Delaware Godfather of Delaware charter schools and Kilroy agree on one thing re: school choice transportation

The Red Clay school board voted unanimously to submit its choice-based Neighborhood Schools Act plan to the state Board of Education with the apparent expectation that it will require General Assembly support to implement. The earliest it could go into effect is September, 2003.

Another provison calls for “state-funded transportation” for ‘choice’ students. The state’s public school choice law presently requires that students not attending the school to which they are assigned using traditional attendance zones must provide their own transportation. Red Clay pays for some, but not all, such transportation with local funds.

Board president William Manning said a choice program is “meaningless” without a transportation component because, as a practical matter, poorer students are unable to take advantage of it.

By Delafourm

I’ll repeat my contention that to reduce de facto segregation in Red Clay our legislators must provide Choice transportation funding for Wilmington Red Clay students to level the equity field. Also, give Red Clay city middle and high school students first choice of suburban middle and high schools student over in-district suburban students and siblings with accommodating transportation. 

And the Don goes on to say;

 Manning said he finds it ironic that people are objecting to the district’s choice arrangement on the grounds that it will foster racial resegregation. Inability to attend schools where they wanted their children to go was the underlying motive for black parents to file the suits which led to both the desegregation of Delaware public schools and the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, he noted.

“What surprises me is criticism which now said giving people a choice is a bad thing,” he said.

So now we’re at a point where Christina’s city schools are being “forced” on Red Clay. No court yet but at the hands of Governor Markell and city leaders who are creating their own stoical justice. For the record, there is no re-segregation of public schools in Delaware because of school Choice law even and the Neighborhood Schools Act. What we have is “de facto” segregation due to the inequities in Choice transportation. One must ask, why do Red Clay’s two magnet schools receive transportation funding if both those schools are “all choice”. meaning no feeder-pattern? 

Fair warning to Red Clay school board, as you see our state legislators created Choice schools that left an equity divide and you can bet the farm Red Clay will be holding the $$$$$$$$$ bag on taking-over Christina city schools!    



10 responses to “Delaware Godfather of Delaware charter schools and Kilroy agree on one thing re: school choice transportation

  1. Publius e decere


    Thank you for recognizing that the magnet schools are all-choice schools. The logical conclusion of being all-choice is that if they are full and with waiting lists — and complying with all laws — then they are a correct and proper use of public funds in line with public demand.

    Maybe we could divide the question;

    1. Among the in-district students at magnet schools, are they getting “full” transporation services (i.e., to a walking point from home)? If not, why not?

    2. Among out-of-district students ar magnets schools, are they getting transportation from (a) a walking point from home; or (b) a point at the edge of the district? If (a), then how in the heck are they doing that within existing law? If (b), then what offsetting mechanism are in place (e.g., vouchers for city buses to transport students to the edge of the school district in which they are enrolled).

    Of course this is a Red Clay question since no other district has been sufficiently enlightened as to offer all-choice magnet schools. Nor has any other district been sufficiently self-confident as to authorize a charter school.

    Corollary Question: If we (we, the public) were to offer transportation for all choice students, should there be any practical limits? Such as within-County? Or within 20-miles? I mean, do you really intend for a student living in Cape Henlopen to have public-provided transportation to attend Brandywine High School?


    Liked by 1 person

  2. kilroysdelaware$file/legis.pdf?open page 2231
    Section 342. Notwithstanding the provisions of any state law to the contrary, the Red Clay Consolidated
    15 School District is authorized to utilize state transportation dollars to fund students traveling from routes to and from
    16 the Cab Calloway School of the Arts and Conrad Schools of Science

    We’re not talking section 340 hazard. We’re talking Section 342, straight up state funding to provide transportation to and from Red Clay’s all “choice” non-feeder-pattern schools. To Red Clay magnet schools with Specific Interest application provisions aka the other charter schools. Yet no preferential Choice transportation funding for Wilmington Red Clay students force to ride the bus to and from suburban Red Clay middle and high schools ! And this is the district Wilmington leaders want to trust with more high needs schools ?????? OMG !!!!!!!!!!!!


    • Publius e decere

      Good call Kilroy. Section 342 is a carveout for Red Clay magnets — and also for the Indian River magnet (you might have overlooked that). So the legislature provides a carveout (which John Kowalko does not object to) for magnet schools. Sensible.

      Once way to play it is for districts to form more magnet schools. Good luck with that in argumentative districts like Christina.

      Another way to play it is to convince the legislature to provide the same courtesy for out-of-district choice students. Which brings me back to my earlier question (to you) — what limits should be set? Is it good legislation (I think not) to force a district (or a cooperation of districts) to pay for transportation of a student from the Cape Henlopen district to the Brandywine district? In the case of magnets in the current situation, they are in control of transportation by the offerings they provide. If they were forced to provide 100-mile transportation they might feel differently.

      I get it, that most instances are arguably local. But the people who test the system are always at the fringes (example, Ohlandt). So before we plunge in and force a decision on districts lets debate where the limits are. District (today)? Radius? County? State?

      And then there is the opt-out (with consequences) situation. Schools like A. I. Dupont High School only issue a parking pass to driving-students if they forfeit their right to a bus pass. Logical. And accountable. But for outliers (e.g., KO) with outsized voices that might be a point of contention. Better to thnk it through first and make any resulting laws robust.

      Of course by dithering for years over a “perfect” solution, KO-style, we’ll continue to see people make real decisions like living ini PA and working in DE. Or not working (or living) in DE at all. And once those decisions are made, they have tremedous inertia.

      DE loses.

      Let’s not ensure that DE loses.

      Let’s make good inclusive decisions without vilifying well-meaning parents (the way KO does). Let’s put up the Big Tent and let everyone see DE as the place where everyone can be someone (the old motto for Wilmington) and where everyone has a choice.


      Liked by 1 person

    • You crack me up Publius, mentioning my name quite a few times there. I can do the same if you want to play that game. But I won’t do it on here out of respect for Kilroy. Now I fully understand you are probably at some meeting or something right now and you won’t be reading this. But rest assured I know exactly what your play is here, and don’t try sucking up to Kilroy while tearing me down. Kilroy knows exactly who I am and why I do what I do and say what I say. For someone like you, I’m sure this Statewide Review of Educational Opportunities is a dream come true, and we both know why. But don’t forget what is always looming over the horizon, because you know that’s coming too. I take great solace in knowing that is going to shake things up for you and your “choice” games. So throw all the shots in now, cause when that breaks, your arguments will be worth as much as fool’s gold.


    • Publius e decere


      When you are worth dealing with I’ll let you know.


      Liked by 1 person

    • Publius e decere

      Your non sequitir speaks volumes. Wallow away. Feel free to have the last word, albeit not the last thought. Keep in mind that public safety officials monitor all bell towers.



  3. Choice is one of those funny words. It has unintended consequences (or maybe intended….who knows). What if choice itself made it so that some choices end up worse than others? Think about it. Ahh freedom…at the expense of all others. Read your Orwell. Further, it’s ludicrous that public schools should not have to advertise, market themselves, or put any such effort in attracting “business”. Go to a choice open house. That’s exactly what is going on. Competition among public schools for students, who only get one shot at their K-12 education. Parents overwhelmingly choice their students out of DHS and MHS to AIHS – and don’t tell me it’s because of the band. The transportation issue is a red herring. That a student at Concord can choice to Brandywine, and vice versa, is not a good thing. It means that one of the two is not doing a very good job. Fix that problem. There was a time when Delaware had outstanding schools, and nobody thought about choicing from McKean to Dickinson. Fix the problem. Urban middle school? Why not Warner?


  4. “I can do the same if you want to play that game. But I won’t do it on here out of respect for Kilroy.” – out of respect for Kilroy or the entire blog community? You see Kev, this is the shit that makes you a bully