Heffernan Bill Would Provide Additional Funding for Low-Income Students


DOVER – Legislation creating an additional funding source for low-income Delaware public school students was introduced in the House of Representatives Tuesday.

Funding to Delaware public schools is provided on a per-student basis. Schools receive funding based on the number of students attending each school. The number of students correlates to a number of teaching units at each school.

Sponsored by Rep. Debra Heffernan, House Bill 117 would provide an additional unit of funding for every 250 low-income students in kindergarten through 12th grade. That additional funding could be used to provide additional teachers, paraprofessionals and counselors for classroom instruction, response to intervention services, and before and after school programs providing homework assistance, and for support for English language learners.

“Research has shown that low-income students struggle in school more often than others and would benefit greatly from additional resources,” said Rep. Heffernan, D-Brandywine Hundred South. “Providing an additional layer of funding would help pump more teachers, counselors and services directly into the schools that need it most so that all students have the best opportunity to succeed in life. It’s not enough to just identify the problem, we have to be willing to address the issue head-on.”

To ensure the low-income resources reach the schools where it’s most needed, HB 117 would require that at least 98 percent of the units be directed toward the schools that generate the funding unless otherwise waived by a local board of education during a public meeting.

HB 117, which also is supported by the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee, has been assigned to the House Education Committee.