Bank of America donates Wilmington office building to charter schools

BofA to hire 500, donate building for charter schools :Written by NICHOLE DOBO and ERIC RUTH The News Journal

Building space is one of the biggest hurdles for new charter schools because they are unable to secure the same level of governmentfinancing as traditional school districts. The donated building offers nine stories and more than 282,000 square feet.

The Longwood Foundation plans to create a new nonprofit called the Community Education Building. This new organization will be the recipient of the donated building and will operate it. The transfer is expected to take place in 2013.

“We appreciate Bank of America’s commitment to our community and to ensuring that all children have access to quality education,” Thére du Pont, president of the Longwood Foundation said in a statement. “At Longwood, we will be working hard with many partners to ensure we are continuing to provide unmatched educational environments where all kids can excel, in this case in the City of Wilmington.”

Interesting! I wonder if schools pay school taxes! If they don’t how much school taxes a building of this size will be taken out of Christina school district? But good news for parents who select charter schools

OK I found this and I am pretty sure this is for the building in question. So if it become a “public charter school” will these revenues be loss to Christina and NCC Votech?? OK just check and schools don’t pay property taxes. So will Longwood pay school taxes for this location ? Can’t be a public school unless Delaware DOE classifies it as one! But worth keep an eye on!











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31 Responses

  1. oooh…interesting! Will stay tuned, wonder if there is already a charter in mind? The loss of tax revenue was a big argument that was made at the Newark zoning hearing, this is way more than that!

    can’t wait to hear more!


    • It’s too early on the tax end and I updated post, Can’t be a school until DEDOE says so! There is a lot of space in that building! Worth keeping an eye on! I guess the playground will be indoors LOL


    • Forever the cynic, I see here a little dance between BoA –sweetening with jobs and relief for city school capacity– and the favorable decision a few days ago for TooBigTooFail banks like BoA by AG Biden to join with 48 states in the ridiculously tiny foreclosure fraud settlement and Jack Markell’s political agenda with DDOE Charter School cronys and Delaware’s elite, the duPonts of of Longwood.


    • If I remember correctly – Non-profits don’t pay school taxes. Longwood is a non-profit and this asset would become exempt. Maybe Kilroy you can run that down…


  2. There’s the new city traditional middle and high school right there. Call a referendum right now for remodeling it to be suitable. What an amazing and transformative experience that would be for all city youth, to look out the window at their city each day.

    What’s with this earmarking the place for charters only? Is that even legal? And retaining control through a nonprofit? WTF?

    The Longwood Foundation plans to create a new nonprofit called the Community Education Building. This new organization will be the recipient of the donated building and will operate it. The transfer is expected to take place in 2013.

    Come on, Thére !! If you want to donate a school, just donate a school! Like your uncle P.S. du Pont! No strings attached!!


    • Come on, Thére !! If you want to donate a school, just donate a school! Like your uncle P.S. du Pont! No strings attached!!

      And Bank Of America too!


    • Yeah, I got that last part a little backward. I’ll take my lumps now.


    • Was this sweet little arrangement an already known possibility for the Reps of Red Clay and why they stayed mum when questioned about city school capacity and why their answers that kids can go chose charters if they want to stay in city schools…..hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm



  3. yes, Nancy. They count on us to be idiots. They count on us to not care. They count on the fact that a relatively small faction of Delawareans are interested in public eduction.


    • I really don’t trust the DDOE staffers in charge of Charters. It is who you know (or who your investment dollars are backing). Is this going to open up the possibility of city charters run by management companies with no track records?


  4. Ah, I guess this answers my question about what they hope will shut up dissatisfied city school parents who have been looking for better traditional school options in town, actually viable schools – and the districts will be off the hook for the issue because any charter/choice option is automatically going to be better.

    I’m not against charters per se, they irk me for the same reasons the Neighborhood Schools Act irks me – outcomes based on the way they are administered – so I very much look forward to hearing how they plan to create schools that will be socioeconomically diverse and positively rather than patronizingly programmed, as well as how they will be funded into the future and who will be in charge of/profiting from them, and what community oversight of our growing base of charters & traditional publics in the city will be.

    It’s a beautiful building, indeed. Maybe it will help speed up redress of the city residents concern about encouraging Rodney Square’s use as a bus stop and squatters’/hustlers’/junkies’ paradise. Not so promising as a school quad at this moment. Here’s hoping.


    • I just heard more commentary on WDEL news about the plans for the 9 story building –that it was going to have businesses on the campus which would offer real work experiences for the students e.g. in healthcare, etc. So NOW I know whose originated this idea. A friend of mine told me about this plan months ago. It has been in the works for a while, indeed.

      Drawing the companies who need to set up shop in order to provide part time (low paid) jobs to the students getting real-world experience is the first step towards making this real.

      I wonder how much of the preparations for the School Center are completed ahead of the announcement of the BoA contribution and I wonder how many discussions have already transpired between DDOE Charter office and the district administrations and the Vision 2015 people etc.

      I will be giving my friend a call STAT!!


  5. I suggest you read the charter school applications for new charters in Wilmington. This has been in the works for a while. Finally, Rodel has skin in the game. It will be interesting to see if they can make sausage!


  6. Thinking about it more temperately now… this building would make an excellent high-quality magnet/charter academy, which could form the kind of urban education experience I would be eager to send my suburban offspring to.

    But that wouldn’t go too far to solving Wilmington’s issues with lack of traditional schools.

    Maybe move CSW into the new building and restore Wilmington High School?


  7. I’m trying to adopt a wait and see attitude, but the Charter infusion in the city concerns me.

    This school will live or die by its educational programs, and if those programs mirror what’s being offered now in our city schools then there’s a problem. Basically, if it ends up being a place for our re-segregated, high-poverty children to continue on the path of re-segregation and high-poverty then I’m concerned.


    • Valid point re: mirroring programs! What’s the purpose other than kicking blocks out of the foundation of public schools? Keep skimming student and leaving behind kids their own parents won’t advocate for and what do you have? Orphanages?


  8. That’s why I like my Charter => Wilmington HS plan:

    “move CSW into the new building and restore Wilmington High School”

    No net gain in charters, and Wilmington gets a new high school. Plus the new building might be big enough to accomodate needed specialty programs as well, or a middle school.

    I guess if the new building doesn’t have an auditorium then Cab would have to go sing for it’s supper :-) … or move with CSW and work out a deal with the Playhouse. Or just stay where it is.


    • Good points! And perhaps Red Clay needs to hold off on building news schools and wait until we see the impact of this mega charter schools! floors in that building ! 2000 students?


    • Ya know… I’m uncomfortable with all this emphasis on Charter Schools is the city. These schools aren’t part of the School Districts – School Districts that I not only pay taxes to, but still have their own responsibility to their traditional city public schools.

      I’m uncomfortable with the way that city charters are being offered – by Red Clay, no less – as the solution to their failing city schools.


    • And with a new Wilmington HS, Red Clay might be able to combine McKean and Dickinson and use one of the buildings for something else.


  9. If it’s going to be a charter, why not invoke the preference zone allowed by law to attract local residents who might most benefit from a high-quality neighborhood school, and who currently have the fewest options/longest distances to travel for good schools? Maybe a preference zone that extends from the building to the city limit in all directions? If the curriculum and standards were high quality, would a preference zone help or hurt re: Pandora’s concerns? I also think that if it’s truly going to help the population in Wilmington that most needs it, it shouldn’t be just a high school. You can’t plunk kids w/o a good elementary/middle school foundation into a good high school and expect their performance to turn around in 4 years. They need a great K-8 foundation to maximize the benefits of a high-quality high school. (I know there are some who question Newark Charter’s motives re: serving K-12, but I think one reason they’re successful is the continuity they offer their students. They’re using a curriculum that is founded on providing kids with core, shared knowledge that forms the basis for learning, and if you plunk a kid from a school that doesn’t use core knowledge down at NCS in 6th grade, he’s at a disadvantage.)


    • High-Quality is what I’m watching for. There’s a tipping point when it comes to high poverty populations in schools. The result: High poverty schools have tremendous needs that result in an imbalance in programs offered.

      Like I said… wait and see. Here’s what everyone should be watching. If this new school puts in place an educational program attractive to all parents, that’s a good sign. If, however, this charter is designed to appeal to city residents only, that’s a concern that will need to be watched due, in most part, to disparities that come with different socioeconomic communities.

      I worry about this charter because I don’t want it to be used to further re-segregate city schools (this time at the Middle and High School level) by simply mirroring the programs at our elementary schools.


  10. Darn it, I typed a reply and lost it. By imbalances in programs, do you mean that high-poverty schools need to focus so much on remedial education that they lack enrichment, arts, accelerated/college-prep, athletic programs and so on? If so…I agree…I was thinking that given the demographics of the city, a high-quality program that started in the early years of school could appeal to all parents within the city and result in a school that is both diverse and successful.


  11. they should make it a KIPP school…KIPP began in 1994 when two teachers, Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, launched a fifth-grade public school program with students in inner-city Houston, TX, after completing their commitment to Teach For America. In 1995, Feinberg remained in Houston to lead KIPP Academy Middle School, and Levin returned home to New York City to establish KIPP Academy Middle School in the South Bronx. These two original KIPP Academies became the starting place for a growing network of schools that are transforming the lives of students in underserved communities, and redefining the notion of what is possible in public education.

    In 2000, Doris and Don Fisher, co-founders of Gap, Inc., formed a unique partnership with KIPP’s co-founders, Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, to replicate the success of the two original KIPP Academies by training aspiring school leaders to open and operate new KIPP schools.

    Since their founding, the two original KIPP Academies have sustained track records of high student achievement. While less than one in five students from low-income families attend college nationally, KIPP’s college matriculation rate stands at more than 85 percent for students who complete the eighth grade at KIPP. Nearly 95 percent of KIPP alumni go on to college-preparatory high schools; collectively, KIPP students and alumni have earned millions of dollars in scholarships and financial aid since 2000.


  12. Charlie Copeland has a piece about it on his blog


  13. […] city district (which isn’t worth my time to address) and Charters – specifically the new charter school to be located in the donated Bank of America building in the city.  One gentlemen – and I […]


  14. Disappointing to hear Kilroy and others make comments not based on fact.
    Charter schools are public schools that operate on per student funding provided through state and local (district) taxes. They actually cost less to educate children because funding of the buildings come from the money allotted to each student in the school. They get no extra funding from referenda or state capital funding so there is no greater amount from your taxes.
    The key factor in education should be the quality of education provided and nothing else. Having a vested community interest in the school is critical. The closer families are to schools, the more attention and time parents are able to give to the school and the children.
    Quite a few people here seem to think their version of social engineering is the most important thing. I applaud diversity and believe it benefits everyone involved. However, diversity is irrelevant if Johnny can’t read. Education is the way to help kids escape poverty.
    I taught in a Wilmington school in a very low socioeconomic neighborhood for a decade. I worked with some terrific kids who moved on to Newark middle schools and fell apart. Their parents had trouble making it to the school and as a result had more difficulty keeping up on their children. It was the same for many suburban students who were in my school.
    Charter schools provide options to parents. If they fail, they close because parents will not send their kids there. I have yet to see a failing district school close.
    Please check your anger and politics at the door and focus on the access to quality education for children.


    • I respect your opinion !!! Yes there is a distinction between operational and capital funding. And I agree in Red Clay so-called need for a new school it would be cheaper to have a new charter come in. I support the charter option as stated many times BUT charters don’t necessary mean better education! It means selective admissions for some and that skews the facts! Yea when they fail kids are forced back to schools they fled! Is that too bad?? Hell no! But again parents have the right to do best for their children! But public education is to be fair and equal to all! If charters are the answer lets make all schools charters!

      “Please check your anger and politics at the door and focus on the access to quality education for children”

      And who are you referring to?? .


  15. The selective admissions comment is exactly the baseless statement to which I was referring. With the exception of CSW (though that is constantly changing), selection is based on the application. If there are more applicants than seats, the five mile radius gets first chance by lottery. After that, all other applicants are in the next phase of the lottery.
    To compare to a whole district or even feeder to specific schools is not valid. Districts contain many schools in large areas. In NCC, those districts’ areas were created by court order. Feeder patterns are designed by districts to maximize occupancy and funding. They do not feed from the nearest neighborhoods specifically.
    I never stated that charters are the answer to all things in education. They provide a choice where no choice had previously existed.
    The anger and politics comment referred to many of the people commenting on this site. I appreciate your blog but wish you looked at the facts before making statements on selective admissions. Charters, by law, have specific admissions criteria they must follow. Your comments spread the myth that charters skim from the top. That is simply not true. If it were, those charters whose numbers are not great would be significantly higher.


    • and let’s not forget about something else that happens at charters that you might not know. I know of families that have pulled their kid because there was ”too much homework” or it was ”too hard”. Not because the child was unable to do the work.


    • You points are valid and appreciated. CSW is a “great” school but sadly for all schools even NCS, CSW seems to be the crown jewel of Delaware school public and charter school and many private. Yes it’s changing because Chuck Baldwin has passion and isn’t afraid of a little challenge. But they need to make any transition slow to get in right

      “Charters, by law, have specific admissions criteria they must follow. Your comments spread the myth that charters skim from the top.”

      (3) Students enrolling in a new (nonconverted) charter school may be given preference under the following circumstances as long as the school has described its preferences in the school’s charter:

      a. Students residing within a 5-mile radius of the school;

      b. Students residing within the regular school district in which the school is located;

      c. Students who have a specific interest in the school’s teaching methods, philosophy, or educational focus;

      d. Students who are at risk of academic failure;

      e. Children of persons employed on a permanent basis for at least 30.0 hours per week during the school year by the charter school

      See C.!!!!!!!!!! No myth ! But look very very very closely a (3) charter schools “may” ! It a menu charter schools can pick from! NCS elected a. and e. A school can in fact give preference to d. Personally I like to see c. go and honestly a. and e should be the only two choices which requires d to be in that pool. The about is from Delaware Code Title 14, Chapter 5, subsection 506 Restrictions

      Your obviously someone of high intelligence that can hold their own without suggesting others are angry or politically motivated. I’ll admit, I spice things up to “provoke” debate. It got you into the debate. As for me, I support charter schools and even capital funding with restrictions. If you study the charter law and know those who were at the grassroots you might know whose hand guided Tom Carper’s. to sign it. The Delaware Political Star Chamber is the guiding force of all within Delaware.

      Yea you are correct on those district boundaries and the equalization formula within is punitive to some district’s like Red Clay. Red Clay shouldn’t be subsidizing other school districts. That’s way Wilmington’s tax base can support a stand alone school district.Taxes would have to be raised in that situation.


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