Funded: State Policy Analysis

A Detailed Look at Each State's Funding Policies

Below, see summaries of the state’s education funding policy in each issue area. Click the Expand icon next to any summary to see more detail, if available, about that state’s policy regarding that issue area. Click the Citation icon
next to any summary to see the sources of the information regarding that issue area.
Delaware
Funding Basics
Formula Type

Delaware has a primarily resource-based formula. It determines the cost of delivering education in a district based on the cost of the resources, such as staff salaries and course materials, required to do so.

The state does not provide supplemental funding to cover the additional cost of educating other specific categories of students, although specific grade levels, students with disabilities, and students enrolled in career and technical education programs are considered in the allocation of funding for staff costs.

source(s):

Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 1704(4)
Source 2
Source 3

 

Base Amount

The state of Delaware uses a resource-based funding formula and therefore does not use a base per-student amount as the basis for its funding.

source(s):

Source 1

Expected Local Share

Delaware expects school districts to contribute some revenue to the funding of public schools through the imposition of property taxes, but no specific amount is expected of each district.

As part of Delaware’s funding formula, the state provides units of funding in amounts that are responsive to both the local per-student property tax valuation and the district’s level of property tax effort relative to the statewide average property tax effort. The state funding provided for staff salaries is intended, though not required, to cover 70% of a recommended average total competitive starting salary.

Other than in vocational-technical school districts, there is no limit on the amount of education revenue that Delaware districts are permitted to raise and spend.

source(s):

Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 1305 and § 1707

Student Characteristics
Grade Level

Delaware provides different levels of funding for students in different grade levels. It does so through its resource-based formula by specifying different student-to-funding-unit ratios for two different grade spans in grades K-12, and providing funding accordingly.

The state assigns a student-to-unit ratio of 16.2 to 1 for grades K-3 and of 20 to 1 for grades 4-12. These ratios determine the number of resource units to which a district is entitled.

Some of the unit funding is for employee salaries, and the amount of this funding in each unit is based on the particular staff employed in the district and their pay in accordance with the state salary schedule. The unit also includes set amounts for energy expenses and other school costs. The state restricts how a district may distribute this funding amount to its schools; 98% of the unit funding generated by each school’s pupils for staff salaries must be returned to that school.

source(s):

Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 1703-§ 1704

English-Language Learner

Delaware does not provide increased funding for English language learners.

However, the state provides one unit of funding, in an amount that varies from district to district, for every 250 students enrolled.  This funding is intended for the purpose of promoting academic excellence, and the authorizing statute lists a number of permissible uses, including programs for pupils with limited English proficiency.

source(s):
14 Del. C. § 1716.
Student Poverty

Delaware does not provide increased funding for students from low-income households.

However, the state provides funding, called academic excellence units, to every district in proportion to its enrollment size that is intended to support certain educational services. There is a list of suggested and permissible uses for this funding that includes programs for children at risk, which may be construed to include students from low-income households.

Special Education

Delaware funds special education using a resource-based system, determining the cost of delivering special education services in a district based on the cost of the resources, staff positions in particular, required to do so.

Special education students are categorized by the intensity of services they require (Basic, Intensive, or Complex), and each category has an assigned ratio of students per unit. Units are amounts of funding used to purchase school resources. The number of students a district serves in each category determines the number of units the district receives.

Some of the unit funding is for employee salaries, and the amount of this funding in each unit is based on the particular staff employed in the district and their pay in accordance with the state salary schedule. The unit also includes set amounts for energy expenses and other school costs.

source(s):

http://www.doe.k12.de.us/cms/lib09/DE01922744/Centricity/Domain/78/Needs%20Based%20Funding%20Presentation%202015%20-%202016.pdf; Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 1702; http://www.solutionsfordelawareschools.com/files/2015/08/education101_0915-169lbso.pdf

Gifted

Delaware provides additional resources for gifted and talented students in the form of a competitive grant.

When funding is appropriated for this purpose, the state provides two-year Accelerated Academic Program Grants to districts for programs that offer educational services specifically targeted at students who are capable of performing advanced academic work. Funding is available only for new programs or for programs whose funding is expiring.

Additionally, the state provides funding, called academic excellence units, to every district in proportion to its enrollment size that is intended to support certain educational services. There is a list of suggested and permissible uses for this funding that includes programs for gifted and talented students.

source(s):

Source 1
Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 1716

Career and Technical Education

Delaware provides specific funding for career and technical education (CTE) programs.  It does so through its resource-based formula by providing additional resource units to districts operating approved CTE programs, in accordance with a formula.

The formula used provides districts with additional resource units for staff salaries and form supplies, materials, and energy costs. The state also provides resource units to the state’s three county vocational-technical school districts in accordance with a student-to-unit ratio of 30 to 1.

source(s):

Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 1703

Community Characteristics
District Poverty

Delaware does not provide increased funding based on the concentration of students from low-income households in a particular district.

Sparsity and/or Small Size

Delaware does not provide increased funding for sparse districts or small schools.