Wilmington Redistricting Debate Causes Stir in Kent and Sussex C - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wilmington Redistricting Debate Causes Stir in Kent and Sussex Counties

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(Photo: WBOC file) (Photo: WBOC file)

DOVER, Del.- Wilmington does not have a unified school district, and it's causing a bit of a stir in Sussex and Kent counties.

Wilmington is broken into five separate school districts and 18 charter schools. The districts include Christina, Red Clay, and Brandywine School districts.

That is where the issue started, with a bill to redistrict and merge some of the districts. Many lawmakers say the way it currently is causes too much inequity and competition between districts. They say the poverty rates and graduation rates are not where they should be, and the education system is partly to blame.

Other lawmakers in Sussex County are not interested, saying they will not vote for a bill that does not benefit their county.

People in Kent County who WBOC spoke with on Monday have the same view.

"We are suffering from the same type of poverty and children not being exposed to the same types of things," said Latisha Canon of Dover. "What makes that area any better than our area?"

Jervaughn Wise, who has children, says lawmakers should share the wealth.

"It should be split between all three counties," he said. "Sussex County, Kent County and New Castle County, because they all need better schools for our students."

Rep. Charles Potter, Jr. is the sponsor of the bill. He told WBOC Monday the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission was established to address a unique situation where Delaware's largest city has been divided among school districts.

"Providing a quality education for all students throughout the state is a top priority," he said. "Poverty can be found throughout the state. Although WEIC is focused on Wilmington schools, I respect others look at the needs of the entire state as we move forward. But we cannot fail Wilmington."

Potter has argued that having great schools in the state's largest city is necessary, because when businesses and people look for a place to relocate, schools are a draw. And new business and workers are good for the entire state of Delaware.

Latisha Canon says Wilmington is not the only city in Delaware.

"Speaking for Kent County, I think that we bring in a lot of opportunity here," she said. "There's a lot of factories that are in this area. So that means that we're bringing in a lot of people from all over to support those businesses."

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