Delaware State Board’s bait “SHALL” and switch “MAY” re: WEIC funding

Live At The State Board of Education: The WEIC Vote by Exceptional Delaware

Okay, got plugged in.  About twenty minutes ago, the State Board of Education voted on a motion to approve the WEIC plan without any addendums.  It did not pass.  Roll Call- Yes: Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, Dr. Whittaker, Jorge Melendez, Nay: Pat Heffernan, Nina Lou Bunting, Barbara Rutt, Gregory Coverdale.  Then they made a motion to approve the WEIC plan based on DOE approval of the submitted Christina priority school plans and the changing of “shall” to “may” in regards to the funding.  Roll Call- Yes: Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, Barbara Rutt, Jorge Melendez, Dr. Whittaker, Nay: Pat Heffernan, Nina Lou Bunting, Gregory Coverdale.  The plan passed the State Board with the amendments.  But this is a deal breaker because the Red Clay Consolidated Board of Education voted in November that if the funding was not guaranteed, they would not move forward.  So the WEIC redistricting plan appears to be dead.  But this is Delaware

What the Delaware State Board of Education did with the bait “shall” and Switch “may” pretty much fucked the the local taxpayers and the writing is on the wall for the end of senior citizen’s school tax discount!  But the big question is, will Merv and Kenny blindside the community by supporting the vote even though they said they would stand their ground Re: guaranteed funding! Thank you Kevin for being the community’s eyes and ears!  

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22 responses to “Delaware State Board’s bait “SHALL” and switch “MAY” re: WEIC funding

  1. Harrie Ellen Minnehan

    The first vote was to approve the WEIC plan as presented with the addendum. That was the vote that failed 3/4. The second vote was to approve the plan, as presented, with the addendum and with conditions. Godowsky explained prior to the vote the issue surrounding the Christina Agreement from March, 2015 which was approved by the CSD Board, signed by the Superintendent and the Board President, and negotiated by both folks from DOE and from Markell’s office. It was not agreed to by the then Secty of Education, so it has sat waning all this time. Godowsky is in agreement with the document so that alleviated that controversy. There will have to be further negotiations to update it because of time and dollars, however. There was no discussion at SBE about those future negotiations. The main condition in the vote was the issue of “shall” vs. “may” concerned funding and Dr. Gray felt that the word “shall” was tying the hands of the SBE. More to follow…

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    • Originally, the first vote was going to be with the addendum, but it was changed to as is. Whitaker or Melendez asked about that and Gray stressed it was the plan brought to them today. It was very chaotic in there so it could have been easy to get confused. Second vote was with the addendums.

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  2. Harrie Ellen Minnehan

    The addendum was part of the package submitted today. They separated out the “conditions” or linguistic change (*shall/will) and the question about the CSD agreement (which was in the Addendum)

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  3. Publius e decere

    Why all of this hair-splitting? The WEIC never — never — provided a simple explanation of the cost of this initiative. Every time the State Board asked, they got (from the WEIC) three-plus pages of jargon malarkey without any specific numbers which could be tied back to the WEIC Plan and the work undertaken thereunder. Seat of the pants writ large. And this dodge comes from from a senior-level bank Vice President and a former University Provost. Not to mention various school board members. So I assume the lack of simple response was intentional and of questionable faith. They know it is far too expensive for the public to stomach, so they dodged and shifted and blew word clouds every time anyone tried to pin down the cost. Shameful.

    Publius

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  4. Its the typical governmental response – we wont know how much it costs till we start doing it. just trust us.

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  5. If I recall correctly, and someone will correct me if I am wrong, local funding will not be a problem. Here’s why– WEIC Funding Committee recommended doing away with referendums for current operating funds, just like they now do for special education local funding. The Red Clay School Board and the Board’s Community Financial Review Committee strongly supported WEIC recommendation.

    I estimate during the period 2006/07 through 2015/16 the district received an additional $39,753,005 for current operations, Red Clay’s property owners provided 86.85% or $34,526,825 of this revenue, the state provided $5,446,164, federal funds declined by $219,984.

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  6. “New Castle County Councilman Jea Street, a longtime education advocate, said he believed some members the General Assembly wanted the state board members — who are appointed by Gov. Jack Markell, not elected — to take the fall for approving the plan, which is disliked by some constituents in the city’s suburbs. He urged them to vote their conscience.

    “If in your heart, you believe that a weighted funding formula is needed, you need to vote positively,” he said.

    Street, who has filed a number of lawsuits against state and district officials, said he would do so again if state leaders shot down the plan.

    “I don’t threaten litigation, I bring it,” he said. “This is going to happen the hard way or the easy way, it doesn’t matter to me. If you aren’t part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.” ”

    TYPICAL JEA [part of the problem](following the lead of J. Jackson’s Rainbow push coalition and Al Sharpton’s (I’ll protest in front of your business if you don’t donate to what I want) shakedowns, Jea is ready to sue to get his way even if it isn’t in the public’s best interest. Longtime education advocate??? That’s funny. Racial advocate maybe, but hardly an educational “advocate” given his repeatedly efforts to financially punish districts he disagrees with.

    Delawareans be forewarned: ANY effort to grant schools/ districts taxation power without approval by residents will lead to even less responsiveness to public demands for actual improvements to education. Why would a district even attempt to explain its finances if it didn’t have to? What possible motive would be left to be even slightly efficient with taxpayer dollars if they could just raise taxes whenever they wanted? Does DelDOT operate efficiently? Does Health and Human Services? No, because there is no financial accountability. Have you any idea of what the property taxes in NJ are where they have this taxing ability? FACT: NJ property taxes are 3-4X what DE’s are! Whatever your mortgage is, add $1000.00 PER MONTH to it and that’s what Jersey pays. Still want your school district to have taxing power where your property taxes are nearly equal to your current mortgage? 12k could pay for private school in some cases. DO NOT allow this to happen. Schools are IN the community, they need to answer TO the community before action is taken, not after.

    I “may” pay my tax increases (doubtful) if this passes. If I don’t, the state “may” reduce their salaries (just as doubtful) to pay for the school increases, but either way “may” is optional. WILL OR SHALL is mandatory. Redistricting needs to happen and the State needs to cut costs to pay for it, then this “May” have a chance.

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    • Publius e decere

      Where did Jea Street’s son attend high school? Choice is (was) his right. Was that choice consistent with the “act or I’ll sue you” stance he is now taking?

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  7. “If in your heart, you believe that a weighted funding formula is needed, you need to vote positively,” he said.

    Is a “weighted funding formula” actually on the table, in the text of the plan that was voted on?

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    • Mike, I believe someone in the General Assembly, through the education funding task force final report, will put forward some type of legislation with weighted funding.

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    • And it “may” pass.

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    • Mike, weighted unit funding (not student-weighted funding) is in the plan. But the plan is not legislation, so I don’t know what happens if/when it reaches the GA. Still, other than redistricting, weighted funding (by teaching unit–so extra units for schools with high ELL, LI & spec Ed populations, paid for by the state) is the second major element of the WEIC proposal. Personally, I think that part is more important than the redistricting element–more consequential, for more students & schools in DE.

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    • Eve: If redistricting is packaged with weighted funding into a single bill and then put to an up-or-down vote, then we might have something. No weighted funding, no redistricting.

      But I have no doubt the redistricting and the funding will be broken out into separate bills and considered separately. And any weighted funding, if it even passes, is likely to be so lightly weighted it will not make a difference.

      For Markell and DDOE, the prize is redistricting, with little interest in funding. That is why the plan must require that redistricting does not happen without meaningful weighted funding.

      In a zero-sum funding game, weighted funding means that funds will be reduced for the Cabs and the CSWs and the DMAs, and used to support students with more needs. I am fine with that. but I don’t see how that passes. And even that is not enough funding unless the size of the pie is increased.

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    • Mike, all of what you write is the view of WEIC, and is in WEIC’s proposal: the recs. are a package, not to be enacted piecemeal; current funds would move toward higher-needs schools but there has to be more state funding overall, etc. I don’t know if anything would limit the GA from doing what it wants, but the “all or none” element has always been central for WEIC.

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    • That is why the redistricting legislation must include a detailed funding plan, with a trigger that does not allow redistricting to begin until the specified funding is in place. That funding plan needs to be written in detail now.

      I’m calling it now, any funding provision will be removed from the redistricting legislation, SA-1 (Sokola),

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    • Publius e decere

      The WEIC plan binds together the weighted unit funding and the redistricting move. It utterly fails to describe the extent of the spending and credit effects on the state and on each of the affected districts. It offers no remedy to fund the new spending other than to have the state spend money it doesn’t have and to have district boards raise taxes without the “burden” of a referendum. And it offers no remedy at all for the cost-shifting between districts. Another important unstated part of the WEIC Plan is that the plan to “spend” more units has not been shown to have worked anywhere else (not that they even know what they are aiming for in results) which makes the WEIC essentially an R&D experiment writ large. Recent news articles have said that Delaware is a center of R&D excellence; however, I doubt that this WEIC plan is what they had in mind when they wrote that.

      It is OK to propose spending large amounts of (other people’s) money on an experimental ideology and to shift district boundaries with significant effects on the affected districts. But it disserves the public to propose this without admitting the experimental nature of it and without quantifying the full extent of the spending and cost shifting which would result from such a proposal.

      It is fair to conclude is that the WEIC’s repeated fogging of the cost issues and the “results” issue with “word salads” is evidence enough that they know they can’t sell the plan with open disclosure of the costs and the uncertainties.

      Publius

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    • lastDEconservative

      ” … they know they can’t sell the plan with open disclosure of the costs and the uncertainties.”

      If “sell the plan” isn’t bad enough of an unfortunate, but accurate way of describing -what’s really going on- here, methinks that a suggestion that this coven of clowns has any idea OR CARE as to the costs is ill advised. Uncertainties, I’m sure they could list pages of them. For certain, they want to wrap this up and move on, results, costs, damages, what have you, be damned. Just as every every “commission” before them has done (successfully) and as every one to follow, including the one convened to mop up Tony and Co.’s mess will be (successfully) thanks largely to the short memories (that’s possibly as charitable as I’ve ever been) of those whose children will suffer yet again with the consequences of another commission’s ineptitude and the eternal absence of true leadership.

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    • If they can’t/won’t fund the plan then make sure the redistricting doesn’t happen. Then we will be back to square one still with schools and students that need additional funding to succeed, but at least without the mess imposed by an unfunded redistricting.

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    • ‘You will have to pass it to find out how much it will cost’ because no one knows (or wants to say) how much it will cost to do what they know education alone can’t do. When the highest needs children never have to go home, is success declared? Is that all that important as opposed to just spending more of other people’s money on moral platitudes of whose “needs” are more important? Mike’s “fine” with telling some parents; your NON-high needs kid doesn’t need the educational dollars, but will those transferred dollars effectively deal with the un-engaged parent that doesn’t pay attention to their children’s schoolwork? And how would you know that the transferred dollars were successful in improving academic performance? When standardized test scores are all the same between schools????…….My Bad, they want to opt out of standardized tests.

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    • lastDEconservative

      “When the highest needs children never have to go home, is success declared?”

      ” … weighted funding means that funds will be reduced for the Cabs and the CSWs and the DMAs, and used to support students with more needs. I am fine with that.”

      Probably, however, the net that is being cast is being cast over ALL our children, not just those with the “highest needs,” whatever perversion that happens to mean today. “The first 3,000 days” campaign claims first dibs on kids “birth to eight” without regard to the usual slicing and dicing government does so as to prime the envy pump and/or the sympathy pump.

      One child needs his laundry done — does she get a chance to prove herself a good reader, or it is assumed her gummy dress precludes that possibility as he is relegated to the “high needs” corner right out of the box? I say the latter, clearly. One child is reading five grade levels above his peers (yes, five), and has a “high need” for a teacher that can keep her occupied, engaged, interested, not bored, encouraged (gasp), and joyful. Alas, the bright eyed, pony tailed millenialien dues payer at the front of the class is perplexed at best, incompetent and thus disinterested more likely.

      Who “deserves” the extra money? Do I get a vote? Why is the allocation always for a classroom Maytag? Do I get a vote? Does ROI matter? Do I get a vote? After all, shouldn’t my money be spent for the greater good? Do I get a vote?

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    • “One child is reading five grade levels above his peers (yes, five), and has a “high need” for a teacher that can keep her occupied, engaged, interested, not bored, encouraged (gasp), and joyful.”

      In the context of many here, this “high need” child is NOT a high need. He/she/it is “privileged” and therefore not worthy of consideration. To be more specific, the child in question need not be five levels higher to be considered unworthy of educational dollars. They need only be NOT; state dependent, beholden, or academically/ behaviorally/ socially amiss.

      “Meaningful weighted funding” VIA schools is code speak for social services transfer payments, not education. It will never (nor could it) be able to provide social / behavioral rehabilitation to sufficiently “level the playing field”. It philosophically is susidizing based on a socialist utopia of transfer payments. No single or multiple EDUCATIONAL districts should be strapped with providing under funded social service liabilities. That is a state level program and should be funded and qualified through the state. NOT the district.

      No LDC your vote doesn’t count. You’re “privileged”, not high needs.

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    • lastDEconservative

      “No LDC your vote doesn’t count. You’re “privileged”, not high needs.”

      Rats. I thought I had ’em. Well, at least now I know.

      Back to earning so I have something to be taken. And back to doing my part along with his *gasp* parents to keep this grand “occupied, engaged, interested, not bored, encouraged, and joyful” in pursuit of knowledge when he’s not likewise engaged at his snooty, elite, private *gasp* religious school. Don’t worry, there are no discounts for taxes paid but not used. You get every dollar to chute down the rabbit hole. We even do our own laundry around here.

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