Denn repeats settlement fund spending plans for Delaware

 (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

(Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn outlined how he wants the state to spend the remaining $29 million left from funds paid to the state to settle allegations of market misconduct by financial institutions. 

Denn calls his plan “Lifting Up Delaware’s Communities”, and it’s very similar to a plan he unveiled in January. “Our proposal in January, and our proposal today, is that these funds be used to lift up our state’s hardest hit communities,” Denn said. “That’s what’s called for by the settlement agreement.”

Denn’s proposal includes nearly $8 million for extra teachers or paraprofessionals at 16 of the state’s highest poverty schools along. That $8 million would also fund after school and summer programs in low-income areas. Another $4 million would be earmarked for down payment assistance to homeowners who are willing to move into designated Downtown Development Districts. 

The proposal also calls for $3 million for drug treatment for inmates nearing release and those just released from prison. Another $3 million would fund non-profit groups helping inmates being released from committing new criminal offenses. 

Much of the proposal is the same from Denn’s January plan, but state lawmakers didn’t take his spending advice during this year’s legislative session. Instead, the General Assembly used five million to plug a hole in the state’s budget. The Joint Finance Committee approved spending another two million dollars on expanded policing efforts in high crime areas of Wilmington and Dover. Denn’s office supported that crime fighting effort.

“Most of the money is still in the escrow account,” Denn said. “I wish the other $5 million were still there, but the $29 million is still there which is the vast majority of it, and I’m hopeful that having a year now to discuss it, that they will be spent in these areas.”

The General Assembly returns to work in Dover next month.

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