The second half of the 148th has been busy. Over the weekend, I will give you a run down of what has happened during this last week. Today, Governor Markell will give his final State of the State and the State Board of Education will be voting on the Wilmington Improvement Commission’s Final Plan.
Senate Joint Resolution Number 4 created the Education Funding Improvement Commission to review and make recommendations to modernize and improve Delaware’s System for Funding Public Education. The chair of this commission is former State Representative Scott from Dover. My impression from working with him on the House Education Committee, he is a big supporter of a weighted funding formula. I do not support removing the unit count; I support enhancing it by adding a weighted funding formula, like the state does for Special Education.
Note: The state does not fund Basic Special Education kindergarten through 3rd grades. I filed House Bill 30 last year, it is currently in House Appropriations Committee, this would add Basic Special Education funding for kindergarten through 3rd grades.
After attending the meeting this week, I got the impression that the recommendations may already be developed, I could be wrong. I think we are heading down a dangerous road if the unit count is removed completely. Just because something has been in place for many years does not always mean it is a bad thing. Lets see if this commission and WEIC Funding Student Success Committee agree on each others recommendations.
The commission is suppose to make recommendations regarding the following:
(1) Transitioning to a student-focused funding system and weighting funding based on demographic characteristics of students.
(2) Introducing more flexibility for the state, districts, and schools to raise and spend resources more effectively for their students.
(3) Improving the way revenues are collected and allocated for education throughout the State.
The Commission may also consider the following topics:
(1) The amount of funding necessary to prepare a student to be successful.
(2) More effective uses of current funding sources.
(3) Those groups of students that would benefit the most from receiving additional funding, such as low-income students, high-need students, rural students, and English language learners, and the amount of resources or nature of support that those groups would need to be successful.
(4) Adequacy of resources available for students with special needs.
(5) Whether additional resources are needed to better serve students who are homeless, have behavior challenges, or are adjudicated delinquent.
(6) Whether, and how, different types of funding should be allocated, including operational funds, capital funds, and grants.
(6) Ways to provide more flexibility for schools and districts to use funding to best serve student needs.
(7) Current and future system resource constraints and demographic trends.
Below is the DRAFT/INTERIM proposal: “Redistricting in the City of Wilmington and New Castle County: A Transition, Resource and Implementation Plan”
Below is the Appendix section that supports the DRAFT proposal.
If you wish to have your thoughts formally considered, you must submit them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, through the public comment submission webpage: https://docs.google.com/…/1af6f3vOPGdg2xIfowwfyOq_…/viewform, in writing to Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, c/o The Institute for Public Adminsitration, 111Academy Street, Newark, DE 19716, or in person at one of our public hearings taking place between November 30 and December 7. Dates, times and locations will be posted to this page and our website.
There is a Funding Student Success Meeting tomorrow at Baltz Elementary School from 2:00 until 4:00.
I really appreciate all the discussion going on during the Funding Student Success Committee, I have attended every meeting including the working group meetings. I am very concerned about the timeline that has been assigned to this committee and to the overall commission with regards to developing a total plan. The State Board is receiving an update at their October 15 meeting on the plan, (where are we) including the Funding Student Success plan, the plan is nowhere near done. The Funding Student Success committee has only met three times. I know everyone involved has wonderful intentions and believe in what they are doing, I just do not think there is enough time to get what they want and need done before the final recommendations/plan are due to the State Board.
I attended the Funding Student Success meeting on September 22 at Baltz Elementary School from 2:00 to 4:00. There were about 4 community members present. I have concerns about the timeline placed on this committee. They have three meetings left and I am not sure how they are going to come up with recommendations. The next funding meeting is October 6 at Baltz Elementary School.
- Overview of State Funding Impacts since Fiscal Year 2008
- State’s education budget has grown over the years due to more kids attending public schools
- House Bill 30 and 117 were endorsed in WEIC Final Report
- House Bill 117 – new funding source for low income students. The committee is not recommending this bill as written. They would like to see a low income bill structured like needs based funding.
- House Bill 30 – committee recommended this bill as written.
- Committee asked the University of Delaware to look at other states who use weighted formula to fund low income and ELL students.
- Committee discussed multi enrollment counts
The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission held their second meeting yesterday at William Penn High School from 4:00 to 6:00. There were about 30 members of the public there. Dr. Rich went over the tentative timeline. Mike Jackson the Deputy Controller General gave a presentation Delaware School Finance 101, very informative. William Penn High School Penn Bistro provided the commission with a wonderful assortment of snacks.
The next Wilmington Education Improvement Commission Meeting will be held on October 20, 2015 4:00 to 6:00 at Sarah Pyle Academy Gymnasium.
The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission will also be presenting to the Red Clay School Board on October 21, 2015 7:00 at Conrad Schools of Science.
Yesterday, I attended the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission – Funding Student Success at William Penn High School – 2:00 to 4:00. Mike Jackson (Deputy Controller General) and Jill Floore (Red Clay School District Chief Financial Officer) are the co-chairs of the committee, they went over the discussion/possible proposed action items.
Mike Jackson and Jill Floore are financial folks and I am grateful that they are co-chairing this committee. I am concerned about the timeline to have a plan in place by the end of October, which is only 6 weeks away, but I will wait and see what happens at the next few meetings. The quick timeline is due to the timing of when the final report must be presented to the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and the State Board of Education. I just want to point out that many of the members of this committee have backgrounds in school finances.
Discussion Items/Possible Proposed Action Items:
- Funding Low Income Students (House Bill 117)
- Funding Kindergarten – 3rd grade Basic Special Education (House Bill 30)
- I asked if funding for English Language Learners could/would be added to the prosed action items?
- Weighted Student Funding
- Multiple Enrollment Unit Counts
- Property Reassessment
- Tax Rates
- Funding – shifting population between districts
- Staffing impact on each district
- Facilities needs assessment (example new middle or high school, condition of existing building, etc.)
- City of Wilmington – Office of Education and Public Policy
- Early Childhood Learning
- Meeting the Needs of Students in Poverty Committee will look at this as well.
- Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge Grant – the grant is done, how are we going to fund early learning?
- College Access
- IRMC – Interagency Resource Management Committee
- The next meeting of the IRMC is December 2, 2015.
- IRMC’s Mission – Promote the development of a comprehensive and coordinated early childhood system, birth to eight, which provides the highest quality services and environment for Delaware’s children and their families.
- Look at equity in choice.
- I would suggest looking at transportation as well.
I attended the WEIC – 1st Redistricting Committee meeting on September 10th at Baltz Elementary School. There were about 13 people sitting in the audience and about half were University of DE or Red Clay staff the other people were members of the public. Dr. Rich spoke mostly about the history of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee.
One question that was asked by a member of the Redistricting Committee, “Why are the State Board of Education members not present at these meetings?”
I was wondering the same thing. The State Board will be voting on the plan, would it not make sense for them to attend the meetings so they can be well-informed when voting on the Commission’s plan.
- Christina School District – 1 of 4 discontinuous school districts in the country. If the plan is approved, Christina will no longer serve students who live in the city unless those students choice into Christina.
- Colonial School District – no schools in the City of Wilmington. About 300 Colonial students live in the city and about 150 of the students are choice students.
- Red Clay School District will serve the city along with the Brandywine School District.
Below is WEIC’s tentative timeline. This document was handed out at the meeting and is labeled DRAFT, so dates could change.
- November 30th thru December 4th – tentative period for four public hearings.
- December 8th – Commission meets to review possible revisions to draft plan.
- December 15th – Commission approves the Final Plan for submission to the State Board of Education.
- December 17th – Commission presents and submits Final Plan to State Board. This will be a discussion item on the State Board agenda, including public comment.
- January 21st – State Board acts on Commission Redistricting Plan as a complete package.
- February 11th – If the State Board of Education does not approve, Commission may revise and resubmit as a complete package by February 11th.
- March 10th – If the State Board of Education does not approve, Commission may revise and resubmit as a complete package by March 10th.
- March 31st – State Board of Education authority ends.
Tomorrow is the first Funding Student Success Committee meeting- 2:00 to 4:00 at William Penn High School.
After the Funding Student Success Committee meets the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission meets from 4:00 to 6:00 at William Penn High School.
Then, the Parent, Educator & Community Engagement Committee meets from 6:15 to 8:00 at William Penn High School.
The next Redistricting Meeting is September 24th – 4:00 at Graham Hall Room 185, 111 Academy Street, Newark, DE.
To view all future meetings, click here.