Will New Education Legislation Adding $11 Million More To Delaware’s Shrinking Budget “SAIL” Through The General Assembly?

Amidst all the craziness surrounding the SAT/Smarter Balanced Announcement yesterday, this one flew under the radar.  Delaware State Rep. Valerie Longhurst is introducing legislation next week to add $11 million dollar to the Delaware State Budget to fund afterschool programs in Title I schools across Delaware.  Whether this is part of the WEIC funding, Matt Denn’s plans for the foreclosure settlement funds, or new allocations of state funds is not certain.  But with Delaware facing a deficit of unknown amounts for FY2017, we sure are spending a lot of money fast!  From the Delaware House Democrats website:

Lawmakers Plan New Statewide Afterschool Initiative

DELAWARE CITY – Thousands of Delaware students across the state would gain access to new, high-quality afterschool programs providing homework help, enrichment activities and an extended school meal plan under a bill unveiled today at Gunning Bedford Middle School.

House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, lead sponsor of the legislation, said the measure is designed to help students become more effective learners and achieve better outcomes both in and outside their classrooms.

“We know that quality afterschool programs keep kids engaged, boost attendance and enhance literacy, improving the likelihood that our students will stay in school and earn their diplomas,” said Rep. Longhurst, D-Bear. “We have a great core of organizations in our communities that have spent years showing us these outcomes, and it’s time for the state and our school districts to step up and bring these proven practices to even more kids throughout Delaware.”

The bill announced today would establish the Statewide Afterschool Initiative Learning Program, dubbed the SAIL Program, to provide grants to high-need schools as identified under federal Title I regulations. To qualify for SAIL grants, schools must offer at least three hours of afterschool programming four to five days each week during the school year for students in kindergarten through 10th grade. With a ratio of one teacher to 10 students, qualifying programs would consist of at least one hour of homework help and one hour of enrichment activities each day, as well as a healthy meal.

The legislation also provides for a direct link between the SAIL Program and school-day learning activities by requiring communication among SAIL staff and teachers via existing computer-based student information systems.

Working partnerships with longstanding afterschool program providers would be encouraged under the legislation, allowing them to expand the reach of their services.

“After school programs have proven to strengthen student performance, particularly their ability to complete daily assignments in a way that truly helps them grasp the subject matter,” said Sen. Nicole Poore, D-New Castle. “Not only do after school programs offer an environment conducive to learning, but they offer a support structure of educators and peers that together can build confidence and self-belief in our students.”

According to a 2014 parent survey conducted by the Afterschool Alliance, more than 26,000 Delaware students participate in afterschool programs. But, the survey also found that a total of 48,000 students would be likely to participate in an afterschool program if one was available.

“Quality after school programs are important for helping kids learn and grow, and for keeping kids away from people and places that might lead them down a bad path,” said Attorney General Matt Denn. “They show kids that people care about them and they help make neighborhoods and communities safer.”

Criminal justice research also supports bolstering afterschool programs. The hours from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. are routinely cited as the most dangerous time of day for youth and crime, representing the peak time when young people are likely to commit crimes or become victims of crime. An estimated 11 million youths in the United States are unsupervised afterschool each day.

“This legislation will provide much needed help to our schools for extra time assistance,” said Colonial School District Superintendent Dr. Dusty Blakey. “It will allow more students to receive afterschool help or provide time and resources for other activities that support student growth and students success.”

Initial funding for the SAIL Program grant fund is slated to be $10 million, subject to the appropriations process in the House and Senate. The legislation will be filed next week and will be assigned to the House Education Committee.

4 thoughts on “Will New Education Legislation Adding $11 Million More To Delaware’s Shrinking Budget “SAIL” Through The General Assembly?

  1. 1. $10 million is the fiscal note for this. Where the heck is the state getting the money for this? A decent program at just one school would be massively expensive under the proposed stipulations.
    2. Schools will have to apply for grants to DOE complying with all of the stuff in this bill. Which schools do you think will be able to accomplish this?
    3. Does the state pay for after care programs in any of these school areas? Will money to those programs no longer be extended? Doesn’t the state already pay for afterschool nutrition programs? (The Food Bank is included on the task force.) How will these programs be coordinated?
    4. Which teachers are going to do this? How will teachers be paid? EPER? This is a hard job. Where are the education majors who will be working under the certified teacher be coming from?
    5. While it is lovely that there is a component in the bill for evaluation, will schools which improve have their grants renewed while schools which don’t not? (Isn’t there incentive then for schools to take kids whose parents will work with the school, etc?) And don’t those “other” kids need the services more?
    John Kowalko

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As I posted on Delaware Online:
    “This is something we know works.” (a quote from a legislator)
    Knowing something works and thinking this bill is the answer are two different things. As it stands this is an irresponsible bill. Did the sponsoring lawmakers do a study to find out how much a program like this actually costs to implement and sustain? (If it was done why wouldn’t we know about it?) Of course, if it were done we would know why this is being presented as a prize for the best grant writing school instead of an earnest attempt to provide funds for struggling children. This isn’t even being presented as a pilot program. I can read the future of these grants, like so many others that the state has put forth: parceled out to various schools but not quite enough to do actual good or to maintain the programs. “This will sail through” because legislators want to look like they’re doing something for kids in an election year? That’s pretty sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Teachers are to teach children, not raise them! This is just making the school day longer, which will make the work day longer. Then daycare centers will watch kids to 8pm because they will loose money and the family structure will continue to erode and society will get even worse. Bad idea…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think this is a great idea….especially for the low income areas of Delaware. Parents are already working longer and putting their kids in afterschool programs or they have latch key kids. Low income families can’t afford afterschool care, so I hope that this will help these areas. I’m not sure where the funding would come from, but I do think it might be a step in the right direction.

    Like

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