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Wilmington school redistricting plan back on for next week

Delaware Public Media

Backers of the push to overhaul education in the City of Wilmington walked back a delay to revive the bill in Dover, which is now scheduled for a hearing Wednesday.


Rep. EarlJaques (D-Glasgow), chair of the House Education Committee, told Delaware Public Media Thursday the resolution was scrapped until June to forge a compromise, as well as giving lawmakers enough time to net the millions of dollars needed to ensure its passage. But now the proposal is back on his committee's agenda.



Lawmakers tabled a resolution to endorse redistricting school boundary lines in Wilmington Wednesday.


That means clarifying that the measure is only asking legislators to support shifting all city students from the Christina School District to Red Clay.


“We’re really trying to clarify with the amendment that we’re not invoking the [entire Wilmington Education Improvement Commission] plan, we’re just getting the resolution which is drawing the lines done," said Rep. Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow), chair of the House Education Committee.


But funding is a critical, though less visible point. Lawmakers are also likely going to have to find more money to send to impoverished downstate schools to shore up enough votes.


That tug-of-war is a delicate balance to strike while there are so many other competing interests clamoring at the first signs of extra money the state has seen in awhile.


Many see this as the best chance the state has ever had to make significant changes for Wilmington students.  


Jaques says it may be their last opportunity for decades.


“I believe it is. I believe, at least for me, I can say the time that I’ll be in the General Assembly I don’t see it ever coming back after this shot. I mean, it took us 40 years to get to here.”


Jaques is set to meet with the heads of the Joint Finance Committee next week to try and dedicate more money for the plan than the $6 million Gov. Jack Markell (D) proposed in January.  


The resolution will return to his committee Wednesday.

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