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Gov. Carney focuses on education, Wilmington in State of the State speech

Delaware Public Media

Gov. John Carney (D-Delaware) plans to make education a top priority this year.

Carney gave his State of the State speech before lawmakers Thursday, outlining his priorities for the next budget cycle.

Carney said Delaware needs to invest more in education. He wants to hire hundreds more teachers for schools across the state to keep up with growing enrollment.

He said he will push for putting additional resources into schools and neighborhoods in the First State’s largest city Wilmington, specifically through the partnership he’s working to finalize with the Christina School District.

“This may be the most difficult thing we do during this Administration, but it is clearly the most important," he said. "Next week, I’ll be coming to you with a budget request to help us with these efforts, and I’ll be asking for your support."

Christina School District schools in Wilmington serve a majority of low-income students and are some of the lowest performing in the state. The draft partnership would consolidate Christina city schools there and create new supports for students teachers and their families.

Carney also said he wants to reduce violence in Wilmington. The Department of Health and Social Services has started stationing caseworkers at libraries, community centers and probation offices.

“We can’t undo decades of distress in Wilmington in a single year," he said. "But working with the mayor and city leaders, we’re determined to turn the ship around.”

While Carney called for more spending and investments, he also called for cutting spending. In his speech, Carney pushed for better working conditions for state workers. The State of Delaware employs more people than anyone else in the state - and Carney wants to invest in them. He said he's already directed a review of current sexual harassment policies and hired a diversity officer.

“In the coming weeks, we will announce a series of changes to ensure that no state employee is made to feel uncomfortable or threatened at work. At the same time, we’ll be working to improve diversity and inclusion in every state agency.”

Carney adds state workers should be paid fairly, but didn’t elaborate on a possible pay increase. He said more details will come next week. Carney has already announced his support for paid family leave for state workers.

Carney also touched on creating other jobs in the state - saying he’ll soon unveil a public-private partnership to expand the Port of Wilmington. The said the he plan will include a new port facility at Edgemoor.

"These good-paying jobs stabilize families, and the neighborhoods where they live," he said. "Creating more port jobs is key to the economic success of our state."

But Carney is also calling for long-term also argued that Delaware can’t build new annual spending on one-time revenues.

Listen to Gov. John Carney's complete State of the State address

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