DE GOP Legislators attacks Red Clay referendum campaign tactics! And says nothing about charter school tactics

And another outsider rails against the government: Miro wrote a letter to Merv! Oh, no! What’s next?

March 3, 2015
Dr. Mervin Daugherty Superintendent Red Clay Consolidated School District 1502 Spruce Avenue Wilmington, DE 19805

RE: Questions regarding procedures and policy during Red Clay School District Referendum

Dear Dr. Daugherty,
We write following numerous inquiries from constituents who have concerns regarding perceived activity by the Red Clay School District as it pertains to the recent referendum on February 24, 2015. Putting aside the policy issues associated with the referendum, we believe that the questions raised deserve consideration, and we are asking for your assistance in determining how best to respond.

1. A number of documents presented to us indicate that school activities may have been specifically planned to coincide with the February 24, 2015 election in an attempt to impact the outcome of the vote. We have attached a link to a video invitation for the “Blizzard Blues Beach Bingo” event at the Linden Hill Elementary School which is one such event that constituents have brought to our attention. Is this true? If so, who covered the cost of these events? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwMnk3nu1xE)

We understand that many other schools in the district scheduled and held similar events. We have received complaints about crowded parking lots and other inconveniences for voters trying to reach the polls. Can you please confirm the number of schools that scheduled similar events on February 24? Does the Board provide additional funding for these events or do they come out of each school’s budget? Can you provide an approximate district-wide cost of the events that were held in the district on February 24?

2. On Monday, February 23, 2015, a Red Clay School District principal utilized the District’s SchoolMessenger notification service to ask parents to support the referendum. Did the Board’s approval of the referendum also provide for the use of school resources such as the SchoolMessenger system and state email platforms to be used by District employees as campaign tools for passage of the referendum? We understand that additional emails were sent out as reminders to vote to support the referendum on the morning of February 24.

3. We have received numerous questions regarding questioning whether public outreach regarding the election was limited and may not have reached all voters who would be impacted by passage of the referendum. Could you please detail the public outreach, including the number of residents the District contacted during the course of the campaign?

4. Finally, constituents have expressed concern that campaign signs supporting the referendum were displayed well within the boundaries established by Delaware State Law that prohibits such activity within 50 feet of a polling place. We have also been told that signs supporting the referendum were located inside the polling places. Can you confirm that this did not occur?

We are sure that you will agree that public confidence in the process of our elections is of paramount importance. We appreciate your assistance in thoroughly investigating and responding to these issues, and others that might be brought to our attention, concerning the February 24 referendum. We look forward to your timely response.

Thank you.
Greg Lavelle State Senator 4th District
Mike Ramone State Representative 21st District
Sincerely,
cc: Members of the Red Clay Consolidated School Board-2-
Deborah Hudson State Representative 12th District
Joe Miro State Representative 22nd District

The practice holding get out the referendum vote rallies during referendum nights is nothing new and nothing illegal. Sure it gaming the system but why hasn’t any of these legislators introduced legislation forbidding such events on referendum voting days/ nights?

So what about this charter rally in Dover promoting charter schools. Who paid for all the buses to transport these kids to Dover and taking kids out of school for political rallies!! Come on folks.

Greg Lavelle State Senator 4th District voted yes for H.B.# 334 “Smarter Balanced Assessment”
Mike Ramone State Representative 21st District voted yes for H.B. #334 “Smarter Balanced Assessment”
Deborah Hudson State Representative 12th District voted yes for H.B. #334 “Smarter Balanced Assessment” 
Joe Miro State Representative 22nd District vote yes for H.B. #334 “Smarter Balanced Assessment”

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39 responses to “DE GOP Legislators attacks Red Clay referendum campaign tactics! And says nothing about charter school tactics

  1. Since the GA passed a bill last year that from 2016 forward all schools had to be closed for any election, that problem will take care of itself.

    Having done the campaign thing up close and personal around Miro, Lavelle, and Ramone last year I can tell you this: there’s no rule any of them didn’t try to break or bend if they could get away with it. Two of them were on the Vesey Report list for campaign donation issues.

    To find them now writing this is the height of hypocrisy.

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    • Publius e decere

      Well, I suppose that comment is also aimed at shielding an important interest.

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    • Translated Publius: it’s ok for me to defend my beliefs on charter and choice, but not for anybody else to do the same. But we’ve known that for awhile.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Publius e decere

      I’m merely suggesting that we try holding school referendum elections in retirement homes or community centers. Without allowing at those venues any tax-funded “events” to lure in the voters which the vested interests want at the polls.

      By locating all polls away from district premises, we get a more neutral situation — just like for the rest of us. The vested interests would also have to leave work and actually go to vote rather than go home or go on errands. Yes it is a bias when the vested interests only have to walk to the lobby of their workplace, during tax-paid work hours, to vote. So let’s bias toward the retirees on fixed incomes. Fair enough.

      Let’s try a re-vote at a community center. You game? I thought not.

      Publius

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    • How about charter school boards get publicly elected Publius. Would you favor that?

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    • Steve agree completely but serious question: if school is closed, does that legally prohibit scheduling an event for that day or just make it less likely to be attended?

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  2. Well at least Miro is showing some interest in the district. That’s something, I guess.

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  3. Miro though winning, was not the best choice. I think all agree. Just looking at the history of Tammany Hall, disassociates winning with being the best choice.

    Politicians like everyone else have to survive… If being crooked makes them survive longer, it is guaranteed they will become crooked… Likewise, if being honest makes them survive longer, then being honest they’d become….

    The electorate needs to change first before politicians change. Before they could hide. Their hypocrisy is now exposed…

    Anyone voting for HB 334 was either ill-informed or harbors secret delight in abusing tiny children. The above need to be held accountable… The soldiers who ran their swords through Bethlehem’s babies, were just as guilty as King Herod himself….

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  4. Who paid for all the buses to transport these kids to Dover and taking kids out of school for political rallies!!

    Rhetorical question, I guess. As long as charters are still non-union, they will never lack for private corporate money.

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    • Publius e decere

      Sure, whatever you say. “Charters [are rolling in] private corporate money”. Care to point out any specifics?

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    • I’d love to, but charter schools and the Charter Shool Network do not release those numbers.

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    • I think Publius has better access to those numbers than the public does.

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    • Amazing footage from NY state of charter-paloooza this week. Imagine the fallout if actual public schools paid to bus hundreds of students & their parents (on a school day) to a legislative rally, complete with day-long entertainment, matching t-shirts, etc. Nice having unregulated public $.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The dishonesty of Publius;

      Mike O. says, As long as charters are still non-union, they will never lack for private corporate money.

      Which, then, Publius purports to quote, but changes it: “Charters [are rolling in] private corporate money”

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    • Publius e decere

      Well, lets leave it at rolling in something 🙂

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    • Pencadermom

      “Rhetorical question, I guess. As long as charters are still non-union, they will never lack for private corporate money.” – is that a bad thing? I’m not being sarcastic but trying to think of why that would be bad. Donations are good, right? Corporations seemed damned if they do and damned if they don’t. What am I missing here? Again I’m not being sarcastic so go easy on your reply (in other words, no need for calling me stupid)

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  5. I neglected to point out the other difference (besides the foundation/corporate money of course): charters don’t HAVE referendums! they have no local accountability and get their dollars on a free ride off voters who turn out tsupport real public schools. Charters are right to rally in Dover,because that is where their political base is.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Publius e decere

    You switched to “foundation/corporate money” from “private corporate money”. Throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks?

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    • lastDEconservative

      I don’t think that’s spaghetti. Smells funny, this stuff this lot throws.

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    • Where do you think the corporate money comes from? They have to run it through a foundation before they give it to the charters…BoFA didn’t donate that building to any school, you know. Oh wait, here are some actual specifics, starting with corporate gifts from $10K – $1 million and up:

      http://www.cebde.org/philanthropic-partners.html

      Liked by 1 person

    • Publius e decere

      So Mike, you are saying that a big corporation in the city which chooses to contribute to the quality of education in that same city is somehow unfair to who — to people outside of that city?

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    • Time will tell whether it is unfair to city residents. I suspect it won’t take long.

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    • Publius e decere

      I can’t see as how giving a building “in the city” to benefit communities “in the city” is going to be judged by those people “in the city” as unfair.

      What I DO see as patently and grossly unfair is for CSD to collect tax money, and with it then buy an empty commercial building in an industrial park and then sit on it EMPTY FOR A DECADE while not building a school in the city which their city constituents need.

      The “foundations/corporations” did what the districts should have done, they put in a nice facility to house schools. In giving VOLUNTARILY, they certainly seem to have wanted to back a viable managing operation. Which apparently excludes district management.

      Your sense of fairness is difficult to understand. Or maybe it’s just fatuously simple. Let’s let LDC referee the situation. 🙂

      Publius

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    • he “foundations/corporations” did what the districts should have done

      The du Pont boys are free to donate the building to the schools, like their ancestor did…

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    • lastDEconservative

      I’ve just made my referee’s ruling, but you prolly didn’t hear it over the noise of the black helicopters.

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    • Publius, giving that building removed 23 million dollars from the tax base. That translated to a loss of over $500,000 to Christina School District and the New Castle County Vocational School District as well as over $421,000 lost to the City of Wilmington.

      Yeah, as a city resident, I am not too enthused about the move. This also does not touch on the appropriateness of the location and the site as a school site. Call me old fashioned, but I believe in recess.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Publius e decere

      And when MBNA built that building in the 1990s (along with other three adjacent buildings which are larger and still pay a lot of property tax and draw a lot of wage tax revenue) what exactly did CSD do with money over the next 15 years to improve city school infrastructure?

      Zip nada nuttin in the city. Not to mention the insult-to-injury when CSD bought an industrial building NOT IN THE CITY and FROM A “PRIVATE CORPORATION” (oh the horror) and then let it sit idle for a decade (also not paying taxes to CSD) and still sitting idle today on CSD books.

      So BoA (successor to MBNA) transferred its building (without compensation) to a well-established long standing LOCAL non-profit to HIRE people (who pay wage taxes) to run a school in the city — a school which CSD never built. All the while the other three BoA buildings still pay big taxes to CSD while CSD continues to take the money and give nothing to the city in return. And CSD continues to own the empty industrial building which is 15 miles outside of the city.

      Think of CSD’s “loss” as a rebate. CSD never really earned that revenue in the first place. The gravy boat ran dry. Looks like the private sector can git-er-dun, while CSD is caught up in Sponge Bob’s Orb Of Confusion.

      And you can set down your City Tax violin … a large number of the people who (still) work in the BoA and CEB buildings commute in from outside. The drive to the buildings, park all day beneath them, then drive home. While giving an extra 1.25% of their gross pay to the city. I realize you take all of this frictionless city revenue as an entitlement. I think the people expect something for it — starting with crime-free streets so they might actually spend some time downtown outside of the building.

      Publius

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    • Game, set, and match. Pub for win.

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    • MRyder, I didn’t realize this was a sporting event where score was being kept.

      Publius, according to my calculations from the CEB and lpartner schools web sites, figuring $50,000 salaries for almost 85 employees ( a figure I believe high), the CEB is throwing off approximately $50,000 in City Wage Tax. That’s a far cry from the $421,000 in property tax from BoA when the bank still owned the building.

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    • Publius e decere

      MMIM,

      My main point was that the CSD has never honored the MBNA investment in their city district. After many years of waiting, BofA donated the building — in a city where CSD was clearly never going to build or buy one. CSD did eventually buy the old Astra Power factory building with tax money — and has never used it for any school purpose — and has maintained it in idle not-school-ready condition and probably not even in factory-ready-condition — for more than a decade with a continuing drain on tax monies. With no end in sight.

      As for the City of Wilmington, I recall that the city council supported the CEB project. The wage taxes are mitigating but not fully offsetting. My observation is that city council found this “investment” worthwhile in order to get good schools into the city. Which CSD has repeatedly failed to do.

      If CSD were to sideline the people who spend their time yelling about charter schools and yelling at bus drivers, and instead let the people who want to actually improved the district then rise to prominence, then something might get done to change the district. Until then, the district continue to sink and its enrollments will continue their decade-long decline. It is not about getting their message out, it is about changing channels completely.

      Publius

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  7. What surprises me a bit is that for all the noise of the referendum opponents NOW, nobody seems to have organized any pre-vote opposition. Honestly, one mailer to suburban Red Clay households showing how this referendum would cost each household $300 to $600 a year, and the referendum would have been toast. Especially since the current Board is doing nothing to make themselves any friends.

    As far as the supposed election violations go, they seem more like smart politics than illegal activity to me. The School Board cared about the election (as you would expect them to), and the unhappy taxpayers didn’t lift a finger to oppose the tax hike.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So it is legal to have posters in the polling area?

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    • Let me fix that for you PCM: So it is legal to have one poster in one of fourteen polling areas?

      No, it’s not legal, and the Department of Elections blew it by not taking it down. But quit trying to pretend that there was some district-wide saturation of the polling area with posters inside the polling area.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Publius e decere

      Maybe the posters fell short of a “saturation” standard. But when considered in combination with the other activities on site (rallies, “special presentations by students”, parent events, “civics lessons for student seniors” and other supposed school activities all of which happened on or immediately prior to election day at the location of the polls. Well, most of know what walks like a duck —

      So back to the proposal. Why not hold these elections at a location away from the schools themselves and on a day when school is in session so that the vested interests have to scramble to vote (or not) like the rest of us — after work on a workday.

      Publius

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  8. lastDEconservative

    Pmom, you’ll love this. Google 12 for Life, about evil corporation Southwire and the dysfunctional school kids whose lives they are changing. Votech on steroids, and with *gasp* incredible results in both school and life. Adult content warning: the co. makes a profit, and the kids get job skills and improved academic results, sort of like the world used to work every day.

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    • lastDEconservative

      Forbes 8/18/2014 issue had a feature article on it. Kilroy, you should put it up on the dartboard for the no-results crowd to belittle and bemoan.

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  9. I’ve seen a response to these four legislators from one teacher and parent in Red Clay and it’s masterful. Maybe she will publish her response soon! 😉

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