House Education Committee considers school funding, school board qualifications
The House Education Committee forwarded a resolution to seek ways to modernize Delaware’s education funding system.
The resolution is a product of the settled lawsuit from last year that demanded changes to the state’s education funding system.
It calls for immediate investment of targeted funding for student needs, and describes the need for additional action from the General Assembly to update and modernize underlying education funding issues.
While supporting it, some committee members argued you can’t just throw money at education to help fix the system.
State Rep. Nnamdi Chukwuochoa (D-Wilmington) is the resolution sponsor, and says it calls for open dialogue about education funding.
"Our intent for this resolution is to truly say we want to have a very open and honest discussion about what works and what doesn't work within our current funding system, and how can we address it, how can we truly have a funding system? One that is equitable and fair where the resources are truly helping us to meet the needs of our students from end-to-end of our state, that's our intent," said Chukwuochoa.
House Concurrent Resolution 24 also calls for the Department of Education to develop a report on systemic inequities in the current funding system to help inform future legislation.
It now heads to the full House.
The House Education Committee also advances legislation to remove school board members or disqualify school board candidates if they commit certain serious crimes.
The bill calls for school board candidates to undergo the same background check required of Delaware educators, and allows the Department of Election to disqualify candidates based on those checks.
It would also require a suspension of a sitting school board member charged with a disqualifying crime and removal if convicted.
Some Education committee members were concerned about setting possible tougher standards for other elected officials.
State Rep. Paul Baumbach (D-Newark) is one of the bill’s sponsors He says this legislation mirrors state constitution language for disciplining General Assembly members.
"This is, I think, warranted and again this is one that the organization of the school boards is requesting that the General Assembly adopt to empower them to have the authority to in a very clear and due process way be able to discipline their members and remove under the right circumstances as the legislature is able to do to our members," said Baumbach.
This bill now heads to the full House. It already passed in the Senate.