Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Voters Have Leverage over the Christina School District's Folly

As the News Journal reports, the Christina School Board last night voted to move ahead with plans to close two schools in Wilmington.
I previously have noted the persistent achievement gap for minority and city school children in Delaware. Two high profile public/private partnerships,
Vision 2015 and the Wilmington Hope Commission, have been organized to address this gap.
I have never voted against a school referendum, and don’t live in the district, but this once I would consider voting against this ill-considered plan to abandon city school children.
The district needs voter approval for a $7.2 million bond issue to finish work on a new school at the abandoned AstroPower building. Apart from the decision to leave city children in the lurch, voters have every reason to ask why the district, which is still digging out from its recent financial mismanagement, is seeking funds to build a new school while closing two others.
School referenda are generally dicey proposition, and are often opposed for spurious reasons. I remember some voting against one in the Smyrna School District out of anger over suburban sprawl, as if a school board can affect the backwards policies that lead to unchecked development.
But a referendum is not just about saying yes or no for money; it’s an opportunity to vote for or against a specific set of capital expenditures. Given the district’s dubious record of financial oversight and willingness to turn its back on the students who most need help, I would have no problem voting against this referendum.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This requires more thought. I will get back to you on this.

I understand the short term political muscle flexing in denying Christiana district the half finished building.

However, at this point, I have too little information on exactly what impact, if any, that not passing the referendum, would have on all those children who live in that district.

"Note voting for a referendum" is serious like an "impeachment". There could be some catastrophic ramifications in the future, if we make the wrong choice.

4:42 AM, March 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my time spent with the county, planning for future growth (CPU), it was discussed how out-dated was the old adage,

"the only thing that slows growth is roads and sewers"

No, New Castle Countians are well beyond that, seeing the way state and county conduct business: in a haze of smoke against the foggiest of mirrors.

"the only thing that slows growth in the 21st Century is the School Referenda vote."

The only way we come close to having ANY SAY in controlling growth these days is with the referendums.

The last CSD referenda was rejected.

We CSD tax-payers voted no to a seemingly bottomless pit.

Then, Christiana School District is suddenly lacking the financial resources to keep paying Peter by robbing Paul.

The district's neat little shell game got exposed (a la Enron).

Tehe Districts' land use decisions were under fire. Records audits showed that the Astro Power building was bought with fraudulantly "unrestricted" funds, etc.

What a more studied review of circumstances around the sink-hole school district takes into account is that the state right now must scurry aroud, angling for some time and finding a way to cover its own ass regarding mis-managed growth.

I think that the district suffers from unbridled Bear-Glasgow growth and it must be dealt with on a state level redistricting.

1:40 PM, March 15, 2007  

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