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!