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Wilmington residents voice concern over Christina school consolidation proposal

Wilmington parent Joyce Lewis speaks at Stubbs public meeting

Christina School District parents raised concerns about school consolidation at a public meeting with district officials and Gov. John Carney Wednesday. The Carney administration is working on a plan to increase educational opportunities for students in Wilmington.

The draft agreement calls for consolidating four elementary schools and one middle school into two. The new K-through-eight schools would be housed in what’s now Bayard Middle School and Bancroft Elementary Schools.

During Carney’s third public meeting Wednesday at Stubbs Elementary School, he heard concerns from parents, students and teachers. Stubbs kindergarten teacher Charlene Rainer said she agrees more needs to be done to help students, but she doesn’t support moving her students to another school.

“They know Stubbs. They know the Stubbs teachers. They know the Stubbs administrators," he said. "This is their home. So, you’re going to take children that may be displaced outside of school; now you’re going to take what they consider home away from them? No.”

The release of the draft agreement between Carney, education advocates and the Christina School District is raising anxiety among some Wilmington parents. Some said they worried about combining younger and older students into the same school.

Parents complained teachers are inexperienced and lack patience with their children. They also complained about a lack of books for students.

Despite the concerns expressed, Carney said he was happy with level of interest from parents.

“This isn’t going to be able to work unless we have buy-in from the parents and engagement from the parents because parents are the children’s first teacher,” he said.

Christina School District officials said the board plans an initial vote on the draft agreement next Tuesday, but they say it remains a work in progress.

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