Delaware Governor Markell put local school tax referendum in danger and children will pay the price!

Red Clay to hold referendum Matthew Albright, The News Journal

One issue that has complicated Red Clay’s pitch is Gov. Jack Markell’s proposal to cut in half a subsidy senior citizens get that currently pays half of their property taxes or $500, whichever is less, to 25 percent or $250.

Previously, school district leaders have been able to tell seniors that tax increases would not affect them, but some educators and lawmakers worried reducing the subsidy would cause older voters to come out against referendums.

In a letter sent to Red Clay parents and staff last week, Superintendent Merv Daugherty and School Board President Kenny Rivera emphasized that Markell’s proposal is not final and that many lawmakers on the budget-writing joint finance committee have said they do not support the cuts.

Sorry guys but coming from a school administration that drops to it’s knees for Markell it’s not to comforting to assume Markell’s proposal is not final. Markell needs to step-up and announce he is dropping his call to reduce the tax rebate on senior. He OWES Merv that!

IN THE BIG PICTURE !!!!!!!!!!!! Red Clay’s CFO Jill Floore has done an amazing job tending to the finances of Red Clay. It was her skills that lead Red Clay out of the financial nightmare that plunged Red Clay in near bankruptcy requiring a state bailout and commercial loans caused by the previous administration. Ms. Floore took charge and brought Red Clay out of financial recovery two years ahead of projections. When Ms. Floore join Red Clay the Red Clay Community Financial Review Committee was being formed. She spends countless hours sitting side by side with the community members of the committee educating them and providing all information upon request. In the beginning the committee pushed hard for real transparency well before state law establishing Citizen Budget Oversight Committees. I was there and I know for a fact! What I am trying to say is, Ms Jill Floore is honest as they come! She works with the administration and does her best to help the administration meet goals and new innovations. She keeps Merv is check to realities to financial obligations. She deserves community support! 

From the public view I’ll be honest as I can. During the great recession where many people loss their jobs, 401K’s going down the tubes, families losing their homes to foreclosures, seniors cutting the budget beyond bare-bones and many people taking jobs for half the pay, Red Clay continued to provide raises for administrators and union contracts were met. Even the step-pay continued. When it’s time for referendums we hear the call “it’s only the cost of a cup of coffee day”, “it’s for the kids” and those who oppose aren’t for the kids. Asking educators to pay more for healthcare is met with strong resistance! But at the end of the day, we need to realize public school teachers are very valuable members of society and currently targets of those who want to re-engineer public education by allowing for profit schools. Then there is Governor Jack Markell who plays shell games with state education funding moving money to expand his agenda that mirrors Washington intrusion game and feeding Wall Street capitalist. Jack Markell is a bully! He bullies school superintendents and school boards by threats of state budget cuts if they don’t drop to their knees! He did it with Race to The Top! I was there! Sadly to say, Red Clay must go to referendums sooner than later because their forced to back-fill programs like Race to The Top a federal grant no longer being funded by the state. 10 millions dollar for the Smart Balanced Assessment whereas DCAS was more cost effective and proved itself re: historical low dropout rates and higher graduation rates. 

Markell is not for the kids! He is all about Jack’s ego and personal agenda sowing seeds for life are being governor! The only education reform plan he had coming into office was stuffed in his back pocket by Rodel allow with their campaign contributions.

As for Red Clay and it’s referendum, it is for the kids and without passage by the voters extracurricular activities will be cut for children whom many are grandchildren of our senior citizens. However, the train left the station re: the governor outraging seniors citizens. But, Red Clay’s school board votes to extend the senior citizens local school tax rebate as noted in the law. The board must vote to approve whereas the state cannot order local school district to cut reduced taxes. At best Merv and the board must put it online that the board will not eliminate senior citizen’s rebates /discounts for at least three years if Markell get’s his was as he always does! Money talks bullshit walks Merv and Kenny! Give the senior reassurance and protection from bully Jack Markell!

Historically Red Clay’s referendums don’t pass on the first round! So Merv and the board better offer something more tangible to the senior citizens if Markell doesn’t get off his high horse! The odds are state legislators won’t give into Markell! So Red Clay can go out on a limb and offer seniors some level of comfort with a promise to continue the rebate for three years even if Markell gets his way!  

Let us not forget State Representative Debbie Hudson who claims to be for open government and transparency! She introduced House Bill #23 at the request of a citizen and then killed it at the request of for profits school advocates. This legislation call for all traditional, votech and charter school boards to record the public sessions of their board meetings. Red Clay, Christina, Capital, Delmar, Brandywine and Colonial schools districts do this voluntarily and the Delaware State Board of Education does by legislation. Markell isn’t the only sick in the mud down in Dover! Hudson supported H.B. # 334 which is an endorsement of Governor Jack Markell’s wrongheaded education agenda that forces local taxpayer to $$$$$$$$$$ back-fill. I haven’t heard Hudson come out and oppose Markell’s call to reduce school tax rebates for seniors! 

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23 responses to “Delaware Governor Markell put local school tax referendum in danger and children will pay the price!

  1. 1. Stop the Expansion of Charter Schools.
    2. Tax the Rich-1% and tax dodging Corporations. What is School without Arts, Music and Extracurricular activities.
    3. Local Control…. Not Wallstreet writing the laws for education reform in Washington. Get Wallstreet out of the business of Educating our Students.
    4. The emergence of a 3rd Political Party(s) must start now

    Liked by 1 person

    • Publius e decere

      I say expand — immediately — all popular public charter schools. This is what The People want. Not an overbearing bureaucracy of districts.

      I would propose a blended system. Tax everyone at a base load level. Then charge an additional fee to those who attend the schools. This is more fair and activity-based than the current system. And the current users can pay for all of those “extras” you keep touting.

      If you want local control, then raise local taxes until they exceed state taxes. Then you will have a voice at the control table. Good luck. Until then, the state has the power of the purse.

      I can’t wait for your third party. Unless we’ve already seen it.

      Publius

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  2. Curremtly RC school employees working in the city are not reimbursed for the 1.25% city wage tax. Teacher receive some reimbursement.
    I find this outrages, they oppose pay these employees more but support paying them less.

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    • Publius e decere

      They work in the city, that is the wage tax. Everyone who works in the city pays it. And it is certainly less than the 30-50-75% increase in tax rate proposed by the districts this coming Tuesday, a tax on property owners who don’t even own property in the city. If the 1% is such a big deal, then request a transfer. Otherwise, pay your share.

      Remember, the property owners are “also” paying County, Vo-Tech, School District, City, and Downtown-Vision taxes. So get over yourself.

      Publius

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  3. Last year salaries for RC supervisors exceeded the combined expenditures of BSD, CSD, Colonial and Appeoquinimink, yet they had no money to hire an Arts Instructors for Highland. Result behavior problems increased.

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    • Point Exactly. Most reasonable people in the community understand the VALUE of music and arts education in the public schools and all schools period. But, running schools like a business & financiers just see the bottom line. These ‘Big Wigs’ are blind sided by the unintended consequences of their decisions because profit is the underlying motive. Vulnerable black, white and brown communities with little power and voice are powerless to be at the table when these decisions are made.

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    • Publius e decere

      Jack and Rob — Sorry boys, but it actually is the district’s responsibility to properly conserve and manage the taxpayers’ funds for the benefit of all students and not just the groups you prefer. I have reviewed may district financial reports, I have yet to see a “profit” line.

      I hope you guys are not teaching accounting, or finance, or ethics, or government, or fiduciary responsibility. If you are, it might be time for a continuing education refresher.

      Publius

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  4. lastDEconservative

    ” … we need to realize public school teachers are very valuable members of society and currently targets of those who want to re-engineer public education by allowing for profit schools.”

    Without agreeing to the questionable claim in the first part, are we now being enlightened to the fact that for profit schools do not use teachers? What then? Or are you suggesting that non-union is non-teacher?

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    • Yes, I am suggesting that most of Teach for America teachers (non-union) are not trained in the field of education. They are young, college graduates students who are not interested in staying in the field long-term. A business person likes these grads because there is no need to pay pension, health care premiums are low, no worries about age discrimination and their median wages aren oftentimes lower in aggregate. I am unapologically a supporter of unions in the public and private sector as well as sustaining quality teachers in the profession period.
      Lastly, we can agree that we are both in Support of high quality public schools. If so, overall Charters on aggregate do not perform as well as public schools if the student demographics are similar. So, I suggest you look at other Industrial countries whose government invests in high quality public schools for ALL children., like the Netherlands. Sadly, Charter Schools run by big corporations will be taking over all of our public schools in the near future. The beginning of the Education-Industrial Complex has begun and Virtual Schools (run by paraprofessionsls & non teachers) will probably be expanding unless there is mass community opposition to the latter.

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    • lastDEconservative

      First of all, Rob, my citation was from our poobah, Kilroy. I’ll waste a few minutes practicing my game by commenting on a couple of your misguided points anyway.

      ” They are young, college graduates students who are not interested in staying in the field long-term.” And the average dues paying pre-retiree state lackey stays in the classroom 5 years or less. Prithee, “long-term” means what? Many realities point to the farce of an “education education,” TFA seems to be a 500w spotlight on it. Thus the edstablishment (and sycophant) disdain. And is it just me, or is that education education the biggest joke going in paid-for higher ed? If it was effective, wouldn’t our classrooms be performing better than they are?

      Let’s look at what is prolly the most comment lament from edstablishment and its sycophants, hereinafter E/S. “If we only had more money in the classroom.” Might not ” … no need to pay pension, health care premiums are low, no worries about age discrimination and their median wages aren oftentimes lower in aggregate.” solve that problem once and for all?

      This one’s not for you, really, it’s for the denizens in general. ” … look at other Industrial countries whose government invests in high quality public schools for ALL children., like the Netherlands.” There it is folks, unprovoked, unsolicited, just, poof, out there. The next next big thing. I’ve said that it won’t be long until all of you clamoring to end Common Core without a deeper arsenal of knowledge and combat preparedness, without knowing what is really going on, will be caught sans trousers when the E/S … agrees with you one day -soon- that CC must be stopped. The internationalists are about to have their turn, and the result will make CC and all its fallout look like ‘glory days.’ I’ve no way of knowing Rob’s position in the game, but he hits the markers I’ve observed in the last two years, slightly more obvious with the passage of time and the holding of harrumphing gatherings. ” … government ‘invests’ … ” needs no explanation, well, some do. “Invests” is the distraction word du jour for “spends.” Spending can only follow (increasing) confiscation. “ALL” in all caps. Code word alert!! ” … the Netherlands … “. How could the Netherlands NOT be better than the evil US of A? Cotton swabs v. coal mines.

      Unions, tired rants about charter performance and the industrial (dear God, Lavelle, are you kidding me?) takeover bogeyman don’t warrant reply.

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  5. No dog in this fight

    Rob says: “Charters on aggregate do not perform as well as public schools if the student demographics are similar.”

    First, Rob makes the typical mistake (or intentional misstatement) of differentiating “public” schools from “charter” schools. Whether Rob likes it or not, charter schools are public schools throughout the U.S.

    I don’t think student demographics can ever be the same between regular public schools and charter schools because students in charter schools CHOSE to be there. That makes their demographic different, even if everything about the student bodies is the same. Their act of choice differentiates them from regular public school student bodies. I think the big thing is that the charter school students want to be where they are, and if enough of them want it, then so be it; let them have their chosen school experience — they sure won’t be any worse off than they would be in the school they don’t want to go to.

    I am continually amazed at the furor over charter schools throughout the nation.

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    • Charter schools are only public in the sense that they are publicly funded, with less oversight and accountability. And you’re amazed at the furor?

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    • Publius e decere

      Charter schools are public schools. Full stop. When districts starting thinking otherwise, they lose the support of their public.

      Tomorrow’s CSD tax increase referendum (50-75%) could go either way. But there is only one right way.

      Publius

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    • Publius e decere

      John: I have cut-and-pasted the following from Delawareonline:

      FROM: Mary-Lee Lutz
      TO: John M. Young
      You realize that your school taxes will increase to meet the shortfall, don’t you? Do you want a 7% or so increase?

      Well well well, Mary-Lee. You don’t know the half of it. Nor the 20% of it. John Young’s board is asking for a 50% tax increase (FIFTY PERCENT) just to sustain its existing inefficiencies, and they have the unashamed moxie to ask for a 75% tax increase to double-down on their failed policies.

      It is difficult to understand how a UD MBA (MBA-in-name-only) can’t find any measure of cost-cutting efficiency to enact and must instead ask the taxpayers to unquestionably spike up their taxes by 50-75% to pay for his board’s lack of oversight and direction;

      Just remember, he is your “elected” official. He must know best.

      Publius

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    • JY
      “Charter schools are only public in the sense that they are publicly funded, with less oversight and accountability. And you’re amazed at the furor?”

      1. Public means open to the the public. Please describe what restriction prevents the “public” from applying and being accepted. Geography manipulation does not apply as that is a judge ordered construct which is not publicly demanded. Your analogy would suggest that I should be eligible for an Obama Phone. The fact that I’m not would mean the phone is not publicly accessible. I pay public taxes for it but am not allowed to use the service so what part of public is “public”. I guess it depends on what the definition of “is” is.
      2. And if we compare the oversight and accountability of our TPS’s, we can rest easy that all issues are being “efficiently” addressed.
      Common Core-no,
      SBA/ standardized testing-no,
      RTTT funding management-no
      DOE intervention control -no,
      Exorbitant transportation expenses due to busing-no,
      PTA responsiveness to major problems-no,
      DSEA protection of education vs. carrot funding- no
      Appropriate education for ALL students (high & low)-no,
      Legislative support and demand for district management of taxpyer funds-no

      Union appeasement costing taxpayers 2-3 times the cost-yes
      Federal appeasement programs to secure political favors-yes
      Racial preferential behavior acceptance-yes (Jea Street),
      Genuflection to Federal DOE-yes,

      This oversight thing is impressive.

      Oh by the way, 2010 CSD referendum passed by 26 votes. YES ladies and gentlemen, 26 people decided to pass a referendum increasing everyone’s taxes. 4 years later they need 45% more to cover the “losses” of students leaving private schools to attend charters. In other words, now that the district isn’t getting a free lunch of funding without providing the services, the rest of the district has to pick up more the tab. So what were they using the funding for when the kids were in private / parochial schools? It must have been all the accelerated learner programs that the Charter’s “skimmed”.

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  6. Publius e decere

    Interesting robo calls coming in to the house tonight, Referendum Eve. Someone really has their dander up over the proposed tax increase.

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  7. Pubs, CSD is asking for a tax increase to cover the cost of charter expansion. Expand first, raise funds (to replace the district shortfall) later. That’s ref 1: adjust for inflation and the rising costs of fixed expenses, and replace the funds siphoned to charters that don’t save the district money (b/c the kids weren’t previously pub Schl students, or they’re trickling out of districts 1-2 per classroom, which doesn’t reduce costs significantly).

    Ref 2 is for expanded programs and services that parents have said they want (more tech, more Talented & Gifted, etc). It may be that neither passes, but let’s be honest about why CSD faces a funding shortfall. I’ve talked to a number of residents who are happy to support CSD but resent that they’re really being asked to replace the public $ that selective charters have siphoned away, when these voters don’t support those schools or that system. It’s a dilemma. The only response I can come up with is that a no vote won’t much harm schools like NCS (they’d forego some new $ but can also generate funds in other ways, esp from their families). In our current system, a No vote hurts district students most directly.

    BTW, members of CSD’s Citizens Budget Oversight Committee submitted a letter to WNJ providing their view of district expenditures & budgetary needs (based on their monthly meetings with the CFO). Not surprisingly, this was not published (or I missed it). Paper is happy to quote city councilmen, etc., vaguely claiming fiscal inefficiencies but won’t give space to taxpayers who take the time to learn where public revenue allotted to the district goes–at least not if those individuals attest that the district’s needs are genuine and current funds are used responsibly.

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    • lastDEconservative

      ” … replace the funds siphoned to charters … replace the public $ that selective charters have siphoned away … ”

      Speaking of tiring.

      I’m trying to imagine Fred Smith coming back to every package deliveree from last Christmas season demanding $1.98 from each because UPS ‘siphoned off’ some of his FedEx business AND he failed to react to it as it happened in plain sight in broad daylight.

      Trying. Trying.

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    • In this hapless analogy, how did Newark’s F Smith’s fail to react? Many did all that the law allows, but it doesn’t allow much. No voting on charter expansion, for ex. To citizens’ credit, they refrained from the vigilante approach (burning the school down? What would you have opponents do in this context?)

      Talk about tiring, LDC. This is the first post of yours I’ve read in two yrs.; not sure why I did.

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    • lastDEconservative

      Incomprehensible and ad hominem. Typically Erudite Eve.

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    • lastDEconservative

      “This is the first post of yours I’ve read in two yrs.; … ”

      LOL! If true, you are unaware of the number of refutations I’ve posted for the unable-to-discern crowd in an attempt to bring them to the light. Great to have you back!

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    • Publius e decere

      Well I think the vote has clarified any misunderstanding. Offices and shops all over New Castle County have workers side-by-side from the Red Clay and Christina districts, they talk they compare and they would generally vote in similar says. One would not have expected such a lop-sided outcome as yesterday’s vote. UNLESS the public was actually making the vote — dare I say it — A REFERENDUM on school district leadership.

      Red Clay has embraced a variety of schools, is the only district to authorize charters, has had rising enrollments for nearly a decade (counting those charters), and apparently they had a kick-arse Referendum Committee who took nothing for granted and who worked 24/7 to pull in enough FOR votes to counter the many AGAINST votes which were expected.

      Christina took their voters for granted. It shows. The message is loud and clear. For years the voters have been Choicing out of the district in to other districts, and they have been opting-out of the district’s brand of public school management and opting-into the charter brand of public school management. Yet the district does nothing to reduce its costs in proportion to its declining enrollment. Oh wait, they did call out Kowalko to get hysterical on their behalf. Didn’t work so well. Yesterday’s vote was channeling the movie Network: “The voters were mad as heck and not going to take it any more!”

      Referendums tell us a lot about where the people are in their support. Red Clay is about 50/50 on board with its district and is moving forward with the win. Christina is distinctly NOT on board with its district and their voters have shut down the district’s tax delusions.

      Now — let’s see if the Red Clay board really meant and backs what it said and promised in order to squeak out their win.

      Publius

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