Lack of federal funding could mean cutbacks to Delaware education programs

 (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

While public school enrollment continues to grow, Delaware schools districts are bracing for federal funding cuts which could lead to layoffs.

The Department of Education went before the Joint Finance Committee on Wednesday where it announced an influx of nearly 2,000 students entering the public education system.

This means more teacher unit increases, a cost shared between the state and local districts.

Red Clay Superintendent Merv Daugherty went before the Joint Finance Committee on Wednesday to advocate a $12 million request so the state could continue to fund Response to Intervention (RTI) teachers.

The RTI teachers are able to work with smaller groups of students that fall into the tier two and three of the RTI guidelines for the subjects of reading and math.

“Students in RTI get an additional 90 to 100 minutes of help to give them the assistance they need to help get caught up,” said Daugherty.

Daugherty explained that as Race to the Top and other federal funding begin to expire, they would like to continue to fund some of the programs that have been successful.

“The issue is, we’ve seen it work and the goal was, if its working, we’d like to continue it,” he said.

While layoffs are a last resort, Daugherty said it might be the only option for some schools.

“Every superintendent in the state will work as hard as they can to not have to reduce,” he said. “But, at some point, you just don’t have the funding.”

The JFC will continue to hear budget requests through March.

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