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Economic crisis threatens Mandarin immersion programs

June 7, 2020

Like many other school districts, the Christina School District in Delaware is facing as much as $10 million in cuts due to the economic downturn. It’s holding a school referendum vote on Tuesday to raise taxes to keep the schools from having to make draconian cuts.

The list of possible cuts is long, and included — as in many districts — a Mandarin immersion program that could be seen as an extra that’s no longer affordable.

Another $10 million in budget reductions. No sports. No program for gifted and talented children. No extracurricular or cocurricular activities. The end of a popular dual-language Chinese immersion program. No more Montessori Academy. No district-wide strings program. No instrumental music in elementary schools. No instructional coaches and curriculum specialists in key subject areas. The elimination of 67 jobs, most of them teachers.

The article below goes into some of the issues Christina faces. They are issues other school districts will have to grapple with this coming year as the budget realities become clear.

Christina School District faces crucial referendum vote

By LARRY NAGENGAST JUNE 5, 2020

  • DELAWARE PUBLIC MEDIA

School referendums are difficult enough to pass under normal conditions.  But during a global pandemic that’s forced schools to remote learning and severely damaged the economy, getting voters to approve one now seems an almost impossible task.

But it’s one the Christina School District faces with voters heading to the polls Tuesday to decide if they will back a tax increase need to stave off drastic cuts.

This week, contributor Larry Nagengast digs into what the referendum is seeking, why it’s needed and what will happen if it come up short.ListenListening…13:59Delaware Public Media’s Tom Byrne and contributor Larry Nagengast discuss what’s at stake in the Christina School District’s latest referendum.

By any rational standard, this is not a good time for a school district to be asking its residents to approve a significant tax increase.

Please read (and listen) more here.

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