Timeline of Redistricting Plan Approval

The following is a brief history of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission’s work to develop, submit, and advocate for the Commission’s transition plan and resource plan, Redistricting in the City of Wilmington and New Castle County: A Transition, Resource and Implementation Plan.

Visit the Resources section for relevant fact sheets, presentations, and additional reference material information. Visit the Public Record section to view the official public comments about the plan.

The Commission is wholly committed to reducing the fragmentation and dysfunction caused by 23 different school systems currently serving Wilmington children, less than 10% of Delaware’s student population. In addition, the Commission will continue to focus attention on the needs of low-income students, English language learners, and other students with special needs in Wilmington and throughout Delaware.


Delaware General Assembly Affirms the Commission’s Plan

As the 148th Delaware General Assembly legislative session ended, on June 30, 2016, the House and Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 17, an interim affirmation of the Delaware State Board of Education’s approval of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission’s redistricting plan and Senate Bill 300, which clarifies the funding implications and supports further analysis by the Commission.
 
In a related action, Governor Markell committed to put no less than $7.5 million in his FY 2018 plan to support the Commission’s plan, specifically to begin to change the 70-year old student funding formula. In a letter to the Wilmington delegation, Markell said, “I am proud to have worked alongside you in these efforts and pleased to commit that I will recommend an appropriation of the funds necessary and sufficient to fund the first year of implementation of the proposals of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, specifically an amendment to the unit count that would carry additional support for low-income students, English Language Learners and students with special needs statewide.”
 
In response to the passage of the joint resolution and the Governor’s action, Commission Chairman Tony Allen noted that because the “necessary and sufficient” funding has not yet been provided, he will immediately call on the Commission to suspend the timetable for implementing its plan.

Commission Plan Approved by State Board of Education

On March 14, 2016, the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission (“the Commission”) approved the alternative language recommended by Governor Markell for inclusion under item #2 of the Redistricting Resolution in the Commission’s Plan, “Redistricting in the City of Wilmington and New Castle County: A Transition, Resource and Implementation Plan.” The proposed alternative language is as follows:

“If the necessary and sufficient funding and transition supports, as laid out in the Compendium dated February 11, 2016, are not provided by the conclusion of each stage and in the manner proposed, the Commission, after consulting with the affected districts, shall suspend the timetable for implementation until the resources and supports are provided.”

The Commission voted 20 Yes, 1 No, and 2 Absent to resubmit the Redistricting Plan with the alternative language to the State Board of Education. As such, we have updated the Redistricting Plan with the alternative language:

Commission Plan Submitted to State Board of Education

On December 15, 2015, the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission voted to submit the Commission’s plan, Redistricting in the City of Wilmington and New Castle County: A Transition, Resource, and Implementation Plan to the Delaware State Board of Education on December 17, 2015. The State Board took action on January 21, 2016, voting to return the plan to the Commission with reasons for returning the plan.

On February 11, 2016, the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission submitted the following addendum to the Transition, Resource, and Implementation Plan. This addendum was written in response to the letter received on January 31, 2016 listing the State Board’s reasons for returning the plan.

On February 18, 2016, the State Board of Education took action on whether to approve the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission’s submitted Transition, Resource, and Implementation Plan or to return the plan to the Commission with reasons it could not be approved. The Board voted 3-4 on the motion to approve the plan as presented. Then the Board voted 4-3 on a second motion to approve the plan with conditions as stated in the letter below.

Commission Established through Legislation

Per House Bill 148, the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission shall:

On August 4, 2015, Governor Jack Markell signed HB 148, relating to public schools, and SB 122, relating to education and the reorganization and changing of school district boundaries.

On August 4, 2015, Governor Markell signed SB122 and HB148, which established the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission.

  • Serve as a State advisory committee to the Governor and General Assembly for the administration of planning, recommending, and implementing changes to improve the quality and availability of education for children in Pre-K through grade 12 in the City of Wilmington and advise the State on improvements for all schools within the State with high concentrations of children living in poverty or English language learners or both.
  • Work with and across all governmental agencies, educational entities, and private and nonprofit institutions to promote and support the implementation of all recommended changes from the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee (WEAC).
  • Monitor the progress of implementation and recommend policies and actions to the Governor and General Assembly to facilitate progress and to promote the continuous improvement of public education on dimensions addressed by the WEAC recommendations.
  • Develop a transition plan, including a timeline, for the provision of necessary services to schools and students affected by the implementation of the changes recommended by WEAC.
  • Develop a resource plan regarding transitional resources to effectively implement school district realignment.

Both the transition plan and resource plan must be submitted first to the State Board of Education and then to the General Assembly and the Governor for final approval. Both are due for submission and related action by December 31, 2015.

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