Monday night, members of WEIC, or the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, held a town hall to hear concerns from residents of the Red Clay Educational School District.
The commission needs to deliver a detailed redistricting plan to the State Board of Education for approval by December 31st. That plan must include how to fund the Red Clay School District absorbing the Christina and Colonial districts’ students and schools as part of Wilmington redistricting.
Residents at the town hall raised concerns about who will pay for that redistricting -- with many audience members worrying about a possible tax increase.
"What we are all advocating for is that we are going to come up with a proposal that is fair and equitable to the students but also residents of Red Clay," said Kenny Rivera, a member of the Commission and the President of the Red Clay School Board. He spoke to Delaware Public Media by phone Tuesday afternoon.
"So, if Red Clay is being asked to take on more responsibility of educating the students in the city, then we also believe that the state and other people should help to fund the additional responsibilities," he continued.
Rivera added that the Commission would like to be involved in setting the priorities in Dover -- that means retooling the education portion of the state budget.
"Education should be a top priority. And funding it would be better funding it in a way that we would propose rather than this outdated model that we’ve been using in the state," he said.
Since there’s a projected budget shortfall of about $130 million for the next fiscal year, Rivera added that the group must be realistic in its immediate expectations.
As of now, the Commission doesn’t have any proposals regarding funding or redistricting on the table.
The full Commission will meet for the first time Tuesday evening.