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WEIC rejects Board of Ed.'s edit to redistricting plan over funding concerns

Delaware Public Media

The State Board of Education will be asked to vote on the same version of a Wilmington school redistricting plan they approved conditionally last week.

The Board wanted a small language change in the plan to leave room for it to go forward if state funding wasn't available.

But the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission voted this week not to change the wording. Chair Tony Allen says it’s designed to keep the plan from becoming an unfunded mandate for local districts.

"So if in fact the resources did not become available, it's always been our stated belief that the plan should not go forward," he says. "And we thought that the change opened up the possibility of that."

Allen says he's cautiously optimistic that their decision won't result in a stalemate at the Board level -- he's hopeful the board wants to work with them to help the plan succeed. Still, even if they send it forward, he says:

"We still have to go before the General Assembly, and I suspect those discussions won't be easy either. But I understand why that is, because we haven't done anything in the last 60 years, so to have something this significant go forward takes a lot of discussion and clarity."

The redistricting seeks to address decades-long issues facing at-risk Wilmington students. It would transfer operation of the Christina School District’s five city schools to the Red Clay School District. And it finances more supports for low-income students and English language learners in the city.

The state board will get their next chance to vote on the plan March 17.


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