The Delaware Department of Education on Monday released a heavily anticipated independent study of Delaware’s education funding system that, among other things, the state should put more money into education, allocate money according to student need and allow districts flexibility in how that money is used.
The $700,000 study by the American Institutes for Research was a part of the recent education funding litigation settlement. It required an independent evaluation of the state’s education funding system, the DOE release said.
It’s more than 400s pages. The executive summary alone is 12.
The goal of the study was to analyze current education funding policies and make recommendations for improvements with a focus on equity for all students.
The work included a comprehensive analysis of existing funding, comparative analysis with other states, and feedback of stakeholders.
See the report yourself here.
The study made the following recommendations:
- Increase state investment in public education.
- Distribute more resources according to student need.
- Improve funding transparency.
- Allow more flexibility in how districts use resources.
- Regularly reassess property values.
- Simplify the calculation of the local share provided to charter schools.
- Implement a weighted student funding state funding formula.
The Vision Coalition of Delaware, Delaware Department of Education and American Institutes of Research will hold an in-person launch of the assessment today, Tuesday, from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus in Dover.
RELATED STORY: Backgrounder on how school fundiong report came about
School funding react
Secretary of Education Mark Holodick, who is a member of the coalition, said state leaders will use the findings to inform discussions on how to revise an education funding system most consider outdated.
“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 own strengths and needs are and ideas we can consider as a state to move forward,” he said in the DOE release. “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.”
Red Clay Consolidated School District Superintendent Dorrell Green also is a member of the Vision Coalition leadership team.
“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,” Green said in the DOE release. “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.”
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Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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