Christina School District

House of Representatives

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. John Carney has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited Delaware charter schools from giving enrollment preferences to children living within a 5-mile radius.

Carney announced the veto Thursday, saying in a statement that he believes sponsors wanted to expand students' options and boost diversity, but the bill "unfairly excludes some of our most vulnerable students."  He says it created a new standard that limits options for at-risk students in the Christina School District portion of Wilmington.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Senate lawmakers have given final approval to a bill prohibiting Delaware charter schools from giving enrollment preferences to children living within a 5-mile radius.

The bill was approved on a 12-to-4 vote Thursday and now goes to Gov. John Carney.

The bill applies to all charter schools but is aimed at Newark Charter, a predominantly white, high-performing school with a waiting list of more than 3,000 students.

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Margaret Mason has quit the Christina School Board effective immediately.

Her term is not due to expire until 2021.

She was first elected to the board last year.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Delaware Department of Education said it is extending the filing deadline for the next school board election in May.

There is a 20 day-candidate filing period for election to the school board.

The paper had no word on why Mason suddenly decided to step down. 

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The Christina School Board is set to consider rescinding its settlement agreement in a lawsuit involving charter school spending.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the legal action taken against the school district and the Delaware Department of Education had been settled on Monday.

The paper reports that John Young one of those who voted against the settlement said that he believed the likelihood of backing out of the agreement was low.

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A lawsuit has been filed against the Christina School District by 15 charter schools who claim that local officials have kept them from getting millions of dollars in tax revenue.

In addition, the suit alleges that the Department of Education has been complicit in depriving the charter schools their fair share of the money going back years.

The suit was sparked by a readjustment by the Department in the formula for the amount of money that should go to charter schools from local tax revenues.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell has signed a series of bills regarding pay equity and other women's issues.

Lilly Ledbetter, an Alabama woman whose fight for equal pay led to Congress passing a 2009 law that bears her name, was the featured guest at Thursday's bill signing ceremony.

One new law makes it illegal for employers in Delaware to prohibit employees from talking about how much they are or their co-workers are paid.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - House lawmakers have passed legislation endorsing a proposed school redistricting plan for Wilmington while not committing any funding for the effort.

The measures cleared the Democrat-led House with no Republican support Wednesday.

Wilmington is currently served by four school districts. The redistricting plan centers on moving inner-city students from the Christina district and into the Red Clay district in hopes of improving educational outcomes for minority students.

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Referendums in the Christina and Cape Henlopen school districts got the thumbs up from voters yesterday for additional funding.

But in Brandywine school district another funding measure failed when presented to the voters.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Christina was asking for a 21 percent increase in funding for their operating budget while Brandywine wanted $9.5 million for its regular operating budget and $19 million for a construction project.

The Brandywine request was approved by just 145 votes out of over 13-thousand cast.

Christina School District website

Around 40 property owners gathered at the Shue-Medill Middle School near Newark this week to get filled in on a referendum about the impact of a $16 million referendum for the Christina School District.

During the three hour meeting local officials laid out a vision that included a medical sciences program at Glasgow High School.

If the referendum does get voter approval the district will replace the 78 teachers who were laid off after the failure of the last referendum.

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The plan for school redistricting for the Wilmington/Christina area has survived another hurdle.

The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission approved shifting Wilmington students from the Christina School District to the Red Clay Consolidated School District.

The move that would allow students to go to a school closer to home came at the suggestion of Governor Jack Markell.

The News Journal reports that the State Board has to approve the plan along with a vote in the General Assembly.

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The third try may be the charm.

The Christina School district is taking one more swipe at convincing voters to raise taxes after the last two efforts were rejected in referendums.

The district will be asking voters on March 23rd to approve a 30 cent increase per $100 of assessed property value.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that’s 20 percent less than what the district had sought last year.

School officials argue that the money is needed after it cut its budget by $9 million when that last referendum was rejected.

The Superintendent of the Christina School District will be retiring in February.

Freeman Williams has been in his job for the last three years and he went on a leave of absence in August.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the school board is now exploring a time line in the search for a new superintendent.

The paper reports that the change in leadership comes after the state Board of Education came into conflict with the district over how to improve three Priority Schools in Wilmington.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A judge is overseeing mediation in a lawsuit filed by the family of a Newark High School student who hanged himself hours after talking to a school counselor and acknowledging a previous suicide attempt just days earlier.

Wednesday's mediation involves a lawsuit filed against Christina School District officials in 2010.

Don Rush

The Christina School District got another no from voters for its property tax increase request.

That will mean the district will begin its budget cuts and layoffs.

The vote was just nearly 6,000 to around 5,000 against the tax hike.

That was much closer than that blowout that occurred in February for a much large increase.

The proposal would have increased taxes on $100 of assessed property value by 37 cents.

It would have been spread out over a three year period.

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The Christina School District got a year’s delay for three inner-city Wilmington facilities.

The state says the three Priority Schools can retain their principals and teachers.

Meanwhile, state leaders are still deal with the redistricting plan that would put the district schools into the Red Clay School District.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Christina School Board voted last night to keep the Bancroft and Stubbs elementary schools as well as the Bayard Middle School in its district for another year.

Don Rush

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The Christina School District has begun cutting costs to address a budget deficit after voters nixed a plan to raise property taxes to cover growing school costs.

The Wilmington News Journal reports the district is freezing hiring, cancelling travel for personnel and cutting school budgets. Principals are being asked to cut overtime, reduce contracted services and eliminate unfilled positions in which teachers get extra pay to serve as coaches or advisers.

Don Rush

There will be no property tax hike for those living in the Christina school district.

Voters turned down two proposals by as much as 4-thousand votes out of over 6-thousand cast.

The first plan would have raised taxes by 65 cent per $100 of assessed property value .which would have covered the district’s growing costs and staved off budget cuts.

The second would have raised taxes by $1.05 for $100 of assessed property value which would have paid for a boost to gifted and talented programs as well as summer school and extended days.

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There has been a delay by the Christina School Board in its final decision on its three priorities.

Last night the school board said it wanted to allow the communities to have time to study a new compromise plan that is the result of discussions between the district and state officials.

The delay means that the months-long debate will continue on the board between those who want to compromise with the state and those who want to make a stand.

At issue is how best to turn around the schools that serve some of worst neighborhoods in Wilmington.

Don Rush

This week found Christina Superintendent Freeman Williams defending the school district’s efforts to address an investigation that found black students were being disciplined more often and more harshly than white students in similar circumstances.

The investigation by the US Department of Education looked at three years beginning in 2008.

Superintendent Williams told a public meeting Wednesday that the district is confident it will be able to resolve man of the issues that have been identified.

The Department of Education has threatened to deny $2.3 million next year to the Christina School District.

It involves a disagreement over plans to improve the District’s struggling schools.

In a letter sent yesterday the Department said the district had declined to take part in the statewide bonus program meant to reward top-performing teachers at high needs schools and failed to come up with an approved alternative.

The district contends says it never committed to participating in the program and that the district has a solution.



          More than a dozen elementary school teachers are expected to get layoff notices from the Christina School District as a result of the staffing changes at Bancroft Elementary School.

            It was a close 4-to-3 vote by the Board of Education.

            Board member Elizabeth Scheinberg, who opposed the decision, said she was concerned that the district will struggle to find qualified candidates to fill open positions at Bancroft.


            Delaware Education Secretary Lillian Lowery is recommending approval to expand the Newark Charter School to become the state’s first K-thourgh-12 charter school

            But in her recommendation to the Board of Education she also required the school to reach out to poor and minority students as well as to offer free and reduced-price lunches to low-income students beginning in the fall of this year. 


            Delaware’s largest school district is getting a new superintendent.

            Longtime Delaware educator and district employee Freeman Williams has been named to head the Christina School District.

            His appointment follows the departure of Marcia Lyles, who told the board last December…she did not want to renew her contract.

            Williams began as a social studies teacher in 1975 at a middle school near Newark and worked his way up to acting superintendent for Christina and Appoquinimink school districts.