In 2014, the Department of Education reported on DOE’s School Profile Page 35% of our Delaware public school students are low income and another 13.9% are students with disabilities. The September 30th Enrollment number for the 2014-2015 school year reported that 134,932 students were enrolled in Delaware public schools.
The total number of students attending public school in Delaware is reported to be 134,932 with 47,226 being low income students and 18,756 students being students with disabilities.
I asked the Department of Education how many of the 18,756 students with disabilities are low income and their answer was 45% of the students with disabilities are also low income students 8,440.
Delaware provides additional funding for students with disabilities, there are three categories: Basic Special Education, Intensive Special Education, and Complex Special Education. Currently, Delaware does not fund a Basic Special Education student who is enrolled in Kindergarten through 3rd grade, go to § 1703 Unit of pupils for more details.
- Preschool — 12.8
- K-3 — 16.2
- 4-12 Regular Education — 20
- 4-12 Basic Special Education (Basic) — 8.4
- Pre K-12 Intensive Special Education (Intensive) — 6
- Pre K-12 Complex Special Education (Complex) — 2.6
January 2015, I introduced a bill, House Bill 30, which would add Basic Special Education funding for grades Kindergarten to 3rd grade. The House Education Committee released it and it was assigned to the House Appropriations Committee in March.
|This bill provides State funding to kindergarten through third grade for basic special education. State funding already occurs for intensive and complex special education during these grades. Currently the basic special education funding runs from fourth through twelfth grade. This bill is an effort to promote earlier identification and assistance for basic special education needs which should then mitigate costs over the long term.
- 81% of our enrolled pre-k students were identified with a disability.
- There are currently 5,843 students (pre-k thru 3) identified last year in special education.
- In 2013-2014 67.89% of 3rd grade special education students were below standards compared to 24.34% of general education 3rd grade students.
- US DOE issued a report in June 2014 stating that Delaware was one of three states that was identified as “Needs Intervention” with respect to special education. The US DOE has targeted Delaware for federal intervention.
- 3rd grade is an important year for reading; this is the year that students move from learning to read, decoding words using their knowledge of the alphabet – to reading to learn.
- 3rd grade students who lack proficiency in reading are four times more likely to become high school dropouts.
- 3rd grade proficiency is crucial for continued academic success.
- House Bill 30 would add 136 more special education teachers to charters and district schools.
- Delaware school districts every year have to apply for a class size waiver Title 14 – Chapter § 1705A (c) if their Kindergarten thru 3rd grade classrooms exceeds 22 students on the last school day in October in ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies. The local school board may vote to waive this at a public meeting before December 1st of each year. This bill would help to reduce class size in grades Kindergarten through 3rd grades.
- The extra teachers will also help with Response to Intervention.
- RTI is a practice of providing high quality instruction and interventions matched to a student’s need.
- Tier 1 includes all students,
- Tier 2 students with insufficient progress in Tier 1 in reading.
- Tier 3 students are students who have not made progress in Tier 1 or Tier 2.
- I surveyed the 5 school districts with regards to their RTI numbers. A total of 23,550 RTI students including 3,346 students with a disability are either in Tier 1, 2 or 3. No additional resources are given to the districts in order to support this initiative.