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Archive for the ‘School Consolidation’ Category

Wednesday the House Education Committee tabled HB 380.  The purpose of this bill is to revise the Delaware Charter School law by among other things requiring charter school applications be submitted to local school boards for review and consideration, require a face-to-face meeting with the charter school applicant to review and discuss the application, requiring statements about the impact on school district enrollment and financial programs, and eliminating five mile draw boundary.

The objectives of HB 380 seem reasonable until questions from House Members and testimony by the Charter Schools Network, CRI, Department of Education and other interested groups pointed out issues with the bill. Problems that include the application process, impact statements, administration of lotteries, the emphasis on the system taking focus away from the student, the logistical impact on families that would have made teacher and parent interaction difficult if not impossible for some, and the potential for influence  by unions and other special interest groups with specific agendas.

 

Rep Jaques’ intent was to start a conversation about Charter Schools and to promote a more civil discourse. He accomplished his purpose and after hearing all the discussion decided the bill should be tabled.

The focus now switches to Rep Schooley’s ‘blue ribbon’ committee on Charter Schools. She briefly outlined her plan at the end of the discussion on the Charter School Bill.

CRI is disappointed she continues to focus on one small part of the overall education system. A part that is less than 10% of the total K-12 enrollment, has some really stunning successes, and has a 58% minority enrollment. We agree they can be even better however they do not deserve the attention given them particularly when the larger problem of how poorly prepared students are for college or careers.

The focus must be on how to improve the education experience and results for all children in the total system including charter schools.

Over the past few years across the country there has been a revolution in innovation. Charter schools were created nearly twenty years ago to improve total student learning and to encourage different and innovated learning methods in exchange for being freed from some onerous regulations and influence; but charters are not enough.

Today innovation challenges the model of single or limited school choice. One model just doesn’t fit the diversity of student and family issues when there are available many different methods with private, religious, home schooling, virtual schooling – creative greenfield approaches that have the potential to overcome the lack of change over the past 50 years and overcome the ‘tuition barrier’ by opening up more funds for parents in all income levels to pay for the best education for their children.

Over next few months CRI will feature some of these through profiles, You Tube video and print articles.

And, CRI needs your support – make your concerns known to your elected representatives. The focus must be on renewing the total school system and expanding the opportunity for all to share the benefits of a great education system.

 

James E. Hosley

Director, Center for Education Excellence

 

 

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A report released by State Auditor Tom Wagner estimates that the state can save approximately $50.1 million by consolidating the state’s 19 school districts into four districts.

The report analyzes the cost savings that could occur if the General Assembly passes Senate Bill 95 sponsored by Senator Karen Peterson and co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of legislators.

The legislation calls for consolidating the 19 school districts into four districts:  a Northern District (New Castle County north of the canal); a Central District (New Castle County below the canal plus Kent County); a Southern District (Sussex County); and a consolidated Vo-Tech District.

The existing school districts would fall into the proposed consolidated districts as follows:

Northern:  Brandywine, Christina, Colonial, Red Clay

Central: Appoquinimink, Caesar Rodney, Capital, Lake Forest, Milford, Smyrna

Southern:  Cape Henlopen, Delmar, Indian River, Laurel, Seaford, Woodbridge

Vo-Tech:  New Castle County Vo-Tech, Polytech, Sussex Vo-Tech

Wagner’s report highlights cost savings from the merger and elimination of administrative positions resulting from consolidation. Wagner compared existing payroll information in Delaware with that of surrounding comparably sized school districts.

As stated in the report, “Based on research of surrounding states, AOA [Auditor of Accounts] identified several comparably sized districts to each proposed district, and we obtained their respective rosters of administrative positions. We compared the number of administrative positions, by category, to the average number of administrative positions for that category in the comparable districts.”

This analysis resulted in Wagner’s proposing to eliminate 363 positions through consolidation into the new Northern District, 259 proposed eliminated positions in the Central District and 119 proposed eliminated positions in the Southern District. The Vo-Tech analysis was released in an earlier report.

The Vo-Tech consolidation savings are estimated to be $4,436,327. Combined with the estimated $45,469,422 in savings from the Northern, Central and Southern consolidation plan, the estimated savings total $50.1 million.

The savings will be found by eliminating various administrative positions through consolidation as follows. Note:  these figures are statewide totals. Wagner’s report breaks the numbers down by consolidated district.

Admin. Assistant – General Admin/legal:  -3

Superintendents:  -12

Deputy/Assistant Superintendent:  -10

Casual/Seasonal:  -16

Clerks:  -48

Directors: -18

Managers/Supervisors: -46

Secretaries: -217

Financial Secretaries:  -113

Specialists:  -116

Other:  -142

In total, there are 741 proposed eliminations.

You can read The News Journal’s coverage here for more information.

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