Brian

A dad, husband, and public education supporter. Small tent progressive/liberal.

Christina School District Citizen's Budget Oversight Committee member, who knows a bit about a lot when it comes to the convoluted mess that is education funding in the State of Delaware.

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Brian's Latest Posts

Learning the Hard Way

Filed in National by on January 9, 2017 32 Comments
Learning the Hard Way

I hate to say it, but the only way the message will get across is if the ACA is repealed with no replacement and everyone on it loses their insurance. At least, it seems like the only way the message will be heard. Though, I’m partially expecting the newly insurance-less to blame Obama for their loss of coverage.

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The Settlement Between Christina and Charters Should Stand

Filed in Education by on December 8, 2016 4 Comments
The Settlement Between Christina and Charters Should Stand

The Short: Christina School District, DOE, and the general public gain previously non-existent oversight on how Charter Schools spend restricted money they are conditionally entitled to at a cost to the District of $150,000 (a one time payment to be divided equally among all 15 Plaintiff Charter Schools) plus the District’s legal fees.

Now, if you’re interested in the gritty details, come on inside and get comfortable, it’s a long read.

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BREAKING: Charters vs Christina School District & DDOE Settlement

Filed in Education, Featured by on December 2, 2016 4 Comments
BREAKING: Charters vs Christina School District & DDOE Settlement

What’s it mean? The funds generated by the 2003 Christina School District referendum (10 cent referendum) that went to pay for 4 specific district programs will now be shared between District schools and all Charters and Choice schools that have Christina resident students attending them, it’s straight up division. Total revenue from $0.10 tax, divided by total number of Christina resident students enrolled in District, Charter, and Choice schools going forward (FY 18 and beyond).

For the current fiscal year (FY 17), Christina will take the total generated revenue from the $0.10 referendum (approximately $5.5 million according to the settlement), divide it by the total number of students and make payments to the appropriate schools by December 3oth. In addition to a one time payment in the amount of $150,000 to each of the plaintiff charter schools, which totals $2,250,000.

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It’s Settled?

Filed in Education by on December 1, 2016 4 Comments
It’s Settled?

Nutshell: 4-3. Settlement accepted. What remains to be seen is how the best interests of our students are being served by taking the settlement. Once the language is made public, we’ll get a good idea of what each board member believes is in the best interest of our kids.

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When Opinions Get It Wrong (Again)

Filed in Education by on October 18, 2016 41 Comments
When Opinions Get It Wrong (Again)

When a Board of Education approves the request for an operating tax increase that specifies exactly what the new revenue will be used for within the District and voters approve it, that revenue shall only be used for the purposes described on the ballot as approved by the voters.

A specific example would be the operating tax increase request from Brandywine School District earlier this year to renovate 3 of their athletic fields with a new artificial turf surface. If it were approved, the revenue generated from the tax increase would only be used to renovate those 3 fields. No portion of the revenue would be included in the ‘local cost per student’ formula that determines the funding sent to charters for each student. Why? Because voters would have approved ballot language that stated an exact use for the money which, in this case, was for 3 of Brandywine School District’s athletic fields. This money, though local operating revenue, would have been a district specific exclusion, as mandated by voters.

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It Was Bound To Happen – Charters Sue Christina & State

Filed in Education by on October 5, 2016 20 Comments
It Was Bound To Happen – Charters Sue Christina & State

“Fifteen charter schools have filed suit against the state Department of Education and Christina School District to get what they claim is their fair share of funding.”

As you may be aware, the issue of public school districts hiding money from deserving Charters has been brought up before. Many times. Most recently in August, when the results of a months long funding adjustment made by DOE were first made public in the form of recalculated charter bills sent to the Districts. That was when the General Assembly, District leaders, and the public first became aware that changes were made and it eventually became clear that what started as a “statewide adjustment” of local per student funding was really just a thinly veiled attack on Christina School District originating from the Western Newark area.

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Arson, Murder, Assault Charges for Resident of Wilmington Rowhome

Filed in Delaware by on September 29, 2016 15 Comments
Arson, Murder, Assault Charges for Resident of Wilmington Rowhome

I’ll let the Delaware Online story speak for itself, because I know what else to say. This is just so sad all the way around. I know I speak for the entire Delaware Liberal community when I say our condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with the families of Lt. Christopher Leach and Senior Firefighter Jerry Fickes, as our collective hope and encouragement for continued strength and recovery is with Ardythe Hope and Brad Speakman.

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If You Ask Me

Filed in National by on September 29, 2016 25 Comments
If You Ask Me

Interacting with Trump supporters has told me that they are not going to the polls in November to make an informed decision. They’re going to make an emotional choice. They hate Hillary. They hate her because she’s a woman, because she’s white, because she’s wealthy, because she’s intelligent, because she’s stupid, because she makes mistakes, because she thinks she’s perfect, because she has secrets, because she’s done shady things in the past, because people have died under her leadership, because the Clinton Foundation gives only 10% to charity for every dollar taken in. Because her husband’s infidelities are *her* fault. The Republican Party of 2016.

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Delaware Department of Education Pulls a Fast One

Filed in Education by on August 29, 2016 21 Comments
Delaware Department of Education Pulls a Fast One

A rising tide lifts all boats. With Christina slashing $9 million last year, this new formula applied retroactively would have increased Christina’s cost per student by roughly 3% resulting in a net increase payout this year for Charters that receive Christina resident students…despite the District having to decimate its budget last year.

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$600 or Death

Filed in Science and Health by on August 25, 2016 4 Comments
$600 or Death

Why has the cost of EpiPen risen over 500% in the last 9 years? Because Mylan and their CEO decided to excessively profit off of the sale of a dirt-cheap medication and relatively cheap delivery technology that routinely saves peoples’ lives, including young children.

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Keep Digging

Filed in Delaware, National by on August 2, 2016 3 Comments
Keep Digging

Nobody, least of all the American “media”, has to do anything to demonize Trump. He’s taken care of it himself by continually attacking a Gold Star family with the GOP playing the role of Hype Man behind him shouting right along. What a disgusting joke the GOP has become. And the Delaware Republicans just follow suit. SAD!

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Trevor Noah On Point

Filed in National by on July 28, 2016 2 Comments
Trevor Noah On Point

Trevor Noah seems to be growing into Stewart’s old seat on The Daily Show. This election cycle seems to be helping immensely. He has been pretty on point through both conventions but especially now as we’re able to visually compare the two events side by side. Granted we have yet to see the nominee’s speech at the DNC however, after night 2 we have just about all the evidence we need to paint an accurate picture of what’s going on here. Take 8 minutes and give this clip of The Daily Show a watch as he hits the long ball.

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Clinton/Kaine 2016

Filed in Featured, National by on July 22, 2016 68 Comments
Clinton/Kaine 2016

Hillary Clinton has selected Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate.

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He Comes Home

Filed in National by on July 22, 2016 3 Comments
He Comes Home

An old friend stops by to chat about the election, Roger Ailes, and Fox News.

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Iowa’s Steve King Wants to Know What Non-Whites Have Contributed to Society

Filed in National by on July 19, 2016 5 Comments
Iowa’s Steve King Wants to Know What Non-Whites Have Contributed to Society

I hope the NY Times doesn’t mind me borrowing their quote. Because I really couldn’t write a better excerpt than this: In response, Mr. King said: “This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie. I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?” – Rep. Steve King, R-IA

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BREAKING: Turkish Military Attempts Coup

Filed in International by on July 15, 2016 10 Comments
BREAKING: Turkish Military Attempts Coup

More details from the statement read out on the state broadcaster TRT at the behest of the military faction that seems to be behind the coup: It says that the freedom of Turkish citizens is guaranteed by what is referred to as a “peace council”, regardless of religion, race or language.
It says the Peace Council will not allow public order to be damaged.
It is worth remembering at this point that the Turkish government still claims to be in charge.
An EU source monitoring events has told Reuters that military forces have control of airports and strategic points in Istanbul.

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Choose One: Smaller Classes, Art, Library, Gym, or Music

Filed in Education by on June 15, 2016 21 Comments
Choose One: Smaller Classes, Art, Library, Gym, or Music

Librarian-Gate is happening right now in Christina School District. It’s kind of unfair to target just this one District though, because the other 15 districts have to go through this every year too. Someone somewhere got it from someone else that District administrators “promised” all librarians would be returning to Christina schools if the March […]

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Brandywine School District Passes Referendum

Filed in National by on May 17, 2016 4 Comments
Brandywine School District Passes Referendum

Quick blurb because I’m still at Christina Board meeting, but Brandywine has passed their referenda by close to a four thousand vote margin!

9,612 FOR – 5,780 against.

Congratulations! 

BSD also smashed Christina’s total turnout (13,395) by almost 2,000 votes: 15,392 total votes!

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Brandywine’s Referenda: Take 2

Filed in Education by on May 16, 2016 17 Comments
Brandywine’s Referenda: Take 2

So what’s all this mean? When a District goes out for an operating referendum they’re not going out because the Superintendent wants a raise or because they want gilded flatware in their cafeterias. They’re going out because they can’t keep paying for everything they currently have without more revenue -or- getting rid of existing staff and programs. The only way Districts get more operating revenue in Delaware is by asking residents to raise their own property taxes. Take a look at Christina this year and what changes we had to make because we failed twice to pass an operating referendum last year. Class sizes pushing 40, no librarians in our high schools, scaled back guidance services, no after-school transportation for extracurriculars, most extracurriculars cut. This will be a reality for BSD next year without passage tomorrow. Slashing $8 million out of an operating budget will pretty much decimate the same things.

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Sussex School Districts Shine in Board Elections

Filed in Education by on May 11, 2016 7 Comments
Sussex School Districts Shine in Board Elections

A reader pointed out that I did not include any results from the Sussex districts last night. Full disclosure; I gave up refreshing the Dept of Elections page waiting for results to be tabulated and went to bed. Think it’s too much to ask that our 3 county state report election results identically across each county? […]

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Delaware Contested School Board Seats – Unofficial Results

Filed in Education by on May 10, 2016 11 Comments
Delaware Contested School Board Seats – Unofficial Results

Abysmal turnout featured for Delaware School Board elections. Winners: Christina SD- Paige, Capital SD- Jackson, Caesar Rodney SD- Marasco, Lake Forest SD- Dempsey.

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Christina School District Board Elections

Filed in Education by on May 9, 2016 4 Comments
Christina School District Board Elections

I was asked in a comment on another post to weigh in on the Christina School District’s School Board elections tomorrow. I said my response deserved its own post; so here we go. I’ve been following the candidates over the last several weeks reading what they’ve been putting out on social media, listening to the feedback from people who attended the candidate forums. Tonight I attended the final candidate forum in person to hear the candidates first hand and I walked out feeling the same way I felt walking in.

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New York Primary Results Post

Filed in National by on April 19, 2016 42 Comments
New York Primary Results Post

New York polls are closed and the results are coming in. Let’s talk about it!

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Live From New York…

Filed in National by on April 19, 2016 26 Comments
Live From New York…

In his short walk around Midtown, Mr. Sanders spoke with Michael Cantalupo, a frustrated supporter who said he was shut out of the process because he had missed the deadline to change his party affiliation to Democrat from Independent.

Mr. Cantalupo, who stopped the senator to explain his predicament, said he first tried to change his registration last May but that the Department of Motor Vehicles lost his paperwork. In December, he tried again, but by then it was too late to become eligible to vote in the Democratic primary

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April School District Happenings: New Castle County Edition

Filed in Education by on April 5, 2016 4 Comments
April School District Happenings: New Castle County Edition

The oft unnoticed school board elections are happening in every New Castle County school district May 10th. In only one of the districts is an actual contest taking place. 5 of the 7 seats up for election across the county have candidates running unopposed, which too often is the case in BOE elections.

As anticipated, Brandywine School District will be returning to the public sometime in May seeking approval for capital and operating referenda. Last evening their Board voted to go back out; this time there will be no turf involved.

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