Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Issues Blooming Like Spring Flowers

Yes, readers I dropped off the face of the earth again, but now I'm back. Here are a few of the things that kept me off the blogsphere:

First, discussions on educator and public employee benefits ended successfully with legislation, House Bill 81, incorporating the agreed upon changes. House Bill 81 passed the House with only 3 "no" votes out of 41 and passed the Senate with 20 "yes" votes and one absent. It will soon be signed into law by Governor Markell.

Senate Bill 34, the bill to give public employee unions representation on the State Employment Benefits Committee came out of committee in the Senate and will probably be on the floor of the Senate in early May.

SB 5 was filed which proposes the consolidation of the vocational technical school districts in Delaware. Currently all three counties have their own vo-tech district. The New Castle County vo-tech system has four schools, Kent and Sussex Counties both have one each, for a total of six schools. Proponents of the bill say that we should be able to administer six schools with less than three superintendents and three school boards. Opponents of the bill point out issues such as the individual missions and identities of the districts and the fact that the fiscal note shows a savings of only $65,000 after consolidation.
DSEA has expressed concerns regarding salary discrepancies between the three districts which would need to be "leveled up" to the highest salaries. Also, the bargaining rights of educators will have to be protected because the original certified bargaining units will no longer exist in a consolidation scenario. Finally, we raised the issue of evaluating the educational impact of consolidation particularly in the context of education reform.

Senate Joint Resolution 4 was filed by Senator Katz. This resolution forms a task force to look at consolidation of all 19 school districts, and then specifically excludes educators from being a part of the task force! This was filed the last day of session before the Spring Break. We will obviously be voicing opposition to this legislation when the lawmakers return.

It's school board election time! School board elections are Tuesday, May 10th. So, that means mailings, and phone banking, and all sorts of activity to get the best people elected to govern our schools.

These are a few of the things keeping me from blogging much.

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