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Independent Report Recommends Changes in How Delaware Funds Public Schools

Delaware education policy-makers are reviewing a number of recommended changes to the state’s education funding mechanism.

American Institutes for Research was contracted to study Delaware system following the settlement of litigation over the fairness of school funding. AIR presented its findings this week.

“For me, it’s more about a funding system that provides greater flexibility with accountability,” Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Holodick said. “We need better results, results meaning student achievement and performance. None of us should be satisfied with that, currently.”

The study indicated that Delaware needs to invest more into public education – up to $1-billion more – and make sure resources are distributed more based on the needs of students.

Holodick said the unit count, or enrollment, always drives funding to some extent.

“I think some would prefer instead of seeing units, to maybe see monies sent directly to the district and then to the schools,” Holodick said.

“Change is long overdue. We need more targeted state investment in our schools, particularly those that serve students from low-income families, students with disabilities and English learners,” Red Clay Consolidated School District Superintendent Dorrell Green said. “We need a system that better directs dollars based on student needs and gives districts more flexibility in how to spend state funding to meet those needs. We know change will not be easy or overnight, but this study gives us important information to move those conversations forward.”

“We have known change is needed, but we didn’t want to move forward blindly. We needed an independent deep dive into what is working elsewhere, what our strengths and needs are and ideas we can consider as a state to move forward,” Holodick added. “We have an opportunity to build upon the numerous initiatives and investments of the current administration, most notably Opportunity Funding, increased early childhood spending, mental health support and significant compensation increases.” 

In a statement, the ACLU of Delaware said was “proud to have played a role in the state’s commitment to repairing our education system following settlement agreements reached in 2020 between the state and our plaintiffs, Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the NAACP Delaware State Conference. The recently released assessment of Delaware public school funding, conducted as part of the settlement, was a key step in making sure all Delaware students receive the safe, equitable and proficient education they deserve.”

Source : WDEL