This is the proposal that is on the agenda for tomorrow’s City Council meeting — an authorization for the City to help with the financing of the MBNA buildings that are supposed to be converted to Charter Schools:
An Ordinance to Approve and Authorize the Financing of a Project for the Community Education Building Corp.; Making Certain Findings with Respect Thereto; Authorizing the Issuance of City of Wilmington Revenue Bonds and Authorizing Other Necessary Action. (1st & 2nd Reading)
Synopsis: This Ordinance is being presented by the Administration for Council’s review and approval. If approved, Council would be authorizing the City to assist the Community Education Building Corporation (CEBC) in converting the former MBNA Bracebridge IV Building into a facility to allow for the operation of up to four charter schools. Specifically, the Council would be authorizing the City to assist with financing through the City’s Revenue Bonds Series 2014 in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $35 million. If approved, the City would assist the CEBC in refinancing an interim loan, financing a portion of renovations, funding a debt service reserve fund and paying costs associated with issuing the Bonds.
This is the First and Second Reading of this ordinance, which means it ought to go to a committee meeting for hearings. It means that there will be plenty of time for all parties to weigh in and talk to Councilmembers. But take a good look at this — Charter Schools that the City will have no control of and can’t ask for any accountability from are looking for financial help from the City. Even though City residents certainly are paying school taxes already and provide additional funding via the income taxes we pay to the state. Besides, I thought that these schools are meant to operate more cheaply that public schools — which apparently won’t be asked for here, since they are asking for Bond funds from the City to get started.
I absolutely oppose this. Absolutely. Unless someone can explain to me why this set of charters can’t get started with the usual funding mechanisms. And I want to know why funding schools we have no control over is more important than buckling down and doing the work to stabilize what we *do* control.