FIRING A WAY TO RID THE BAD AND THOSE WHO ARE OUT SPOKEN?

The investigated reporter in me always has me looking beyond the headlines in an attempt to find the reasons why?

Buried in the story of the recent firings I have noticed a hint that some of those removed Thursday may find their way back after July 1, when the school will have new money from the state.

So, was the firing a way to bypass the union contract for tenure and rid the school of non-performing teachers and of those who were vocal about the poor performance of the school board? The next few months will tell us more as those who are asked back will be kept hush-hush.

The biggest surprise to the community was the firing of popular band director Brian Cass. Mr. Cass during the removal of Dr. McCoy was very vocal in his opposition to his removal and wrote many interesting posts on this blog standing up to the boards decision. Did this cost him his job; I certainly want to believe not, but I have my doubts.

 I know of another who was removed was not a favorite of the same board member and I truly believe that board member had a vendetta against both of them and that is the reason they are gone; certainly not based on non-performance or seniority.

It’s one thing to lose your job because you can’t do it, but it’s another and a shame when you lose your job because you are out spoken and you are only trying to do your job and are willing to fight for your students.

I understand board member Brent Nichols voted against the dismissals, and board president Patrick Vanderslice did not vote, period. Of course he doesn’t have to vote unless in the event of a tie, but I think he should have gone on record to show whether or not he supported the boards recomendations.

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55 thoughts on “FIRING A WAY TO RID THE BAD AND THOSE WHO ARE OUT SPOKEN?

  1. Come on Frank he is an Attorney, what were you thinking. If it doesn’t have to be part of a record than don’t make it, can always state his view was what the public wanted.

  2. They were not fired Frank. There is a differance. Unemployment, Health Care etc. Keep it honest. They were LAIDOFF as the Union contract stated.

  3. As a RIF’d employee, I can say that health care for 12 month employees will end July 1st, for 10 month employees (depending on if they are 22 or 26 pay) it is Sept 1st. As a 12 month employee, I will have to pay over $1500 a month to continue family coverage.

  4. From what I understand it did not go by who was doing their job, it was by who the board wanted to shut up. Well they should wake up and look who is going to be voting there are a lot of angry people out there. Just because you got elected once doesn’t mean it will happen again. I can just see the administrators sweeping the floors and scrubbing the bathrooms, maybe that is what they should do and get paid what the custodians are paid not the big $$$ for sitting behind a desk. How many teachers in the district send their kids somewhere else or better yet home school them? This should tell you something.

  5. 4/5 of this school board has now caused 2 major uprisings in this community. And they have gone against an overwhelming majority of the communities constituents both times. Several people tried very hard to get someone in Dover to listen on the first issue. Is there any chance that someone with some kind of power and common sense can now intervene and help us!! This latest uprising should send some loud signals out to someone.

    • Yes but it was in the form of a draw from the bond momey for the new schools and would have to be paid back; if you don’t have the money and see no future of getting more how could the school afford to pay back the loan. It was only a stop gap measure; somewhat like the federal government keeps borrowing money and goes further in the hole or using your credit card and not being able to pay it off. I say the board made the right decision in refusing the loan.

  6. just putting this out there but could it be this board is making the tough decisions 20 years of boards failed to do? Some good people lost their jobs which is unfortunate, but as we all know, money is low so someone had to go, or the ENTIRE school would suffer more. The issue isn’t the board, its the way taxes are assessed. We all pay for Sussex Tech; something has to be done.

  7. Personally, I am not questioning the reality that cuts HAD to be made. We are in a finincial crisis in our district. All anyone has to do is take a ride and see how many properties are boarded up or just abandoned. In town and in the country. Read the sherrif sale notices. On 6th St. and Cooper St. alone there must be over a dozen abandoned houses. Maybe the Mayor will have a little more time now to deal with those issues.

    What bothers me is, how, when, who and where the cuts were made. Some new teachers, not even tenured yet remain. A former principal, removed by the state, given a “created job” paid out of local funds, remains. And for the ax to fall, in school before the end of the student day is appalling. Some, not all, of the Chiefs need to GO and let the Indians do thier jobs!

  8. Donna, completely agree. no reason the district should have this many in admin. and definitely the failed principal should have been removed.

      • Most of what I have read on this blog is misdirected anger with no solutions that will actually help the students of the Laurel School District. Pointing fingers and language such as “kiss up” serve only to divide our community. I have read how our community has gone downhill and our students do not perform at a level of other “overfunded” school districts. This is simply not accurate; therefore, against my better judgment, I must join the fray. I, however, will join with a very simple solution. Please continue to read with an open mind and begin to take “responsibility” for your words. Our district serves students who qualify for free and reduced lunch at rate exceeding 70%. With this in mind, consider our students and their families in future responses – look for real solutions – most of which begin with state funding inequities and its relationship to our low tax base. Below is one realistic solution that could and should be approved by our Representatives and DDOE.

        May 11, 2012

        Honorable Senators and Representatives
        State of Delaware
        Dover, DE

        Dear Senators and Representatives:

        I am certain that you are aware of the current financial issues regarding the Laurel School District. This past Wednesday evening the Board of Education voted in favor of a reduction in force impacting each school and; therefore, every student in our district. This vote was required to place Laurel in compliance with State Regulations requiring DE School Systems to have a surplus equal to two months of payroll. Unfortunately, this vote will require our district to ask for a waiver of the requirement to staff all schools at 98% of the unit count results. With the current inequities of State funding, our district cannot afford the local cost of salaries to staff our schools according to unit count results. The reductions will place staffing in our schools at approximately 88% to 90%; therefore, we will not be affording our students with the appropriate number of staff in each school. These staffing cuts will have an immediate and a sustained negative impact on our students.

        Those of you who are familiar with this situation understand that the local property tax base in Laurel will not support 98% staffing and still maintain the required surplus. We could, in fact, staff at 98% if we were not required to maintain the total surplus. FYI – Laurel is expected to have a surplus of $200,000 on July 1, 2012. (This figure was reported at Wednesday’s Board Meeting by the DOE Financial Recovery Team assigned to our District). This figure falls short of the $650,000 state requirement. I would like to recommend two steps that will allow the Laurel School Board to reinstate all employees and, thus, staff our schools at the 98% rate required.

        1. Appropriate $150,000 additional funding to Laurel for each of the next three years; this will create a projected surplus of $650,000 at the close of year three.
        2. Waive the requirement to have the required surplus in years one and two of this plan.

        These two simple and practical steps will afford the students in Laurel with an appropriate education with regard to staffing needs for the 2012-2113 school term. I would like to suggest that the $150,000 additional or supplemental funding is more cost effective that continuing to pay for a Financial Recovery Team. In terms of benefits to our deserving students, this is a small price to pay for the State of Delaware.

        In the long term, I want to suggest that “equalization funding” be studied with current property tax bases in mind. The current formula is outdated, and has been for many years; therefore, it must be corrected in order to provide all students in our State with an appropriate free public education that is fairly funded throughout our State.

        I will be more than happy to discuss this issue with each of you personally or through return emails. I can be reached at Laurel High School by calling (302) 875-6120 ext. 208 or by cell at (302) 249-6038.

        On behalf of the Laurel Students and our entire community, I wish to thank you for all consideration given to my suggestions. I am sure you have or will be receiving emails from Laurel students, parents, staff, and community members. I also wish to thank you for listening to their heartfelt concerns as well.

        Sincerely,

        Rich Gaskill
        Assistant Principal
        Laurel High School

        And yes – I signed my name – there is no reason to hide – I am proud to be part of the solution for our Laurel students.

      • Mr. Gaskill your response is welcomed. I presume this is the letter WBOC said was handed out to the students to take home to parents?
        With all due respect it appears you are blaming the test scores and lower education standards based on the poverty level? If so, I have seen many stories even a true movie of how schools in the poorest part of cities have with good leadership turned bad schools around and graduation numbers and test scores soared. I’m not pointing the finger at anyone, but the Laurel school system has failed.
        I received a call today from a person who shall remain nameless but is part of the teaching staff tell me of fudging by the administrators to bump up the test scores. Straight from the horses mouth, so help me GOD. Whether it goes on in all of our schools I cannot say unless someone comes forth, but this is from one school. When I went to school cheating was a no-no.

  9. rich, i absolutely don’t know any positive steps to correct the problem u are referring to, but if it is as simple as you suggest, why hasn’t this already been proposed? have u presented this idea to the board? not even pretending to be a good judge of ur idea, i have to say it certainly sounds good. but the problem has become much greater. the ‘finger pointing’ u refer to is coming from people with justifiable claims in many cases. it seems to me that much more is needed in the district than a financial solution. in the eyes of many there are blatant issues that have all too often been held in and not discussed. there appear to be situations that people feel are wrong or at the very least misunderstood. lack of communication is a large problem. it is good that there is an open forum at the board meetings for anyone to have their say, but questions aren’t answered. they aren’t even acknowledged. committees have been formed, at the state’s request, to help with the solution. they’re not recognized or active. when people feel suppressed eventually they come out in anger and attack on many fronts and want solutions to many problems. there is some truth to the negative words, but, again, it seems to fall on deaf ears. i know not one person in this town wants our schools and our students to fail. but it is hard to stand on the sidelines and not be heard or acknowledged. like i said before, the financial situation has just brought on a spewing of other problems that people are unhappy about.

    • Hi Carol,
      My letter was sent to all state representatives and to our Board President. It was written and sent last night. I too understand frustrations, and, yes folks have the right to complain and air frustrations. I am trying to provide a solution and yes it is a simple solution to the current financial issue only. However, if this solution will save the jobs of deserving professionals and also provide our students with the staff they deserve, then it is worth the effort to make such a request to our State representatives.

      • Mr. Gaskill, Excellent letter, excellent suggestions. Hopefully, with the current financial mess, these idea’s will not fall on deaft ears. For many years, many citizens have pushed for equalization of (education) funding across the state. Myself included. No one has listened so far. Districts that “have”, want to keep it, for their kids, in their local area. They certainly don’t want to share their tax base with the students of “Lower, Slower” Western Sussex County. Can’t they understand that all children deserve a quality education?
        I appreciate your suggestion of having the state supplement us $150,000.00 a year for 3 years. But 3 x 150 = 450, not 650. Where will the other 200 K come from?
        I have some ideas, but won’t name names.

  10. This area is the most beautiful section of Sussex County, if not the State of Delaware. Close to the beach, close the Eastern Shore, close to Philly, D.C., Ballmer. 4500 acres of State land. within a couple of miles from your house.

    As it stands now, nobody wants to be in western Sussex. Laurel, Blades,and Seaford have some of the most extortionist tax rates in the state. Laurel has horrific water/sewer rates. Seaford has horrid electric rates. Blades has tax rates that depress development. These town governments are job killers.

    Leadership, greed, cronyism is killing the Laurel School District
    .

  11. If I may, why is Laurel School in such a financial mess? Who, what, when and how did it happen? Removing teachers from the classroom is not the answer though. I think we have too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

  12. Mr. Calio,
    With all due respect, your remarks are an insult to our students; the test scores have never “been fudged” as you state. I notice the name of your source is not included, as usual. It often seems that because someone says something, you consider it truth. I suggest you do some honest research before printing anything in the future. It is okay to write ideas as “opinion”; however, when accusations such as cheating are involved, facts should be included.
    The letter I submitted to your blog was not the letter given to students Friday; it was written Friday night at 10:30 PM. The students were not given a letter at the high school; they were provided time to write letters to DDOE and our representatives. Our purpose was to provide concerned students with a positive way to express their feelings and to support our teachers and other staff.
    Two of our schools are rated “Superior” by DDOE and, I suspect, will continue to do so. This is not failure. You may have read or heard of a “movie” about the 90 -90 schools which, in fact, has been proven to be overstated by more recent research (Education Weekly – an issue from last month will clarify this for you). Our schools; however, continue to do well on state assessments; I know of no way that an administrator could falsify or “fudge” results on DCAS. The current DCAS are completed by students using a computer for this online assessment; when the student completes the assessment, they hit submit and the results are sent electronically directly to DDOE. Principals receive the results from DDOE. Yes, cheating has occurred in states such as Georgia, but I have never heard of this in DE. If your source can prove differently, I would like to know about it. Before you make such accusations, you better check your facts. Cheating was a “no-no” when I grew up too and it still is. These are serious charges you make through an unknown source; therefore, I strongly suggest you check the validity of these claims. If they are true, an investigation should occur by DDOE.
    The connection to the poverty level I related in my post has more to do with our tax base and; therefore, the inability to generate adequate and equal funding (to schools to the east of us) to meet the required surplus required by DDOE. The State of Delaware has an “equalization” formula that needs to be adjusted to match current property values which, as you know, impact the tax base of any community. I suggest you check into this formula. Yes, I am quite aware that the “tax rate” in Laurel is higher than others; however, the “tax base” is lower than others.
    Clearly you missed the point of my letter and once again you point fingers rather than ever being a part of a solution. I do not know the root of your anger and sarcasm; however, it does not favor you. I understand freedom of speech; however, one should still try to use facts and also share the source of their facts rather than say “from the horse’s mouth”. I do not know of too many horses that understand state funding and the needs of school districts. Also, I assume “So help me GOD” means some unknown person said this to you; this still does not make it the truth.
    Sincerely,
    Rich Gaskill

    • One simple question; I hear from administration how well we are doing in scores; why are we under state watch because of our scores; doesn’ add up.
      I would never reveal my source if the informant was you; this teacher was very upset and concerned over the testing; she gave too many examples for this to be made up. This person is not a personal friend, just a concerned teacher who stepped forward.
      I am a native, graduate of LHS and proud of my town and school, but not proud of some of the management who have dug us a hole we may never get out of.

  13. I can state that I asked both of my high school children if they were given a letter to bring home to there parents both stated they were not however they were given time to write letters if they so choose to do so. Also, no letter was given to my intermediate children. Mr. Calio I take great offense in stating that the dcass scores at the high school are being falsified. My daughter last year was commended for having an outstanding math and English scores . There are many students in this district that have this distinction. To suggest such a thing would put a student’s academic carrier in serious jeopardy. Until you have actual proof or name your source I would not even suggest such a thing. At this time we need to find solutions to help our students and community not separate them even more by providing false allegations that keep problem unsolved.

    • Bonnie – you would have been impressed to read the letters that students turned in. I proofread some of them before submitting them to the office to be sent to Dover. Amazing. I did not have the pleasure of reading any of your children’s sentiments, but I can imagine that you had some feisty letters coming out of those hands. ❤ Especially that one apple that didn't fall far (or roll away from) the tree.

  14. I agree with Rich and Bonnie. It does not help our students (who are the future of Laurel) to point fingers. What will help is to contact legislators to deal with the inequities that the current laws allow. What will help is to vote in board members who truly care about educating children and vote out those with there own personal agendas. What will help is to support our students become the best they can be. What will help is to do everything possible to get the laid off professionals reinstated.

    • Jennifer working with the legislature in Dover for 7 years, and 9 years with the county, working with the legislature, I can tell you members of the senate and House up north could care less about our problems. Their schools as a whole operate efficiently, good test scores, large tax base, and they are not going to bail us out.
      Even here in Sussex County when there was talk of consolidation, Cape which has millions in reserve was against sharing with the poorer Western Sussex. I say to Mr. Gaskill, good try, but I’m afraid no cigar. He could have saved time by speaking to Mr. Lee and Mr. Venables to verify what I have just written.
      Heck, the students themselves were protesting Thursday; if the students are pointing fingers, something is not right.

      • Hello again Mr. Calio and readers of this blog,

        Time is not what I am trying to save. I understand fully the difficulty of influencing the Representatives up north or to the east of us; however, this does not mean one should not try to provide a reasonable solution to the funding inequities. It has continued to be this way for many years as you are well aware. With reference to test scores, you may wish to check such past greats as Thomas McKean, Newark, Dickinson, and so forth. Their problems are why we have the Wilmington Charters of the world. I am sure you are familiar with some of the alumni of such schools and their political connections.
        It is, in fact, very frustrating Frank; however, in my 41 years as a teacher and administrator, I have never given up on matters concerning the best interest of students. I will always be dedicated to public schools as the best means to educate the children of America. There are those involved in the political and public realm that may see this differently; therefore, we have seen the evolution of vouchers, charter, and magnet schools. In almost every case, these schools have risen from dissatisfaction with a local public school system especially when the socio-economic status of a school begins to fall. This is another reason our northern representatives will find it difficult to help us out; their children and grandchildren are not attending the “regular” public schools. Those that have the power tend to create and then send their children to these selective schools. These schools have promoted or created widening gaps on both the socio-economic front as well as racial – both scenarios are quite unfortunate for those less able and thus, left behind.

      • I am sure that the politicians up north are not particularly interested in what happens to little Laurel. However, I can not just give up on all of the students that are being impacted by this. The point is, NOTHING will change if no one tries. Complaining gets us nowhere. As long as there is a chance that someone, somewhere, will read and decide to care, we MUST continue the efforts to help our children. What is the alternative?

      • You and Mr. Gaskill should read today’s Morning News, front page, “How deal get don’t and the behind-the-scenes negotiations work in DE. It ain’t by writting letters. I tried to get a $75,000 generator for the Industrial Park in Geo. when I was with the county, so in the event of a fire, we could keep the water pumps going. Reasonable request? Wrote letters, went before the Bond Committee; 1st year no generator, but Frawley Stadium got $1 million; 2nd year no generator, but the City of Wilm. got $1 million for an olypmic sized swimming pool. Year #3 I called the governor, had lunch with him and got my damn generator.

      • Good Morning Mr. Calio,
        It is good to hear that you never gave up on that needed generator. Oh how slow the wheels turn and often in the wrong direction. Good work with your persistence. This is why I personally always approach issues with solutions in mind. Am I always successful in attaining the results I hope to attain? Of course not; however, your own perseverance as you tried to obtain one simple generator is an excellent example of why we cannot give up. Just as it was not equitable that Frawley Stadium got $1 million and the City of Wilmington got $1 million for one pool, the Laurel School District, Seaford School District, Woodbridge, and others do not receive equitable treatment. Sounds like I need to go to lunch with someone more important than me! Where do I start – there are a lot of them out there? lol Frank!

  15. Bonnie reread my post; I did not mention which school. You and Mr. Gaskill like so many who read my weekly column in the STAR take out of an article what they want to believe.
    Read a couple of posts from students who transfered from Tech because it was too hard, back to Laurel and made honor roll. Some kids I know, sorry to say, graduate, bust out of college, and come back to Del Tech. Some excell. I know the student problems we have here with the number of needy students; Seaford, Woodbridge have the same problem, Seaford’s numbers are higher than ours, but do you pick up a paper and read of the problems we are having?
    A strong school system brings quality people into the community, more homes which need services, thus businesses come.
    I was economic director for the county from 1991-2000; I brought in dozens of businesses to the county; I couldn’t convince even one company to come to Laurel because; they said the town government was anti-business and the schools were inadequate and they would not put their kids in our schools. Frustrating and disappointing for me. So you see what we have today did not happen overnight.

    • Frank, you are making some assumptions here that I think would be beneath you. A high educational standard is not the only thing that can make it difficult for students to get good grades. There are also ineffective teaching practices and ineffective teachers. (I have tutored students from the other school that after an hour with me understood material they didn’t “get” after several weeks of instruction there). There are school practices that allow rampant school and class skipping ( I proctor the SATs several times each year and discuss this issue with the students on a regular basis, without fail or exception the students confirm, it is a joke with them). I have had Seniors come back home, after struggling at the other school, to take ( and succeed in) a 10th grade math class because the were misplaced and grossly unprepared for the courses they had been given. As for the “high standards,” I have a nephew who was a top middle school student and athlete in Laurel. He went to the other school and, after four years, was attending DelState on an athletic scholarship. The student in his class that he was most academically and athletically equal to stayed in Laurel and is currently going to UD, in their Honors program, on a full academic scholarship. People hold a school that has unlimited funding and can generally pick and choose their students (cats out of the bag, everyone knows the lottery is a joke) on a pedestal and try and compare us to them. I’m sick of it. I challenge everyone to do some research. When it comes to improving students’ performance on the state test, from grades eight to ten, this school shows the second lowest growth in the county ( Laurel is top three). I’ve asked parents why they believe the school is so much better, and the response is always a reference to the funding, or because the school officials told them they are better. Reminds me of a comedian I once heard joke,”…men can breast feed….it’s true…I read it…..I wrote it down and I read it…….I believe everything I read”. You keep referencing the low standards and test scores, clearly you know nothing about our standards and are simply stating an opinion ( how could you know anything about this). As for test scores, Tiesha Niblett’s (10th grade English) had the highest percentage of 4’s in the state and could do the same this year. Overall we have shown gains to the point that other schools are studying OUR model. Love ya Frank, and I know the blog would not run with out some stirring, but it is difficult to see some with such a large public impact continue to perpetuate the misconceptions that helped destroy the educational reputation that we have worked so hard and made so many gains to rebuild.

  16. Mr. Gaskill, I along and I’m sure the residents appreciate your dedication to our school and students; I for one admired the stand against the school board for your support of Dr. McCoy; that took a lot of courage.
    What you are asking for needs to come from the school board and the superintendent, hopefully another McCoy and with the support of our state representative and state senator. I mean no disrespect, but I know where your letter will end up.
    I’m speaking politics here, not education. I wrote letters to all legislators when I had election bills to pass; found 75% never read my letters; later wised up and found I had to sell my bills to the leadership and the rest would follow.
    Chain of command; speak to your local legislators; if they don’t put a stamp of approval it is DOA, because the leadership will ask them how they stand; then go from there.

  17. It upsets me that the hard work of our teachers and students are being diminished because someone is stating that scores are being “fudged.” Our students receive immediate score feedback once they hit “submit” on the DCAS and it can be followed internally by staff. The kids are elated when they earn 3’s and 4’s and devastated if they miss the mark for the state, practically begging to take the test again. I can’t tell you how many students have said to me this year….Ms. Cass, I got a 2, but I just missed a 3 by a few points. I’m going to go to tutoring and nail that test the next time I get to take it. I love that enthusiasm. No “fudging” is necessary when we have hard-working students and teachers. Please don’t diminish their accomplishments by accusing someone of fixing the scores.

    On a different note – Thank you Rich for leading the letter writing charge. Instead of critiquing his “simple fix,” perhaps we should all take a moment and write a similar letter to the state legislature. I am thankful to have an administrator that is taking action instead of watching things fall apart.

    • the term “simple”, ms. cass, was not a negative critique, and rich knows me well enough to know that. i simply meant uncomplicated.

      • Carol – my apologies. I do realize that you posted the “simple” but I was trying to defend Rich from some of the negative feedback that he received. I read a lot of comments in a short amount of time and responded without double checking where things were coming from (blame it on my pregnancy brain). 🙂 Thanks for keeping me in check though…Rich knows I need that sometimes. 🙂

    • I can tell you what happened with my child at one of our schools, which upset me. My child, and many others, were told to fail the test in the first marking period, to show increase on the next one. They were told to answer the questions wrong, or tank the test on purpose. So the entire class did what they were directed to. My child scored a 1, with direction by their teacher. My child is a straight A student, he has gotten 4’s on the test since then. I had to sit him down and tell him that he will never fail something because anyone tells him to on purpose in school again! Why am I explaining this to my child? Again, he is a straight A student, being directed, or strongli suggested to fail a test so it shows great improvement from one semester to the next?? That’s a fact! I went to the principal and they verified his score. Nothing was done. Why??? Why are we directing our children to fail just to show increases on the next test? He said he felt he had to because he was told by his teacher to do so. So he tanked on purpose. We are how using our students in a way to save our rear ends, or at least try to? Since that first semester he has scored 4’s on every test, and received an A on every class on every report card. But scored a 1 the first go round?? Explain that one, because I feel even though I went to the schools administrator personally, it fell on deaf ears!

      • Holy cow Ottie; thanks for confirming my reporting; maybe ‘fudging’ was the wrong word to use; I was told the kids were given the answers to the test; again not saying which school I received my information or from whom! Your comments make it perfectly clear something is not right in Laurel, and I’m sure other schools are doing the same. Testing is a crock; just teach the kids, let them express themselves.

      • Ottie, I am sorry your child and the others in the class were put in that situation by a teacher who’s efforts were, obviously, grossly misguided. I had heard about this, but was told there was action taken against the individual (though I don’t know what or how severe). Please know that this is not a behavior that is deemed appropriate by anyone in the district, and that this was an isolated incident. Similar things have happened throughout Delaware since the state started its testing program. It brings to mind an administrator in a neighboring school district who, just a few years ago, passed out the test booklets to teachers in advance of the test. When this was discovered, if memory serves, the state slapped the admin. on the wrist and his district gave him a better position. I the case of your child I hope that you can draw a little comfort in knowing that the incident was isolated in Laurel, but not isolated to Laurel.

  18. Donna,

    According to the DDOE Financial Recovery Team, our District will have a surplus of approximately $200,000 on July 1st as we enter the new fiscal year. Hope this helps.
    This is one point that bothers me with DDOE requiring us to immediately create a surplus of $650,000. In September, we were not sure we could make payroll in November of 2011 and through frugal use of funds this year, we are closing with a surplus. I believe the Recovery Team and, therefore, DDOE should allow us time to build the required surplus.
    It seems to me that every year Representatives throughout the state are permitted to allocate funding for “local causes”. It would not require too much from a few of them to direct this source to the Laurel School District. I would not hold my breath waiting for this to happen; however, this might be a good point for future letters to Representatives.
    Another point to make in the letter writing campaign is the cost of unemployment for the 35 employees being impacted by the RIF. You might ask, wouldn’t it be less expensive to keep them on salary and productive?

    • Mr. Gaskill seems to be leaving out some critical information. This information comes right from the DOE website. Who has the highest percentage of their total budget going to adminstrative costs in Sussex County? Laurel is #1 at 9.39%. 2nd place is Woodbridge at 8.62%. Laurel is close to the top for expenditure per student at $11,233 per student. Only Cape and Tech spend more. IR has all Superior schools with a poverty rate of 63.4%. Our poverty rate is 63.1%. Get a few good admin who can do the job. Too many adminstrators, not enough results. This bunch is not getting it done, but the taxpayers, teachers and students will continue to pay for the nepotism.

      • I don’t see how the State Legislature can take our pleas serious unless the school decreases the administration costs.

        Good point and you are correct; if they don’t cut back the state won’t budge.

  19. Mr. Gaskill I was always taught if two calls come in at the same time; a representative, and senator, always pick up the call from the senator. Start with our Senator Venables, feel him out and let him guide you. He has some clout. I know the chairman of the Joint Finance Committee; kept him out of some jams when I was Election Commissioner; he’s paid me back a couple of times, I may have a phone call left as an IOU! lol

  20. Mike this blog is an open opinion page; we don’t deny any comments unless it is a personal attack, then out the window. You will find supporters of your comments, and comments from parents who have kids in our system who are spilling out comments that are shocking.
    Fortunately their is more good than bad in our system, and not everyone is to blame for the failure. I have never attacked or blamed the teachers, the majority who do care and go beyond for their students; bad apples pop up everywhere, but leadership starts at the top and from what I am seeing, and I am involved more than you know, and what I’m hearing is it’s not there. Without that leadership you or others cannot do a proper job no matter how hard you try.
    I’m tired of hearing “we are from a poor district, and don’t have the money,” yet we are #1 when it comes to the adminstrator student ratio. You realize what administrators make and I know you can add; cut 1/2 a dozen out of the picture and presto, the deficet disappears! It may be a comment beneath me, but I’m tired of paying for too many paper shufflers. Before hair raises on the back of peoples heads, read again, I did not say we did not need administrators, I just said we have too many.

  21. Mike does this teacher still have their job or did they just get a slap on the wrist. Another sore subject, Laurel moving people out of positions because they cana’t do the job and rewarding them with some other job they can screw up. Gotta be great for morale out there when good teachers, including teacher of the year, was let go and some of the bad apples stayed.

  22. I read in Delaware Code where the school district will have to pay for all the costs including the salaries of the Financial Recovery Team. Shouldn’t we be able to demand them to step in and find a better solution?

  23. I will verify what you have said Frank about the students were told don’t worry about the first test, it does not matter what you get, a one is ok. This way we can show improvement by the end of the school year. My child was one of them at the Intermediate School.

    Frank you and I hardly ever agree, but when it comes to students in Laurel Schools and their future, I agree with you and appreciate your blog for this.

    • Vindicated! Thanks. We take all comments and don’t expect everyone to agree. I learned early in life to appreciate the saying, “Politicians make strange bed fellows” which made me understand you never get mad at your opponent because on the next issue they may be on your side. Opponents may not agree but they can expect a reply!

  24. I’m not making light of the problems with Laurel’s school system when I say you have a heck of a theme for a new reality TV series.

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