know by Christmas ...
... Then again we may not.
The state Board of Education is
now in the process of scheduling two special meetings to
consider the Neighborhood Schools Act plans submitted to
them by the four northern New Castle County districts.
They will occur some time
between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to policy
analyst Ann Case.
She said the meetings will be
open to the public. They presumably will be held in Dover.
cannot tell you specifically what will occur after the
presentations or give you a specific time line (timetable)
right now. A lot depends on what comes to us," she said.
plans are due to be submitted to the board by Nov. 15. The
law calls for the districts to receive a one-time
appropriation of $1,125,000 apiece and to implement the
plans 18 months after that. That would seem to put the
earliest implementation with the opening of the academic
year in September, 2003.
law provides that if the plan is not acceptable, the
districts have 60 days after they are officially notified
of the rejection to come up with another plan. If that is
not done, the matter is to be referred to the attorney
general who is to seek compliance through court action.
The law is not clear on whether that course would be
followed if the second plan also is rejected.
Whether the General Assembly will intervene in the process
or not remains to be seen. Political observers currently
believe intervention is unlikely, but that could change,
they say, if one or more districts can convince enough law
makers that changes in the law should be made or in
response to state Board of Education rejection of one or
more of the plans. The Assembly will reconvene in regular
session in early January.
Red Clay school board already has approved that district's
plan. The Colonial district has said that it considers the
student-assignment plan it has been following for the past
couple of years to be in compliance with the Neighborhood
Schools Act. The Brandywine and Christiana districts'
plans are still pending.