State Legislators Join Delaware NAACP to Request AG Opinion on Charter School Legislation

For Immediate Release:
May 22, 2017

State Representative Charles Potter, Jr. (1st District)
(302) 528-5279 | cpjr00@aol.com

State Representative Dr. Stephanie T. Bolden (2nd District)
(302) 528-5279 | stephaniet.bolden@state.de.us

State Representative John Kowalko (25th District)
(302) 547-9351 | john.kowalko@state.de.us

Linwood Jackson, President, Delaware NAACP State Conference
destconferenceofbranchesnaacp@yahoo.com

Attorney General Legal Opinion Requested on Legality of Recently Passed Legislation

State Representatives Charles Potter, Stephanie Bolden, and John Kowalko along with Linwood Jackson, President of the NAACP Delaware State Conference, have submitted a request to Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn for a legal opinion on legislation that effectively prevents students from the City of Wilmington and the Christina School District from attending the charter school of their choice.

The Attorney General provides legal services such as opinions to the officers, departments, boards, agencies, commissions, and instrumentalities of State government.

House Substitute 1 for House Bill 85 denies state taxpayers access to a state funded institution that appears to be both discriminatory and unlawful.

Passed on May 18, HS 1 for HB 85 creates a new geographical preference for charter schools to use in selecting students while eliminating the use of an enrollment preference for students living within a 5-mile radius of a charter school. The new preference applies to students located in the portion of the regular school district that is geographically contiguous with the location of the charter school.

The citizens of this state are the people who face directly the consequences of the decisions made by Delaware’s public officials.

HS1 for HB 85, if signed into law, denies state taxpayers access to a state funded institution that appears to be both discriminatory and unlawful.


Letter to Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn:

May 19, 2017

Dear Attorney General Denn:

I, and my colleagues State Representative Dr. Stephanie T. Bolden and State Representative John Kowalko and Linwood Jackson, President of the NAACP Delaware State Conference, are contacting you regarding the legality of House Substitute No. 1 for House Bill 85 (attached), which passed the House of Representatives on 5/18/17.

HS 1 for HB 85 eliminates the use of an enrollment preference for students living within a 5-mile radius of a charter school, and allows a new preference for students located in the portion of the regular school district that is geographically contiguous with the location of the charter school.

This bill appears to effectively prevent students from the City of Wilmington and the Christina School District from attending the charter school of their choice. My colleagues and I question the legality of denying state taxpayers access to a state funded institution, and believe this bill is discriminatory and unlawful.

We are contacting you to ask for a legal opinion from your office on this time-sensitive matter.

Thank you for your prompt attention and assistance. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact any of us.

Sincerely,

Charles Potter, Jr., State Representative, 1st District

Dr. Stephanie T. Bolden, State Representative, 2nd District

John Kowalko, State Representative, 25th District

Linwood Jackson, President, NAACP Delaware State Conference


Response from Delaware Attorney General Denn:

Response by Attorney General Denn on HS 1 for HB 85