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July, 2005

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TEST RESULTS AT A GLANCE:

Delaware State Testing Program

Percent of tested students who met or exceeded state standards

 

      Reading

   Mathematics

      Writing

 

2005

2004

2005

2004

2005

2004

Districts:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brandywine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade 3

88.02

85.44

81.42

78.17

73.05

60.05

Grade 5

81.26

81.58

75.56

72.73

60.94

66.50

Grade 8

78.44

74.23

61.90

65.30

79.75

88.44

Grade 10

70.49 71.39 51.33 54.48 75.92 78.14

Appoquinimink

Grade 3

93.57

93.10

85.25

85.93

82.95

64.89

Grade 5

95.48

92.17

83.08

81.34

71.62

65.79

Grade 8

90.81

85.02

65.49

62.91

86.14

91.85

Grade 10

74.62

71.29

55.56

53.53

80.60

81.55

Christina

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade 3

84.81

82.01

82.32

77.18

76.29

59.96

Grade 5

80.28

78.66

74.22

69.99

52.90

58.77

Grade 8

70.20

58.12

38.14

33.49

66.96

71.90

Grade 10

63.03

63.76

42.15

41.89

72.72

72.35

Colonial

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade 3

79.46

79.13

74.72

69.72

62.89

46.99

Grade 5

87.66

87.59

75.14

74.29

59.47

70.93

Grade 8

79.88

71.15

51.39

50.21

83.43

87.38

Grade 10

55.74

59.61

35.43

35.85

76.97

76.06

New Castle Vo-Tech

Grade 8

62.20

57.95

17.27

20.45

62.96

72.18

Grade 10

67.06

75.82

47.99

65.50

83.55

94.21

Red Clay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade 3

78.96

80.06

69.72

77.10

58.71

44.55

Grade 5

81.43

82.56

72.08

73.62

47.25

55.92

Grade 8

75.20

67.16

51.86

49.79

75.05

77.54

Grade 10

62.11

69.79

48.03

52.53

70.01

75.30

Brandywine District schools:

Grade 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

District

88.02

85.44

81.42

78.17

73.05

60.05

Brandywood

92.73

89.58

89.38

81.19

86.73

70.00

Carrcroft

87.50

94.44

87.64

86.67

82.02

77.78

Darley Road

71.43

73.97

71.15

68.75

65.38

27.85

Forwood

85.37

86.17

79.07

85.42

55.29

53.13

Lancashire

87.00

82.83

83.00

80.00

70.00

71.00

Lombardy

96.25

84.78

86.67

88.30

78.02

60.64

Maple Lane

80.77

79.75

77.11

72.50

57.83

50.00

Mount Pleasant Elementary

93.40

88.24

73.11

66.67

78.81

61.90

Grade 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

District

81.26

81.58

75.56

72.73

60.94

66.50

Claymont

83.59

88.54

79.70

82.06

67.46

67.22

David W. Harlan

84.41

82.21

71.57

61.63

57.65

73.10

Pierre S. du Pont

76.14

75.00

73.38

69.91

55.40

62.31

Grade 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

District

78.44

74.23

61.90

65.30

79.75

88.44

Hanby

87.05

76.11

77.04

73.82

91.57

94.13

Mount Pleasant High

44.83

x

4.00

x

58.62

x

Springer

80.14

84.42

67.36

77.14

85.37

88.89

Talley

69.53

58.22

42.80

37.74

58.01

79.34

Grade 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

District

70.49

71.39

51.33

54.48

75.92

78.14

Brandywine

73.93

72.65

54.58

60.32

78.13

79.12

Concord

71.65

78.13

49.05

58.68

76.52

82.35

Mount Pleasant High

64.42

60.20

49.75

41.29

72.12

70.94

Charter schools:

Grade 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

East Side

75.00

76.47

42.11

52.94

57.89

64.71

Kuumba Academy

71.05

51.85

70.21

46.88

74.47

43.75

Marion T. Academy

42.03

45.24

33.78

41.46

22.67

8.33

Thomas A. Edison

68.18

59.55

63.51

51.04

39.19

21.88

Grade 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

East Side Charter

x

60.00

x

66.67

x

60.00

Kuumba Academy

71.43

70.83

72.00

64.00

52.00

32.00

Marion T. Academy

58.49

44.78

50.00

27.54

42.62

26.09

Newark

93.13

98.09

93.79

96.96

88.20

89.31

Thomas A. Edison

72.22

72.50

69.33

61.63

51.35

44.71

Grade 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delaware Military Academy

x

 

x

 

x

Marion T. Academy

69.44

24.00

17.50

8.00

70.00

64.00

Newark

97.45

93.98

94.34

90.98

96.23

97.74

Thomas A. Edison

90.48

63.83

63.04

45.10

78.26

86.27

Grade 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delaware Military Academy

78.13

77.03

62.96

48.68

87.65

90.79

Wilmington

100.00

99.12

99.57

99.56

99.15

99.56

x = fewer than 15 students tested
Improvement shown in blue
Slippish shown in red

 

 

 

 

SORUCE: Delaware Department of Education

¨   ¨   ¨

SALARIES LISTED: Brandywine School District's central office administrators payroll on Jul. 1 was 15.4% higher than a year earlier, according to data provided to Delaforum in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. David Blowman, chief financial officer, said the 2005 figures have been adjusted to include an increase in the base on which administrators' salaries are calculated following action by the school board at its July meeting. That 4% increase was retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year. He said that the amounts of performance bonuses that some administrators will receive will not be determined until September.

Brandywine School District

Central Office Administrators

 

July 1, 2005

 

 

July 1, 2004

 

 

 

Name

Title

Salary

 

Title

Salary

 

Increase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harter, B.

Superintendent

$154,832

 

Superintendent

$146,068

 

6.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Davis, T.

Assistant Superintendent

$121,238

 

Assistant Superintendent

$115,880

 

4.6%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blowman, D.

Chief Financial Officer

$117,130

 

Chief Financial Officer

$111,953

 

4.6%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooper, E.

Attorney

$109,471

 

Attorney

$104,633

 

4.6%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bullock, D.

Director, Human Resources

$108,680

 

 

 

 

 

Bush, P.

Director, Technology

$113,275

 

Director, Technology

$108,000

 

4.9%

Curtis, J.

Director, Education Services

$109,332

 

Director, Education Services

$104,500

 

4.6%

Hilkert, A.

Director, Special Education

$109,332

 

Director, Special Services

$104,500

 

4.6%

King, B

 

 

 

Director, Facilities

$104,500

 

 

Marshall

Director, Facilities

$110,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alderson, T.

Supervisor, Arts

$97,405

 

Supervisor, Arts

$93,100

 

4.6%

Conn, T.

Supervisor, Facilities

$96,824

 

Supervisor, Facilities

$93,100

 

4.0%

Doherty, K.

Supervisor, Employee Relations

$97,647

 

Supervisor, Employee Relations

$93,100

 

4.9%

Gleich, S.

Supervisor, Curriculum

$100,559

 

Supervisor, Curriculum

$96,114

 

4.6%

Gouge, P.

Supervisor, Food Services

$97,405

 

Supervisor, Food Services

$93,100

 

4.6%

Kilgore, L.

 

 

 

Supervisor, Title 1

$93,100

 

 

Linscott, L.

Supervisor, Title 1

$97,405

 

 

 

 

 

Schmidt, J.

Supervisor, Research

$97,647

 

Supervisor, Research

$93,100

 

4.9%

Viar, W.

Supervisor, Transport.

$97,647

 

Supervisor, Transport.

$93,100

 

4.9%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read, J.

Manager

$91,983

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costill, G.

Specialist A

$70,396

 

Specialist, Facilities

$61,961

 

13.6%

Croney, J.

Specialist A

$70,396

 

Specialist, Auditor

$67,688

 

4.0%

Gatta, P.

Specialist B

$61,010

 

Specialist, Food Service

$58,663

 

4.0%

Miller, R.

Specialist B

$61,010

 

 

 

 

 

Lapham, W.

 

 

 

Specialist, Pio

$71,250

 

 

Minuti, A.

Specialist B

$67,409

 

Specialist, Graphics

$64,816

 

4.0%

Parrish, C.

Specialist B

$57,207

 

Specialist, Benefits

$55,007

 

4.0%

Rispoli, J.

Specialist A

$70,396

 

Specialist, Finance

$58,663

 

20.0%

Rosen, A.

Specialist C

$56,316

 

 

 

 

 

Schrass, C.

Specialist B

$62,614

 

Specialist, Business

$60,206

 

4.0%

Scott, L.

 

 

 

Specialist, Facilities

$60,503

 

 

Smallwood, D.

Specialist A

$74,100

 

Specialist, Payroll

$71,250

 

4.0%

Staker, P.

Specialist A

$66,690

 

Specialist, Technology

$64,125

 

4.0%

Steinberg, B.

Specialist A

$70,396

 

Specialist, Technology

$67,688

 

4.0%

Townsend, C.

Specialist A

$70,396

 

Specialist, Transportation

$67,688

 

4.0%

Ziegler, R.

Specialist A

$73,840

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

$2,859,988

 

Total

$2,477,356

 

15.4%

¨   ¨   ¨

NO TAX NOTICES THIS YEAR: If you're looking for your property tax statements, forget it -- you're not going to get them if you're one of the majority of property owners in New Castle County whose taxes are paid from a mortgage escrow account. Lenders  will still pay county and school taxes, which are due Sept. 30, but county government looks to save about $70,000 by not mailing 'do-not-pay bills', according to financial officer Michael Strine. Anyone who can't wait until getting their annual mortgage statement to find out how much they owe, can obtain tax statements on-line or by mail by telephoning the county finance department.

¨   ¨   ¨

Start of the  Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control 'workshop' on the Cherry Island Marsh landfill was delayed about 15 minutes. The wait was to accommodate folks who didn't manage to get there on time, county agent Bill McGowan, who presided, told those who did.

¨   ¨   ¨

County officials acknowledged  that police chief David McAllister has been placed on administrative leave while an internal  investigation of the department's off-duty pay fund is underway.

As recently as July 18, chief administrative officer David Singleton, responding to an inquiry from Delaforum, said that McAllister was on vacation and that Scott McLaren was serving routinely as acting chief. A carefully worded press statement issued by Allison Levine on July 25 referred to that  appointment as extending indefinitely during the course of an internal investigation. It noted that the chief has a hand in administering the fund and oversees internal investigations. McAllister agreed to take leave and will be paid during it, the statement said. He has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The investigation has to do with off-duty officers being paid from a fund rather than directly by the organization which hires them for such things as event security and traffic control. There are indications that the circuitous arrangement, which predates McAllister's tenure, may obscure a paper trail leading to offices who do not report the extra income on their tax returns. The press statement said legislation will be introduced into County Council "to correct some of the deficiencies of past practices." McAllister is a protégé of former county executive Tom Gordon and administrative officer Sherry Freebery, both of whom are former police chiefs.

The statement indicated existence of a loose gag order by saying that  persons in the executive and legislative branches of government were advised to not comment while the investigation is going on.

¨   ¨   ¨

Delaware Solid Waste Authority's request for a permit to expand the Cherry Island Marsh landfill appears to have been put on the fast track while recycling legislation languishes on a side track.

Robert Hartman, who represented the natural resources department at a public 'workshop' on Jul. 25, said resources secretary John Hughes will make a decision whether to issue the permit within 60 days after he gets  a report following the official public hearing on Aug. 1. The application, filed in April, 2003, has been declared 'administratively complete', he said. The technical review process was put on hold for more than a year while the waste authority, the department and the Recycling Public Advisory Council crafted recycling legislation. It was finally introduced into  the General Assembly in a watered-down version at the end of its session in June.

As expected, the 'workshop' provided a pre-hearing preview of the opposition to the expansion and the way in which the waste authority is managed. County Councilman John Cartier said the quasipublic agency only became responsive to the public after the expansion controversy broke. "We don't support this; we don't want it," Wilmington City Councilman Charles Potter said. Eric Robinson,  of the 11th Street Civic Association, said the landfill is responsible for odor and traffic problems as well as "an enormous amount of rats and mice in our community."

Anne Germain, who represented the authority, said the landfill grows by about a million cubic yards a year, but that she  did not know how much trash is now there. The expansion will provide capacity for and additional 15 million cubic yards, she said.

¨   ¨   ¨

AMNESTY:  Under legislation about to be introduced into County Council, community maintenance organizations which have not done so will have until June 30, 2006, to sign up and thereby qualify for county-financed major repairs to their drainage ponds regardless of the results of  the ponds  having been neglected until now.  They will have to agree to mend their ways and perform or pay for minor maintenance from now on.  Sponsored by Council president Paul Clark on behalf of County Executive Christopher Coons, the proposed ordinance is intended to address the county's massive stormwater management problem.

According to the preamble of the ordinance, a 2004 survey found 363 stormwater management facilities, of which 188 are owned by non-registered maintenance organizations or are in communities which  do not have one. Of the unregistered ponds, 18 need major maintenance and 46 others could stand some relatively minor improvement. Some of the latter "may have moved into the major-repair category" since the survey was taken, the preamble said. It cautions that the county's doing the job is dependent upon "the availability of funds." The draft of the legislation does not yet contain a fiscal note specifying how much money would be needed. (CLICK HERE to read previous Delaforum article.)

¨   ¨   ¨

MIXED VIEWS: Delaware's senators are divided In their initial reaction to President Bush's nomination of Judge John Roberts to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court -- Thomas Carper is noncommittal and Joseph Biden is unresponsive. Both are Democrats. Carper issued an innocuous statement saying that he thinks "it's important that we don't rush to judgment, one way or the other." The statement added that he "looks forward to examining Judge Roberts's legal record over the next several weeks." Biden's office had not responded to a request for comment as this article was being prepared. Biden is a member of the judiciary committee.

¨   ¨   ¨

FESTIVAL REPORT: Attendance at this year's Ice Cream Festival was down from last year, but so were costs and Anne Farley, general manager of the Department of Community Services, pronounced the county government-sponsored event a success. Reporting to a County Council committee on Jul. 19, she said more than 50,000 people turned out for its two-day run. Expenditures to date total $239,000, compared to $318,000 a year ago, she said. The weather and less advance advertising were cited as reasons for the lower turnout. However, there were "many positive, enthusiastic comments from the public" expressed in a survey, she said.

¨   ¨   ¨

READIN' & WRITIN': The Brandywine school board dipped well back into history for a site at which  to inaugurate its newest members. Debra Heffernan and Olivia Johnson-Harris, who were elected to five-year terms in May, took their state oaths of office during a ceremony at  the Claymont Stone School on Jul. 18. They

The school board (above) holds session in the Claymont Stone School. Some of the attenders sat in antique desks while the board went through a regular meeting agenda. Of course there were some anachronisms (right) -- like air conditioning on a humid summer night, Power Point presentations and the ubiquitous bottles of water.

had been sworn to a district version of the oath privately on Jul. 5. The board held its regular monthly business meeting in the restored structure, part of which dates back to 1805. Owned by the district, it is  leased to Friends of the Stone School for $1 a year.

Craig Gilbert was unanimously elected president of the board with an understanding  that personal and business commitments might require that he step down after a few months. "Allow me to come back and say this is not working," he said, adding that the arrangement was a sign of "confidence in [superintendent Bruce] Harter and his staff." Gilbert  succeeds Nancy Doorey, who nominated him for the position after telling the board that "some additional responsibilities I have taken on for the coming year" prevent her from continuing as president. Joseph Brumskill was unanimously re-elected to be vice president. (CLICK HERE to read related Delaforum article.)

¨   ¨   ¨

DISPOSITION UNCERTAIN: The Catholic diocese is having the former Children's Home property in Claymont appraised, but is not yet ready to say what its likely future will be beyond confirming that its sale is likely. "A decision to contact the Claymont Coalition will be made in the context of the [appraisal] report,"

No decision has yet been made concerning the large  tree-studded Children's Home campus on Green Street, according to the diocesan spokesman.

spokesman Robert Krebs said in response to a Delaforum inquiry. The property has been unused since Catholic Charities terminated  its adolescent group home program at the end of 2004. That was done, Krebs said, because of low occupancy, increasing costs and availability of other placement options.

Also idle is the group home in the Kentmere section of Wilmington. Seton Villa, on Bellevue Road, now houses a program for children between the ages of nine and 12. The Wilmington diocese has been caring for orphans -- for many years mostly abandoned and neglected children -- since before the Civil War, initially in the aftermath of  explosions at the Du Pont powder mills, which had a large number of Irish Catholic workers.  Its social service agency provides an array of services for children, Krebs said. "Because of changing needs and circumstances, a few have not [been continued]. Orphanages are perhaps the most notable of these."

¨   ¨   ¨

STEEP PENALTIES SET: Maximum fine for repeat violations of the county's animal-control laws will beincreased from $200 to $2,500 under terms of an ordinance enacted unanimously by Council on Jul. 12.. David Tackett, who sponsored the ordinance, said that eliminating penalties "that are so miniscule they're not worth the effort to collect" should reduce the number of incidents of attacks by dogs or other animals. "If you own the pet, you're going to be responsible for the pet," he said. "Hopefully, the judges will not wear their hearts on their sleeves" when rendering verdicts," added George Smiley.

During discussion of the measure in committee, Tackett said the local chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has given notice that it "wants to get out of the animal-control business" when its current contract expires at the end of 2005. Smiley said he has been told that another organization -- which he did not identify -- is interested in taking on that role. Failure to come up with a replacement, Tackett noted, will result in the county police having to assume further obligations. Police now respond to calls when S.P.C.A. agents are unable or unwilling to do so, he said.

¨   ¨   ¨

GRANTS GRANTED: Councilman Jea Street was 'first out of the gate' with county grants to nonprofit organizations under the new arrangement for individual Council members to essentially control who gets how much. His colleagues approved his request to give $2,000 each to Peoples Settlement Association for its tutorial program and the Dunleith Civic Association for its summer camp for elementary-school children. Councilman William Bell then agreed to add $500 from his allotment to increase the Dunleith grant to the maximum allowed any single recipient during a fiscal year. (CLICK HERE to read previous Delaforum article.)

¨   ¨   ¨

SERVICE TIME TO BE PAID: Good deeds by members of County Council's administrative staff will not go unrewarded. Council's personnel committee voted to grant up to 21 hours of paid leave during any fiscal year to engage in volunteer service to nonprofit organizations. "Companies give [their workers] time. Why shouldn't
we?" said Council president Paul Clark before the committee voted unanimously on Jul. 11 to approve the policy. The committee was told that several members of its staff have been using vacation time for service activities during what otherwise would be working hours.

¨   ¨   ¨

State government will provide $3.3 million to assist the county in what promises to be a Herculean task -- fixing an as-yet-undetermined number of stormwater drainage ponds.

"It's going to be a difficult year as we negotiate ownership of the ponds," Richard Przywara, general manager of the Department of Special Services, recently told a County Council committee meeting. That comment was made while justifying a request for approval of a $70,000 emergency contract for soil stabilization while rebuilding a county-owned pond at Old Hobson Farm. After indicating that would be the first of many such projects, he disclosed that he and other officials are developing a "comprehensive stormwater management plan."

The issue revolves around who is responsible for maintaining the ponds, many of which have been neglected for years -- to the point where some are not functioning. Not all developers have deeded the properties to community maintenance associations and many associations, which are run by volunteers, exist in name only. Przyware said the intent of the plan is to determine the scope of the problem and a way to remedy it. Councilman George Smiley cautioned him to "come up with a solution that isn't going to bankrupt the county." It has been said that the cost could run to several millions of dollars.

¨   ¨   ¨

TAX DISTRICT TO BE ELIMINATED: The three northern New Castle County public school districts have been directed to prepare a proposal to dissolve the countywide tax district, which provides about half of their local operating revenue. The little known and less understood arrangement dates back to the early 1980s when the Brandywine, Red Clay, Christina and Colonial districts were established with the breakup of the county district formed in compliance with the federal court's racial desegregation order. The idea was to reallocate the local tax among the new districts.

Revenue from the tax, 46.8˘ for each $100 of assessed property value, is apportioned on the basis of enrollment. Because their property value-to-enrollment ratios differ, Brandywine and Red Clay, partly 'subsidize' Christina and Colonial. A provision quietly buried in the omnibus capital-spending bill enacted by the General Assembly tells the districts to work together and submit a proposal by Nov. 1. It goes without saying that district officials will agree that, whatever they decide, the underlying principle will be protection of the income the districts now receive from the countywide tax.

¨   ¨   ¨

A local bank now charges an annual fee of $20 for having the audacity to pay your credit card bill on time and in full each month.

¨   ¨   ¨

Organizations seeking financial grants from the county now have to begin by convincing their Council representative that their project is a good idea.

A new procedure, which went into effect with the turn of the fiscal year, provides each Council member with $15,000 to be distributed during the coming 12 months. Council's finance committee -- which, like all other committees, consists of all 13 members -- still has to approve the grants by majority vote, but that is expected to be little more than a formality after the sponsoring member and Council's financial advisor decide, respectively, that the cause is worthy and that the paperwork and documentation are in order.

Grants remain available only to nonprofit and civic organizations. Groundrules still limit the maximum grant to $2,500 and an organization to receiving only one grant a year. It is required that the money be intended for a specific purpose and not be used for normal operating expenses. Requesting organizations must provide information about their finances and relative policies. Two or more Council members may split the total among their allocation, but the cap still applies. The new arrangement is expected to provide a more diverse distribution of the grants.

¨   ¨   ¨

BELLS, NOT BOOMS: Where Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky programmed canon shots into his 1812 Festival Overture, attenders of this year's Ice Cream Festival will hear bells. Although, as Delaforum previously reported, the canon were silenced as an economy measure, event planners have found what they consider a appropriate substitute -- 'Bells of Remembrance'. The nine bells commemorate the World Trade Center attack. County Executive Christopher Coons has requested area church to also ring their bells during the Delaware Symphony's performance at the conclusion of the two-day event at 6 p.m. on July 10. (CLICK HERE to read previous Delaforum article.)

¨   ¨   ¨

NO WHITE ELEPHANT: The civic building in Brandywine Town Center is used on between 20 and 25 days a month and, despite persistent rumors, there is no intention of turning the structure over to the center's current owner, according to county spokeswoman Allison Levine. In response to an inquiry from

The civic building at Brandywine Town Center

Delaforum, she said it was scheduled for use on 21 days in May, 20 in April and 22 in March. "It is booked quite heavily for the next several months and some bookings go into next year," she said. Recent users include athletic, health, school and community organizations.

It was built and turned over to county government as a community amenity as part of the agreement with Rollins interests when the property was rezoned to permit construction of Town Center. Following John Rollins's death and the breakup of his businesses, the center was sold. The civic building can be used without charge by nonprofit organizations. It is not staffed, but is maintained regularly. Users are required to pick up and return the keys at the Government Center at New Castle Corporate Commons. Bookings are handled through the Community Governing office.

Last updated on July 29, 2005

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