcomes, and if approved, would set out on this program.  If the program works with those outcomes, the State would pay the company back.  If it doesn’t, they wouldn’t.  The bill sets up Pay For Success for all state agencies.

Senate Bill #172, which is meant to increase the transparency of education funds, passed the House but an amendment clarifying some language on the bill which causes it to go back to the Senate for a final vote (provided they don’t put any amendments on it).  That bill passed in the House with 41 yes votes.

On the Senate side, they passed House Bill #268 which deals with Senior property tax credits, but due to an amendment placed on the bill in the Senate, it will go back to the House.

Finally, Delaware Governor John Carney signed both the budget bill and a bill giving one-time bonuses to state employees and retirees.  Both the Bond bill and the Grant-In-Aid bill will come up for a vote on the last day of the Delaware General Assembly, Saturday June 30th.

We Are So Bad At Predicting The Future!

I was looking at various polls I’ve put on here over the past couple of years and I was astonished at some of the results of them!  In some cases we were completely wrong!  These were basically straw polls I conducted over the past year or two.  Continue reading

What Is Margie Lopez Waite Doing Now? And Is A 3rd Charter In The Mix With Her Plans For DAPSS & ASPIRA?

Will a Wilmington charter school become embroiled in the ongoing saga of Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security and Las Americas ASPIRA Academy?  Many are saying yes. Continue reading

Red Clay Letter To Parents Has Many Gasping About Education Cuts

Yesterday, Red Clay Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty sent a letter to parents advising them of all the education cuts since 2008.  He also urged them to attend the Delaware PTA rally outside Legislative Hall next week to support basic special education funding for students in Kindergarten to 3rd grade.

I agree with a lot of what Merv said but then again I have to wonder about some of his logic.  After all, Red Clay did purchase one-to-one devices for all their students which costs a pretty penny.  As well, they are one of the few districts that still has Race To The Top administrators even though the funding for that horrible federal initiative ended years ago.

His language in the letter confused me a bit though because he asks parents to vote with public education funding in mind.  Yes, the General Assembly decides the budget.  But who is Merv asking these parents to vote for?  State legislators?  School board candidates?  Should a school Superintendent be pushing parents toward certain votes? And that’s what happens when I don’t have my morning coffee before I write!

In terms of special education, I have supported any bill that gives that funding.  This is the foundation of special education for these kids.  It baffles me that our legislators will fund pre-school as much as they do but not provide this necessary and vital funding.  They really don’t have any more excuses to justify their cowardice with special education funding.  I highly salute the legislators who consistently support State Rep. Kim William’s bills to get this going.  If you have the means, come down to Legislative Hall next Wednesday, May 9th, at 1:30pm, on the East steps.

I fully support public education funding but I also support the ability to properly audit those funds if need be.  Last year, the State Auditor’s office released a report on education funds but since so many school districts code expenditures different the auditor couldn’t make heads or tails of the funding.  So perhaps we should be making sure our vote for State Auditor is a sound one and not based on a popularity contest among certain legislators.  If you are going to vote for a Kathy in September, make sure it is for Davies!

Things I like that are going on?  Senator Dave Sokola’s bill for education funding transparency which could go a bit further than what it has in it now.  I love the fact that people are waking up to education issues and speaking out.  We may not always agree, but the discussion is healthy.

To read Merv’s letter to parents, please see below:

Final School District Consolidation Meeting Tonight With Big Votes! All Recommendations Are Here!

Tonight is the final meeting of the Delaware School District Consolidation Task Force.  The meeting will be held at 5pm at Legislative Hall in Dover, in the House Chamber.  This is the big one folks!  All the subcommittees issued recommendations last week and the entire task force will be voting on each one.  That doesn’t mean they are a done deal.  It typically means legislation could be forthcoming to address those recommendations.  All the recommendations from each committee appear below.  Come down (or up) to Dover and check it out!  We will see if this mysterious oddity State Rep. Earl Jaques dropped last month concerning a recommendation to have the State Board of Education get the authorization to have the state takeover “failing” school districts resurfaces.  It wasn’t popular when I reported it and many thought Earl slipped on a banana peel or something.

Academic & Student Needs Sub-Committee Recommendations:

Structure Sub-Committee:

Finance Subcommittee:

Teachers And Staff Subcommittee:

 

Senator Sokola Makes My Day With Proposed Education Funding Transparency Bill

As part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, all schools are required to provide more transparency with how they spend money.  Delaware Senator Sokola seeks to codify this with legislation currently in circulation for sponsorship.

I like this bill.  I believe an amendment should make sure every expense down to the school level is given a specific category.  Trying to read Delaware’s online checkbook is a lesson in futility at times and does not give an accurate picture to make sure funds are spent the way they are supposed to.  Excluding certain items, like under (2) (b) of the proposed legislation should not happen.  Yes, these funds can be tracked in a confusing way through state reporting procedures but putting the whole puzzle together can be very difficult.

What do you think?  Will this bill provide the information we need?