Tomorrow night, the Delaware Department of Education will hold the first meeting on education funding. More specifically, cleaning up the hot mess where you can’t really tell how over a billion dollars in taxpayer dollars is spent. The meeting is tomorrow (Monday) from 5-7pm at the Townsend Building in the 2nd Floor Cabinet Room.
I’ve been pushing for more transparency with this for years. I love how the DOE ignores a federal mandate that passed in 2015 and waits three years to do something about it. Here is the problem- none of our districts and charters code things the same way. It makes it impossible to accurately compare. One district may put something as “maintenance” while a charter school puts it as “operational costs”.
Nothing will satisfy me until there is a uniform coding structure for EVERYTHING. That is the only way we can unravel what appears to be a Gordian knot. And EVERYTHING has to be published in a clear and concise manner so people can understand it. The current Delaware Online Checkbook is useless. By the time you can figure the damn thing out it either freezes on you or you give up.
Senate Bill #172 is the state version of what the Every Student Succeeds Act already requires. But it isn’t what is needed. It would help a little bit but not the massive change that is needed. My sense is the DOE already knows what they want and they are just putting on their dog and pony show to say the people wanted what they already want. Seen it many times folks! Don’t be fooled. To read the final version of SB #172 with amendments, read here. There should be NO exclusions when it comes to transparency of taxpayer dollars. It is past time The First State became #1 with transparency.
If you have the means and the time, I would get there. Sign up for public comment and just go for the throat. Tell them you want to see every penny accounted for, by school and NO EXCEPTIONS! You get five minutes for public comment so make it count! This is what the DOE is looking for from the public according to their post on the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar:
The Department of Education will develop a standardized approach with input from district/charter leaders and other community members. To that end, three public meetings are scheduled for this fall so DOE can share its vision and hear from members of the public. Public comment will be limited to five minutes per person; DOE will accept written comments at any of the meetings or via email by Friday, October 12th to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Senate Bill 172, passed by the 149th General Assembly this spring, require the development of a statewide approach to define and report school-level expenditures so school leaders and the public can better compare per-pupil spending across Delaware. The Department of Education (DOE) will begin reporting school-level per-pupil expenditures in Dec. 2019.