The Delaware Department of Education announced Thursday that the state of Delaware will provide $9 million in one-time funding to Delaware school districts and charter schools to prevent educator and staff layoffs due to enrollment reductions.
To receive the one-time funding, based on enrollments, districts and charters must certify they will not lay off educators or staff, and that the extra money will go toward student instruction. It must be used to to help students who have been most negatively impacted by the loss of in-person instruction.
The department said districts and charters will receive as much as $1.1 million in additional state funding to prevent layoffs.
School enrollment has been down, with many families turning to home schooling or private schools, state officials said. But costs are up, because of COVID-19 and because many left in the system are special needs students who require higher expenditures.
“This funding will give our educators and students the stability they need as they finish this unprecedented school year,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, secretary of the Department of Education. “Whether our children have chosen hybrid or remote learning for the spring semester, they will highly profit from the instructional consistency and learning support that the current staff offers.”
The state teachers’ union and administrators praised the decision.
“We thank the governor and secretary of education for this funding, which will avoid the negative impact of the decline in enrollment due to this pandemic. At a time when educators have so much to worry about, this solution means they won’t have to worry about layoffs this year,” said Stephanie Ingram, president of the Delaware State Education Association. “Instead, educators can continue to focus on safety, health, instruction and student learning.”
“Enrollment this year has been particularly transient due to the harsh realities our families have faced due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Dan Shelton, superintendent of Christina School District and president of the Chief School Officers’ Association. “Our educators are working tirelessly to engage students in new ways, under changing conditions. This recognition goes a long way in helping to meet the needs of our students, staff and families as we navigate this pandemic together.”
“The funds received through this agreement will be used to maintain critical jobs and best support students in our district communities,” said Dr. Jason S. Hale, chief financial officer for Brandywine School District. “On behalf of school districts across the state, I would like to thank the Governor for his support and recognize the efforts of the Secretary of Education, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and all those who worked to come to this resolution. This collaborative effort shows the collective commitment to the students of Delaware and those that serve them. This is a great day for education in the State of Delaware.”
“I am overwhelmed by this recognition of the issues facing schools. This critical support for our school will help ensure that we can continue to provide the increased assistance for our students that has been necessary during this unprecedented time,” said Ed Emmett, head of school at Positive Outcomes Charter School. “By providing for the unique challenges this pandemic has brought to our school’s budget, the State and Department of Education recognize that our faculty and staff are our most precious resource.”