During the Legislative Session budget debate, charter school transportation leftover funds were brought up once again. I just do not understand how we keep doing this year after year, allowing charter schools to keep any leftover transportation funds that they have remaining at the end of the budget cycle. Rep. Kowalko has been fighting this fight for as long as I have been in Dover. Each year in the budget’s epilogue there is language that was added years ago that allows charter schools to keep any leftover funds that they do not spend on bus services for their students. Every year, Rep. Kowalko files an amendment to the budget and every year he pleads with his colleagues on both sides to support his amendment and every year it does not pass. Each year, more and more Democrats support his amendment but no Republicans ever vote yes. Republicans are constantly stating they want the state to be fiscally responsible and I do agree with that. I am not sure how we are being fiscally responsible by allowing this to continue year after year. I just do not understand how we raise people’s taxes and cut education funding and yet the state is not there with their hand out asking for our hard earned money back – it just does not make sense to me, the charter schools did not spend the money so it should be returned to the State.
June 30, 2016, Rep Kowalko’s amendment failed 8 yes and 31 no. This year the vote for Rep. Kowalko’s amendment was 16 yes, 21 no and 4 not voting – I guess someone could say he is making progress.
Just wondering how others feel about this; should charter schools return their leftover transportation funds as we continue to cut public education funding and raise taxes?
I just want to say, Rep. Kowalko goes to Dover and fights for his constituents and Delawareans every day – I wish more elected people would fight like he does, he never gives up. I am so glad he is down there with me, he has guts – more than I can say for others who are down there.
Last July, the News Journal reported thatDelaware Charter Schools Network was one of the top five lobbyists in Delaware. Yet, when the Public Integrity Commission was contacted and when the January 2016 lobbyist report was reviewed, Delaware Charter Schools Network, Executive Director Kendall Massett and Board President Chuck Taylor were not registered lobbyists. They both are members of the Department of Education Charter School Accountability Committee which makes recommendations as to whether a charter school will open, expand, close, go on formal review or be modified. They both are seen regularly in Dover speaking with Senators, Representatives, members of the Department of Education, and the State Board of Education. They are soliciting support for certain educational bills and then lobbying hard against other educational bills. They wrote Senate Bill 171 (Sen. Sokola’s replacement bill for my Audit Bill) and they were in Dover on June 30th to campaign against House Bill 186 – Charter Audit Bill.
Yesterday, I was reviewing the current lobbyist report and Kendall Massett is now listed on the report. I am hoping DOJ will respond to our letter soon.
The second half of the 148th has been busy. Over the weekend, I will give you a run down of what has happened during this last week. Today, Governor Markell will give his final State of the State and the State Board of Education will be voting on the Wilmington Improvement Commission’s Final Plan.