I know I will not make some folks happy who are associated with Charter schools, but for many of us in Kent & Sussex counties the whole issue of the State funding these schools is a sore subject. HB 422 is currently in the House Capital Infrastructure Committee and everyone from the DSEA to many district boards are waiting to see where this goes. Some points with this legislation that should concern everyone especially the public have been pointed out by Val Hoffmann of DSEA:
1. HB 422 gives taxpayer funding to school districts that not only don’t have the same constraints on financial accountability as the other 19 districts, but the legislation does not clearly define how the funds may be spent. The issue of state funding for charter school capital construction should be considered as part of an overall review of the state’s charter school law (Title 14, Chapter 5). The law has been in operation for over 10 years. A comprehensive review by the General Assembly is required before a major change as proposed by HB 422 is made.
2. HB 422 does not specifically require that the funds be used only for capital construction. The bill simply provides each charter school with $750 per student. Section 509 of Title 14 states, “Any payment received by a charter school pursuant to this section may be used for current operations, minor capital improvements, debt service payments or tuition payments.”
3. HB 422 contains no accountability. Public school districts must submit their construction plans to the state department of education for detailed review. The state department of education must issue a certificate of necessity. No such requirement would be asked of charter schools under this bill.
4. HB 422 contains no voter approval. Unlike public school districts — which must obtain voter approval through a local referendum — charter schools would have to obtain no voter approval whatsoever…no vote by the state board of education…no vote by the board of education of any local school district that sends students…no vote by anyone.
The calls have gone out today for teachers and board members, but I think the public should know how their tax dollars are being spent. Should the public wish to help us TABLE this bill before it sees the House floor contact your local representative and let them know how you feel about giving away money. The members on this committee to contact are:
Roger Roy (R), Helene Keeley (D), Bruce Ennis (D), and George Carey (R)
To stop the bill in committee, we must pass a motion to table. This requires four votes.
Rep. Bruce Ennis 653-7566 (home) 744-4351 (leg hall) Bruce.Ennis@state.de.us
Rep. George Carey 684-8358 (home) 744-4119 (leg hall) no email, but you can send it to email@example.com addressed to Carey and he will take it over
Remember, we want the bill TABLED by the House Capital Infrastructure Committee………. Thanks!!!