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Two Christina School Board members vote against Wilmington school consolidation deal

Delaware Public Media

The Christina School District’s Board voted Tuesday to approve a Memorandum of Understanding with the Governor’s office that will consolidate the district’s five Wilmington Schools into two.

The deal will concentrate the resources of Christina’s Wilmington schools in hopes of producing better educational outcomes for students, and there may be some cost savings, especially if the vacated schools are sold off.

But board members John Young and Elizabeth Paige voted no. Both say the process felt rushed.

“The state has come to us in the past with different interventions and they're always tied with very ideologically based, narrow deadlines, and my experience is they almost invariably lead to a single result and that is failure,” said Young.

And Paige says not enough has been done to engage the Wilmington community on whether Stubbs Elementary should be turned into a Dual Generation Center—with both early childhood education and adult education.

“The community just doesn’t even understand what that is at this point, because it has not been well articulated what that is,” she said.

There’s also the issue of safety. Young says he doesn't feel enough research has been done to determine whether it’s safe to mix kids from different neighborhoods in the same school.

“I have been approached by members of the community who have used terms like, ‘you are creating a powder keg,’" said Young.

Young and Paige were the only votes against the agreement, which passed 4-2 with one abstention, and will create two kindergarten through 8th grade schools at what are now Bancroft Elementary and Bayard Middle schools.

The Christina School board also voted to support the ACLU lawsuit against the Delaware Department of Education over school funding.

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