A draft agreement between the state and Christina School District would consolidate the district’s Wilmington schools while offering more services.
Five schools would become two serving kindergarten through eighth grade.
Christina’s Wilmington schools are some of the lowest performing in the state. The majority of students in the city of Wilmington are low-income and children of color.
The blueprint, which could change, takes the four high-need elementary schools and middle school in the state’s largest city and combines them into “New Bayard” on the west side and “New Bancroft” on the city’s east side.
Gov. Carney says he’s been talking with district officials, teachers and parents. He said he’s encouraged by the work on the agreement so far.
“I don’t see obstacles that might get in the way, big obstacles," he said. "I mean, there’s things that need to be worked out for sure. But, I’m increasingly optimistic that we’ll have something and that’ll make a difference for the children in that those schools.”
Carney also said he wants to invest in high quality early education for these students and give them additional support so they can catch up with their peers. He said Delaware can do that by adding more state dollars to the federal funding disadvantaged students in Delaware currently receive.
“So, we’ll be looking at a mechanism to add to the money, the federal money that we get for those students so they can get the extra resources that they need to be successful,” he said.
The memorandum of understanding calls for longer school days and school years, trauma-informed services and high quality early education.
It also gives district employees the ability to negotiate new contracts.
Christina Board member John Young said he’s cautiously optimistic about the proposal. His concerns include making sure the new plan is responsive to the community and produces demonstrable benefits for students. He also has some concerns about the timing. Under the MOU, The board must vote to accept or reject the plan no later than Feb. 28.