§ 1001 Purpose.
(a) The purpose of this subchapter is to continue the statewide process of reorganization of school districts begun under the School District Reorganization Act of 1968; to preserve the historic concept of semiautonomous locally controlled school districts throughout the State; to provide a procedure for the effective and orderly reorganization of certain existing school districts in Delaware; and to provide a framework of a governance system for such reorganized districts.
(b) It is the further purpose and intent of the General Assembly to establish policy, procedures, standards and criteria under which the State Board of Education is authorized to determine and establish an appropriate reorganized school district or school districts and to implement the reorganization thereof. Any plan or rules and regulations duly adopted in accordance with this subchapter and § 1028(k) of this title by the State Board of Education for its implementation of such a plan shall be binding upon the parties involved in accordance with § 122(a) of this title.
§ 1002 Definitions.
Unless otherwise defined in this chapter:
(1) "Component former school board" means the board of education of any component former school district or component school district.
(2) "Component former school district" or "component school district" means a school district, as constituted on July 1, 1977, which comprises in whole or in part a reorganized school district on or after July 1, 1978.
(3) "Reorganized school district" or "newly reorganized school district" means a school district which is constituted and established in accordance with this chapter, provided that "reorganized school district" or "newly reorganized school district", for the purposes of this subchapter and § 1028(k) of this title, shall not include any district specifically created to administer a system of vocational and/or technical education.
(4) "School board" means the board of education of a reorganized school district consisting of members duly elected or appointed in accordance with this chapter.
(5) "School district" means a clearly defined geographic subdivision of the State organized for the purpose of administering public education in that area provided that "school district" shall not, for the purposes of this subchapter and § 1028(k) of this title, include any district specifically created to administer a system of vocational and/or technical education.
§ 1003 Criteria.
The State Board of Education is hereby authorized and empowered to reorganize school districts pursuant to this chapter. Any such reorganization shall meet at least the following criteria:
(1) Provide a complete instructional program for grades 1 through 12 except as may be provided for vocational and/or technical education;
(2) Be composed of whole component school districts or parts of component school districts or any combination of whole and parts of component school districts without regard to any specific provisions of this chapter which would otherwise require the preservation of the boundaries of any component school district.
§ 1004 Implementation; date of reorganization.
Whenever any school district is reorganized either by consolidation of whole or parts of whole districts into a new district or districts or by division of a district or by a combination of consolidation and division of districts, the State Board of Education shall set the date upon which the implementation of the reorganized district or districts shall occur, after which date the reorganized district or districts shall be organized and administered according to this title and the school board of the former school district shall be dissolved.
§ 1005 Employee's right to fair dismissal; seniority.
Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to alter or affect in any way either Chapter 14 of this title or the right to terminate the employment of any school employee to whom Chapter 14 of this title does not apply, for cause or for any other reasons not inconsistent with the purpose of this section, except that, for purposes of § 1403 of this title, a teacher as defined in § 1401 of this title who is and has been continuously employed among a district created by a division under § 1028(k) of this title, the district divided under § 1028(k) of this title and 1 of its component former school districts shall be deemed to have been continuously employed by the new district to which that teacher has been assigned for the entire term of that teacher's continuous employment in the several school districts.
§ 1006 Deployment of school employees in each reorganized school district.
(a) The State Board of Education shall devise a fair and equitable procedure for the deployment of school employees among and within the districts reorganized pursuant to this subchapter and § 1028(k) of this title which will be consistent with the criteria for reorganization set out in § 1003 of this title.
(b) Any school district which is eligible for division pursuant to § 1028(k) of this title shall include in every employment contract into which it enters after July 8, 1980, a statement providing that the contract shall not be binding on any district created by such division.
§ 1007 Interim boards; membership; authority.
(a) When a reorganized school district, excluding a vocational-technical school district, is divided pursuant to this subchapter and § 1028(k) of this title, there shall be an interim board of education for each district being created. The interim board of education shall have 7 members, one of whom resides in each nominating district. Each member of the board of education of the district being divided shall become a member of the interim board of the district being created and from the nominating district in which that member resides, provided that the member's term on the interim board shall terminate on the date on which that member's term on the board of education of the district being divided terminates. Any person who succeeds a member of the board of the district being divided shall also succeed that person as a member of the interim board. Except with regard to persons appointed to fill vacancies, the remainder of the members of the interim board of education shall be chosen by election pursuant to the following procedure:
(1) Candidates for the interim board of education shall be nominated in accordance with § 1075 of this title except that a nominee must be a resident of the nominating district that nominee will represent;
(2) A nominating petition in support of any nominee may be signed by any resident of the school district qualified to vote in the election proposed;
(3) Election of members of the interim board shall be at large in the geographic area encompassed by the school district being created, provided that no person may vote for more than 1 person who resides in each nominating district;
(4) The election shall be conducted in accordance with subchapter IV of this chapter; provided, however, that:
a. The election shall be held within 130 days of the approval by the State Board of Education of the plan for division of the district pursuant to § 1028(k) of this title on a date chosen by the department of elections of the county in which the district is located after consultation with the State Board of Education or its designee; provided, however, that it shall not be held in November or December;
b. The election shall be conducted by the department of elections of the county in which the district is located. The cost of the election shall be borne by the school district being divided;
c. In the case of a tie between nominees from the same nominating district, the member shall be chosen by a run-off election to be held within 30 days.
(b) Not later than 10 calendar days after the election of the members of an interim board, the President of the State Board of Education or the President's designee shall meet the new board and swear in the members and shall on the same occasion instruct the board immediately to organize according to this chapter.
(c) Each new board so organized shall serve as an interim board of education for the reorganized district until the date set by the State Board of Education for the establishment of the new school district according to § 1004 of this title.
(d) Each interim board shall have all of the authority of a board of education as set forth in this title for the sole purpose of planning and preparing for the establishment of a reorganized school district to be established on the date set by the State Board of Education. The authority herein granted to each interim board may include but is not limited to the authority to set tax rates in accordance with this title, negotiate contracts, employ personnel for assignment as of the date of implementation of the new district and select a name for the reorganized school district.
(e) The interim board may employ personnel for immediate assignment to execute the policies of the interim board.
(f) All persons elected to the interim board or appointed to fill a vacancy shall be members of the interim board until it is dissolved on the date selected by the State Board of Education pursuant to § 1004 of this title for implementation of the reorganization. A vacancy on the interim board shall be filled by the remaining members of the interim board who shall appoint a person who resides in the nominating district in which that person's predecessor resided.
(g) Each interim board shall devise a budget to support its operation during the period from the date of its organization until the date set by the State Board of Education for implementation of the new district and present that budget to the State Board of Education for review and approval on a date set by the State Board of Education which shall be not more than 30 calendar days after the date that the interim board is organized. The State Board of Education shall approve or make modifications in and approve the budget not later than 10 days after it is presented by the interim board.
(h) If the district being divided or consolidated fails to contribute to the interim board the amount assessed against it, according to this section, within 10 calendar days of receipt of the statement of assessment delivered by certified mail, the interim board shall report the delinquency to the State Board of Education, which shall in turn verify the delinquency and certify its finding to the Secretary of Finance. Upon certification of the Secretary of Finance, the State Treasurer shall pay the assessed amount to the interim board from such funds as are available in the state and local district accounts for the delinquent district.
(i) Prior to the organization of the interim board, the State Board of Education shall engage in planning to effectuate the division of the school district. The board of education of the school district being divided shall, at the request of the State Board of Education, assign personnel to assist the State Board of Education.
(j) Nothing herein shall alter the procedure or timing of elections for membership on the board of education of the district being divided.
§ 1008 Wilmington Education Improvement Commission.
(a) The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission (WEIC) shall advise the Governor and General Assembly on the planning, recommending, and implementing improvements to the quality and availability of education for children in pre-K through grade 12 in the City of Wilmington and for which such changes maybe be instructive for addressing needs of all schools within the State with high concentrations of children living in poverty, English language learners, or both. Membership on the WEIC shall be limited to 23 members with full voting rights, including a Chairperson and 2 Vice-Chairpersons, who shall be appointed according to subsection (d) of this section. At a minimum, the WEIC shall be composed of the following members (or their designees, who shall have full voting rights), who shall be appointed by the Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons, and when appropriate, in consultation with the appropriate board, agency, or authority from whom the member is drawn, including, but not limited to:
(1) A member of the Delaware State Senate, appointed by the President Pro Tempore, and a member of the Delaware House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker;
(2) A representative of the School Board of the Red Clay Consolidated School District;
(3) A representative of the School Board of the Christina School District;
(4) A representative of the School Board of the Colonial School District;
(5) A representative of the School Board of Brandywine School District;
(6) The chair of the Education Committee of the Wilmington City Council;
(7) A representative of the Mayor of the City of Wilmington;
(8) Two charter school representatives: 1 located inside the existing boundaries of the City of Wilmington and serving Wilmington students, and 1 located outside of the City of Wilmington, in New Castle County, serving both Wilmington and County children;
(9) Two high school students attending public school: 1 living in the City of Wilmington, 1 living outside of the City of Wilmington in New Castle County;
(10) Two public school parents: 1 of a student living in the City of Wilmington, 1 of a student living outside of the City in New Castle County;
(11) Two teachers from the school districts and charter schools: 1 teaching inside the City of Wilmington, 1 teaching in New Castle County;
(12) A representative from the Delaware State Education Association who represents teachers and/or educational support staff in districts that serve Wilmington students; and
(13) Other community leaders or representatives of the Wilmington and greater New Castle County community and educational interests.
(b) An affirmative vote of a majority of all voting members shall be required to take action.
(c) Meetings of the WEIC and all WEIC committees shall be public, unless designated for executive session. Voting membership in WEIC shall be limited to subsection (a) of this section.
(d) The Governor shall appoint a Chairperson and 2 Vice-Chairpersons. The Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons shall lead the activities of the WEIC, including WEIC's coordination with state leaders and agencies and with public education and community stakeholders. The Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons shall be selected based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:
(1) A parent of a public school student living within the city limits of Wilmington;
(2) A school board official from the districts serving Wilmington students; and
(3) A community leader not otherwise affiliated with any school district, charter school, or governmental body.
(e) The WEIC shall convene regularly-scheduled public meetings, and shall meet at least 6 times annually.
(f) The WEIC may form an executive committee from its members. The WEIC shall form standing committees to develop recommendations for consideration by the full Commission including, but not limited to committees on:
(2) Charter schools;
(3) Serving low-income and English language learning students; and
(g) The WEIC shall work with and across all governmental agencies, educational entities, and private and nonprofit institutions to promote and support the implementation of all recommended changes from the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee (WEAC). The WEIC also will also monitor the progress of implementation and recommend policies and actions to the Governor and General Assembly to facilitate progress and to promote the continuous improvement of public education. The WEIC shall develop a transition, resource and implementation plan, for presentation to and approval by the State Board of Education, for the provision of necessary services to schools and students affected by the implementation of the changes recommended by WEAC. WEIC shall also develop a resource plan regarding transitional resources to effectively implement school district realignment. Both the transition plan and resource plan must be submitted first to the State Board of Education and then to the General Assembly and the Governor for final approval. Both are due for submission and related action by December 31, 2015. Final approval of the transition plan and resource plan by the General Assembly and the Governor shall not constitute an endorsement of any particular revenue or spending measure and shall not bind the State, nor any of its political subdivisions, to any specific action with regard to revenue and spending.
(h) The WEIC shall report to the Governor, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House at least once each fiscal year. Each report shall include:
(1) A summary of the work and actions completed by WEIC to accomplish its purposes as stated above; and
(2) Recommendations of the WEIC about whether and how to further implement, promote, and achieve the recommendations of the WEAC.
(i) The WEIC shall be staffed by the University of Delaware's Institute for Public Administration. The staff shall be managed by a WEIC policy director from the Institute for Public Administration, approved by the Chairperson of WEIC.
(j) The WEIC shall conclude its operations by June 30, 2021.
§ 1009 Transfer of property.
During the period beginning on the date that an interim board is organized pursuant to § 1007 of this title and ending on the date set by the State Board of Education for the establishment of a new district, any school district being divided shall take the steps necessary to transfer and convey all property that, as determined by the State Board of Education, naturally belongs to the reorganized district and shall make and execute such deed or deeds of conveyance as are necessary to pass to the reorganized district the legal title to all such property, provided that the State Board of Education shall make no determination contrary to § 1028(f) of this title. For purposes of this section, the property upon which a vocational-technical center or school is located and the property constituting such vocational-technical center or school shall be deemed to belong to the vocational-technical school board in the county in which the vocational-technical center or school is located. The transfers herein required shall be concluded not later than 90 calendar days after the establishment of the new reorganized school district.
§§ 1010 -1012. Property, indebtedness and obligation of component former school districts; property held by State Board at time of reorganization; federal funds.