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Christina School Board approves charter settlement agreement

Delaware Public Media

Christina School District’s School Board approved a deal Wednesday night settling a lawsuit brought against it by 15 charter schools.

Board members spent an hour and a half discussing the settlement behind closed doors in executive session before voting 4-3 in favor of it.

Board member John Young voted no.

"It’s a 14-16 page document and I just don’t feel that there was a requisite amount of time for us as board members - as elected officials - to have a contemplative thought process that would allow us to understand not just the impact in the immediacy but in the future," Young said.

The 15 charters sued Christina and the state Department of Education in October over how the amount of funds sent from Christina to charters serving district students is calculated.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed - leaving some board members and parents concerned about what it could mean for the district.

“I don’t know how I feel, because I am not entirely sure what the vote signaled," Christina parent Brian Stephan said. "Like anyone else in the public, we have no idea what was in that settlement agreement.”

Stephan is also a member of the district’s Citizen Budget Oversight Committee. He didn’t appreciate how quickly the deal was announced and approved.

“This feels very rushed, this feels very ad hoc and just leaves a bad taste in my mouth how fast this came about," Stephan said.

Wednesday night was the first time board members were briefed on the agreement, but State Representative Paul Baumbach says it’s his understanding all parties involved worked on it.

“The attorneys and presumably Mr. Silber and others have worked - rolled their sleeves up - and worked with the different parties and said, ok, this is what we can give, this is what you can give, we can live with this," Baumbach said.

Baumbach would still like to see more consistency and transparency when comes to school funding issues.

The other parties must also sign off on the agreement.

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