Great day for Odyssey charter school and the community

State helps Odyssey get $34 million for Barley MillMatthew Albright and Xerxes WIlson, The News Journal

Thanks to the state’s help in securing $34.6 million, Odyssey Charter School can now turn 35 acres of the Barley Mill office complex into a new K-12 campus

This is wonderful news! In the past Odyssey had some push-back on expansion due to land uses issues. As for converting 35 acres of land at Barley Mill office complex to education! This is great news also. Though that property will be exempt from school taxes it’s worth it to keep over-development re: commercial in check.

No taxpayer money will go to the bond, the state’s credit is not at risk and the state will not be liable for repayment if the school defaults, according to Bernice Whaley, deputy director of the Delaware Economic Development Office.

Municipalities are able to provide such tax-free conduit bonds to nonprofits like health care services and schools. Odyssey is not the first charter school with such an arrangement with the state and it isn’t the largest such bond approved by the state.

Those who oppose conduit loans for charter schools are clearly anti-charter school! Conduit “loans” doesn’t cost the taxpayers one dime and there is no additional capital funding from the state. From my point of view, the charter school debate is all about unequal admission practices giving charter schools the competitive edge. Odyssey is very diverse and has an open admission process where all applications are place in an open lottery systems. Like choice traditional schools, Odyssey gives sibling preferences. Also, Odyssey doesn’t use the cherry-picking like Charter School of Wilmington. And as far as Charter School of Wilmington, their board doesn’t have the skill-set or capacity to move CSW out from under Red Clay like Odyssey did. The time for CSW to expand beyond 9-12 grade configuration is long past and their near deficit spending is a reflection of weak governance. When Odyssey broke-free from Red Clay authority I thought for sure the end was in sight for Odyssey. However, the opposite happened, they prospered and expanded. CSW has a lot to learn from Odyssey.  

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6 responses to “Great day for Odyssey charter school and the community

  1. lastDEconservative

    The good guys win one … against the stacked deck of the capital S State, against all the efforts of the hordes of pandoras and Eves and kavipses … it is, truly, a great day. So proud of all my friends and associates there, and a bit wistful that Tony’s not here to see it as Nick grows into those big shoes more every day.

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    • Publius e decere

      Of course the Odyssey school should not have had to borrow 34 MILLLION dollars (taken out of operational funds) in the first place. Odyssey is a public school. The public capital tax should have provided them with operating space separate from operating funds. If these Odyssey kids were all to quit Odyssey tomorrow and choose to attend a district-managed school (yes, an unlikely scenario) then the their districts would have to provide the space for them. Those districts either already have the space (hence, a pre-quitting poorly-managed excess on the public dime) or they would have to construct it — with the public capital tax.

      What Odyssey is proving is that a successful school can operate on FAR LESS OVERALL MONEY than the districts seem to have managed. Now THAT is a collaboration worth pursuing by the districts.

      All the more reason to REJECT the massive tax increases (30% Red Clay, 50-75% Christina) proposed by the big districts this coming Tuesday. Ask them to borrow money without public recourse, just like the charter schools do. Or ask them to cut — massively — their overhead and their poor use of public building space. And ask them to think more shrewdly and activity-based around class size.

      Oh — and ask Christina why they have held onto and maintained a very-large but EMPTY industrial park building (Astro Power) for a decade with no plausible plan for its use. They take the taxpayers for granted, that they will keep paying and paying and paying.. Pure and simple.

      All sensible voters on Tuesday “NO” this is the truth. Ya “no” ??

      Publius

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    • lastDEconservative

      “What Odyssey is proving is that a successful school can operate on FAR LESS OVERALL MONEY than the districts seem to have managed.”

      That’s a big one, but it is only one of many things these guys are proving. Here’s another one. You all would be astounded at how few people are now, were then, or ever will be involved in making this success story. I have written before about the difference in motivation and intent that drives the average overly compensated gaggle of State pre-retirees v. that which drives the unpaid Odyssey FEW. The midnight meetings on Lancaster Avenue as the idea moved through the birth canal? You could count the makers on one hand, and still have a finger to stick in your ear.

      PS: Good point, Pub, about the money, thanks for making it.

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  2. Publius e decere

    So let us be clear here — Kilroy says that a loss of school tax funding is appropriate if it offsets commercial development in Greenville. I just want to be sure how we should understand his blog post. That anti-commercial Greenville-preservationist interests are worth the reduction of school tax revenues.

    He said: “… converting 35 acres of land … to education … exempt from school taxes it’s worth it to keep over-development re: commercial in check.” I think he called this “great news”.

    Publius

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    • kilroysdelaware

      I miss the days of watching planes land at the old DuPont Airport and the Sunday Polo Matches 🙂

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    • lastDEconservative

      Pub, I’m sure Kilroy also subscribes to the latest government proclamation that we should all eat cabbage without the corned beef so as to preserve the environment.

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