Jan 27, 2022
This report is the first of three annual reports evaluating the implementation and effects of two newly expanded Delaware weighted education funding programs, the Opportunity Fund and the Student Success Block Grant (SSBG). The authors use program applications, expenditure data, and local education agency (LEA) leader surveys to examine implementation and LEA-reported best practices during the 2019–2020 school year.
This report is the first of three annual reports evaluating the implementation and effects of two newly expanded Delaware weighted education funding programs, the Opportunity Fund and the Student Success Block Grant (SSBG). The Opportunity Fund provides two streams of financial support — a flexible fund for local education agencies (LEAs) to fund staff, curricula, or services that serve low-income (LI) and English learner (EL) students and a second fund for either mental health supports or reading supports for high-need schools. The SSBG also provides two streams — one offering funding to LEAs based on the number of K–3 basic special education enrollees and a second that covers the hiring of reading interventionists at high-need elementary schools.
The authors examine Opportunity Fund and SSBG programs implementation and emerging best practices according to LEA leaders in 2019–2020. Specifically, they examine how LEAs planned to use the funds and how they were actually used; expenditures under the funding mechanisms; and LEA leaders' reported barriers to implementing their plans and best practices for serving EL, LI, and special education students.
The report will be of interest to Delaware state-level policymakers in the executive and legislative branches, including Delaware Department of Education and legislative staff, as well as other stakeholders in the public and private sectors interested in the potential for strategic investments in the early elementary grades to improve student outcomes. The findings should be of interest to policymakers in other parts of the United States who are considering or making similar investments.