Gov. Carney: Delawareans for Educational Opportunity, DE NAACP Agreement Makes Significant Investment in DE Schools

Settlement agreement in Chancery Court case would make Opportunity Funding permanent and expand funding for high-needs schools

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday announced an agreement with Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the Delaware NAACP to make significant new investments in Delaware public schools and dedicate additional funding for Delaware’s most disadvantaged students to help close achievement gaps.

The settlement agreement announced on Monday suspends litigation currently pending in Delaware’s Court of Chancery and creates a path forward to provide substantial additional support for Delaware schools, high-needs students and educators.

The agreement announced on Monday will:

  • More than double funding for Opportunity Funding to $60 million annually by Fiscal Year 2025, and make the weighted funding program permanent. Funding will increase automatically with enrollment beyond 2025.
  • Double funding for the Early Childhood Assistance Program (ECAP) to expand access to affordable early education.
  • Provide full funding for K-3 basic special education, consistent with grades 4-12.
  • Provide additional funding for teacher recruitment and retention in high-needs schools.

Opportunity Funding provides targeted funding – for the first time in Delaware’s history – for low-income students and English learners statewide. Members of the Delaware General Assembly must approve terms the agreement as part of the regular budget and legislative process.

“It’s important to make clear that both parties viewed this case and these settlement negotiations as an opportunity to make real progress for Delaware’s children,” said Governor Carney. “This is a path forward to support our most disadvantaged students and families – and one that will help close the persistent achievement gap in our schools.

“But our work is just getting started,” said Governor Carney. “The General Assembly will need to consider these changes as part of its regular budget process in Dover. I look forward to discussions with legislators. Delaware’s General Assembly has supported increased investments in public education over the last four years and I believe legislators of both parties will see the merit in this proposal.”

“Every student – regardless of zip code or background – deserves a high-quality public education. And yet, Delaware’s current education funding formula fails to account for the simple fact that in order to succeed, children with the greatest needs require the most support,” said Senator Elizabeth Lockman. “That is the reform we are all working towards and the settlement announced today marks a potential step forward in our efforts to create a funding formula that is truly equitable for all students. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to fully discuss the details of the proposal with my colleagues, parents, educators and taxpayers in the weeks ahead.”

“As a mother of two children who were identified very early as developmentally delayed, I know firsthand how important it is to have teachers in place to provide quality services,” said Representative Kim Williams, a longtime advocate for K-3 special education funding. “Research has proven that early identification and intervention are critical to a child’s overall success. By the time a child reaches third grade, they should be transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn. If we are committed to fundamentally improving the quality of education in our state, then we must make a commitment early on.”

“In 2015, while serving as Chair of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee, WEAC received input from thousands of Delawareans up and down the state – parents, lawmakers, educators, community partners, politicians alike,” said Dr. Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University. “That input continued when WEAC morphed into the Commission. At that time, not one person said that the last 60 years of K12 education for students from economically distressed communities was sustainable,  appropriate, or fair. The settlement reached today proves the point and represents a principled commitment to what I believe is a fundamental American right — every child’s access to a quality education.  In the spirit of the indomitable Louis L. Redding, Chancellor Collins Seitz, and many more, may we forever be compelled to a higher purpose and greater sense of responsibility for our fellow citizens – particularly the most vulnerable among us.”

“This agreement will continue our work to support the Delaware students and educators who need our help the most,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “Through our Opportunity Funding program, low-income students and young English learners already are receiving additional support, and that work will expand statewide. We will provide new services for young students with special needs, and early childhood education. Our team at the Department of Education looks forward to working with educators to make a real difference for Delaware children with these additional resources.”

“For years, our members have been advocating for the resources needed to meet the needs their of English Learners, low-income, and k-3 basic special education students,” said Stephanie Ingram, President of the Delaware State Education Association. “This sustainable funding will do just that and continue to supply educators with the resources they need. We are hopeful that the General Assembly will make this a permanent part of our funding, and address the structural short comings in education funding in Delaware.”

“On behalf of the Delaware Hispanic Commission and the many English Learners and their families, we want to thank Governor Carney and Secretary Bunting for their leadership in bringing the much-needed permanent funding for children who are at risk in Delaware,” said Javier Torrijos, chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission. “Children of poverty and English learners need the resources to keep pace with their peers. School districts will be able to look at long-term programs and provide the resources to meet these students’ needs.  We are extremely grateful and after many years of advocacy we see this as a major victory for all Delawareans and more importantly the future of our children and this great state.”


New members to join Teachers Advisory Council

Secretary of Education Susan Bunting welcomes the second cohort of her Teachers Advisory Council to gather feedback of educators from across the state.


Established last year, the council includes up to two teachers from each of the state’s 19 school districts and up to six charter school educators. Bunting aims for the group to facilitate communication, contribute to solutions, and help increase the voice of teachers in policy decisions.


“I greatly value the opportunity to hear directly from those who work closest with our children,” said Bunting, who also meets bi-monthly with current and past district/charter and state Teachers of the Year. “These educators see first-hand how our policy decisions are working in our schools.”


Advisory council members are recommended by their superintendents or the Delaware Charter School Network for the voluntary role. Bunting asks each to share his or her personal feelings as an individual rather than serve as a representative of a district or charter school’s position on an issue.


The 2019-20 members are:

  • Appoquinimink: Luke Crossan of Waters Middle School and Shelby Gordon of Bunker Hill Elementary School
  • Brandywine: Matt Hoopes of Concord High School and Jenna Magee of Lombardy Elementary School
  • Caesar Rodney: Melissa Rapp of Caesar Rodney High School and Kim Weber of Welch Elementary chool
  • Cape Henlopen: Greg Berman of Cape Henlopen High School and Shorel Clark of Brittingham Elementary School
  • Capital: Lesley Louder of Dover High School and Natascha Ward of William Henry Middle School
  • Charter: Guy Cooper of Providence Creek, Tami Lunsford of Newark Charter, Dara Savage of Early College High School, and Karen Willey of Sussex Academy
  • Christina: Christina James of Shue Medill Middle School and Kyle Reed of Gallaher Elementary School
  • Colonial: April Bullen of McCullough Middle School
  • Delmar: Ryan Shockley of Delmar Middle School and Sonja Warner of Delmar High School
  • Indian River: Dana Lambert of Lord Baltimore Elementary School and Clarissa Oglesby of Sussex Central High School
  • Lake Forest: Jennifer Louder of Lake Forest North Elementary School and Wendy Rust of Lake Forest High School
  • Laurel: Danielle Eastgate of Laurel High School and Ali Voss of Laurel Elementary School
  • Milford: Nick Jefferson of Milford High School and Kim Sekscinski of Mispillion Elementary School
  • New Castle County Vo-Tech: Andrea Green of St. Georges Technical High School and Angie Parsons of Hodgson Vocational Technical High School
  • POLYTECH: Tina Lykens and Cameron Sweeney of POLYTECH High School
  • Red Clay Consolidated: Kathy Gormley of Highlands Elementary and Barbara Prillaman of Conrad Schools of Science
  • Seaford: Marisa Clarke of Central Elementary and Robert Edmondson of Seaford Middle School
  • Smyrna: Catherine Evans of Sunnyside Elementary and Jennifer MacDonald of Smyrna High
  • Sussex Tech: Carolyn Maull and Tony Varrato of Sussex Technical High School
  • Woodbridge: Katie Kotowski of Woodbridge High School (only one teacher designated)


The first meeting of the 2019-20 school year is at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18 at the Collette Education Resource Center, 35 Commerce Way in Dover. The group will meet every other month to discuss a variety of issues affecting teachers.


Media contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006

Applications now open for high-needs educator student loan payment program

Delaware educators who work in high-needs districts or content areas are eligible to apply for this year’s High Needs Educator Student Loan Payment program.


Created under Governor John Carney, Delaware’s educator student loan repayment program provides eligible educators with up to $2,000 a year to repay their student loans. Educators who work in certification areas in which Delaware has a shortage or educators who work in Delaware high-needs schools are eligible to apply.


Educators can apply for the loan repayment program online ( through 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 1, 2019.


For the 2019-2020 academic year, the budget for this program increased to $700,000.


Learn more about the importance of the program from first-year recipients at


Media Contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006

State awards $2.6 million in grants to 85 schools

Students in 85 schools across the state will benefit from $2.6 million in grants awarded today by the Delaware Department of Education.


This is the fourth year the department has awarded Reimagining Professional Learning grants to support the work of schools committed to improving the quality and efficacy of professional learning for teachers in Delaware and thus increase learning opportunities and outcomes for students.


The schools represent 16 districts, four charter schools, and two Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families schools.


“These grants have the potential to enhance learning outcomes for more than 54,000 students,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said.


To date, the Reimagining Professional Learning Grants have provided more than $1.1 million to fund initiatives in 74 schools. In the 2018-19 school year, the $541,500 in grants to 32 schools impacted more than 750 teachers and more than 22,000 students. This year, the number of schools receiving grants more than doubled, as did the number of students who will be impacted by that funding.


This year’s grantees plan a variety of programs, many dealing with implementing high quality instructional materials in both mathematics and English language arts, closing achievement gaps among subgroups of students, starting after-school programs, hiring full-time learning coaches, creating multi-tiered systems of support, providing instruction in academic and trauma-informed teaching strategies, and cultivating professional learning communities that use data to inform practice and participate in a continuous cycle of improvement.




Media Contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006.

Delaware Future Educators Win A National Conference

Delaware high school students interested in education careers recently brought home awards from a national Educators Rising Conference in Dallas. Delaware’s delegation also got a chance to hear from experts in the field of education, including 2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson.


School participating included: Delmar High School, Hodgson Vo-Tech High School, Indian River High School, POLYTECH High School, St. George’s Technical High School, Smyrna High School, Sussex Central High School and Sussex Technical High School.


The following students placed nationally:


Lesson Planning & Delivery – Humanities – Top 10: Denis Torres Ruiz from Smyrna


Children’s Literature K-3 – Second place: Alexa Alcocer-Nunez and Christa Watson from St. Georges


Exploring Support Services – Top 10: Riley Murray from Indian River


Exploring Education Administration Careers – First place: Beverly Cobos from St. George’s Technical High School


Public Speaking – Second place: Grace Morris from Sussex Tech


Public Speaking – Third place: Caitlyn Thomas from Smyrna


Researching Learning Challenges – Top 10: Smyrna


Educators Rising is a career and technical student organization for students enrolled in the Teacher Academy who are interested in pursuing a career in education.