Monthly Archives: January 2009

Support SB #16 Teachers can retire after 25 years

SPONSOR: Sen. McBride & Sen. Cook & Rep. Miro
Sens. Blevins, Bonini, Cloutier, Connor, Ennis, Henry, Marshall,
Reps. Carey, Cathcart, Gilligan, Keeley, Lee, Mulrooney, Oberle, Schwartzkopf, Thornburg, D.P. Williams





Section 1. Amend § 5522(a)(3), Title 29 of the Delaware Code, by striking the number “30” as it appears therein and substituting in lieu thereof the number “25”.

Section 2. Amend § 5522(a), Title 29 of the Delaware Code, by striking paragraph (4) thereof in its entirety.

Section 3. Amend § 5522, Title 29 of the Delaware Code by striking subsection (d) thereof in its entirety

Section 4. Amend §5522(a)(2), Title 29, of the Delaware Code, by striking the number “60” as it appears therein, and substituting in lieu thereof the number “55”.

Section 5. Amend §5522, Title 29, of the Delaware Code, by striking subsection 5522(c) in its entirety.”

This Act permits a service pension after 25 years of credited service, regardless of age, without actuarial reduction.

Current Status:
Senate Finance Committee On 01/15/2009

Hopefully the legislators will pass this legislation soon and hopefully eligible teachers will take the 25 retirement. With the upcoming budget cuts it will be the younger teachers taking the hit.

Markell Promises No Teacher Layoffs
“Delawareans from all across the state have told me in the past few days how upset they are that the Minner-Carney administration has not ruled out teacher layoffs as part of statewide budget cuts for FY 2009. Let me be clear – as governor I will not cut the education budget in ways that force teacher layoffs or take necessary resources out of the classroom.

How far should finanical transparency go?

Should full financial transparency include access to EPER Bubble Sheets?

Should school boards be proactive or reactive?

School board establishes district policies in conjunction with the goals of the district administration.

Using Red Clay’s financial meltdown as an example (let’s not rehash it), the district presented plans for various programs including Linden Park to the board. The board took the financial aspects of the plans in good faith. The former CFO did make critical financial errors either through lack of experience or internal pressures to meet the needs of a demanding administrator. The aftermath revealed the board didn’t have real knowledge of the finer fundamentals of school finances. Now they do with the establishment of the Community Financial Review Committee in which two board members participate. So now we can say the board is more “proactive.” It was unfortunate that it took a major crisis to being about the needed changes in board oversight.

Now Red Clay and all school boards across the state of Delaware are looking into an eye of a financial hurricane that could devastate school finances causing disruption to basic education.

I say it’s time for local school boards to move into crisis mode and become more proactive. I know Red Clay’s CFO is working the “what if” scenarios. I was at a Red Clay Board meeting a few months ago perhaps November and the CFO sent a little warning shot that suggested Red Clay could lose teachers with state budget cuts. I don’t remember the exact numbers but I think it may be 80 + teachers with a 5% cut. Do remember Red Clay as well as all school districts were impacted with last years state budget cuts that are effective this school year.

There are many in the community that are not tune into the current events and will blamed Red Clay for the erosion of local funds trying to plug the loses forced by the state budget cuts.

Red Clay and all school boards need to request what if scenarios from the administrators addressing a 5-15% cut in state funding! Then board needs to work with the district as how to determine where the cuts need to take place. We should not be in a position to scramble with the devastating news.

I think the toughest part for all school boards to make is deciding the possibility of cutting extracurricular activities at all school levels. Surely this would be the worst case scenario and the middle of the road would be charging students and parents activity fees. However, the backlash with activity fee would harm our families at poverty level and even many families impacted by the crisis in our economy.

The needs should be addressed from the classroom outward meaning educational needs come first before extracurricular. Red Clay is in fine shape for 2008-2009. I know many many teachers count on that EPER however, should they fight or rally parents to opposing any cuts in extracurricular activities at the cost of fellow teachers’ jobs?

Yes, the last referendum was to restore extracurricular at the middle school levels that were cut due to Red Clay’s budget crisis. However, I hope the parents and community can see the magnitude of the nation’s “recession.” Should we fire teachers and increase class sizes to protect extracurricular and EPER?

As for full financial transparency of public education and Delaware DOE in which Governor Jack Markell is failing to step up to the plate and make an “executive order,” I am not harping on this to stick it to Red Clay because I for one have nit-picked Red Clay’s CFRC website apart and can say there so much financial information available online that is in-comprehendible for the many parents and even a few board members.

Some of my criticism in financial reports is being addressed. The push for full financial transparency that is opposed by some groups will lay all the cards on the table and honestly allow school board members to see finer line-item district expenditures. People come and go in school districts and in with the new could bring bad habits just as bad as old ones causing financial meltdowns in Red Clay and Christina school districts. We need uninterrupted openness and stability in financial reporting and oversight.

Don’t get me wrong about Jack Markell because he is a businessman with far greater skills than Minner had. Jack knows we need full financial transparency in public education and he knows it best for the long term and certainly could help the short-term.

He needs to make an executive order ordering full financial transparency of pubic education and Delaware DOE now and to take effect next school fiscal year that starts July 1, 2009. Would be nice to see some bold Red Clay school board members step up and make it happen in Red Clay.

Delaware Goes Bankrupted ?

Markell’s message to Delaware: This is going to hurt

“DOVER — Gov. Jack Markell wants to make sure everyone understands: The state’s $606 million budget deficit is massive, and it’s going to take painful cuts to close the gap.’

There is no way public education can avoid budget cuts and the school districts need to make the choice between extra curricular activities including sports at all grade levels or instructional needs!

The districts need to start working on the plans such as cutting all afterschool activities for next school year 2009-2010.

This school year, cut Spring Break in half and reduce the number of remaining in services days. All school should close by the end of May 2009. We need to power down the school buildings before June. Ask all school administrators, district administrators and all non-hourly DOE employees to take a 10% pay cut. Restrict all out of state travel now for all district and state employees!

All state legislators should step up and take a 10% pay cut now!

Folks, public education “state” budget is 1,200,000,000.00 Billion dollars 1/3 the entire state budget! 10% cut would be 120,000,000.00 million dollars. 5% cut would be 60,000,000.00 million dollars!

Red Clay could lose about 80 “teachers” on the low end! If a 10% cut well over a hundred!

Options such as going for an Operational Referendum would be suicide! The community is hurting with many job layoffs! I myself start a 4 day work week next week losing one day’s pay! People are cutting back on their food budget (except Mike Matthews of Down With Absolutes) and things like vacation. Sorry kids I can’t do it for you this time because I can’t afford to loose my house! I know you enjoy those after school activities however the community is hurting so join community sports leagues or have your parents provide private music lessons. No it’s not fair but neither is the Recession the world is in! We al have to give and be understanding.

Now as far as Uncle Governor Jack Markell, he is living proof you should be careful what you wish for! Thank God Uncle Jack wrote a book during his campaign to figure this mess out! Wasn’t like the budget crisis just popped up! But please give him your support and understanding when afterschool activities are cut!

Let’s hope Uncle Jack makes an executive order ordering full financial transparency of public education and DOE. I hope he finds it in his heart to make this order for the kids! It is time to purge education of financial waste and fraud!

Skipper takes it to the House.

House Committee:
Chairman: Schooley
Room: House Chamber
Date/Time: 01/28/2009 02:30:00 PM
Comment: Presentation: Leadership for Education Achievement in Delaware (LEAD) Report – Skip Schoenhals (Chair)

I hope Skipper is in there calling for Full Financial Transparency of Public Education and DOE. LEAD Report has some great ideas on cutting public education cost. Don’t forget Skipper is with Rodel Vision 2015 and hope they know. No new money for Vision 2015. plenty of money can be extracted eliminating waste!

Annymous wants us to turn a blind eye!

Can you believe it anonymous over on FixRedClay criticized me for reporting the damage and potential safety hazard to Red Clay? I have been informed the wire is phone lines and will be corrected. Also the damaged skirting will be addressed. When the folks at FixRedClay posted the photos wasn’t done with the intent to question any damage. Actually you would have to zoom in on their photos to see the concern. I’ve also requested my contact up the food chain to inspect maintenance records to see if IAQ’s were complete and air filters are being replaced each month. All this should be documented! I am certainly not going to turn away when I see a photo of this nature. Apparently anonymous would rather see possible tragedy.

Is Red Clay farming students out because they can’t provide quality education?

Free Public Schools
§ 504. Corporate status.

(a) A charter school shall be organized and managed under the Delaware General Corporation Law.

(b) The board of directors of a charter school shall be deemed public agents authorized by a public school district or the Department with the approval of the State Board to control the charter school. No person shall serve as a member of a charter school board of directors who is an elected member of a local school board of education.

(c) A charter school shall be considered a public school for all purposes.

(d) A charter school may sue or be sued to the same extent and on the same conditions as a public school district, and its employees, directors and officers shall enjoy the same immunities as employees, directors and officers of public school districts and other public schools. The approving authority of a charter school shall have no liability for the actions or inaction of a charter school. (70 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 2; 71 Del. Laws, c. 180, § 25; 72 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 4.)

Red Clay Charter Schools are corporations and Red Clay is not listed as part of the corporation. Red Clay Charter Schools are not “Red Clay Schools.” Red Clay is the charter approving authority and has legal obligation in oversight issues prescribed by law.

How much money does Red Clay spend in legal fees associated with the charter schools if any? The debate about Charter School of Wilmington re: not paying rent is interesting.

Red Clay School District claims Charter School of Wilmington is a “Red Clay” school and shouldn’t have to pay rent! There is no doubt Red Clay had a hand in the design of Charter School of Wilmington however CSW is a separate entity and not part of the CSW corporation . Same goes for all of Red Clay’s chartered schools. Make note, to the community these schools are “charter schools.” However, the proper term when associated the charter school chartered by Red Clay is. Red Clay “chartered.” They are not Red Clay’s charter schools! They were “chartered” by Red Clay.
“The approving authority of a charter school shall have no liability for the actions or inaction of a charter school.”

Because the approving authority is not part of the charter corporation.

“No person shall serve as a member of a charter school board of directors who is an elected member of a local school board of education.”

Public school board members are “elected officials” just like state senators and representatives. The law says no person can hold two public elected offices. However, charter school board member / board of directors are not publicly elected officials. What’s interesting state senators and representatives even the governor can legally serve on charter school boards. Neither are elected school board member or a legislators would be in conflict of interest because charter school boards do not receive pay!

Elected public school board members or even district superintendent can work with organization that support or form charter schools. Personally I find this counter productive to the roles within traditional public schools. It comes down to personal morals and ethics. Hold do you look parents, students and staff of public schools in the eye and say we support our traditional public schools! Elected public school board members have a responsibility to serve to the best interest to he public school students within the given district. Assisting, supporting and taking part in the authorization of charter schools does send a message that the traditional public schools within the district isn’t serving the needs of the students and it’s necessary to farm students out to charter schools. Some district school board members may say, “If we don’t charter the schools within our districts others will come in and get state approval.” I say so what your obligation are to the needs of the district students.

Sorry to have to reference CSW so much and it’s not their programming that is my concern. It is their unique relationship with the Red Clay School Board that gives CSW preferential treatment over the other so-called Red Clay charter schools. Red Clay offers not subsidies to their other charter school to offset lease or mortgage payments. Also, the millions that went into capital improvements to CSW that only serves 55% Red Clay students took away needs for schools such as A.I. High School who are forced to operate portable classrooms. I feel there are serious moral conflicts of interest here that harm traditional Red Clay students. However, with the declining social morals within our society it’s understandable why morals of school board members and even state legislators have gone down the drain.

God bless all you parents and students who flee traditional public school for charter because you need not be in a system where your school board members rather farm you out then provide the educational services your are entitled to within traditional public schools.

Things Parents Should Know About Red Clay Schools

Click on the school’s name to see complete School Conduct Reports for 2007-2208

John Dickinson High School
Ok, let’s not sugar coat it! Dickinson had the worst overall conduct report.
33 School crimes falling within Title14 section 4112.
5 Violent felonies
40 Fighting / disorderly conduct
8 Drug arrests
5 Weapon offenses (non gun see report)
2 Gun-Free School Offenses

Thomas McKean High School
McKean gets the prize for the most fights.
15 School crimes falling under Title 14 section 4112
0 Violent felonies
79 Fighting / disorderly
5 Drug arrests
8 Weapon offenses (non gun see report)
0 Gun-Free School Offenses

A.I. Dupont High School
A.I DuPont gets the prize for the most drug arrests.
20 School crimes falling under Title 14 section 4112
0 Violent felonies
46 Fighting / disorderly
11 Drug arrests
5 Weapon offenses (non gun see report)
1 Gun-Free School Offense

Make note for the entire state there was 9 Gun-Free School Offense. Red Clay had 3.

Now want cracks me up none of these three high schools had any Sexual Harassments! None of these schools had any Unlawful Sexual Contacts.

For a good time kicking ass go to McKean High School.
Want to hang out with a few felons go to Dickinson School.
(Let’s hope the felons are kick out of school)
For some good drugs go to A.I. High School.

click on the name of the school to see complete School Conduct Report

Cab Charter School of Wilmington Delaware Military Academy

Conrad Schools of Science

H. B. Middle A. I. Middle

Skyline Middle Stanton Middle

Baltz ES Brandywine Springs Forest Oak ES Heritage ES

Highlands ES Lewis ES Linden Hill ES Marbrook ES

Mote ES North Star ES Richardson Park ES

Richey ES Shortlidge ES Warner ES

Richardson Park Learning Center

Meadowood Program

Dickinson fighting back! Go Rams!

Hockessin Community News Janaury 27, 2009
“My kids hear from a hundred different people in a hundred different ways that their school is inferior, that they are inferior,” he said. “What I didn’t realize until more recently was that the public perception has a direct impact on the kids that walk my halls everyday.”

Looks like John Dickinson High School is determined to shake the misconceptions. Wouldn’t it be neat if the district administrators and a few board members hold a town hall meeting during the school day just with the students at John Dickinson High School? Let the students tell us what Dickinson needs to shake the unjustified misconceptions. Do the same with McKean!

Is Red Clay scrabbling to CYA on Portables?

Speaking of those portable classrooms, according to the serial number plates those units his are 10-12 years old. I’ve also learned that the district performs yearly maintenance on their portable Classrooms including replacing floors as needed. I asked how often are the air filtration filter are replaced and was told once a month. Also, I was told a yearly IAQ was performed. Gee I hope my old pal follows up on all this and request maintenance records.

Not sure if the Red Clay Board is aware of an ongoing issue with ModSpace and St Francis School District in Minnesota where mold and mildew was reported in their leased portable classrooms. ModSpace contented the district performed repairs and modification that may not have been to design specifications. One would think with Red Clay portable classrooms 10-12 years old the district would hire an independent inspector to give these build a qualified inspection before any renovations and or modification. Certainly one would think to get the owners who lease these units to Red Cay to sign off on inspection and repairs.

Back in November 2007 ”Last month, district officials, responding to complaints of leaky windows and musty smells, found mold in portable classrooms at both St. Francis Elementary School and Cedar Creek Community School, in Cedar. The classrooms were shut down pending a solution to the mold problems, and kids were shipped to another building, or crammed into the schools proper, including the Cedar Creek gym and teachers lounge.”
November 2007 “And just three days ago, ModSpace, the company that leased the now-mold-riddled portable classrooms that the district uses to relieve the crowding at St. Francis and Cedar Creek, issued a statement blasting district officials for making unauthorized modifications to the portable classrooms, refusing to provide ModSpace with maintenance records, and doing damage by inspecting the classroom walls.”
I realize this may all sound like Peyton Place bullshit but I have a concern with portable classrooms long before the A.I. capacity issue came up!

Isn’t the safety and health of our teachers and students important? As far as teacher’s stuck in the sardine cans eight hours a day, you’re fools! Where is DSEA when it comes to protecting your health? Does the Red Clay union review the IAQ inspection and verify critical air filters are being replaced on a monthly basic. You should need a FOIA for this type of information and you need to put in you contact that that copies of monthly maintenance records of these toxic sardine cans be given to the union.

Don’t count Charlie Copeland down and out

“Formerly a popular target of some of Delaware’s left-leaning blogs during his years as a state senator, Copeland has started his own “center-right” alternative called “Resolute Determination.”

I’ll have to give Copeland some credit for staying engaged in the issues. I visit his blog quite often and have put a link to Resolute Determination. As you can see Charlie has put a link to Kilroy’s Delaware on his blog. Despite my blog attacks on former Senator Copeland with creative pictures depicting him from a West Virginia adoptee to a gigolo hanging out with Paris Hilton, Copeland is big enough to work with me on the common ground we share.

I find it interesting that the leading liberal bloggers coward in the corner and don’t engage Copeland on his blog. Copeland’s blog is wide open and doesn’t required registration and allow anonymous comments. You would think by painting a big red target on him-self the liberals would move in. I guess it’s easy to beat your own war drums around your own campfire but have to courage to leave that security to attack your foe!
Many paint Copeland as a rich boy who has no interest is the so-called common folks but that’s really not the case. Copeland does care about the community for all. Copeland introduced legislation calling for full financial transparency of public education and the left refused to help move this critical legislation forward. As you can see Copeland is moving “center-right” and the beat extreme right or extreme left like our popular liberal bloggers. Me, after departing the Delaware GOP I try to be dead center which kind of alienates me from the right and left. Being loyal to the extreme ideology of any political party is not for me. However, my interaction with legislators from both sides confirms there are good caring people in all parties. I did vote for Jack Markell and Obama but I expect both to live up to their campaign promises. I didn’t vote for them because they were popular candidates as I believe in their willingness to bring change.
I hope Charlie Copeland takes time to digest his experience in the senate and the feedback from his blog and keep moving closer to center. I foresee Copeland helping the Delaware GOP to move more towards the center and realize the grassroots aren’t the worker bees but rather a voice that needs to be heard.

Gumby and Pokey moves to Delaware

Why is the government wants the people to ban together to help government over come the economic disaster cased by government?

“These are the defining challenges of the moment. It is not, however, these challenges but how we meet them that will define us as a people. I believe that we will overcome – and that our best days do indeed lie ahead.” Governor Jack Markell

“We will do what families do: trim every ounce of fat from our budget. Beginning this very afternoon, we will launch a statewide performance audit to uncover and eliminate unnecessary expenditures throughout this government.” Governor Jack Markell

“Us as people,” Jack what are you trying to say, Delaware government not wants us to forgive them? Sure George Bush has plenty to do with the national economic crisis but the Democratic in Delaware failed to trim the fat and do a performance audit. Also, one asshole democratic senator decides to lockdown open government legislation and full financial transparency of public education. Jack my friend, the “challenges of the moment” is yours not the people’s.

“I believe there are millions of dollars of waste and inefficiency to eliminate from government. We will find it.” Jack Markell

I believe we need full financial transparency of public schools and DOE. Will you deliver it?

See your child’s teacher’s qualfications (DEEDS)
Open the link and type in your child’s teacher’s name and hit search button. Don’t worry about the user name and password box on the left side (leave it blank).

Once you hit search the teacher’s profile be revealed. There will be a pull-down menu with, College Degrees, Delaware Credentials and National Credentials.

For example “elementary teachers” look and see if the various degrees are related such as Bachelor’s Elementary Education and Master’s Elementary Education. Don’t assume that just because you know you teacher has a master’s that it is in “Elementary Education.” Same goes for middle and high school.