Lawmakers to determine future of state board of education today

DOVER — The Joint Sunset Committee will meet today to issue recommendations that could determine the future of the Delaware Board of Education.

The committee is reviewing four state panels this year, but the board of education is the most high-profile one.

Its ultimate fate could have, by far, the biggest impact.

Committee members first took a look at the board last month. Their proposal today could mean its elimination.

“It’s always on the table with all four of the boards that we’re reviewing,” said Sen. Jack Walsh, D-Stanton, the chairman of the committee.

The process of announcing recommendations is expected to be brief, but what follows might not be. The committee can choose to formally introduce recommendations into a bill making minor or major changes to the board — or just cutting it outright.

The board held a special meeting Friday for “discussion regarding Joint Legislative Oversight and Sunset Committee review and recommendations,” according to the agenda for that session.

Sen. Jack Walsh

The Delaware Board of Education, which meets monthly, is tasked with giving the secretary of education assistance on policy and budgeting.

Consisting of seven members appointed by the governor, as well as an executive director, it has the power to alter boundaries of local school districts, subpoena witnesses and rule on disputes involving district boards of education.

It approved a controversial plan last year to redraw school district lines in Wilmington. The proposal failed to pass in the General Assembly, however, with lawmakers hoping the state would have more money to enact the plan in future years.

The Sunset Committee will issue recommendations for the Human Relations Commission, Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation, and Delaware Information and Analysis Center over the coming weeks.

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