Monthly Archives: November 2012

Delaware State Legislators turn a blind-eye to the failures of Sec of Ed Mark Murphy

Title 14 Education

700 Finance and Personnel

735 Standardized Financial Reporting and Transparency

5.0 Reporting Requirements and Timelines

5.1 Each District and Charter school, no later than fifteen (15) working days after the most recent District or Charter School board meeting, shall post the most current Standardized Financial Report on its website. Provided further, the District or Charter School shall provide the final Standardized Financial Report for the past school year, no later than September 1st of each year.

5.2 Each District and Charter school shall provide a link on its website to the State of Delaware Online Checkbook.

5.3 Each District and Charter school shall provide a link on its website to the Delaware Educational Statistics Report.

After all the recent bullshit with Pencader Charter School that once again put Pencader on formal review, Pencader is still in non-compliant to Delaware laws governing public / charter school finances. See for yourself Pencader monthly  financial reports, last posted monthly report was August 2012. No financial report for school year ending June 30, 2012 posted online, see for yourself.

I am not going to start dogging our state legislators until after the first of the year 2013. Also same goes for the Delaware Attorney General. Enjoy the holidays folks because we have some serious education business to address in 2013. 

OMG ! Go to Moyer, their last posted financial statement was May 2012   Were is a link to their Citizen Budget Oversight Committe?

Academy of Dover, last monthly report posted was May 2012 and no final school year 2012 report posted.

Mr. Murphy any chance you can ask the DE DOE person in charge of charter schools to get up off their ass and do their job? I know the world isn’t perfect. However, the law is the law!

And yes here are the Charter School Annual Reports required under another section of the law which is to contain 2012 ending June 30th financial reports. Many of the reports are incomplete but yet Mr, Murphy your department accepted as complete! Another compliant for the AG’s office.  

Selander says; see you later lame-duck Markell

Markell’s top strategist takes job with sports startup by Amy Cherry /WDEL

Governor Markell’s chief strategist will be departing next month.

Brian Selander is leaving to help launch The Whistle that bills itself as sports for the next generation of fans.

Well we all know the best and brightest at the Delaware Department of Education bailed on Jack Markell so it looks like other department appointees will be bailing on lame duck Jack Markell. Next thing you know Alan Levin will take a job with the makers of Viagra :). Sorry Alan couldn’t resist! 

Do you support end-of-course assessment?

12. Will Smarter Balanced provide end-of-course assessments?

Smarter Balanced is not developing end-of-course assessments. The 11th grade summative assessment will provide evidence that students are college- and career-ready. However, Smarter Balanced will develop software to allow states to create end-of-course assessments using the interim item bank.

As many of you know DCAS is going to be replaced with Smarter Balanced Assessment. It appears the participating states will decide if they’ll elect creating an end-of-course assessment. 

What good are end-of-course of assessments if they have no bearing on pass or fail? If the end-of-course assessment suggest the student hasn’t effectively mastered grade level whereas all other indicators during the school year suggest otherwise, will the student be retained at current grade level? When happens if Delaware decides on a high school exit exam in order for the student to receive a high school diploma? They don’t graduate? Certification of Completion not a High School Diploma?

One would think assessment is a tool to help a student better complete grade level work. Using it at the end of the year has no real value because, when the student starts the next grade level the following school year they’ll take the beginning of the year assessment.

So my vote would be no! Delaware need not consider spending more money and productively time on an end-of-course assessment.

Pandora breaks free from the DL political hyper-hole and weighs in on public education

Long before Pandora gazed into Jason’s while drinking his DL Kool-aid she was on the front-lines of  going toe to toe and eyeball to eyeball with the Red Clay school board president serving at the time. I sat in the audience of the board meeting and said to myself, can you really step up  to that microphone and rip the unibrow board president a new ass? 

 Another must read blog post

The Deliberate Destruction Of Public Education by Pandora Delaware Liberal 

I’ve never considered myself a conspiracy theorist—until now. This package of bills is the latest in a yearlong barrage of ideologically-driven bills designed to weaken and defund locally-controlled public education, handing scarce taxpayer dollars over to for-profit entities operating under a different set of rules. I believe this is fundamentally wrong. State School Superintendent Mike Flanagan and State Board of Education President John Austin and others have also expressed various concerns, as has the Detroit Free Press.Read more ……..

Mike O is calling out the Longwood Foundation and Governor Markell

Two secret meetings by Mike O aka the seventh type blog.

Two different groups of movers and shakers have been meeting in secret for months now to make major changes in Delaware’s public education landscape. The lever they will pull to move and shake the landscape will be charter schools. This spring we will likely get our first chance for public comment, but by then it will be too late to reverse the changes or even to make more than trivial revisions.

Mike I hope you never plan on applying for a job at DuPont :) Don’t tear the rice paper grasshopper or the big D mafia will get your number :) Good post ! Its a must read for everyone except Pete and Re-Pete.

The never ending nagging question; charter schools vs traditional public schools

There is no real proof charter schools are better than traditional public schools in the context of a free and equitable public school for all.

Before I get to my rants, I support charter schools as a choice parents and students can take. In some respects I see charter schools as a means to abandon traditional public schools leaving behind students aka children who have no legal advocates not even parents stepping up to ensure they become academically successful. Our legal system does not hold parents accountable for academic neglect of their children. Some parents see public schools as daycare centers and believe its the teachers job to educated their children even if the parent doesn’t ensure homework is complete, their child fed and rested and prepare to learn. As charter schools grow more and more children will be left behind in a melting pot of throw away children. As the best and brightest and children who have parents as advocates send their children to charter schools the overall “academic” achievement level of traditional public schools will be strained and fall.

The charter school experiment in Delaware is a complete failure. Charter schools who serve at-risk students on average don’t outperform at-risk students being served by traditional schools. However, always exceptions to the rule on both side. Overachievers have and will out-perform not matter the setting. Charter School of Wilmington excludes at-risk students because they feel at-risk students don’t meet the specific interest of CSW’s program. Is letting these students in setting them up for failure. What about charter schools serving at-risk students? Do they have honor programs with the same high standards as CSW? Does CSW suggest that at-risk students hold back high-achieving students? What about at-risk charter schools, will a program designed for at-risk students hold-back students with potential of being a high-achieving student or a CSW over achiever? Were is the middle of the road charter school that provides quality programs to meet all students needs and challenge their academic growth? The reality is, this is what traditional public schools were meant to do.

Want to blame the teachers union? Go-ahead! But tell me why are many students in nonunion charter schools not meeting the standards? Why isn’t the business rountable demanding the purging of charter school teachers failing student as they claim protected union teachers are? And let’s not confuse AYP with meeting the standards.

Can Charter School of Wilmington or Newark Charter School takeover an existing public school lock, stock and barrel and replicate the same academic success they currently have? DON’T THINK SO! They are successful because of specific interest admission preferences, sibling preferences and well crafted targeted recruitment practices. Struggling charter schools serving at-risk students made that choice to serve at-risk students but in many respect they are shining stars and perhaps have more skillful teachers than CSW. No. I am not whacked! Could it be students prepared and eager to learn makes a teacher’s job easier?

As far as charter schools and capital funding. You don’t see charter organizers  crying during the charter school application process. Technically capital funding shouldn’t be a charter school question because the founders knew the rules of engagement when applying. Though charter schools don’t have unions, they do have lawyers and influential business leaders trying to politically manipulate the playing field. Dare anyone mount a legal challenge to CSW specific interest admission preference. You’ll see an alignment of lawyers and business leaders unionizing!

In the big picture, Delaware public school system is a complete failure and I not talking about student academic achievement. I am talking structurally. We have reform efforts including the charter concept going into many direction “wasting” millions of dollars looking for the magic reform bullet when the code to make students academically successful has been know or 50 years. If the system faced the truth many administrative and consultant jobs would be loss! Billions across the country would be saved by the lack of need for intense repetitive student assessment. The U.S Department of Education and  the Delaware Department of Education wouldn’t be needed at the current level of involvement. We don’t need a 6,000 employee U.S. DOE and DE DOE could be cut by at-least 50%.

The answer to creating a successful education environmental would be holding all stakeholders accountable on an equal basis. Legislators would be responsible for funding public school eliminating the referendum process such as currently with voctech schools. Teachers who can’t cut it after a fair evaluation system would be ask to leave OR be provided an opportunity for intervention / serious one on one staff development.  Teachers would not be required to teacher out of their trained subject matter. Internal administration appointment wouldn’t be based on who can kiss the boss’s ass better and must have a proven record and credits in administrative course work. School levle site-based share decision-making teams that include parents and community member would have a voice central administration and school board would have to take serious. Family court would be require to take truancy cases serious that must include state family service agencies. School leaders unenrolling truant students without follow legal proces will be criminally charged. Parents to be held accountable for academic neglect of their children that could result in fines, reduction welfare or even probation or jail. If their child is deemed delinquent family services must become involved and alternative school placement be used. Student discipline would include students attending school on Saturday and summer school if needed and referred to family  court and / or family services. As far as the governor, hands off! The Delaware Secretary of Education must be elected as well as the state board of education.

Delaware needs to end this fractured education system that divides, discriminates, is deceptive, dishonest, ignores civil rights, financially wasteful, political toxic, uses poverty as a profit center, over-bloated administratively, provides free trips and meals to administrators that yields no tangible value to our schools and most of all has been a disservice to our children and keeps parents injected with Kool-aid.

Gov Jack Markell is Delaware’s worst governor on public education issues

Delaware Governor Jack Markell is a self appointed card carrying capitalist education czar who makes critical public education decisions without meaningful public input before finial decisions are made. He allow the business roundtable to give us the flawed DSTP and rewards them with injectimg Vision 2015 into Delaware education reform movement which is nothing more than a Wall Street Ponzi scheme.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell allows charter schools to operate in the dark by not holding them to monthly financial disclosure laws. He maintains a fractured charter school unit within DE DOE because he is bound to local business leaders who required him to appoint their clones in DE DOE administration positions.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell requested the NCLB wavier knowing it defaces federal law Title 1 Section 1118

Delaware Governor Jack Markell sits back and allows Delaware charter schools to discriminate based on intelligent levels of applicants.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell refused to end the class size wavier law even for high-risk schools.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell supports School Choice knowing there are inequities in regards to student transportation needs.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell allows the school district he pays taxes to have  forced busing outbound Wilmington. Many Wilmington children are bused to the suburbs bypassing the closest school. This is preserving seats in more desirable  schools for children of more affluent suburban parents.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell stands by as Red Clay builds more schools in the suburbs while not having traditional middle and high schools in Wilmington for Wilmington’s children. Red Clay claims concerns with re-segregation yet de facto segregation is a results of their neighborhood School Act plan approved by DE DOE. Red Clay made Conrad middle school a opt-in all choice magnet school changing feeder pattern busing Wilmington students deeper into Red Clay’s suburb schools.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell appoints a Delaware Secretary of Education who taught three years of gym aka PE and two years school level administration experience. This candidate had ties to the business community’s public education reformist.  

Delaware Governor Jack Markell holds the gates open for more federal intervention into local public schools and local school board control. Federal grants are financially unsustainable and Governor Markell has hatched a plan to have “local” school taxpayers back-fill federal funds once exhausted. He’ll use state education funds trimmed from state education allocations to maintain DE DOE positions currently funded by federal grant money.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell is the worst governor on public education in the state’s history.

Take Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s education plans and E-mail to Print MY Toilet Paper . com and use it to wipe your ass! 

    

Letters to the editor seems like a plot to Greek Odyssey Charter school

Is building of Odyssey school necessary by David Deely, Letter to The Editor.

Is it me or is this just another pet project forced on the Delaware taxpayers?

You missed the boat! Where were you when Governor Tom Carper signed the charter school law?

I simply don’t understand why this school has to be built. We have declining enrollments in many New Castle County schools, public and private. Why can’t we use McKean or Dickinson? They are both down 400 students from 2000-2001. We used Wilmington High for Cab Callaway and Wilmington Charter.

Are you suggesting public schools “must” allow charter schools access to unused space? Cab is not a charter school and Wilmington Charter is a “Red Clay” charter school, the “only” charter school designed and approved by a local school district / school board. Dickinson and Mckean should be merged and one building needs be sold. Red Clay recruits out of district students for these two high schools when it make better sense to make one all Red Clay students unless capacity isn’t reached. Why keep pumping capital funding into two failing programs where they can be combined to one school?

I know, I know, “in Delaware, charter schools only receive funding for operations and academic programs… (And) Odyssey is using commercial loans and tax-exempt bonds to finance our construction project.”

The real question is, how do charters do with for less $$$?

But how do you pay back the loan or the bonds? Bake sales or by taking a portion of the $9,798 average per pupil that the Department of Education spends for Charter Schools in New Castle County (per 2010-2011 information)?

Comes out of the operational allocations and donations. The real question is how do charters do it with less $$$? Are public district schools too top heavy?

Is it me or is it OK that a former legislator and developer seem to be rushing this project though the vetting process? Is this same developer who owned the property prior to Odyssey? Ah, the property taxes were probably getting too high.

Re: vetting process should be the same for everyone and here is where the law needs to be fixed! What about the mega charter school for downtown Wilmington? Dirt is all over Markell’s hand! I can see your point developer and former property owner being the same.

I know, I know… where will they get the 1,700 students for this school by 2019?

Public schools and those whose parents would have sent them to private schools. Just remember parents who currently sent their children to private schools pay local school taxes aka free money to the local school districts for services not rendered. So the districts will lose this free money! Also. lose when charter school property converts to school tax exempt.

From the schools with declining enrollment, public and private. This all makes more sense than a $5,000 education voucher. What would a $5,000 education grant do for each of us parents?

More and more I am favoring school vouchers but tuition might be going up re: supply and demand. perhaps we would see charter schools like Newark Charter converting to private.  So say many are so selected they are free private schools paid by the taxpayers.

Give us choice and save the state $4,798 per pupil? No, Red Clay and the Department of Education know better than us.

Come on now, you know they have a better vision where they know what is best for your chilren!

Odyssey charter school comes under attack!

Don’t worry with left turn lane at Odyssey by Philip Socorso re: letter to The Editor

This school is not for them. If they actually cared about the Wilmington students, they would have located it in one of the many viable options available in the Wilmington area.

If you’re so concern about Wilmington’s children why don’t you write something about Red Clay abandoning Wilmington middle and high school students right to a neighborhood  school.  Maybe Tower Hill can lower it’s tuition rate.

 

This post is In honor of Delaware’s newest brigadier general

Del. Air National Guard staffer to become brigadier generalWritten by The News Journal.

Col. David E. Deputy, chief of staff for the Delaware Air National Guard, is scheduled to be promoted to brigadier general on Saturday during a ceremony at the Delaware Air National Guard headquarters in New Castle.

Deputy, of Hockessin, serves as the principal adviser to the guard’s commander and administers programs for the approximately 1,100 guardsmen. He has served in the Delaware Air National Guard for 36 years. He also is a retired state trooper. 

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wilmington University. Deputy is married with a son.

Here is more details Air Guard colonel to get first star Saturday Posted on November 28, 2012 by Bill McMichael

Classic Delaware local success story. Amazing! Attach is something for students  who might consider a career in the Delaware Air National Guards.

__________________________________________________________________

Delaware Air National Guard Careers — full-time and part-time professional positions Full-Time Active Duty Military Careers

Excel to greater heights with a full time career in the Air National Guard. Visit the Delaware National Guard website Careers page to find a current list of full-time, military challenging positions in the Delaware Air National Guard, and in the Delaware Army National Guard. Make your future happen and apply today!

State Career Opportunities for Part-Time Professionals

To learn more about part-time Air National Guard jobs available within the Delaware ANG, go to the Go ANG 166th Airlift Wing career link. To see all ANG jobs in all states and territories, visit Go ANG.

Part-Time Careers 

Protect America ‘s skies and serve your country while working part-time for the Delaware Air National Guard. — You can earn up to $20,000 towards college tuition while working part-time in your hometown when joining the Delaware Air National Guard. — Potential Signing Bonus for certain Air National Guard career fields! — Did you know that in the Air National Guard you can serve your country while staying close to home, family and friends? While going to school, you only work a minimum of one weekend a month and two-weeks a year. You can earn college credit while obtaining military and career training, which will make you marketable after you graduate. The Air National Guard offers you over 180 different career choices including healthcare, communications, avionics, electronics, and more. Find real-time job openings in your hometown.

Comparing Odyssey Charter to Newark Charter not good re: land issue

Odyssey Charter School building too big  Opinion Letters To The Editor

Odyssey Charter School is not hearing the complaints from their neighbors. It sounds as though no one is complaining about the school on its new proposed property; they just want them to be mindful of how big the school is and how close they’re building to houses.

It seems as though Newark Charter School got it right by first separating their high school from their elementary and middle school. Also, they purchased an already built building and are restructuring the inside. Not to mention, they put their high school on 27 acres. There is no need for Odyssey Charter School to build a high school on the same lot as their elementary and middle schools. You can start by thinking about any local high school parking lot and imagine kindergarten kids in that area. I know I would not want my children in that situation.

So once again Odyssey, listen to the new neighbors. They want you there, just not at the enormous size you want. Which as most would agree is too large.

Mike Lyons

Newark

I don’t see how Newark Charter fit into the Odyssey equation. In support of Mr. Lyons, I feel schools should not get an exemption in zoning that applies to others. As far as seeing a school from your property, its part of life in a community and too bad! However, we do need to know the impact of storm runoff and sewage.

Who cares about Newark Charter in this issue! So Newark Charter has more property and let’s no forget the Longwood connection and the Alan Levin rubber stamping a conduit loan,

You can start by thinking about any local high school parking lot and imagine kindergarten kids in that area.

Come on!!!!!!!!! The only way a kindergartner is going to be in student high school parking lot is if they wandered into it unsupervised. What happen if a kindergartner  wanders in the staff parking lot? Obviously with the local of Odyssey Charter I doubt if their will be students waking to school. “I know I would not want my children” and if they were it means some adult responsible for them and we’ll have a negligence issue. Weak scare tactic !

“It sounds as though no one is complaining about the school on its new proposed property; they just want them to be mindful of how big the school is and how close they’re building to houses.”

From outside the Westgate bubble is sure looks like complaints! 

Which as most would agree is too large.

Remember this from one of my previous post! 

County Councilwoman Janet Kilpatrick noted that state Department of Education guidelines show that a high school the size that Odyssey Charter is proposing should be built on about 30 acres, and that the middle and elementary schools alone should each occupy 12 to 15 acres.

It all comes down to though the land use zoning allows waivers for schools, the Delaware Department of Education has guidelines that in my opinion supersedes the zoning wavier. The sad part of this is, DE DOE can’t enforce their own guidelines because of what it is allowing the downtown mega charter school to do!

If Odyssey was to scale back its plans and make that campus a grade 6-12 configuration somebody will still see the school from their home. I think Odyssey does need to provide the community with a detailed review of storm-water and sewage concerns and the state and / or the county needs to weigh-in.

Obviously land use relating to schools needs to be addressed and honestly, zoning waivers should be subjected to community input. As far as DE DOE, they are not creditable and are politically bias in many matters involving Delaware’s public education. They sit back with their heads up their asses and say we can’t involve ourselves in local issues but support federal intervention in our Delaware public schools and the watering-down of local school board authority. 

Odyssey is not in violation of any law and the ball is in their court as far as gesture of good faith to the Westgate Farms community. The Wesgate Farms community has so fair complaints. However, crying a school is 25 feet from their property line and is obstructing their view is shameful. Other community where their children attend school in Red Clay has to view school building from their property! Take a look at Richey School in Newport! There is a house and property within the horseshoe of the entrance and exit  roads. Conrad, is surrounded by homes. Richardson Park area homes have a bird’s eye view of the school. Same goes for DMA! Same goes for Brandywine Springs! Same goes for schools in the city of Wilmington! BUT God forbid in Delaware’s Camelot! Get over it and focus on zoning waivers and and the lack of capacity at the Delaware Department of Education.  

Red Clay school district wants the community to take an online survey

The Red Clay Consolidated School District cares about your thoughts on what we do well, what we could do better and how you get your information about the district. 

Please take a brief survey to let us know. Results will be made public.

An informed district can better inform you. Click here to take the online survey 

Please take Red Clay up on this opportunity to communicate! But always be free to express yourself at Kilroy’s.

I like this question the best How can Red Clay do a better job getting you information?  Red Clay has done a great job communicating via the Red Clay Record, Red Clay E-news, Red Clay Website, Facebook Red Clay page Red Clay This Week TV Show ( videos archieve on the district’s webpage) and direct communication with Public Information Officer Pati Nash 302.552.3715
PublicInfo.Office@redclay.k12.de.us. Ms. Nash has always been response to my request. Don’t forget to Sign up for eNews

There comes at time when parents and the community needs to be proactive in gathering information. Many times I hear “no body told me”. The bottom-line is much of the information being provided by the district or even in the news paper tend to filter right through people until its something that will impact them directly. Same goes with addressing the school board.

The Red Clay community is a bit fractured when it comes to organization for education as a whole. Red Clay does have the RCPAC = Red Clay Parent Advisory Council but the RCPAC is pretty much a district driven agenda and tends not to engage in controversial issue such as charter schools and education reform issue. Also it deflects comments and concern critical of Red Clay. Pretty much the A = Advisory but that advisory is a bit restrictive. Most parents are very engaged in their children’s education and not so engaged in the overall education reform movement. Most parents of active Red Clay students will support operational referendums and sometimes not capital referendums unless something is in it for their school. But in most cases every Red Clay referendum has something for each school. School Choice is a big issue for parents as well as overall school safety. During referendum time Red Clay will sound the horn “we’ll lose programs” to incite parental involvement. But parents tend not to question over-bloated administration and consultant services and God forbid if parents wants answers to Red Clay legal expenditures classified from the taxpayers.      

Now the real question is, what does parents of active Red Clay students have to bitch about? What does the Red Clay local taxpayers have to bitch about? 

Breaking! The root-cause of Delaware Department of Education’s lack of capacity might be at-hand

$10.5 million grant to put neuroscience research center at DSU; Written by Wade Malcolm The News Journal

Delaware State University announced this morning a $10.5 million grant that will establish a Delaware Center for Neuroscience Research on its Dover campus.

The center will be housed at DSU and will study brain development and the neurobiology of learning. DSU will receive $7.3 million of the grant, and UD will get $3.2 million.

Help might be at-hand to crack the code of dysfunction of the Delaware Department of Education. DSU can install webcams and microphones at DE DOE headquarters to study dysfunctional education leaders going through their daily task.   I suggest starting with the DE DOE Charter School Office to search for root-cause in their lack of capacity. I strongly suggest starting with the Purkinje cell of top officials. Also, it is strongly suggested to give the test group regular doses of Chlorpromazine to aid in compliance. My hunch is researcher will discover the leadership of DE DOE suffers from a rare disorder called Ant Brain Human Crossover (ABHC). Rumor also has it, DSU engineers are planning to construct a human Skinner Box to double as Secretary of Education Mark Murphy’s DE DOE office. This way Gov. Markell doesn’t have to go far to feed the secretary. 

The Odyssey Charter School property dilemma

Odyssey Charter School’s plans for Del. 48 campus raise concerns; Neighbor: ‘It would look literally like the Great Wall of China in our faces.’ Written by Adam Taylor The News Journal

Westgate Farms resident James Kennedy was happy when he learned Odyssey Charter School officials chose the historic Mundy Farm on Del. 48 in Mill Creek as the site for a new location.

That was before he realized Odyssey’s plans were for a kindergarten through 12th-grade campus that would include three school buildings as high as 45 feet — one structure would be 25 feet from his property line.

“It would look literally like the Great Wall of China in our faces,” Kennedy said. “We’re on a mission to stop it, but the problem is they can do whatever they want.”

Schools are part of the community and should be welcomed. However, it appears  some folks feel because they live in more affluent neighborhoods the have a right to what view suits them.

As for the “plans”, here again the Delaware Department of Education is clueless. Though we can’t expect charter school organizers to signed lease or mortgage prior to seeking a school charter from DE DOE. However, there should be some indication on pending or provisional land purchases or lease “if” their charter was approved. Those who want to start a charter school say, I want to start one and we’ll worry about where is it to be locate when we get approval demonstrate leadership concern. A charter school approval from DE DOE isn’t a golden ticket to build a school anywhere you want because the is a land / community impact.

The county has yet to approve the construction plans, which the school filed last month. The county Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the proposal in January.

County Executive Tom Gordon, who took office Nov. 13, said he learned about the plan while on the campaign trail.

“I was very concerned as a candidate about the speed at which the school wants to proceed and the lack of meetings with the community,” Gordon said. “I’m in office now and I’m going to watch this process very carefully.

Glad to see Tom Gordon say. ” I’m going to “watch” this process very carefully. I supported and vote for Gordon and I think his involvement to “watch” is appropriate. I hope he does ally due process in accordance to the law prevail.

Westgate Farms Civic Association President Leslie Wagner said the plan – 225,000 square feet for the three schools – is too big and would cause traffic nightmares along Del. 48 and possibly increase the risk of flooding in the basements of nearby homes.

“We are just dreading the thought of the density of this project,” she said

Yes old friend you have every right to question the scope of the building plans and concerns to flooding of basements. However, I don’t feel to a school in your backyard. I’ll agree, schools should not get a pass on set land use restrictions in reference to sizes of building. They should be held to the regulations that apply to commercial buildings. And here again DE DOE should have regulations for schools reflective of building / land space and that should apply to the mega charter school planned for downtown Wilmington. No playground and fire safety concerns housing a school in a high-rise building.  

Neighboring residents said the left-hand turn that students, parents and teachers traveling from Wilmington would have to make across the oncoming eastbound lanes of Del. 48 to pull into the school would be particularly treacherous. Even a new left-turn lane might not be enough, they contend, saying a traffic light might be needed.

A traffic light is a must along with a crossing-guards or police at the start and end of the school day to help move traffic.

Westgate Farms resident Jessica Benoit said Del. 48 from the Pennsylvania border line to Wilmington is already congested and that there are several other development plans along the corridor.

“If the plans for this school are approved, this will clearly cause an already large problem to be uncontrollable,” she said.

The uncontrollable problem is we have a failing infrastructure the needs to be expanded with growth. If you are going to build new homes you’ll need schools to serve those families. When Westgate Farms was added it too caused a disruption to traffic and even drainage issue for those downstream and who in their right mind would build or buy a house in Westgate Farms knowing it was in a flood-plane? It’s getting down to, I got mine so the hell with you attitude. 

A state Department of Education spokeswoman, Alison Kepner, said her agency expects a report from Odyssey by Dec. 15 on a request to increase its student population. The plan must contain an assurance that the school can get a certificate of occupancy for its new site by June 15, she said.  

And here is DE DOE’s warning shot to Odyssey Charter School to reduce the scope of its plans re: building and students. Did DE DOE or the charter school legislation set rules to building lands use in relationship to student population? Obviously not re: Mega charter school in Wilmington Delaware. 

The 16-acre property’s suburban zoning designation allows a school. The density limit for the site is 170,000 square feet, but schools are exempt from that provision of the county building code, which allowed Odyssey to file the 225,000-square-foot proposal. 

I urge Odyssey to quickly scale back to 170,000 square feet to show good faith to a community that they’ll need support from and must live with. Sure the technicality of the law is on Odyssey’s side. However, the political winds might cast dark clouds on Odyssey’s plans. 

Culver said county attorneys affirmed the school’s rights to exceed the limit last year. However, he disagrees with it and will ask new attorneys for the Gordon administration for another opinion.

Any changes must grandfather Odyssey in. Would be like changing elections law midstream to find a way to disqualify Tom Gordon from running for office. Why waste Gordon’s lawyer’s time! The law is the law! 

County Councilwoman Janet Kilpatrick noted that state Department of Education guidelines show that a high school the size that Odyssey Charter is proposing should be built on about 30 acres, and that the middle and elementary schools alone should each occupy 12 to 15 acres.

“They have the right to build it, but it’s a lot,” Kilpatrick said. “These people are trying to put a K-12 campus on the size of what should hold one of the lower schools.”

Those DE DOE guidelines should have been noted on the charter school application and if not, its just more proof the Delaware Department of Education lacks capacity and pure ignorance. Another sign Delaware charter school law needs a complete review and revision.  

Westgate Farms residents say they are fans of Odyssey Charter, with Christian Bosch saying he has two daughters attending the school.

But the residents want a smaller project, Bosch said. They would like the school to scrap the high school from its plans, or build only the high school at the Mundy Farm site.

If it had to come down to it, I’d say go with the high school. Perhaps a 6-12 school. However, please read this prepared by Odyssey Westgate Farms community FAQ.

It appears Delaware charter school funding is very restrictive to the growth of charter schools. Capital funding is null for charter schools whereas the operational funding must also support building needs. However, these are the rules potential charter school organizers are face with. So its, if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.

Mark Lyons, a nearby resident who teaches at Newark Charter School, said he was upset to learn of the scope of Odyssey’s plans last month, when signs about the project appeared.

Though Mr. Lyons made the comment he was a Newark Charter School employee I don’t think the News Journal is doing him any justice as being a concerned community member with every right! As far as his view of a school, I say too bad! However, as far as concern on direct impact on his property re: flooding concerns, I support him 100%. Odyssey needs to have their building engineers provide the community with detail plans of drainage and sewage plans. 

Culver said that’s not a good way to notify the community.

“For this kind of project, it would have gone smoother for the builder and the community to work on these things in advance,” he said. “The public process just works better that way.”

Yes and no! If the community had a hand in designing the plan it would be a dragged out process. However, of Odyssey presented it’s plan will an open mind and some flexibility things might no be so intense. But do note, there are those in the community that opposes a school being built no matter what! Sorry folks in Westgate Farms many of us downwind have views of school buildings out our windows and put up with the traffic issues. As they say during referendum time, you don’t support it you don’t support kids.