What’s Wrong With Sussex Tech?

raventech  Down here in Sussex County there always seems to be someone complaining about something, I guess that’s just human nature, I fall prey to it myself quite often.

As of late it seems that one of the targets of this type of complaint, is Sussex Tech High School. The latest round of complaints have been sparked due to the school district’s request for a tax rate ceiling increase. Now of course in any school district when the words tax, and increase fall in the same sentence, there will always be people who naturally react negatively.

However when you add in Sussex Tech’s unique situation regarding the tax increase process, well it makes for a lot of emotions, and misinformation.

You see, unlike traditional school districts, Sussex Tech does not hold referendums to ask the tax payers for an increase in the tax rate to pay for their day-to-day needs, or even for the expansion of the facilities. Instead Sussex Tech has to go through a committee process to simply gain approval, to then ask the Legislature in Dover to pass a bill that would raise the tax rate ceiling (cap).

Now considering the level of contention over the latest request for raising the ceiling, one might believe that Sussex Tech makes this request every school year. One might believe this, if one were to only listen to local talk radio and the callers who call in to complain, not only about how the school is funded, but also about the school in general. Everything from how students become eligible for enrollment, to the courses offered, to the very fact that the students are too successful in their academic achievement. No, really! They actually complain about the level of success at Tech.

But let’s look at some facts first. This is only the second time in twenty-three years that Sussex Tech has requested the ability to raise the tax rate ceiling.  And just what would this rate increase ceiling amount to if approved?

The average Sussex County household pays approximately $41.00 a year to support Sussex Tech. The worse case scenario if the increase request were to be approved would raise the cost by  $41.44 a year, for a total of $82.44 a year. However that increase would be spread out over six years. Tax payers would see an increase of $19.04 in FY 2015, and then increases of $4.78 for each of the next five years.

Now of course those people opposed could say that actually doubles the cost of supporting Sussex Tech, and they would be right. But we have to ask ourselves one question. What do we get for that cost?

This is where I admit my bias on this issue. I am the proud parent of a Sussex Tech graduate, who made Honor Roll every marking period. Who has gone on to college to earn her degree in elementary education, and who has made the Dean’s List every semester. My daughter was able to achieve high academic goals that she set for herself, and that we as parents expected of her.

So when she went to Sussex Tech and the tax rate was $41.00, if multiplied by the four years she was there, I paid $164 for her excellent education, while also paying my Woodbridge taxes, and even if the worse case scenario of the new rate were to come true, I would have paid $329.76 for that education, a hell of a bargain at either rate. Of course I recognize that I didn’t start paying these taxes when she started to attend, and I am still paying now almost four years after she graduated, and will continue to pay as long as I live in Sussex.

That my friends is our debt to future generations, consider it paying it ahead. Should we just say that since my child has moved on, well I don’t need to pay for the next child? I say no. Look I am a small government and low taxes person. I want my tax dollars spent in a manner that reflects my conservative views. In fact I look at government spending the same way I look at my personal spending. I will gladly pay top dollar for  a meal that I feel is worth it, I will pay good hard-earned money for tools that I know will last. In other words I have no problem paying for things that are of good quality. That is why I have no problem with Sussex Tech. You may have a problem with how they go about funding the district, but I don’t know how anyone who is honest can argue against the fact that they turn out a quality product, well-educated students.

So, what is wrong with Sussex Tech? Well some will tell you they have wandered away from their original mission of being a “technical” school. But have they? I don’t think so. I do think however that many people are confusing a technical/career school which is what Sussex Tech is, with a “trade” school, a school that teaches nothing but the trades. Such as carpentry, plumbing, masonry, and electrical construction.

But is that what the forerunners of Sussex Tech, and the other tech schools were intended to be? Again I don’t think so. I went to Kent County Vo-Tech in the late 1970’s and at that time the Vo-Techs had classes for child care, they had classes for food service, half of which was training for working in the fast food service industry. They offered classes for many things outside of simply the “trades”.

Sussex Tech is offering many classes outside of the “trades” as well. Like education, graphic design, law enforcement and others. These are the careers of today. Every student who attends Sussex Tech must be enrolled in a technical/vocational program in order to attend, and cannot graduate without a CTE concentration. Which puts another myth to rest. And yes they are prepared to move on to college if they so choose.

In my experience with people who have a beef with Sussex Tech, I find them to be in large part, either petty when it comes to paying for it, or jealous of the success that student achieve there. You can almost hear them saying, “we need a school for the dumb kids who can’t go to college”. So instead of expecting more from a student, they would bring down Sussex Tech.

We hear of recruiting of students out of their home districts. Not so. Here is the selection process

• The selection process is held each year by a method approved and monitored by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and Department of Education o It allows for legacy admissions of siblings within two years of graduation  o It allows for current fulltime faculty’s and/or Board of Education Member’s children • A computerized lottery is an equitable system used to assist with geographically mirroring the makeup of Sussex County • Sussex Tech does have a minimum of a 70 grade for primary eligibility, which is “passing” for most districts o This excludes a less than 1% of all applicants • Sussex Tech serves a diverse population(ethnically and economically) • Sussex Tech serves special education students and their families along with regular education students • Sussex Tech does not hand-pick students o They  (THE STUDENTS/PARENTS/GUARDIANS) pick Sussex Tech and their involved parents/guardians sign the application

This myth of Sussex Tech recruiting student comes from the fact that the Sussex Tech students are on average of a higher quality, and why is that? Is it because they don’t hold referendums? Is it because they have unlimited funding? No. It is because, in my view, they choose to go there, they make the effort to be accepted there. Both the student and the parents are motivated for that student to excel.

So, what’s wrong with Sussex Tech? Well some would say that it’s not right that the Sussex Tech Board is not elected by the citizens, and on this I may agree. Which brings us to Senator Brian Pettyjohn’s proposed legislation to change the Sussex Tech Board  from being a board made up of seven appointed members, into being made up of ten members elected by the citizens of Sussex County. These members would be elected from the five Sussex council manic districts, two each, for four-year terms, the elections to be held during general elections.

Okay, so I can go with that. But what I would hate to see is a board made up of people whose only intent was to destroy what has been a glowing success. Sometimes we as conservatives have a hard time accepting when government actually gets something right. There is often a knee jerk reaction to fight all things government, even the ones that do what they are charged with. Sussex Tech is charged with giving a quality education to the students that attend there, and in my opinion that is exactly what it does.

Of course an elected board will not satisfy the Tech Haters. The next step will be referendum on all spending and funding increases. I have no problem with referendum voting in individual school districts. I have voted in a few myself, I have voted to support some, and voted to defeat some. Again, I vote based on my views of the worthiness of the issue.

But my concern for putting Sussex Tech under the burden of a countywide referendum is the same concern I have for the people who call for a statewide form of referendum on spending. Certain areas of the state would control all votes, and in Sussex the more populated areas of the eastern part of the county would decide all the votes concerning Sussex Tech. This is an area with a large number of retired people who have moved here. They have no ties to the county, they have no children or even grandchildren in the school system, and they just may have an attitude of, “why should I pay higher taxes, I don’t have kids in the school”.

While I am leery of tinkering with something that clearly works well, I am willing to take a chance with an elected board, but a county-wide referendum would close the doors of Sussex Tech, and that would be a shame and a crime.

One last thing, if so many people are upset that so many students leave their home districts to attend Sussex Tech, then maybe they should be working within their districts to make them better and more competitive with Tech. Who knows, if all the districts were offering the same level of education, maybe there would be no need for a Tech.

34 Comments on "What’s Wrong With Sussex Tech?"

  1. waterpirate says:

    Taxation without elected representation is wrong. Many people who you see as ” tech haters ” are very curious about the fiscal responsability of the monies they are allready allocated. Many positions were funded by federal monies that is now going to expire according to WBOC reporting. A lot of people see this request to continue to fund positions beyond sunset of federal money, with no accountability to the people paying the tax.

    Many people feel that Tech is top heavy with to much administration not focused or accountable to the performance or success of the students. As a die hard fiscal conservative, I want transparancy and accountability at Tech, not a blank check that would double our tax burden over time.

  2. Frank Knotts says:

    WP, as I said, I too feel that an elected board may be needed, my concern is that it will be populated by people who want only to dismantle Tech.
    I am not sure that the “taxation without representation” actually fits here, since our elected officials are the final say in whether or not the increase in the “ceiling” is approved, not the board. And I wonder if you know how many other schools have asked for increases, and how many, in 23 years? This is only Tech’s second request. We went through three referendums in Woodbridge in about five years or so.
    You say, “not focused or accountable to the performance or success of the students.” Can you really argue the success of the students, since one of the arguments against Tech is that the students are too successful, that it should be nothing more than a trade school for students incapable of more?
    ” As a die hard fiscal conservative”, I look to see if I am getting my money’s worth, for the money spent, in this case I feel that we are.
    The number one beef of the Tech Haters is that the board in not elected by the citizens, so if the board were to be elected will that satisfy them?
    Or will they then demand referendum? If so just close the doors today and say that we no longer want the high quality education that Tech has offered the county. Think of all the money we would save by closing the doors, and then each home school district can attempt to fill the gap, and you can pay the higher taxes in your home district.
    Money alone cannot create the success of Tech, but starving the school of funding could surely ruin that success. And a county wide referendum for funding would be controlled by the eastern part of the county and in my view doom Tech to failure, which I believe is all that some want.

  3. Rick says:

    Now of course those people opposed could say that actually doubles the cost of supporting Sussex Tech, and they would be right.

    Atkins wants to double the rate for gun permits (and the length of validity), and he’s a tax-and-spend liberal. You want to double a tax, and you’re a conservative. I see.

    But we have to ask ourselves one question. What do we get for that cost?

    US News and World Report is well known for ranking colleges and high schools. They rate Delmar, Sussex Central and Indian River higher than Tech. This doesn’t mean that Tech isn’t a good school, just that it’s over-rated.

  4. Frank Knotts says:

    Rick, I never said that Tech was the best, I never attacked any other district. What I said was that I feel that Tech is a quality high school that for political reasons has come under attack by some who simply want to bring it down for no better reason than they don’t like the process of how it is funded.
    But since you bring up these other districts, how many referendums have they held and passed in the past twenty three years? Both Cape and Indian River recently build large and expensive high schools, it can be debated and was, whether they were really needed. In those twenty three years Tech has only had one increase in the tax rate ceiling and is now asking for a second.
    As for your digression into defending John Atkins again, let us apply my above statement about my conservative views.
    I said, ” As a die hard fiscal conservative”, I look to see if I am getting my money’s worth, for the money spent, in this case I feel that we are.”
    In regards to the concealed carry permit tax increase that Mr. Atkins voted for, well what did citizens get for that increase? Nothing. First of all why do citizens have to apply for the permit to begin with? Second by raising the fees, and lengthening the terms, the citizens were getting less for more. So according to my statement that was not money well spent.
    However, in my view, the money we spend on Sussex Tech is well spent, since what we get are well educated students. The support for Tech is only 6 to 7% of Sussex County tax payers tax burden, as compared to 80 to 84% for the home districts.
    I have said that I can see the benefit of having an elected board, but worry that it would be populated by people who only want to cut and burn.
    I do not think that a county wide referendum for funding would be a good idea because so many people would have a vote, when they have nothing invested in the fight but money, no kids in the school, and no relationship to the area beyond having moved here to retire.
    I think there is a compromise, we will see if the Tech haters will be willing to find a middle ground , or will they insist on a complete destruction of Tech.

  5. saltyindependent says:

    they used race to the top money to fund positions and now the money is gone. they currently have:

    a superintendent
    an assistant superintendent
    a cfo
    a curriculum person
    an adult ed person
    a transportation person

    the above are “district” admin, by the way try finding a list of names for the district office on their website.

    in the building

    4 assistants
    a dean of students
    an athletic director
    numerous counselors

    i’m sure its a good school, but not sure how one high school warrants this many administrators.

  6. Frank Knotts says:

    Salty, go here http://www.sussexvt.k12.de.us/district/ then click on District Info, and then About Us and scroll down.
    May not be all of the positions you listed.
    However you listed “adult education person”, I believe the adult ed is a separate program and the funding is separate and has nothing to do with the Board, or the funding that is being asked for.
    As for the other positions like transportation person, and curriculum person, I am willing to bet that every district has these positions.
    As for the in school positions,
    4 assistants
    a dean of students
    an athletic director
    numerous counselors
    When I went to Dover High School in the 70’s we had three assistant principles and three counselors, don’t think an athletic director is unusual either.
    Unless you are calling for these types of positions to be eliminated from all schools not sure the point of listing them here.

  7. waterpirate says:

    I think the point is that many feel that the RTTT money was squandered on administration, and without an elected school board to answer for decisions that get made, it smells like a “big ole barrel of pork “. I also do not understand why toy fear the input from the Eastern side of the County so much. If a publicly funded entity is in Sussex County then all of Sussex County should get to decide its fate. I support ST but feel that we are paying for duplicate services, sound familiar? With an elected Board and allocation of money going to referendum, like all the other Districts, it will be an even playing field. If the will of the many win out against the few, Democracy works, even if it is a bitter pill to swallow for the few.

  8. Rick says:

    More and more money for over-paid administrators and a dumbed-down ciriccula- men who attended one-room-schools helped build the a-bomb and put a man on the moon. It’s not where you learn, but what you learn, and with the fed’s ever-expanding role, you can expect more pablum, more propaganda and less real education.

    Expect US students’ performance on international tests to continue to decline. The new, dumbed-down SAT may enhance self-esteem, but when our students have to take a real test- particularly in math- they get a harsh reality check.

    I often hear administrators say “we need to teach our children how to think.” What does that mean? Since many students have a higher IQ than their teachers, isn’t it a bit pretentious to believe that the individual with less natural ability would have any means to enhance what is innate- thinking?

    There is no verbal expression for mathematical formulae; they have to be learned by rote. The same can be said for the periodic table and an advanced vocabulary. But these things are hard; so let’s dumb it all down. We’ll teach our kids to “think,” and they’ll feel good about themselves, and they won’t know anything.

    Of course, from Mann and Dewey on down, the goal of the elite of academia has been to use public education as a tool for social engineering. Equal outcomes and all that. It took several decades to accomplish, but we’ve finally arrived. As a result, we’re growing rows and rows of cabbages.

    People must augment their child’s education. The public schools are failing. Unless you believe that tests are inherently “unfair, racist, biased” and so on, you have to recognize that international tests reflect reality- in a few decades we have fallen from the top of the list to middle-of-the-pack. So now we double-down on mediocrity. More and better cabbages.

  9. Frank Knotts says:

    Rick, all valid points, but you are talking about the education system in general, right now we are talking about redefining how Sussex Tech is run and funded, so I will address WP.
    WP says, “I think the point is that many feel that the RTTT money was squandered on administration, and without an elected school board to answer for decisions that get made, it smells like a “big ole barrel of pork “.
    How is Tech any different than the other districts the took the bait and wasted it, like Seaford. They had an elected board and took the money anyway. To the point of RTTT money, it’s not about how it was spent, it was always going to run out, everyone knew that from the start, it was that they took it at all, and having an elected board didn’t stop that.
    But let me again say, I am not against an elected board, I am against electing people who would slash, cut and burn in an attempt to dismantle what is a quality school.
    WP then says, ” With an elected Board and allocation of money going to referendum, like all the other Districts, it will be an even playing field. ”
    But WP, Tech is not like all other districts. When you hold a referendum in Woodbridge only the people who live in that district vote. Many have had, or have children in the schools, many have gone to those schools, there is a sense of community.
    My fear is that if funding for Tech is put up to a countywide referendum, the number of people who have never had children, never will have children in the schools here, let alone Tech, will far out number those who do, there will not be that sense of community to help guide people
    ‘s vote, only their sense of the dollar. Far too often the fear of spending a dollar is hidden behind a call for democracy and representation.
    Which brings me to your other statement, ” If the will of the many win out against the few, Democracy works, even if it is a bitter pill to swallow for the few.”
    I have to tell you, I am growing weary of this argument, the Spock logic, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one”. Others were using it to justify Obama care.
    We do not live in a democracy, we live in a republic, and James Madison said,”In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority”.
    Everyone keeps talking about not having any say in how Tech is run, or funded.
    But the tax rate ceiling increase has to be approved by our elected representatives. If you don’t like the way they voted on the last increase request, you know the only one in twenty three years, then vote them out next time they stand for election. There is your representation.

  10. waterpirate says:

    I am not a good cut and paster, so bear with me. I am pointing out how not having a voice in the spending of that money, due to no board control makes it different from all the other districts you use as examples.

    You made me throw up a little in my mouth when you start talking about sense of community not being applied county wide, and your anti Spock logic. we must co exist as a community, and the way we do that is by being rational and fair minded and letting the many decide. That means that if you are in one case or the other a member of the few, you voice your opposition, but swallow that pill like a grown up. You appear to be harboring the notion that we need to protect ST as it exists now by manipulating who can and can not influence its destiny, i.e. the entire county which it is to be serving. I support ST having an elected board. I also support that elected board representing the people who ellected them to guide ST future, by referendum vote in regard to tax increases. As to the future and fate of ST moving forward and what it will become or transition into, or maybe stay status quo should be left up to a board elected by the people, who are represented by the entire county.

  11. Frank Knotts says:

    WP, and I was only pointing out that having that control has made little difference in those other districts.
    Okay when I used the term “sense of community”, I meant around the district in question, be it Woodbridge, or Tech. When you hold a referendum in WB the people who vote are a part of that community. In a way more than just monetarily. In a countywide referendum over Tech the majority of those voting likely will only be voting based on the amount of money, not based on the quality of education for the student in their district, likely their own kids in WB, likely not in Tech.
    Look I again say, I am in favor of the elected board making the decisions of how money is spent, and when, and also when to ask for increases, but to allow county wide votes on that would be a nonstarter in my view. Honestly, how do you think any referendum would go for Tech? I say again, you might as well close the doors now if that is what is in the future.
    So do we want Tech? or not?
    I don’t think it plausible to think we should go back to the half a day trips back and forth to the home schools, so we need to offer the academic classes as well at the tech schools. So are we saying that if a student in the eight grade thinks they want to be a plumber and applies to Tech, and then wants to change their mind in the tenth or eleventh grade and want to go to college, that we shouldn’t have been giving them the academic skills to do so? What is wrong with having mechanics that are college qualified, even if they don’t go?
    I think we can find common ground. An elected board that decides when and how to spend the money, but leave the actual decision on whether or not to spend with the Legislature. In my view that gets the people who want elected representation what they want on two levels. There is actually more hoops to jump through to get the increase than the home districts have to go through.
    That is unless all the people who want referendum are interested in is starving Tech.

  12. saltyindependent says:

    i am not trying to say that they have too many positions is the building. i am saying their “district” is only one school. why on earth would they need a district office equal to neighboring districts that have 8 or nine schools?

    i do not know if they have spent race to the top money on administrative positions, but the funding is most likely tied up in some sort of personnel.

    the deficit of four millions cannot be entirely explained by the fact that race the top money is going away.

  13. waterpirate says:

    Agreed we have a lot of common ground on this issue. The elected board is a good start. I do not feel that a county wide vote on ST is the death bell. A good comprimise would be to have input from the boards of the other districts in the county as to what real direction and purpose ST should take in prepareing our next generation for success? I have seen ST be one thing and transform to another, change is not allways bad.

  14. Frank Knotts says:

    WP, involving the other districts in the future of Tech would be like asking Wendy’s to decide what McDonalds should do to sell more burgers.
    The home districts should focus on their own issues and maybe fewer students would leave.
    Salty, not sure how it breaks down with the RTTT money, but we have to remember that TECH is not exactly like other districts. They have to liaison with the other districts, and Dover, and businesses. Not saying that all positions are essential, or that there isn’t room for cuts. My concern is as stated. With the current environment of Tech haters out there, I worry that the people elected to a board would see no essential position, and no money well spent.
    I hope that cooler heads will prevail, but those who are pushing for the change need to take a step back and consider the fact that Tech has been a quality school that has given a quality education to a lot of students.

  15. Harry Whittington says:

    Yes, Frank, I hear your argument from Tech parents all of the time, but just from Tech parents.

    If a child is disruptive at Indian River, Cape, Woodbridge, etc., the teachers have no choice but to deal with it. If students are arrested for crimes like drug dealing, robbery or rape, their home school has to keep them. If a student at any other public school in the state gets failing grades, they will be held back at their home school.

    Tech, however, can send criminal students back to their home district public school.

    Tech can send failing students back to their home district school.

    Tech can send disruptive students back to their home district school.

    Any statistics on Tech student scores is therefore fatally flawed, so are any statistics on Tech student’s college eligibility, behavior, criminal activity, etc.

    When I went to public school in Delaware it worked the OPPOSITE way. If you were convicted of a crime, if you failed out, if you were disruptive, violent, whatever the home school district could expel you and you would end up at the local Tech school getting your GED.

    Tech’s school board needs to be elected, and Tech needs to go to referendum, just like every other public school in the state. They need to keep their problem students and not have the luxury of sending them back to their home district school, just like every other public school in the state.

    Anything less is unacceptable.

  16. Techsupporter says:

    Harry Whittington say:

    Yes, Frank, I hear your argument from Tech parents all of the time, but just from Tech parents.

    If a child is disruptive at Indian River, Cape, Woodbridge, etc., the teachers have no choice but to deal with it. If students are arrested for crimes like drug dealing, robbery or rape, their home school has to keep them. If a student at any other public school in the state gets failing grades, they will be held back at their home school.

    Tech, however, can send criminal students back to their home district public school.

    Tech can send failing students back to their home district school.

    Tech can send disruptive students back to their home district school.

    This is the most ridiculous statement made on this entire post and one of the many untruths floating around the community about Sussex Tech. I would challenge anyone to find a kid that was”sent back” to their home school for discipline reasons or because they are failing. It doesn’t happen. Students return to their home schools by choice. Some of the reasons they return #1 They can’t handle the Academics/workload. #2 they don’t want to complete their senior project which is required of all students or
    #3 Athletics. This brings brings me to another misrepresentation floating around the community. Tech recruits athletes. If this is the case, where are all the conference banners for championships? Field Hockey and Softball are the only consistently “good” sports at the school. Athletics overall is average at best.

  17. Frank Knotts says:

    Well since Techsupporter already handled the claim of all these criminals being sent back to their home district I will move on.
    Harry is but the latest to call for an elected board, and a county wide referendum for tax increases.
    Harry I have said I support an elected board, but you along with everyone else calling for a referendum for funding are simply looking for a way to starve Tech out of competition. I assume you like WP and others are going to justify this referendum by saying that all the tax payers in the county pay for Tech so they should have a vote in how it is funded?
    Well let us apply this to your precious home districts.
    Since almost every referendum that a school district passes comes with matching funds from the state of Delaware, I guess that all school district referendums should be state wide votes, right?
    I mean if the people in New Castle County are expected to help pay for the new schools in Cape, or Indian River, shouldn’t they get a vote on it?
    How do you think those votes would go my friend?
    Now apply the same LOGIC to a county wide vote where Tech is seen as the enemy of the home districts.
    There is a compromise here, that is if the radical hard liners like yourself will be reasonable, an elected board to oversee the spending and to decide how the money is spent, but leave the decision of tax increases with the legislature. I say again this allows for the representation that everyone want. Think about it, the people of the county would be represented by the elected board, and the people of the state would be represented by their elected officials in Dover.
    But of course you radical hard liners will not go for anything less than 100% destruction of Tech.

  18. saltyindependent says:

    i’m cool with them getting as much money as they need as long as they take the kids who need that type of programming. at this point they get the money for the technical programming and exclude the students who need it most.

  19. waterpirate says:

    It is my understanding that SC is a perk for those that apply and meet te standard for enrollment. That perk comes at a cost. Abide by the rules or get sent back to your ome district. I am o.k. with that, to a point.

    Sc has played many roles in our community over the years. It is not a hard target, it changes and evolves as the needs or wants of the people change. I certainly do not want ST to ever go away, but it must meet the needs of te people that it serves, otherwise we have failed as stewards of our community.

  20. Anonymous says:

    This explains Techs http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/cape-board-calls-for-diversity-at-charters-sussex-tech/1145467test scores. Just more proof that they do cherry pick.

  21. Frank Knotts says:

    Anonymous, so the fact that a home district like Cape making these claims proves nothing. The state numbers are 24% and Tech is 17%. for a difference of 7. Not bad in a lottery system. I would be more concerned if the numbers were closer that tech was playing games. This is just the latest tactic of the Tech haters to now not only paint Tech as corrupt, but also racist. The question now becomes, how low will the tech haters go to destroy Tech?
    They have become so desparate that they are now calling for affirmative action tactics.
    If tech were forced to meet these standards, then why not all the districts? We can go back to the days of forced bussing to make sure that all the districts meet the standards set out in this proposal.

  22. Anon says:

    One of my favorite arguments made by districts that is parroted in the Cape Gazette article is this

    “In Seaford, he said, he knows of students who have tried to get in to Sussex Tech, but they were never put in the lottery for admission because they did not have a 70 percent average in all four content classes – Sussex Tech’s admission requirement for incoming students.”

    My question is why would the child be moving ahead to 9th grade at any school if they are not acheiving passing grades. What this really is, school districts promote kids all the way through the 8th grade who are not really passing, then they want to ship them out of the district. Instead how about we educate the children in all of our schools, not heard them like cattle from one grade to another until we can be rid of them?

    One other point, we have heard all the local districts complain about disappearing money from transportation budgets, they have make kids walk to school and cut programs because there was no budget for it. But Sussex Tech is the one school that has to bus to every corner of the county, but they didn’t require money. Now that they do need more money coming in we want to pass laws to change the way the system works. How come no legislator’s want to pass laws every time a referendum is proposed at another district. When Indian River was wasting money fighting a lawsuit that everyone knew they would lose over the right to pray, why didn’t someone speak up then? Or when a member of Cape Henlopen was trying to force her religious beliefs into the curriculum, where was the legislators?

    This is where the idea of one consolidated school district in Sussex County would eliminate all these questions and issues. One district for all the schools, one tax rate, with an appointed board, with one appointee coming from each rep or senate district and being chosen by that elected official. That way the board would reflect the most recent election results, if a district turns conservative after an election the newly elected official can replace the current board member with a person of his choosing. If that board member does something absurd while on the board like pulling students off a school bus without permission, or fighting a losing battle and wasting money on lawsuits, the elected official will have to answer for it come election time.

  23. RMagee says:

    I have read every one of the replies and will tell a Sussex Tech success story. I attended the old “Votech” system in the 80’s. I was enrolled with the Cape Henlopen School District and two full periods were used up for transportation to and from the school. This made no sense and a new High School was formed with a full academic curriculum added. I enjoyed my time at Votech and learned a lot while I was there, I still think of my Auto mechanics teacher Mr Slaughter and my Masonry Teacher Mr Dee and appreciate what I learned from them. My son decided he wanted a career in cars by the time he was in Selbyville Middle School. He had struggled with some of his classes but was able to get accepted at Sussex Tech. Patrick took Auto Mechanics his entire time, but was certainly challenged by the academic classes offered there and had some struggles with grades at times. Patrick went on to further his education in Auto mechanics and was able to move up in NASCAR and is currently a Car Chief in NASCAR’s highest division (Sprint Cup) on one of the largest teams. Patrick’s job is an extremely complex position where he has to perform and understand mathematical calculations, Suspension geometry and physics in an ultra competitive environment. Patrick works with three engineers, a crew chief and a full engineering R&D staff providing feedback. He then has to oversee several mechanics under him to set the cars up and provide a dialogue between the mechanics and engineers to troubleshoot performance problems. Patrick has truly become a cross between a mechanic and an engineer and beat out thousands of people for his current position. I can’t help but think that his experience at Tech with the shared importance of technical and academics helped him to be as successful as he has been. If your school has a problem with drug dealers or rapists, throw them out. If they can’t score 70% on the four core curriculum’s, fail them. I just hope you consider what Sussex Tech is successful at and let there be a place where our children can strive for more than the “norm”. How did we fall behind Japan and India? Maybe they provided better educational opportunities for their children than we did. At any rate dragging down a school that’s doing well to match them up makes little sense too me.

  24. Sylvia says:

    For those who live in the laurel district……have you checked your tax bill? Mine…
    SUSSEX TECH TAX- 83.75
    LAUREL SCHOOL TAX- 1134.67

    Library 14.34
    County 122.28
    Which school do you get the most education for YOUR dollar?

  25. Edwin says:

    Why are they about 500 over this year in terms of enrollment? What happened to the money from last school year? Why doesn’t the state give equal amounts of money to ALL public schools in the state of Delaware? How can they send students back to their home district because they are behavior problems? Why do they waste money on recruiting letters to potential candidates in 8th grade?

  26. Transplant says:

    I am Tech parent who has had children graduate from public schools and am now so happy to be involoved with a system that works with me as a parent. I have had 1/2 dozen emails from my grandson’s (who is not a straight A student or a jock) teachers including me in his academic process. This is a huge difference from previous schools, when I only heard from the school when my child was failing or in trouble. I didnt want to go down this road again so last year I started looking at options and visiting the different schools. The middle school staff was almost nasty when I mentioned Tech which I have to say pissed me off. My grandson was accepted to ST in the second lottery, thank goodness because as time passed during the application process he was ridiclued by even his best friend for thinking about going there! Now pepole, where does that come from? This is a beautiful area with a lot to offer and we are happy to be with ST and moving forward with an education without study halls or half days offered- this is prep for the rest of his life and he is loving every minute of it.

  27. Tara says:

    I am a Sussex Tech graduate, and it hurts me every time I see people spreading lies, and it makes me glad to see an article that is constructive in development for once.

    I will say this about what I gained from my time there. I went in unable to communicate well, unable to hold a conversation, and generally unprepared for the “real” world, albeit I was a good student on paper. The JROTC instructors gave me confidence by pushing me to attain leadership positions, my Electronics teachers assisted me in developing real and lasting problem solving skills that helped me achieve third place in the national SkillsUSA competition two years running, and my Criminal Justice teachers (I was a double major due to the Academic Challenge Program) showed me it was okay to have fun while learning about what I know. I gained support during a hard time with one science teacher who will always hold a place in my heart when people say teacher’s don’t care, and a physics teacher stayed after on many days when I needed help with advanced math homework because he saw I was struggling. I made friends there that I still talk to. Some went to college like me, some went into the military, and some have very good paying jobs at this moment.

    I now attend college full time, have a part time job, and just got notified that I have been accepted into one of my dream jobs, and one of the selling points was the varied education that I had at Sussex Tech that allowed me to accomplish many things in different fields. Many jobs today aren’t “just” one field. A person in hospitality must understand the law. A person working in a kitchen should have the engineering skills to keep their appliances running. Sussex Tech gives students that chance. And it’s not just because I was a double major that I ahd this varied education, but because Sussex Tech gives you classes that support your chosen technical area with this fact in mind.

  28. Frank Knotts says:

    I have to thank whoever linked this post, it raised my hits to a record level. I would really like to know where it was linked that worked so well, and to give a personal thank you to the person.
    RMagee, great story, and as a parent of a future teacher who I hold great faith in, I am sure that your story is not as unique as some might think. ST offers a safe environment with fewer of the distractions that the home schools are plagued with.
    Sylvia, great point thanks.
    Transplant, again, your story mirrors so many, including my own and that of many of my friends whose children attended ST.
    And Tara, don’t discount your own hard work in achieving your dreams, but it does help to have parents and teachers who support you.

  29. Frank Knotts says:

    Sorry, Edwin, your questions can most easily be answered by saying because it works. ST, works, kids come out with a better education.

  30. Tara says:

    Frank, I don’t, but Sussex Tech helped in ways you cannot imagine. I went to North Laurel, where I was bullied constantly, physically and verbally, then punished for fighting back when the teachers wouldn’t do anything. I went to a Christian school where I had to hide the books I read and couldn’t mention the videogames I played because they were “evil” in the eyes of some. Then I went to Tech where they helped me grow, and helped me realize I was good to go, nothing needed to change about me. If it wasn’t for Tech, I would likely still feel like there was something wrong with me for liking what I like, and for wanting to fight against those who only wish was to make me feel bad. Those schools might have changed since I went there, but those are my experiences.

  31. Edwin says:

    Frank, you didn’t answer my question about the increase in enrollment when it is suppose to be around 1,100. Why do they send letters out to perspective students? Do they really need to advertise?
    Sure it works! When a lottery is completed from a group of students where a vast majority want to learn as well as come from a home that is supportive of education, then I should be successful as an educator. What about the huge amount of money that was not properly used this past school year? Who is accountable?

  32. Frank Knotts says:

    Edwin, I can’t answer your enrolment question, other than to say if they can handle more students and still give the same quality education, then why not.
    As for your agreeing why it is successful, again, why not. O f course if student are motivated, and parents are supportive, then all will benefit. Should these students be dragged down by those who show up only to fill the day?
    As for the money? Contact you legislators.

  33. Edwin says:

    Frank, why not provide a proper setting as well as exemplary programs for ALL students at ALL public schools? As a public educator in Delaware, I am tired of “apples” being compared to “oranges”!
    However, I have to agree with the above description from Anon about one consolidated district in Sussex County. Oh, well, what does it matter what I think? I am sure that after the upcoming election things will change in favor of Sussex Tech.
    This old teacher of 23 years is there for the kids whether they want to be there or not. I am just tired of all the politics in education! So many people preach “small government”, but they send their children to a “big government” school like Poly Tech or Sussex Tech.

  34. mouse says:

    We need a real vocational school. There isn’t even course work at there one can take to become a plumber

Got something to say? Go for it!