Newark Charter modification state board vote delayed??

BREAKING: No vote today on charter, Meece says Posted on March 15, 2012 by Nichole Dobo

Newark Charter’s Greg Meece confirms to Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery told him early this morning the vote was postponed due to the ACLU’s letter about the proposed expansion. (Read the rest)

Looks like ACLU letter to Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery cc: Governor Markell and State Board of Education was a game changer!

So what’s the game plan now? Governor Markell spread some of his special love around to some influential minority leaders who will redirect the ACLU’s thinking? (Matthews, that’s cryptic for rolling brothers and sisters under the bus)

In defense of Newark Charter School, nothing in their application appeared to be illegal and surrounds around moral issues associated with Delaware charter school laws. Governor Markell raised concerns during the election bid for office that Delaware charter schools may have created re-segregation of Delaware school and raised the concern of skimming and creaming of students aka cherry picking. Here we are heading down to the last few month of Markell first term as governor and he hasn’t made good on his campaign promises to address these concerns. But rest assure he’ll work his political $$$ magic and next month the state board of education will give a yes vote.

This is what DE DOE told the News Journal this morning about Newark Charter’s school leader Mr. Meece conversation with the News Journal, “DOE spokeswoman Alison Kepner said she had no knowledge of any delay”. The board meeting started at 1 p.m. so we’ll have to wait until the official News Journal followup

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35 Responses

  1. Kilroy, Can you confirm that the ACLU has ‘backed off’ their letter now that they are aware of the plans for the NCS HS and changes to the lunch program at the Elementary and Middle schools?

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  2. HOW CAN NCS CHERRY PICK???? YOU CANT PICK THE BEST 5/6 YEAR OLDS!!!!!!!!! Getting real tired of hearing THAT!!!!

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  3. Greg- here is one source: http://blogs.delawareonline.com/delawareed/2012/03/the-aclu-opposes-newark-cs-expansion/

    Doesn’t say they’ve “backed off” necessarily, but that one concern had been addressed.

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  4. Should ask PBaumbach

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  5. Greg, I haven’t received anything creditable to the ACLU backing off or apologizing.

    The concerns they have with re-segregation isn’t anything new and in fact Markell had the same concerns when running for office and failed to follow through on addressing those issue. He never formed a committee to study the concerns. So nothing for ACLU to apologize in that concern.

    The lack of provision for Free and Reduce Lunch students seems fair.ACLU noted that NCS original charter application indicated that NCS would use a professional food vendor such as ARAMARK to meet those needs. In NCS 2008 charter renewal application the food arrangement would be the same.

    I think the only error on ACLU’s part is not knowing USDOE / Law permits Free and Reduced Lunch waivers.

    When a school participates in the Free and Reduced Lunch program they provide the Free and Reduced Lunch to those students who qualified. However, federal reimbursement doesn’t no cover the schools actual expenditure and creates a loss.

    As far as NCS no full service cafeteria, there are overhead cost such as labor, equipment, food and so forth. MONEY is tight and Markell just cut school bus funding to traditional public and charter schools last year. So from a business sense it makes sense. However, what will happen if Red Clay or Christina decided to save cost they would eliminate cafeterias? The question that needs to be addressed is, is this the direction for public schools no full service cafeterias? Legislators need to weight in!

    The problem isn’t with Newark Charter and the problems are concerns with the law including preferences! I say DE DOE needs to stop taking new charter school application and the legislators address these concerns once and for all! Doesn’t that sound fair?

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  6. Zack, chill dude! The cherry picking thing is in general to all charter schools or those who do. The charter school laws needs to be reviewed and address some of the concerns. And perhaps charters can pick the best 5/6 years olds based on parents zip codes!

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  7. keep denying, but today a MAJOR blow was dealt to DE charter schools. And rightfully so. The law is bad and we must revisit it.

    I have been right all along.

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  8. @DDC,
    you have not been right, you’ve been loud and obnoxious. This is grease to quiet the squeaky wheel.
    Everyone is on to you. You clearly have a vendetta against NCS and are using “social equity” as your shield. If you were truly interested in social equity, you would be outraged by the difference in populations at CSD elementary schools. Did you choice into Stubbs in the interest of social equity? If not, then you must be racist.
    The ultra-liberal ACLU sent the letter because they know the state is afraid of litigation and they like to feel important. Add in the fact that Gov. Jack doesn’t want to tick off his liberal base.
    Secretary Lowery is in violation of the law if she actually considered the ACLU letter after the deadline for comments. That could cause serious issues – which leads me to believe this is still going through.

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  9. Newark and the Newark Charter School scored a victory today. The NCS administration is being required to follow the law, and provide free/reduced lunches to eligible students. This will make NCS better, and by following all of the charter school laws, NCS will be able to serve the NCS students and the greater community better.

    Yes, indeed the law and the regulations need to be revisited and improved. But this one month delay is not to fix the law or the regulations. it is to give NCS administration time to modify their application, to add assurances that they will (start to) meet the requirements of charter schools.

    Can someone in the know speak to the question of, when NCS modifies their application to include availability of free/reduced lunches to ALL eligible students in ALL grades, is there a new public comment period required?

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  10. DDC = decorum doesn’t count

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  11. @greg, good one. How’s your day going? LOL.

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  12. DDC, Not bad… nice weather, can’t complain. You?

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  13. Kilroy’s Hot Spots… Bull’s Eye? You hang out there? I know a few of the bartenders.

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  14. Zach:

    According to Steve Levitt and other researchers parents education is the best estimator of a child’s education achievement.
    So if you select the parents that are educated you have a higher probability of getting more successful students.
    Not that I am saying they do this but that would be one way of going at it.

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  15. @Greg, an absolutely righteously awesome day in DE history, I am flyin’ high! Thx for asking!

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  16. “an absolutely righteously awesome day in DE history”.. Did you move out?

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  17. dont be a sore loser just cause your fearless leader screwed up your application…..

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  18. umm what? I don’t even know what that means

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  19. Greg, I don’t hang out at the Bull’s Eye! I use to have some blog summits there and hopefully will have another soon.

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  20. I’ve changed my mind. I think the lottery idea should work for not only NCS but all government services. We should hold a lottery to see which homes police and fire rescue will respond to. We should hold a lottery to see who can drive on the public roads, which homes will receive trash service, which street will be plowed an so on. Are you NCS folks for all of that as well?

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  21. always leaving poor Glasgow area out.. I pay for trash and plowing myself

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  22. “Opposed:” I’ve been thinking that lottery is clearly the way to solve our social security problems. No need to reduce benefits across the board–just provide decent retirement packages to 10% of retirees (and rice/beans/ibuprofen to the rest–we can’t be starving people).

    Point well taken: lotteries make sense in emergencies (too few vaccines to go around in an unexpected health crisis, things like that). As a mechanism for delivering essential, tax-funded resources, they are not a good idea. If we’re relying on a lottery to ensure some tiny fraction of CSD kids decent public schooling, we (through our school boards, state & CSD) need to rethink the whole system. Districts known for their excellent schools provide those schools to all who pay in (or reside in the district, whatever their financial means). I understand that Christina is not one of those districts, by a large margin. But lottery-based access to a few good schools is a short-term band-aid, not a serious plan for improving public education. So what’s the real plan, the one that will help everyone?? Any good ideas coming out of our school boards?

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  23. PBaumbach, on March 15, 2012 at 8:42 pm said:
    Newark and the Newark Charter School scored a victory today. The NCS administration is being required to follow the law, and provide free/reduced lunches to eligible students

    Where is the law – can anyone cite the law? Is it a state law or a federal law? Where can I find this law? Does anyone really believe the DOE has allowed NCS to break the law for the past 10 years?? There is no law that requires NCS to provide free/reduced lunches. Even DDC can’t cite it – just ignores the question and goes back to name calling.
    It may be a social justice issue, but it is not a LAW. If I am wrong, please cite the law and correct me.
    As to Lowery, she is in violation of policy if she considers the letter. She claims she is not considering it, but you can’t unring that bell, now can you? The big bad wolf has knocked at the door. She and Markell are running scared.

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  24. It’s not a law. That part is untrue, and whoever fed that info to ACLU made them look kind of foolish (of course, shame on the ACLU for not doing their own homework too). Participation in the program is voluntary.

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  25. The ACLU knows full well it is not a law. They cited an administrative code in their letter. They know full well most of the general public will just assume it is a law, because they said so.

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  26. I had an interesting talk with Dr. Freeman Williams in Dover at the Public Hearing for Newark Charter. He apparently was ready for this all to end, all the mud slinging to stop so that everyone could move on and work to improve the schools. He spoke with great enthusiasm to me the plans he has to clean up the schools in the CSD and I hope that he is able to. Believe it or not, the NCS parents don’t thumb their noses at all of those in the CSD, I told him I hoped that he does what he said and made it clear that I will do what I can to assist. My daughter is at Newark, my sons are at NCS, I will fight for both schools. My daughter did not win the lottery for Wilmington Charter but I am not protesting them even if she is the perfect student for them, she didn’t make it in so we moved on.

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  27. Google ‘delaware code’ and find “Online Delaware Code
    delcode.delaware.gov/
    Online version of the state’s constitution and laws, with links to regulatory codes, and city and town charters.”

    The Delaware Code is the law. The Delaware Charter School Law directs the Department of Education to draw up regulations to execute the charter school law.

    The delaware code, at http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title14/200/275.shtml, states “4.5.2 The application must include the process and procedures the Charter School will follow to comply with the following laws:”. and four paragraphs later ”

    4.5.2.5 The provision of free and reduced lunch to eligible students pursuant to any applicable state or federal statute or regulation.”

    This is the same Regulation 275 that the application states that the applicant understands and follows.

    See page 15 of http://www.doe.k12.de.us/infosuites/schools/charterschools/files/NCSAPP2012.pdf

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  28. SEC. 2. ø42 U.S.C. 1751¿ It is hereby declared to be the policy
    of Congress, as a measure of national security, to safeguard the
    health and well-being of the Nation’s children and to encourage the
    domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities and
    other food, by assisting the States, through grants-in-aid and other
    means, in providing an adequate supply of foods and other facilities
    for the establishment, maintenance, operation, and expansion of
    nonprofit school lunch programs.

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  29. As far as the Free and Reduced Lunch program… If a school district, or the charter school network, offers FRL, why would it be okay to offer it only at certain schools? Would it be okay for North Star/CSW to not offer the program while Baltz/Prestige offered it? Wouldn’t this result in directing students and families to certain schools?

    I would think that if public schools in Delaware offer FRL that sets the standard of who would need to offer it – Everyone, whether they use it or not.

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  30. Opposed, there is nothing in what you cite that says schools must provide free/reduced lunches. I have no argument with the point on a moral or social justice issue. I would like to see NCS expand it’s lunch program. I think they should. I am simply saying it is not a law; they are not violating any law. It is deceptive to imply that they are. And, if they were, it makes the DOE look even worse (if that is possible), that they renewed the Charter of a school that was violating the law.

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  31. How does the National School Lunch Program work? Generally, public or nonprofit private schools of high school grade or under and public or nonprofit private residential child care institutions MAY participate in the school lunch program. Schooldistricts and independent schools that CHOOSE to take part in the lunch program get cash subsidiesand USDA foods from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for each meal they serve. In return,they must serve lunches that meet Federal requirements, and they must offer free or reduced pricelunches to eligible children. School food authorities can also be reimbursed for snacks served tochildren through age 18 in afterschool educational or enrichment programs.

    Thanks to DDC for posting this on her blog. :) Of course, she won’t respond to questions or comments about the facts – skimming the cream, DDC? ;)

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  32. talesfromanncsmon wrote, “My daughter did not win the lottery for Wilmington Charter but I am not protesting them even if she is the perfect student for them, she didn’t make it in so we moved on.”
    Wilmington charter uses its lottery to only differentiate among equal scoring first preference students on the waiting list who have been decided by a placement test and grades. Are you sure your daughter would be the “perfect student” for them or was she not selected because she was beaten out by other students?
    While I know Wilmington is test-selective and Red clay chartered, it is interesting that its admission preference is for students residing in the district BEFORE siblings and children of employees. Should NCS follow this as well?

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  33. Naitivenewarkmom: Did you see the post by PBaumbach, on March 16, 2012 at 8:50 am. It seems to answer your question about the law.

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  34. openaccess, I just saw it, thanks. Again, that is not a law requiring the charter schools to provide free/reduced lunches. It is the admin code that states that they must include the process and procedures they will use PURSUANT TO any applicable state or federal law. There is no State or Federal law that requires them to provide free/reduced lunches.

    http://delcode.delaware.gov/title14/c005/index.shtml

    Subject to any limitations imposed by the approving authority pursuant to subsection (f) of this section, if the application is found by the approving authority to meet the criteria set forth in § 512 of this title, it shall approve the application.
    From Section 512:
    The procedures the school plans to follow to assure the health and safety of students, employees and guests of the school while they are on school property are adequate and that the charter school will comply with applicable provisions of local, state and federal law, including the provisions of Chapter 85 of Title 11;

    CHARTER SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY COMMITTEE
    DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

    http://www.doe.k12.de.us/infosuites/ddoe/sbe/docs/NCSMod-Final%20Report.pdf:

    At the Preliminary Meeting, Committee members had no questions. Mr. Kessel recommended that Criterion Twelve be considered met.
    At the Final Meeting, the Committee had no further comments or questions relative to this criterion. Mr. Cruce made a recommendation that Criterion Twelve remain met.
    The Committee recommends to the Secretary that Criterion Twelve be considered met.

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  35. EdWatcher, if you need to know, she scored in the top 98% on their test, was in the top 10% of her graduating class at NCS, a student desperate to learn with a primary focus on Math and Science. She did not have to interview, but made it into the lottery straight from her test scores, grades and recommendations. We unfortunately live in the CSD so we did not get first choice in and were unlucky in the drawing.

    As I understand it, Wilmington Charter IS a part of the Red Clay School District, it is listed as one of their schools on their website. Newark Charter is located in the same area as the Christina School District, but is not a part of the Christina School District. I don’t mind if more students are allowed into the lottery at NCS, but it will just add to the waiting list since there are only so many seats available to begin with. I wish that every child COULD attend NCS, it has done wonders for so many children, children of all levels of learning, races, etc. Could things be more mixed? Perhaps, but I can assure you, going by the parents who showed up at the lotteries I have attended, it is a very mixed group and that all variety of children were picked (You could tell by the cheers that often came out when a child’s name was picked)

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