Provide greater support and accountability to Priority Schools and ensure the State and districts collaboratively intervene in failing schools.
Once again we have the Delaware Governor and his Department of Education labeling schools as “failing”. This is based on standardized test scores. It doesn’t take into account the high number of low-income/poverty students, students with disabilities, and the students who bear witness to horrible violence which has a severe impact on their ability to learn.
Governor Markell put in $6 million for the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission redistricting plan and $1 million for the SAIL (afterschool) program. Charters have the recommended $500,000 for their “performance” fund which is the same as last year. $2.5 million would go towards “school improvement” funds (priority schools, focus schools). The Governor is recommending $4 million for “teacher compensation reform”. He nixed nearly $10.7 million in base teacher increase pays, but allowed for $5.3 million to cover inflationary costs. This is a $57 million dollar increase from the FY2016 budget for personnel costs so I am a bit confused on that one.
From what I can see, it looks like the Teacher/Leader Effectiveness Unit at the DOE is losing some funds. Secretary of Education Godowsky requested an increase from $1.8 million to $2.4 million, but Markell is recommending $1.75 million. Godowsky also wanted to double the state funding for technology operations from $2.8 million to $5.7 million, but Markell is looking at $3.6 million in his budget. SEED scholarships, which increase scholarships for Delaware students going to Community College, has a proposed $1.6 million increase.
What I do see is a $10 million increase in special needs programs.
Although it doesn’t explain the increase, I am assuming this is to cover the funding for Basic Special Education for Kindergarten to 3rd Grade students in Delaware. Currently, there is no state funding for these students with disabilities. This was one of the main recommendations from WEIC and is also pending legislation from State Rep. Kim Williams House Bill 30. It looks like, upon inspection of Senate Bill 175, which breaks down everything in the budget, these funds are going towards early education. Since the Race To The Top for Early Childhood Education ended, Markell is putting $11.35 million towards this. So Basic Special Education funding doesn’t get funding, but we are going to pay for early childhood “intervention”. I will have MUCH more to say about this one later. Many other special education programs remain the same, including alternative settings. Allocations for out-of-school placement, like Day Schools and Residential Treatment Centers looks the same as last year, even though costs for these programs have skyrocketed over the years.
On the Dept. of Health and Human Services budget, Markell is looking to increase funding for Autism by only $500,000.00, which is much less than the funds requested through Senate Bills 92 and 93. Altogether, the fiscal notes for those two bills totaled $1.3 million.
Many of the increases from the previous year are based on inflationary measures. In the below document, I’m not sure why the first page has all the black on it, but I will attempt to fix it later. Updated 4:58pm: I’m just going to put a picture of it in here…
And the detailed version, giving a full breakdown of where the money would go…