The real case for school redistricting (Matthew Albright)
The writer’s 4/27/18 column "explained why consolidating school districts probably wouldn't save taxpayers much money." But "there are other better reasons to redraw some district lines," especially when it comes to schools in Wilmington.
Demands for funding are a part of the equation, but the four suburban school districts that also run the public schools in Wilmington aren’t organized or motivated to make the needed adjustments in educational approach for a very different student population. So is the answer to create a Wilmington School District, including an in-town high school? Yes, in theory, but “the property tax base in Wilmington simply isn’t high enough to sustain adequate services for the kids.”
How about “a city district that receives extra state funding to make up for the property tax base disparity”? But the political obstacle is that state legislators from other areas of the state will say that there is poverty in their districts too so why aren’t they getting extra state funding too.
Members of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission proposed that some Wilmington school areas be shifted from the Christiana School District to the Red Clay School District, thereby giving Red Clay ownership of the problem. Despite the “heroic effort” of the WEIC members, however, this proposal wasn’t adopted. And the Carney Administration is now intent on converting the Delaware Department of Education into a “support agency,” which would not play a leadership role. In other words, the problem is not going to be addressed.
“Someday, maybe someone else will make the argument more persuasively and change the system. I hope that happens, because I don’t see a way the current system makes the transforming change Wilmington – and Delaware – needs.”