Delaware charter school lawsuit ends in settlement

(File/WHYY)

(File/WHYY)

A settlement has been reached ending the lawsuit brought on by 15 Delaware charter schools against the Christina School District and the state.

Back in October, the charters sued Christina School District and the Dept. of Education over money generated from a 2003 operating referendum. The civil action alleged the defendants violated Delaware law when the DOE changed the formula that calculates how much money public school districts give to charter schools in August and September, shortly before classes began. 

The change meant charter schools would receive less money than originally planned.

“With the settlement, the Christina School District resolves the dispute over revenue generated by a 2003 Referendum passed by Christina taxpayers in a manner which honors the promise made to voters in 2003,” said Wendy Lapham, public information officer.

In that referendum, 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value was restricted to pay for phasing in full day kindergarten for academically at-risk students, expanding gifted and talented program services, expansion of services for alternative programs and technology upgrades.

Lapham said all parties agreed that the 2003 referendum funds would only be used to support those four programs.

The Christina School Board approved the agreement last week and Lapham said all parties had signed off on the settlement as of yesterday afternoon. 

“The Delaware Department of Education is grateful that all parties have come to an agreement on this issue. Our charter schools and traditional districts now have certainty about their funding and financial commitments for this school year. We now all can move forward together to focus on ensuring every child in our school system is prepared to succeed,” said Alison May, DOE public information officer.

The total amount of restricted funds generated by the 2003 referendum is approximately $5.5 million. The portion allotted for all Christina students attending charter schools is estimated to be $1.5 million.

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