Education Funding

Delaware District in Budget Fuss

By Jeff Archer — May 23, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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.

Related Tags:

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

Events

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.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga 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.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Reframing Behavior: Neuroscience-Based Practices for Positive Support
Reframing Behavior helps teachers see the “why” of behavior through a neuroscience lens and provides practices that fit into a school day.
Content provided by Crisis Prevention 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.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Math for All: Strategies for Inclusive Instruction and Student Success
Looking for ways to make math matter for all your students? Gain strategies that help them make the connection as well as the grade.
Content provided by NMSI

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 Explainer How Can Districts Get More Time to Spend ESSER Dollars? An Explainer
Districts can get up to 14 additional months to spend ESSER dollars on contracts—if their state and the federal government both approve.
4 min read
Illustration of woman turning back hands on clock.
Education Week + iStock / Getty Images Plus Week
Education Funding Education Dept. Sees Small Cut in Funding Package That Averted Government Shutdown
The Education Department will see a reduction even as the funding package provides for small increases to key K-12 programs.
3 min read
President Joe Biden delivers a speech about healthcare at an event in Raleigh, N.C., on March 26, 2024.
President Joe Biden delivers a speech about health care at an event in Raleigh, N.C., on March 26. Biden signed a funding package into law over the weekend that keeps the federal government open through September but includes a slight decrease in the Education Department's budget.
Matt Kelley/AP
Education Funding Biden's Budget Proposes Smaller Bump to Education Spending
The president requested increases to Title I and IDEA, and funding to expand preschool access in his 2025 budget proposal.
7 min read
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on lowering prices for American families during an event at the YMCA Allard Center on March 11, 2024, in Goffstown, N.H.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on lowering prices for American families during an event at the YMCA Allard Center on March 11, 2024, in Goffstown, N.H. Biden's administration released its 2025 budget proposal, which includes a modest spending increase for the Education Department.
Evan Vucci/AP
Education Funding States Are Pulling Back on K-12 Spending. How Hard Will Schools Get Hit?
Some states are trimming education investments as financial forecasts suggest boom times may be over.
6 min read
Collage illustration of California state house and U.S. currency background.
F. Sheehan for Education Week / Getty