Tonight is a curious decision point for the 6 Board of Education Candidates in Christina School District. With DEFAC revising their budget & revenue projections for next fiscal year to indicate a $395 million shortfall (up from $385 million), Christina, and all other districts, find themselves on even more perilous financial footing than they were a few weeks ago. Candidates seeking election to Boards of Education must grasp the financial reality for their Districts. There will be significant changes in funding and resources next year, and as candidates each should take the time to fully understand the situation they will be walking into July 1st, should they be elected.
The Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League Young Professionals has had a New Castle County school board candidate forum scheduled for some time. Slated to take place from 6-8pm. An opportunity for all candidates running for seats in all New Castle County Districts to take part in a community forum. I absolutely support this event and I would love to attend.
But. At the same time, the Christina School District Board of Education is hosting a Board Workshop followed by a regular Board meeting. At the time MWUL YP announced their candidate forum the Board workshop and meeting on the 18th did not exist. However, their necessity was created by Governor Carney announcing his budget proposals for the coming fiscal year. Here are the agendas & the presentation for both the workshop and the meeting.
Both Board sessions deal exclusively with the coming fiscal crisis that the State of Delaware is facing. It’s assumed, based on the published meeting agenda, that Christina’s Board of Education will have to take action tonight on their authority to tax. Governor Carney has indicated that Boards of Education statewide will now have the authority utilize the Match Tax rate to recover a portion of the State education funding cuts.
Since Tax Warrants are due to the County the first week of July and the General Assembly will likely approve a budget sometime in the wee hours the morning of July 1, time is short for Boards and District administrations to figure out how to make next school year financially manageable with the bottom falling out of the State budget and put a financial management plan in place.
Originally I had planned to attend the forum in Wilmington, but I will now be in attendance at the Board meeting in Christina as a member of the District’s Citizen’s Budget Oversight Committee.
There will be painful information shared at the Board meeting tonight. The will also be painful action (or inaction) that will have to be taken tonight. Both are scenarios that will play out in all districts in the coming weeks.
Opportunities exist tonight to experience the responsibility (in all senses of the word) shouldered by Boards of Education and for candidates to campaign. The physical locations of each event are about 13 miles apart, but I believe there’s a way for candidates to both campaign and weigh in on and witness the Board’s actions and decisions tonight. I’m curious to see what decisions Christina’s Board of Education candidates make as to their plans this evening.