Legislators Place Moratorium on Charter Schools in Wilmington, Delaware

Published May 8, 2015

Delaware legislators voted not to approve any new charter schools in the city of Wilmington until the state drafts a strategic plan for school growth. Gov. Jack Markell signed the legislation the first week of May, creating a moratorium on charter school growth in the city of Wilmington. Rep. Charles Potter Jr. (D-Wilmington) sponsored the measure, which also allows Wilmington officials to review and comment on charter school applications in the city.

Matt Frendewey of the American Federation for Children says the charter moratorium is bad for parents and students.

“This is an example of the education status quo stalling progress at the expense of a student’s education,” he said. “While legislators, ‘step back and take a breath,’ students continue to need access to quality educational options. This moratorium is nothing more than a roadblock for parents. We know more choice leads to better outcomes; it’s evident in D.C., New York City, Detroit and New Orleans, to name a few. Delaware’s decision to place a moratorium on creating new quality public charter schools is nothing more than creating a system that protects that status quo at the expense of a student’s education.”

Ron Russo, Senior Fellow in education at Delaware’s Caesar Rodney Institute, says the moratorium may not have much of a negative impact.

“You’ve got a number of charter schools located in Wilmington. The idea was that the folks in Wilmington needed opportunity to get their act together,” said Russo. “The state is in favor of charters. The state is looking to put together a comprehensive plan for education in Delaware. This nothing more than preliminary step. They’re being judicious in what they’re doing. No one should get upset.”

Russo, who founded his own charter school, The Charter School of Wilmington, says existing charter schools will stay where they are. Russo says he does not believe this will have an adverse effect on students.

“Some charter schools have done extremely well. Some have closed because the students have not been performing well,” said Russo. “Some places they do a great job, some places they fail. Let’s not forget the charters were supposed to be the role models.” 

Chris Neal ([email protected]) writes from New York, New York.

Image by woodleywonderworks.