Tonight: Join us to celebrate Education Week’s 2021 Leaders To Learn From. Register to attend the gala.
Education Funding

Delaware District in Budget Fuss

By Jeff Archer — May 23, 2006 1 min read

Delaware lawmakers have approved a bailout, teachers have gotten pink slips, and turnaround consultants have been hired—all for a budget crisis that former leaders of the state’s largest school district say doesn’t exist.

The dispute began last month, when a state-appointed review team released a preliminary report suggesting that the 19,000-student Christina school system faced a deficit of more than $13 million, out of a $300 million budget.

Amid fears the district might not make payroll, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, a Democrat, brokered a deal to lend the district up to $20 million. Meanwhile, the district gave layoff notices to 75 teachers and hired the New York City-based consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal to sort things out.

Some state leaders point fingers at Joseph Wise, who left Christina’s superintendency to become the schools chief in Duval County, Fla., last fall.

“It appears that the former administration didn’t reconcile, on a regular basis, here’s how much revenue we have and here’s how much we’re putting on the books in terms of expenditures,” said Jennifer Davis, the Delaware state budget director.

Mr. Wise says that’s baloney. In an eight-page letter, he attributed the charges of mismanagement to “reckless and irresponsible election-year politicking.” He further criticized the district’s current leadership for not questioning the release of the financial review, which he maintains was “acknowledged to be far from complete.”

While in Delaware, Mr. Wise often banged heads with state policymakers. He and two top aides who followed him from there to Duval County also say the initial state review doesn’t reflect all revenues. Further complicating the picture, the Christina district hosts several statewide programs that charge tuition to other districts in Delaware.

Superintendent Lillian Lowery attributed some of the dispute to “a matter of interpretation” over how monies could be used. “The district [under Mr. Wise] read the code and interpreted it one way,” she said last week, “and the intent of the law was something different.”

A more detailed state report on district finances is expected soon. School board member John Mackenzie said he hopes it doesn’t derail the improvement effort begun during Mr. Wise’s tenure. “The bottom line is: We want to continue to drive that forward,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in the May 24, 2006 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding States Are Waffling Over Billions in K-12 Federal Relief. Schools Are Getting Antsy.
Schools in some states have already started spending money from recent federal stimulus packages. Others don’t yet have the dollars in hand.
6 min read
Conceptual image of money dropping into a jar.
Education Funding Opinion The COVID-19 Stimulus Money Won’t Last Forever. Here’s What's Next for Schools
There are three important first steps for states to start helping schools prepare now, write two policy experts.
Zahava Stadler & Victoria Jackson
5 min read
a group of people water a lightbulb plant, nurturing an idea
iStock/Getty Images
Education Funding Opinion What Ed. Leaders Can Learn From a Wildfire About Spending $129 Billion in Federal Funds
There are five entrenched routines that leaders should reject to forge a better path forward after the pandemic.
Kristen McQuillan
4 min read
Firefighters fighting fire
Education Funding Opinion Does Place-Based Giving Make It Harder for Funders to Get Reliable Feedback?
Big donors can be lulled into underestimating the financial, political, and information constraints of place-based philanthropy.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty