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of Larry D. Sullivan, Esquire

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Absurdity Reigns in Red Clay Consolidated School District

 
With much pomp and circumstance, the Red Clay Consolidated School District asked tax payers to approve a 16.9% tax increase to help the financially-strapped school district. Approval of the referendum was to allow the District to, among other things, meet its payroll obligations and restore middle-school sports teams and activity clubs (http://communitypub.com/stories/01-14-2008/004_red_clay.html). Perhaps, most importantly (at least from the perspective of this father of a kindergarten-nearing toddler), the District was also to use a portion of the revenue generated by the increase in tax to meet its obligations under the Full-day Kindergarten Act. In fact, the actual ballot for the referendum specifically stated how the funds generated by the increase were to be used (http://electionsncc.delaware.gov/Red_Clay/rc_ref08_sam.pdf).

Seems rather straight-forward to me: residents, in conjunction with the State of Delaware, provide money to the District, District provides services which include Full-day Kindergarten. Simple, right? Au contrare, mon frère!
After much cajoling by local school representatives as well as serious advertising campaigns by the District, residents approve the referendum and step one is complete. However, District officials were so busy backslapping one another on the success of their work that they fail to see the tidal wave in the distance. The tidal wave, in this instance, is word coming forward that funds originally slated to be given to the District by the State to support the Full-day Kindergarten Program (as well as others) is in jeopardy of being part of the $30 million budget cut proposed by the State?s General Assembly (http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080502/NEWS03/805020340&referrer=FRONTPAGECAROUSEL.
While, admittedly, I am no Adam Smith when it comes to economics, it does seem rather unfair, and perhaps downright fraudulent, to solicit funds from taxpayers in return for services to be provided and then to pull the rug out from under them as a result of proposed budget cuts. Perhaps instead of cutting programs and deceiving the public regarding usage of State and local funds, the State and school Districts wisely use the revenue received from the tax hike as well as the money from the proposed budget cuts to investigate and answer the more important question, namely,


Why, in a State of approximately 900,000 residents within 3 counties, do we have 19 school superintendents (or roughly 6.33 Superintendents per county) and multiple layers of bureaucracy and administrative staff for which we, as state residents, have to pay; which, in turn, deprives our children of funds to be used for their educational and social growth?


The absurdity of it all (and that which causes me great anger and forces me to consider the merits of abolishmment of the current Education System in the State of Delaware and full reform):

Our neighbor, the State of Maryland, has an estimated population of 5.6 million (living within 24 different counties), and has only 1 superintendent per county. I wonder what they do with all the extra money they have as a result of adequate usage of personnel and resources. Unfortunately, I think everyone in the State of Delaware (outside of our Education System) and especially those of us in the Red Clay Consolidated School District knows but is afraid to acknowledge (http://www.gazette.net/stories/012507/sykenew172014_32320.shtml).









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