The battle over the school funding and reassessment is getting more interesting.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other parties claim the inaction of counties in reassessing property is one of the factors that has brought inequities to a large swath of the public education system.
Also, under fire is a state school funding formula that allocates a set amount of dollars per student regardless of need. Delaware is one of only a handful of states with the antiquated formula.
As noted in a story in this newsletter, the suit appears to be headed for trial despite intense efforts by the state and counties to dismiss the action.
Yesterday, the City of Wilmington asked to join the suit, claiming that reassessment is long overdue.
County Executive Matt Meyer was quick to point out that the city has the right to reassess its property.
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki fired back, noting that a city reassessment would only affect city taxes and would leave the funding inequities in place. Purzycki added that the suit is likely to go against the county and state.
In a related note, Gov. John Carney seemed to make a move in the direction of added funding for disadvantaged students with a plan that is expected to be part of the proposed state budget.
Critics are likely to claim that the three-year plan is a duct tape solution to a deep-seated problem with the public education system.
As it stands, the current formula supports a system that rewards wealthy, fast-growing districts. It leaves others to struggle with a host of socio-economic and academic ssues. You can add run-down, obsolete buildings to the mix.
Add in the ability of some charter schools to “skim the cream” of motivated families and top students, and it is no surprise that some observers in the business community and elsewhere see growing odds that the state and counties are on the losing side of this action.
Counties and legislators remain fearful reassessment would bring widespread anger and dent budgets.
The cost of a reassessment would be considerable, especially since decades that have elapsed since the last action. It is also true that property taxes would go up for some and down for others.
Guess, which side would go to the polls and send some politicians out the door?
Enjoy your day. This newsletter returns tomorrow. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.