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Bill Aimed at Newark Charter School Goes to Governor

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Senate lawmakers have given final approval to a bill prohibiting Delaware charter schools from giving enrollment preferences to children living within a 5-mile radius.

The bill was approved on a 12-to-4 vote Thursday and now goes to Gov. John Carney.

The bill applies to all charter schools but is aimed at Newark Charter, a predominantly white, high-performing school with a waiting list of more than 3,000 students.

Critics say Newark Charter uses the geographic preference to exclude minority and low-income students, while others say the preference helps maintain a neighborhood-school atmosphere.

The bill allows Newark Charter to extend the geographic preference to all students living in the surrounding Christina School District.

Lawmakers rejected an amendment to extend the preference to a separate, noncontiguous Christina enclave serving parts of inner-city Wilmington.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.