Letter to the Editor: School board elections are critical

This is a critical time for Delaware’s education system. Proceedings are expected to begin this summer in a Chancery Court lawsuit filed against the State by two civil rights groups claiming that Delaware’s school funding system generally provides more support for privileged children than for poor students. Childhood poverty has been increasing in Delaware, and children are Delaware’s poorest age cohort.

The governor’s budget includes $60 million over the next three years to increase funding for low income students and English Language Learners. Most other states have more equitable funding formulas, but Delaware is belatedly attempting to address the issue with “opportunity grants” which may not be sustained in future years.

Delaware is counting on our elected district school boards to address this challenging situation along with aging school infrastructure, segregation, funding referendums, and low test scores. Our state Department of Education is refocusing on providing professional development and other support for teachers vs. a regulatory role, so our district school boards have the major responsibility for shaping our educational future.

School board elections will be held on May 14. There are seven seats in New Castle County, six in Kent County and eleven in Sussex that are up for election. In Delaware’s 2017 school board elections only 1.5 percent of the state’s eligible voters participated. In some districts voter participation was closer to half of 1 percent.

The League of Women Voters and Network Delaware have partnered to release a School Board Voters’ Guide which is available at http://whorunsourschools.com. Review the candidates and vote on May 14.

Jack Guerin

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