Don’t reward Governor Jack Markell by turning your back on Christina School District’s Operational Referendum

Christina schools deserve a ‘yes’ vote May 27 : News Journal / Delaware Voice John M. Young

Christina School District is holding an operating referendum on May 27. In Delaware, we rely on the beneficence of our taxpayers to fund the local portion of our children’s education. This includes all children in the district regardless of which public school (charter schools are fully publicly funded schools) they attend, hence the slogan for our campaign: Christina, Charter, Choice: We All Win!

A group of dedicated, tireless, parent volunteers have been e-mailing, calling, meeting, door-knocking, and social media blitzing the general population since the district announced the May 27 referendum. While it is common for many opinions and concerns to be expressed anytime a school district goes out for referendum, in the case of Christina, we have an additional hurdle to overcome. In the mid-2000s we overspent monies and were forced to take a loan out and repay the state: we repaid that loan in 2011. We have little control over how people feel about that, and while we understand those concerns, we focus on the fact that it has been fully resolved for over four years.

What we can control, though, is asking you, directly and sincerely, for your vote. Our schools have continued to deliver great programs and education: award winning dropout prevention at Sarah Pyle Academy, the first public Montessori program in Delaware, the statewide Autism and Deaf programs, award winning music and arts programs, and excellent athletics are just a small part of our continuing commitment to educating our community.

The bottom line is this: costs (energy, supplies, and salaries) rise over time and unless and until the public adds money to the coffers via referendum, eventually these two lines (costs v. flat revenues) will cross. We are at the point, five years since the last referendum, where those lines will cross again this year. This is not about scare tactics regarding what will happen if we fail to pass this referendum: it’s about our most important civic duty: educating our community. Please go to CSDWeAllWin.org and get the facts before you vote. There you will find FAQs and links to multiple social media outlets where we are having a vibrant, direct, and honest discussion about our schools, our families, our taxes, our teachers, our administrators, and most importantly, our students. Join the discussion. Get informed.

Be an informed voter. Then vote. The students of Christina would benefit greatly from your vote on May 27.

John M. Young is a member of the Christina School District Board of Education.

Of all the school districts in the state of Delaware, Christina had the most courage to tell Governor Markell, not so fast with Federal, State and Wall Street overreaching intrusion!

All odds are Markell doesn’t like John Young’s brashness and I say TFB! And Markell won’t lose any sleepover a failed referendum! Odds are he’ll say, serves them right for not kissing my ass! 

At the end of the day, a vote against the referendum  is a vote against Christina’s kids and will empower Governor Markell to privatize Christina School District bringing in the likes of K12.Inc and we seen what K12.Inc did with Moyer!  

Delaware Governor Jack Markell has made a mess of Delaware’s public education. Do you honestly want the Delaware Department of Education taking-over Christina School District?

2016 election is approaching and the Delaware Department of Education is on the eve of implosion! By this time next year many key DE DOE officials will be going, getting out of Dodge before the next governor comes in swinging his ax! Jenny will be back on South Street Philly selling Pretzels and Penny will be heading back to her left-coast charter school. Odds are data bean-counter will be heading back to Vermont just in time to collect the Maple Tree sap! Then there is The Coach! I hear the bells of St Mary’s calling! Perhaps Lillian will hire him to babysit all the Teach For America recruits!  

CSD Parents and community, don’t believe you are punishing CSD adults by voting no! Taking teachers and paraprofessional away via budget cuts HURTS STUDENTS.  

If Christina goes without a successful referendum DE DOE doesn’t have any better resources to address the cuts in education services that are needed.

If Christina parents and community feels they need to change the leadership in the district and the board then DO IT! Seriously! But why did the incumbent board member run unopposed just a few weeks ago? 

Mark Murphy Tries To Come Off Like Markell, But Sounds More Like Little Bo Peep

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

In the Dover Post today, four people gave their opinion on opt-out.  Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and Alissa Schubert, a parent and Media Relations for the Delaware Charter School Network were the anti-opt-out folks, while Delaware Senator Dave Lawson and Vice-President for Advocacy for the Delaware PTA, Yvonne Johnson were on the pro-side.

Murphy shied away from saying “Parents aren’t allowed to opt-out, but he did have some of his usual Murphyisms.

“Measuring the progress our children make in school is essential for providing teachers, parents, taxpayers, and leaders throughout the state with honest, objective information about whether they are learning the skills and gaining the knowledge they need to be successful now and in the future…”

“The “smarter” assessments have been designed, tested, and validated according to the highest standards…”

Nice try Mark.  We’ve heard it all before.  And once again, don’t try telling this parent what…

View original 163 more words

Freire fever! Inside sources sill calling for probation re: Spec Ed Plan not enrollment #

Freire Charter School Wilmington FORMAL REVIEW INITIAL REPORT CSAC Initial Meeting: May 13, 2015 CSAC Initial Report Published: May 18, 2015

Conclusion

Mr. Blowman asked the CSAC whether there were any additional questions. No questions were raised.

Mr. Blowman noted that Freire was not in compliance with the April 1 enrollment requirement but has since achieved at least 80% enrollment. Due to the increased student enrollment, he was not aware of any specific financial viability concerns. He noted that there was a need for additional information about how the school will serve special education students based on the projected enrollment of that population.

As discussed above, the following specific information was requested by the CSAC:

 A plan detailing how the Freire would meet the needs of the intense and complex special education students; and

 A plan detailing how Freire would serve all special education students, including the staffing levels, plans for providing special education services, plans for providing differentiated instruction, and also meeting all compliance requirements.

See page 3: May 13 enrollment at 93%

He noted that Freire’s enrollment is now in compliance

Kilroy calls it probation in regards to special ed issues. number of current parking spaces are within zoning requirement. Freire is at 93% enrollment Freire is well about 80% enrollment requirement. So no issue there. 

Lynching Freire for Delaware Department of Education’s stupidity makes no sense !

Neighbors to launch legal challenge of charter school JENNA PIZZI, The News Journal

The Midtown Brandywine Neighbors Association’s attorney, Richard Abbott sent a letter to the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections on Monday, saying they are prepared to go to court if the city does not rescind a building permit issued for the building on West 14th Street which is to be the site of Freire Charter School.

Residents contend that their concerns about the placement of the school in their neighborhood were never taken into consideration. The neighbors claim the school is required to apply for a variance to obtain the building permit because they do not have the required number of parking spaces, which would require the city to hold a public hearing on the project.

If Freire’s building location is illegal why did the Delaware Department of education approve Ferire’s charter application? It makes no sense for Freire to spend money needed to educated their students to defend themselves against what is being a Lynching. 

Residents contend that their concerns about the placement of the school in their neighborhood were never taken into consideration. The neighbors claim the school is required to apply for a variance to obtain the building permit because they do not have the required number of parking spaces, which would require the city to hold a public hearing on the project.

Welcome to the club of being excluded from the Markell education agenda! Parents and the community were excluded from the Race to The Top decision, Common Core Standards decision and The Smarter Balanced Assessment Decision. Get over it ! How about suing Jack Markell??   

“It would give the neighbors and the neighborhood itself a really good forum to bring to light the issues,” said Ben Cohen president of the neighborhood association. Cohen said residents are concerned about the influx of traffic that the school would have on the small neighborhood with narrow, tree-lined streets.

Gee I wonder what this community did when Blue Cross was housed in that building!!

At the end of the day Freire’s charter application was reviewed and approved by the Delaware Department of Education. So now DE DOE is asked to pull the charter and require Freire to close?

Back to the charter school argument! I take strong issues with the capacity of DE DOE lead by a band of IDIOTS. Then there is the DE DOE Coach!  

This issues is nothing more than another DE DOE blunder! When will out state legislator should real courage and demand the resignation of Delaware Secretary of Education and is band of charter idiots?

I am not trying to save Freire, I am trying to point out Delaware charter school laws are flawed and the Delaware Department of Education is incompetent! Change charter school , magnet and votech laws to ensure all are equally open to all students without specific interest clauses and “open” lottery process!    

Freire Charter School won’t be ordered closed! Kilroy calls it for probation

Mr. Blowman noted that Freire had not met the requirement that it reach 80% of its total approved enrollment (224 students ) by the April 1 deadline. He noted that the low enrollment number raised concerns about the school’s financial viability at that level. He reviewed the history of Freire’s enrolled student data:

However DE DOE’s report goes on to report as of May 13 enrollment was at 93%. 

He noted that Freire’s enrollment is now in compliance, but noted that if students were to withdraw, that would have a negative impact upon viability. (Blowman)

Well doesn’t that apply to all charter schools? 

Ms. Field Rogers asked if many of the enrolled students were coming from the Christina School District. Ms. Wenell stated that approximately 54% of students currently enrolled came from Christina. Ms. Field Rogers noted that the outcome of Christina’s referendum may affect the amounts sent to charters and suggested that Freire budget conservatively for any local funds from that district. 

“Voting Committee Members of the Charter School Accountability Committee/ Karen Field Rogers, Associate Secretary for Adult Education and School Supports, DDOE”

Did Freire submits the budget on the anticipation that the referendum would be successful? Doubt it! However, if the referendum fails perhaps pissed-off parents may enroll their children in Freire.

Ms. Field Rogers noted that the budget included a loan for school renovations and financing from its their landlord (McConnell Johnson), and asked if Freire also planned to use a line of credit. Dr. Davenport stated that Freire had secured a line of working capital from Barclay’s for $800,000, which can be tapped into during the first year if needed.  

And did Mrs Field Rogers turn a blind-eye when Charlie’s mommy gave his school a personal loan?

Ms. Field Rogers noted that the budget included a loan for school renovations and financing from its their landlord (McConnell Johnson), and asked if Freire also planned to use a line of credit. Dr. Davenport stated that Freire had secured a line of working capital from Barclay’s for $800,000, which can be tapped into during the first year if needed.

“working capital” Sounds like a smart plan! Smart landlord supporting his tenant. Charter School of Wilmington landlord gives them major capital funding free! Kind of like a backdoor donations!

Mr. Blowman asked if there were any foreseeable problems with implementing the approved charter with fidelity at 208 students. Dr. Davenport stated that she did not foresee any problems, even though the school would need to operate in a way that was “leaner and meaner.”

FYI most charter schools operate “leaner and meaner” and from I see Charter School of Wilmington is in deficit spending. Charters are corporations and most start-up corporations are on tight budgets.

Mr. Taylor inquired about the number of special education students currently enrolled, the breakdown between basic, intensive, and complex designations, and whether there were sufficient funds in the revised budget to serve them as needed (Note – Numbers not included in this report pursuant to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requirements). Ms. Khieu stated that Freire had budgeted extra funds to serve those students and was confident that it could meet those needs. Dr. Davenport stated that the Freire team was looking into all possible opportunities to serve those students, and would be drawing ideas from their experience operating in Pennsylvania. Mr. Blowman noted that Delaware laws about serving special education students are very different and Dr. Davenport noted Freire’s intent to implement plans that meet Delaware’s legal requirements.

Folks this is indeed a major issue and perhaps borderline civil rights violation under IDEA. Perhaps Freire can model it’s special ed services after Charter School of Wilmington’s model! CSW is the golden goose of charter schools in Delaware.

Mr. Blowman noted that Bill Porter would no longer be the school leader and that those responsibilities would now be fulfilled by Mr. Ramirez and Ms. Wennell. He asked how that change would affect school operations. Dr. Davenport spoke about each person’s experience working in Freire’s Philadelphia schools. Dr. Davenport noted that they would lead operations at the school campus and she would be supporting them as a school leader from “behind the scenes.” Ms. Field Rogers noted that Mr. Porter had received a lot of training and asked how the new school leaders would get the training they needed to open and operate the school. Dr. Davenport noted that she had full confidence in Melanie Reiser, the Director of Operations and Compliance and her “right hand” at Build the Future Education Collaborative. Melanie had attended many of the trainings as well and had been working on the opening process. Dr. Davenport noted that Mr. Porter had not left the Freire organization and would also be available to help and answer questions as needed.

So Porter took a backseat but still is part of Freire.  Don’t see where this would have an negative impact on final decision re: charter review committee.

Conclusion Mr. Blowman asked the CSAC whether there were any additional questions. No questions were raised. Mr. Blowman noted that Freire was not in compliance with the April 1 enrollment requirement but has since achieved at least 80% enrollment. Due to the increased student enrollment, he was not aware of any specific financial viability concerns. He noted that there was a need for additional information about how the school will serve special education students based on the projected enrollment of that population. As discussed above, the following specific information was requested by the CSAC:

 A plan detailing how the Freire would meet the needs of the intense and complex special education students; and

 A plan detailing how Freire would serve all special education students, including the staffing levels, plans for providing special education services, plans for providing differentiated instruction, and also meeting all compliance requirements.

I am calling it, Freire will submit a workable plan.

Folks I take issue with Delaware charter school laws “and” with regulations governing magnet and votech schools. As far a the Freire’s zero tolerance re: behavior, do note “Choice” students in traditional schools can be de-Choiced due to behavior.

Red Clay, “A choice application will not be accepted for a student who has been expelled from the District or another district or charter school until that student is eligible for readmission to the expelling district or charter school. Students who are enrolled in alternative programs may submit applications as appropriate for the next school year under the established guidelines.” 

Red Clay, “A student who fails to meet the academic requirements and attendance requirements of a choice school may not be permitted to return the next school year. Meeting the academic requirements is defined as meeting the District’s standards for promotion to the next grade level.

Red Clay, “A student who violates the Student Code of Conduct, as well as a student who engages in conduct which may result in a recommendation for alternative placement and/or expulsion, may not be permitted to return to the choice school for the following school year.”

As far as Freire, I foresee probation “not” revocation.

Folks remember, I take issues with Delaware’s charter school laws and regulations not the concept of charter schools. The zero tolerance issues appears to be permitted by law. HOWEVER, in my opinion all schools charters, traditional, voteach and magnet schools should all be required to provide alternative placement and / or services for their non criminal disruptive students. 

Delaware traditional public schools must fail to justify charter schools and charter schools must fail to justify school vouchers

Delaware charter school movement has stalled and more closures on the way! Why?  

The systematic undermining of traditional public schools is part of an agenda to justify charter schools. We all know the means to measure all schools is a flawed standardizes test that keeps changing to ensure FAILURE! The charter experiment has proven, charter schools academically are no better than traditional public schools.

The charter school experiment is over in Delaware and now all eyes are on school vouchers! Delaware State Representative Debbie Hudson has been designated by the Delaware Star Chamber to run with the voucher ball and she has high-pockets Pete’s blessing!

Where do students go when traditional public schools and charter schools fail them? You got it school vouchers! Do get me wrong, school vouchers have merit. However, sneaky Pete and his new pool-boy Ronnie over at CR are going to push the agenda! Hudson was given the ball to get the game going!

Rep Hudson has no intention of seeing H.B. 61 make it to law! Giving parents this much transparency might reignite real shared decision-making at the local level. It will never happen unless the widows are open! Surely she doesn’t want to see real transparency reform in traditional public schools and charters! She needs them both to fail to a point the call for school vouchers aka education saving accounts will make traction! Just like it did for charter when the traditional public system was undermined.   

Just like with Wilmington school crisis, parents and the community must be part of the voucher conversation before any laws are enacted! Otherwise it will be another Kool-Aid fest!  Hudson represents the elitist and they $$$$$$$$$ own her! Come 2016 election cycle Hudson needs to be put out to pasture! And keep an eye on the idiots who support here H.B. 353 about to be repackage for this current legislative session. H.B. 353 was introduced last session and was just a probe and lookout for it’s replacement!   

Even DE DOE Jenny is clueless to the voucher agenda and is nothing more than a pawn in the Delaware Star Chamber’s agenda. The Coach is another clueless fool! His nothing but a hologram that soon the plug will be pulled and his services will no longer be needed. He has done nothing but read the script handed to him!

What we need to do as parents, grandparents and community is to demand needs-based funding and steps to end social promotion. Many Delaware students will be handed an empty high school diploma via social promotion. But more importantly we need better transparency of our public and charter schools. Parents and the community needs to send Rep Hudson packing come 2016   

  

Delaware charter schools must fails Rep Hudson can push her school vouchers another white Trojan horse!

SPONSOR:   

Rep. Hudson & Sen. Lavelle ;

 

Rep. D. Short; Sen. Bonini, Simpson

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

147th GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

HOUSE BILL NO. 353


AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE ESTABLISHING THE PARENT EMPOWERMENT EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNT ACT.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Title 14 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

CHAPTER 43.  PARENT EMPOWERMENT EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNT ACT

  • 4301. Statement of Purpose

(a)  The Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account Act allows parents to use the funds that would have been allocated to their child at their resident school district for an education program of the parents’ choosing.

(b) In establishing this program, it is the goal of the General Assembly to increase access to educational opportunity for the students covered by this act. It is therefore the intent of the General Assembly that this act be construed broadly to maximize parental choice in obtaining access to educational opportunities for their children.

(c) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each succeeding school year, an eligible parent residing within this State may enroll that parent’s child in a non-public school in any school district in the manner provided in this act.

(d) The forms prescribed and policies adopted pursuant to this chapter shall be available on the websites of the school districts and the Department of Education.

  • 4302. Definitions

For the purposes of this act, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) “Department” means the state Department of Education or an organization chosen by the state.

(2) ”District of residence” shall mean any reorganized school district in which the parent of a student resides.

(3) ”Parent” shall mean every person in this State who has legal custody, guardianship of the person, or legal control of a child between 5 and 16 years of age, including any person acting as a caregiver pursuant to the provisions of § 202(f) of this title and includes a child with a disability’s biological or natural parent, or, as appropriate, a stepparent, guardian, educational surrogate parent, relative caregiver or custodian. With respect to a child with a disability who has reached that child’s own 18th birthday, and for whom no guardian has been appointed, all rights and entitlements accorded to parents by this chapter shall be deemed accorded directly to the child with a disability

(4)  “Participating school” means a nongovernmental primary or secondary school located in this State that provides education to elementary and/or secondary students and/or disabled students and has notified the Department of its intention to participate in the program and that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin.

(5) “Resident school district” means the public school district in which the student resides.

(6) “Eligible student” means a resident of Delaware who is any of the following:

(a) A “child with a disability” identified as having a disability under section 504 of the rehabilitation act of 1973 (29 United States Code section 794); a child who because of mental, physical, emotional, developmental, speech or learning disability problems, as defined by the Department of Education rules and regulations approved by the State Board of Education, requires special education and related services in order to develop that person’s own capabilities. A child with a disability is eligible for services beginning on the child’s third birthday, or earlier if otherwise provided in Delaware Code, Title 14, Chapter 31.

(b) Any elementary or secondary student who was eligible to attend a public school in Delaware in the preceding semester or is starting school in Delaware for the first time and is a member of a household whose total annual income defined in Section 3, paragraph 4 of this act.

(c) A child of a parent or guardian who is a member of the armed forces of the United States and who is on active duty.

(d) A child who was or is a ward of the juvenile court and who achieved permanency through adoption or permanent guardianship.

(7) “Program” means the Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account program created in this act.

(8) “Private tutoring” means tutoring services provided by tutors accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization.

(9) “Eligible postsecondary institution” means a community college, an accredited university or an accredited private postsecondary institution.

(10) “Treasurer” means the office of the state treasurer.

  • 4303. Procedures for Parent Empowerment Education Savings Accounts

(a) Any parent of an eligible student shall qualify for the state to make a grant to their child’s education savings account if the parents sign an agreement promising:

(1) To provide an education for the eligible student in at least the subjects of reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies, and science;

(2) Not to enroll their eligible student in a district or charter school.

(b) The state shall deposit into a Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account some or all of the state aid that would otherwise have been provided to the resident school district for the eligible student had they enrolled in the resident school district;

(c) Parents participating in the Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account program shall agree to use the funds deposited in their eligible student’s accounts for the following qualifying expenses to educate the eligible student:

                                 (1) Tuition and fees at a participating school.

                                 (2) Textbooks required by a participating school.

                                 (3) Payment to a licensed or accredited tutor.

                                 (4) Payment for purchase of curriculum.

                                 (5) Tuition or fees for a non-public online learning program.

                                  (6) Fees for national norm-referenced examinations, Advanced Placement examinations or similar courses, and any examinations related to college or university admission.          

                                 (7) Contribution to the eligible student’s qualified tuition program established pursuant to 11 USC Section 529.

                                 (8) Educational services for pupils with disabilities from a licensed or accredited practitioner or provider.

 (9) Tuition and fees at an eligible postsecondary institution.

                                (10) Textbooks required for college or university courses.

 (11) Fees for account management by private financial management firms approved by the Department.

(d) A parent must renew the qualified student’s Parent Empowerment Education Savings Accounts on an annual basis. Notwithstanding any changes to the student’s multidisciplinary evaluation team plan, a student who has previously qualified for an empowerment scholarship account shall remain eligible to apply for renewal until the student finishes high school.

(e) The State Treasurer shall deposit into a Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account some or all of the state aid that would otherwise have been provided to the resident school district for the eligible student had they enrolled in the resident school district.

                (f) Grant amounts to Parent Empowerment Education Savings Accounts shall be calculated according to the following schedule:

 (1) For students from households qualifying for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program, the amount granted to the student’s Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account shall be equal to the dollar amount the resident school district would have received to serve and educate the eligible student from state sources had the student enrolled there.

(2) For students from households with an annual income greater than the amount required to qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program but less than 1.5 times that amount, the amount granted to the student’s Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account shall be equal to seventy-five percent of the dollar amount the resident school district would have received to serve and educate the eligible student from state sources had the student enrolled there.

(3) For students from households with an annual income of greater than 1.5 times the amount required to qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program but less than 2.0 times that amount, the amount granted to the student’s Education Savings Account shall be equal to fifty percent of the dollar amount the resident school district would have received to serve and educate the eligible student from state sources had the student enrolled there.

(4) For students from households with an annual income of greater than 2.0 times the amount required to qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program but less than 2.5 times that amount, the amount granted to the student’s Parent Education Savings Account shall be equal to twenty-five percent of the dollar amount the resident school district would have received to serve and educate the eligible student from state sources had the student enrolled there.

(g) A participating school, private tutor, eligible postsecondary institution or other educational provider may not refund, rebate, or share a student’s grant with a parent or the student in any manner. The funds in a Parent Empowerment Education Saving Account may only be used for educational purposes.

(h) Parents will be allowed to make payments for the costs of educational programs and services not covered by the funds in their accounts.

(i) A participating student shall be counted in the enrollment figures for his or her resident school district for the purposes of calculating state aid to the resident school district. The funds needed for a grant to a Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account shall be subtracted from the state school aid payable to the student’s resident school district.

(j)  In exchange for the parent’s agreement pursuant to Subsection III of this act, the Department shall transfer from the monies that would otherwise be allocated to a recipient’s prior school district to the treasurer for deposit into a Delaware Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account an amount that is the base support level prescribed for that particular student.

(k) The Department of Education Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account fund is established consisting of monies retained by the department. The Department shall administer the fund. Monies in the fund are subject to legislative appropriation. Monies in the fund shall be used for the Department’s costs in administering empowerment scholarship accounts under this chapter. Monies in the fund are exempt from the provisions relating to lapsing of appropriations. If the number of empowerment scholarship accounts significantly increases after fiscal year 2015-2016, the department may request an increase in the amount appropriated to the fund in any subsequent fiscal year in the budget estimate.

(l) The State Treasurer Parent Empowerment Education Savings Accounts fund is established consisting of monies transferred by the Department to the State Treasurer pursuant to Subsection 3, F of this Act. The State Treasurer shall administer the fund. Monies in the fund shall be used for the State Treasurer’s costs in administering the empowerment scholarship accounts under this chapter. If the number of empowerment scholarship accounts significantly increases after fiscal year 2015-2016, the State Treasurer may request an increase in the amount appropriated to the fund in any subsequent fiscal year in the budget estimate. Monies in the fund are subject to legislative appropriation.

 (m) On the qualified student’s graduation from a postsecondary institution or after any period of four consecutive years after high school graduation in which the student is not enrolled in an eligible postsecondary institution, the qualified student’s Delaware Parent Empowerment Education Savings account shall be closed and any remaining funds shall be returned to the state.

(n) Monies received pursuant to this article do not constitute taxable income to the parent of the qualified student.

  • 4304. Administration of the Education Savings Account Act

(a) The Department will qualify private financial management firms to manage Parent Empowerment Education Savings Accounts.

(b) The Department will have the authority to conduct or contract for the auditing of accounts, and will at a minimum conduct random audits of accounts on an annual basis.  The Department will have the authority to make any parent of an eligible student ineligible for the Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account program in the event of substantial misuse of the funds in the account.

(c) The Department will have the authority to refer cases of substantial misuse of funds to law enforcement agencies for investigation if evidence of fraudulent use of an account is obtained.

(d) The Department shall provide parents of participating students with a written explanation of the allowable uses of education savings accounts, the responsibilities of parents and the duties of the Department.

(e) The Department may deduct an amount from the grants to Parent Empowerment Education Savings accounts to cover the costs of overseeing the accounts and administering the program up to a limit of 3 percent.

(f) The Department shall establish reasonable fees for private financial management firms participating in the program based upon market rates.

(g) The Department shall make payments to eligible students’ Parent Empowerment Education Savings Accounts on a quarterly basis.

  • 4305. Accountability Standards for Participating Schools

(a) Administrative Accountability Standards. To ensure that students are treated fairly and kept safe, all participating, private schools shall:

(1) Comply with all health and safety laws or codes that apply to private schools;

(2) Hold a valid occupancy permit if required by their municipality or county;

(3) Certify that they comply with the nondiscrimination policies set forth in 42 USC 1981 and

(b) Financial Accountability Standards. To ensure that funds are spent appropriately, all participating schools shall:

(1) Provide parents with a receipt for all qualifying expenses at the school.

(2) Demonstrate their financial viability by showing they can repay any funds that might be provided from Education Savings Accounts, if they are to receive $50,000 or more during the school year, by:

  1. Filing with the Department prior to the start of the school year a surety bond payable to the state in an amount equal to the aggregate amount of the funds from Parent Empowerment Education Savings Accounts expected to be paid during the school year from students admitted at the participating school; or

Filing with the Department prior to the start of the school year financial information that demonstrates the school has the ability to pay an aggregate amount equal to the amount of the funds from Parent Empowerment Education Savings Accounts expected to be paid during the school year to students admitted to the participating school.

(3) The Department may refer cases of substantial misuse of monies to the attorney general for investigation if the department obtains evidence of fraudulent use of an account.

(4) The Department shall make quarterly transfers of the amount calculated to the treasurer for deposit into the Parent Empowerment Savings Account of each qualified student.

(5) The Department shall determine a period that is between July 1 and May 1 of each year during which it will accept applications for the following fiscal year. On or before May 30 of each year, the Department shall furnish to the joint legislative budget committee an estimate of the amount required to fund Parent Empowerment Education Savings account for the following fiscal year. The department shall include in its budget request for the following fiscal year the amount estimated for each qualified student.

 (c) Participating School Autonomy. A participating private school is autonomous and not an agent of the state or federal government and therefore:

(1) The Department or any other state agency may not in any way regulate the educational program of a participating private school or education provider that accepts funds from a Parent Empowerment Education Savings account;

(2) The creation of the Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account Program does not expand the regulatory authority of the state, its officers, or any school district to impose any additional regulation of private schools or education providers beyond those necessary to enforce the requirements of the program; and

(3) Participating private schools and education providers shall be given the maximum freedom to provide for the educational needs of their students without governmental control.

  • 4306. Responsibilities of the Department of Education

(a) The Department shall ensure that eligible students and their parents are informed annually of which schools will be participating in the Education Savings Account Program. Special attention shall be paid to ensuring that lower-income families are made aware of the program and their options.

(b) The Department shall create a standard form that parents of eligible students can submit to establish their student’s eligibility for the Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account Program. The Department shall ensure that the application is readily available to interested families through various sources, including the Internet.

(c) The Department may bar a participating school or education provider from the Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account Program if the Department establishes that the participating school or education provider has:

(1) Routinely failed to comply with the accountability standards established in § 4305 of this chapter; or

(2) Failed to provide the eligible student with the educational services funded by the Education Savings Account.

(d) If the Department decides to bar a participating school or education provider from the program, it shall notify eligible students and their parents of this decision as quickly as possible.

(e) The Department shall adopt rules and regulations as necessary for the administration of the Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account Program.

  • 4307. Responsibilities of Resident School Districts.

(a) The resident school district shall provide a participating school or education provider that has admitted an eligible student under this program with a complete copy of the student’s school records, while complying with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 USC Section 1232 g).

(b) The resident school district shall provide transportation for an eligible student to and from the participating school or education provider under the same conditions as the resident school district is required to provide transportation for other resident students to private schools as per current law. The resident school district will qualify for state transportation aid for each student so transported.

Section 2.  This Act takes effect August 1, 2015.

SYNOPSIS

This bill creates the Parent Education Savings Account Act which would allow parents to use funds otherwise allocated to their resident school district for an education program of the parent’s choosing.

The goal of this legislation is to increase educational opportunities for students.

Red Clay has a charter school mess on their hands! CSW and DCPA

Charter School Updates 5/13/15 

Delaware College Preparatory Academy

 School Leader- Angela Dennis

 Board President- Yardise Jones

 Enrollment- 193 (RC-57)

 Performance Frameworks

 Academic- Does not Meet Standard

 Financial- Does not Meet Standard

 Renewal Year- 2015/2016  Concerns  Enrollment- DCPA did not make their 80% enrollment by April 1st, 2015.

 Finances

 Enrollment concerns continue to impact budget resources

 Facility repairs concerning with budget already tight.

 Of note… The 21st Century Program has been rated one of the best in the State.

Kilroy says, DCPA can’t meet enrollment targets and now wants a modification to reduce enrollment requirements from 300 to 255 students.  

Fall Enrollment
  2013-14 2014-15
Kindergarten 75 59
Grade 1 42 48
Grade 2 44 38
Grade 3 25 25
Grade 4 18 20
Grade 5 14 13
Total 218 203

So they are about 100 student short of their approved 300!

Red Clay has their hand full with their oversight responsibilities of their three charter schools. Looks like big lawsuit brewing at Charter School of Wilmington and you can bet Red Clay admins will be named in the suit. No doubt with this mess you can bet $$$$$$$$$$$ legal fees paid by Red Clay taxpayers to CYA in any action against DCPA. Red Clay charters receive local and state share of $$ but what is the cost to Red Clay for babysitting these charter schools and babysitting the babysitter who doesn’t seem to be going a good job?

Last DCPA board meetings minutes posted February 2013 Hey Kenny if they record their board meetings like Red Clay perhaps you and the other board member might really know whats going on! Or would your just settle for Mr Magoo’s monthly reports? Monthly finical report looks like crap! 

Charter School of Wilmington & Discrimination: Student Denied Due Process and Subject To Potential Profiling By Head Of School

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

When people think of the Charter School of Wilmington, they think about one of the highest-rated high schools in the state.  But beneath the shiny veneer, there is a very dark undertone that is pervasive throughout the school.   This became clear to a student who I will call Bill (to protect his identity), and his mother, Michelle (also protecting her identity).  Bill’s story is the part about Charter School of Wilmington nobody from the school will admit or own up to: a culture of superiority and class, with very few minorities other than Asians.  The very few minorities that are present at the school are few and far between compared to most Delaware schools.  For Bill, what happened to him could easily be seen as racial or even class profiling, or both.

Charter School of Wilmington has the following profiles for race: 63.7% White, 26.4% Asian, 6% African-American, 3.3% Hispanic/Latino…

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News Journal snubs Red Clay Cooke school ribbon cutting! Rep Hudson cuts in and pushes parent aside for photo opt!

  • Beginning of the future’ for Cooke Elementary by Hockessin Community News

Red it all here ………………

Looks like the editor of the News Journal sees ribbon cutting of new transitional public schools a non-event! However, we can count on the Community News to keep us posted on important community events.

You’ll see in the photo Rep Hudson wearing her Republican Red observing the actual ribbon cutting. The person, a parent who started the “required” petition and requirement to get legislators support ( Hudson was nice enough to accommodate) had to give up her spot in photo so that Rep Hudson can be in it. I talked to that parent and though feeling sad she said, she didn’t need to be in photo because her reward is knowing she did something great for her elementary principal who was there for her in her hour of need as student. Now that is class!  Thanks for your support Debbie but once again like a true politician you stick your flag in something others worked so hard to accomplish. 

Hey bird, the angels are smiling and will reward you!    

 

Delaware legislators would be fools voting for radical changes before seeing the actual plans!

Vision proposed for Wilmington school redistricting Matthew Albright, The News Journal

The group leading a call for change in Wilmington’s schools is urging state lawmakers to start the process now of redrawing the city’s school district lines.

The Wilmington Education Advisory Committee recommends removing the Colonial and Christina school districts from the city and giving their students and schools to the Red Clay Consolidated School District.

In a letter sent to lawmakers Wednesday, committee chair and Bank of America executive Tony Allen urged action before this legislative session ends June 30.

“Now is the time to act,” Allen said. “Over the next six weeks, the 62 members of the General Assembly must act.”

So Bank of America donates an office building to the DuPont Longwood Foundation to use for charter school and to rent space to the Rodel Foundation, Urban League and other team-players and now want to push state legislators into hasty decisions!! Only a blind clueless state legislator would into introduce legislation to accommodate this political BS.

I agree 100% real change is needed but one thing for sure is “the plan” needs to be in order before acted on! Didn’t we learn anything by buying into Race to The Top another plan developed after everyone drank the kool-aid.

Allen laid out a plan for how to go about redistricting. Lawmakers would pass a bill this year that would give the State Board of Education the authority to change district lines.

That authority would last only a few years and would be limited in scale.

The Legislature would also create a Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, for which the first responsibility would be developing a plan for how to make the switch.

OMG !! Giving the state board such power is nothing more than expanded Governor Markell’s powers. I say hell with that! Now is the time to formulate a detail plan with all stakeholders within each district. Our state legislators need to wait until Governor Jack Markell is out of office!

New commission might mean paychecks for those on it! However, if our state legislators want to help address these concerns sure, establish this commission and nothing more. Lets see the plan first before we made radical changes in laws and regulations.

Many local leaders, especially those in Red Clay, said a host of details need to be worked out before redistricting can happen, such as how staff will be switched to districts and who will pay the cost of the transition. The commission would work out those details and recommend a plan to the state board.

I agree! A plan first than legislative action.

The second would adjust the state’s school funding system to give schools with high concentrations of poverty more money. While most agree that high-poverty schools could use the extra help, a tight state budget means it will be hard for the state to find enough money to pay for the increase. 

This should of already happened! It shouldn’t take moving school district boundaries to what is morally right! 

The third would expand the state’s services for special-needs students. The state pays for those services starting in the fourth grade only, which some lawmakers and special-needs advocates say leaves a glaring hole.

Markell rather use the money to expand is his Chinese dual language immersion program! If we don’t have adequate funds to effectively teach English to all children why spend it teaching Chinese where odds are only 1% of the students will grow up and apply in a business environment?

Filling the gap is expected to cost an estimated $11 million, another big-ticket ask of a state with little extra cash to spend.

So now its not for the kids! Amazing!

At the end of the day show us the plan re: realigning school districts before you ask us to buy it or pay for it. 

Academy of Dover Confirms Teacher Struck Student And Did Not Call The Police or Attorney General Office

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

Today at the Charter School Accountability Committee meeting at the Delaware Department of Education, Academy of Dover confirmed the “incident” alluded to in the letter the DOE sent them last week. A teacher struck a student but no details were given about the nature of the assault. Academy of Dover Head of School Cheri Marshall did state the teacher was immediately suspended without pay, and then terminated with board approval. But then it was said the teacher resigned, so the details are a little fuzzy. This is the same school that insisted former Head of School Noel Rodriguez “resigned”, but it was confirmed today by board member Nancy Wagner that Rodriguez was physically removed from the building. This completely contradicts Marshall’s firm “he resigned” to me when I called the school for confirmation on Rodriguez’s termination last fall. I guess when an employee is terminated at the school, the official…

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DE PTA’s Yvonne Johnson Responds To Mark Murphy On The Delaware Way! Must-Watch Video!

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

About a month ago, Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy appeared on The Delaware Way with Larry Mendte. On this controversial episode, Murphy told Mendte flat-out parents are not allowed to opt their children out of tests. Yvonne Johnson with the Delaware PTA appeared last weekend on the show to tackle Murphy’s comments. Watch the full segment!

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Did Delaware Department of Education violate state law by not reporting violence against student by teacher?

Read it for yourself! The Delaware Department of Education had knowledge of abuse or possible abuse against a student a didn’t report it to the AG’s office. If they did, they wouldn’t be asking Academy of Dover for more details. The AG’s report should be sufficient in the review of this charter school. Teachers and all school staff have a legal obligation to report abuse or possible abuse against a child even if they heard it by rumor. So shouldn’t DE DOE staff have the same legal obligation? The comments in this official DE DOE letter strongly suggest DE DOE doesn’t know the facts about this incident. Such strong wording surely raises concern for DE DOE’s charter school oversight responsibilities.