Cape Henlopen School Board Set to Discuss Option F at Thursday M - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cape Henlopen School Board Set to Discuss Option F at Thursday Meeting

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In the 2014-2015 school year, 58.1% of the students at HOB were low-income (Source: WBOC) In the 2014-2015 school year, 58.1% of the students at HOB were low-income (Source: WBOC)
In the 2014-2015 school year, 29.2% of the students at MES were low-income (Source: WBOC) In the 2014-2015 school year, 29.2% of the students at MES were low-income (Source: WBOC)
Option F would send students north of Slaughter Creek to the Milton Elementary School (Source: Cape Henlopen School District) Option F would send students north of Slaughter Creek to the Milton Elementary School (Source: Cape Henlopen School District)
Option G would send students north of Slaughter Creek to Shields Elementary School in Lewes (Source: Cape Henlopen School District) Option G would send students north of Slaughter Creek to Shields Elementary School in Lewes (Source: Cape Henlopen School District)

MILTON, Del. - At Thursday's Cape Henlopen School Board meeting, plans for a controversial school re-alignment process, called "Option F" are likely to be the main topic of conversation. The plan looks to create a "better balance of the socio-economic status" of students at each of the five schools, by sending more low-income students to Milton Elementary School, and less to the H.O. Brittingham Elementary School. 

The plan would send students north of Slaughter Creek to Milton Elementary School, and would send all students in the town of Milton to H.O. Brittingham. The school district is also recommending that current Milton Elementary School walk zone students and younger siblings get the first option to remain at MES "if capacity numbers permit." 

The re-alignment process follows the start of construction of the Love Creek Elementary School on Route 24. School administrators said they want to take advantage of the process to make up for imbalances in the number of low-income students. Below is the data for the percentage of low-income students at each school during the last two school years. 

Percentage of Low-Income Students, 2014-2015

H.O. Brittingham Elementary School: 58.1%

Milton Elementary School: 29.2%

Rehoboth Elementary School: 36.2%

Richard Shields Elementary School: 27.1%

Percentage of Low-Income Students, 2013-2014: 

H.O. Brittingham Elementary School: 65%

Milton Elementary School: 30.6%

Rehoboth Elementary School: 36.9%

Richard Shields Elementary School: 31.9%

Many have voiced their opposition to the plan since it was unveiled, including Dianne Pearce, a mother of an MES student. Pearce started a petition against "Option F," because she said it does not solve the root problem of poverty. As of Wednesday evening, the petition had 54 signatures. 

"It makes HOB and MES both schools that are going to have too many low-income students to be high-performing schools," she said. 

Pearce said that the plan would hurt the town of Milton as a whole, because it would hurt both the schools, leaving them both "undesirable" for people to enroll their children in. 

"Moving the kids around isn't going to solve the problem," she said. "That there's kind of a large amount of poverty in one part of the district."

According to statistics provided by the school district, Option F would make the percentage of low income students more equitable between the two Milton schools. That data can be seen below: 

Percentage Low Income Under Option F

H.O. Brittingham School: 43.4%

Milton Elementary School: 44.6%

Rehoboth Elementary School: 32.4%

Richard Shields Elementary School: 27.7%

Love Creek Elementary School: 31.1%

Jeff Trench, a parent of an H.O.B. student, said that he thought making the schools more balanced was a good idea. 

"It would benefit these kids further down the line," he said. "If they grow up in a classroom that's diverse and represents the economic surroundings of their hometown." 

There has also been discussion around a plan being called "Option G." This plan would send the students north of Slaughter Creek to Shields Elementary in Lewes, rather than Milton Elementary School. This is because Shields has the lowest percentage of low-income students in the whole district. 

Similarly, Kevin Mumford, the principal of MES submitted another plan called "Option H." This plan would bus approximately 100 students from Cedar Creek, the most northern-most neighborhood, down Route One to Shields Elementary, among other changes. 

The discussion is expected to continue at the Thursday night school board meeting set for 6 p.m. at Mariner Middle School. To see the full district presentation, click here

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