On Tuesday, the Delaware Senate passed Senate Bill 285, the FY2017 budget bill, with a vote of 15 yes and 6 no. The Delaware Constitution requires 3/4 of both the Delaware House of Representatives and the Delaware Senate to vote yes in order for the budget to pass. The Delaware Senate did not get the necessary 3/4 vote. It was a little bit over 71%, not 75%. But they passed it anyways and sent it to the House who did pass it with the required 3/4 vote. Now it heads to Governor Markell’s desk. As El Somnambulo pointed out on Delaware Liberal this morning, only the General Assembly can declare this unconstitutional and could send it to the Delaware Supreme Court. This is the dark side of shady Delaware Politics as El Som pointed out:
The question, of course, was moot when the budgets passed almost unanimously. But that’s not the case this year. I don’t care whether the R’s are doing this just to be pains in the ass. The idea that the General Assembly would willfully pass, and the Governor would sign, a budget that might not meet constitutional standards is, well when you think of it, not surprising. Just depressing and sorta outrageous. And business as usual.
The absolute corruption and fraud in Dover continues. It isn’t just education folks, it is everything. This General Assembly has no respect for the Delaware Constitution or those who came before them. They set up laws to allow illegal activity in our state. Yes, that is an oxymoron, but it is what they do. And we still keep voting the same people in, year after year. At least Senator Karen Peterson has the good sense to get the hell out of there before they do something even more stupid. The same day the Senate illegally passed the budget, WBOC reported a federal judge ruled Delaware’s abandoned property collecting practices violate due process law. Amounting to revenue for the state to the tune of almost $500 million dollars on an annual basis. That is about 1/8th of the state budget folks. How can we, as the citizens of Delaware, allow this to continue? When will the people rise up and take control? Are we just as guilty as the politicians that look the other way on illegal activities by electing the lawmakers who violate our Constitution?
It doesn’t just happen in charter schools. According to WBOC, former Dover High School teacher Brian Ogbin gave himself up to the Dover Police last Friday and was charged with theft under $1500 and unlawful use of a payment card under $1500. So how does it work that this guy gets arrested for theft under $1500 but charter school leaders and employees from Family Foundations Academy, Academy of Dover, and Providence Creek Academy get away with stealing funds in the five to six digits and NO arrests have been made? It has been over nine months since the State Auditor report came out on Academy of Dover.
Ogbin resigned as a teacher with the Capital School District at their February board meeting. According to the article, the theft of funds using the debit card and funds taken from a wrestling fundraiser were discovered following an investigation. The article does not state who held the investigation. I would imagine cash advances from Dover Downs totaling over $500 would have sent some red flags flying though. How many debit or p-cards (state procurement cards) are floating around out there ready for someone to use at a moment’s notice for stuff like this? While I’m glad this situation was discovered relatively fast compared to the charter school stuff going on out there, where are the controls that could stop this from happening in the first place? Should school “clubs” or “organizations” be allowed to have their own control over funds generated by the district and fundraisers?
My biggest concern with all of this is the sheer hypocrisy involved. I’ve been told by some in the know that something will happen with these charter school leaders. That was in November. I have asked “larger organizations” about this. How long does it take to build a case against a charter school employee while a traditional school district employee is arrested for something similar but less egregious? It makes it very hard to believe there will be accountability for the charter thieves in light of this. They absconded with hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Matt Denn, what is the Department of Justice doing about this?