City of Wilmington asks state for charter moratorium



Wilmington City Council passed a resolution Thursday asking the state to stop opening new charter schools.

Wilmington is not a charter authorizer, and thus cannot open or close new charters. That decision is up to the Delaware Department of Education and the Red Clay School District, the state’s only two charter authorizers.

Wilmington also isn’t a single, unified school district. Red Clay is one of four districts that operate within city limits. That much-debated fracture dates back to desegregation initiatives that took place in the 1970’s and 80’s.

The City Council resolution expressed concern that charters “effect the character of the City as well as its neighborhoods.” It did not specify how long it expected the proposed moratorium to last, but noted that “elected officials and community leaders continue to study the impact that existing charter schools have throughout the State, and particularly within the City of Wilmington.”

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Late last year, Governor Jack Markell appointed the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee to examine Wilmington’s educational landscape. The committee is expected to release interim recommendations on January 26.

There are 13 charter schools operating in Wilmington. One, the Maurice J. Moyer Academic Institute, is slated to close at the end of this school year. At least two more are expected to open in Wilmington next school year, with three others looking to secure locations somewhere in New Castle County.

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