Office of the Governor

Better Schools: Opportunity Funding Initiative

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“This Opportunity Funding initiative will provide new, targeted resources for low-income students and English learners across our state. The funding will pay for the type of help that we know disadvantaged students need: more reading and math supports, counselors, smaller class sizes, and after school programs. If we expect all of our children to have access to a world-class education, this is an issue that we can’t afford to ignore. We need to get these students the resources they need to help them read at grade level, improve at math, and ultimately graduate high school ready for college or a career. Our state cannot be fully successful if we don’t find a way to more effectively educate these children.” – Governor John Carney

Governor Carney has a three-year $60 million Opportunity Funding initiative to target resources toward Delaware’s most disadvantaged students. Governor Carney and members of the General Assembly recently announced an additional $15 million over three years for mental health and reading supports for high-needs Delaware schools.

For the first time in Delaware, this program will provide weighted funding for every low-income and English learner student. Every Delaware school district will receive a per-pupil appropriation for each English learner and low-income student. 

Over the next three years, the Delaware Department of Education will work with district and school leaders, community representatives, parents and educators to evaluate how districts are using the funding, and to measure progress of these students.

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About the Opportunity Funding Program


Governor Carney’s Opportunity Funding initiative would appropriate $60 million over three years. The funding must be used to improve supports for low-income and English learner (EL) students. 


Annually, the funding will be combined and distributed by the Office of Management and Budget to every Local Education Agency (LEA) across the state (districts and charters). Each LEA will receive a lump sum based on a per-pupil allocation reflecting its prior year’s EL and low-income student count. 


LEAs will be held accountable to ensure funds are used to improve outcomes for low-income and EL students. LEAs will work with Secretary Bunting to set goals at the beginning of the school year, participate in a mid-year progress review, and then evaluate summative performance data during their end of school year conference. The Delaware DOE, a third-party evaluator, and a group of community leaders and educators will evaluate the successes and challenges of the initiative.


Progress will be measured against both Delaware’s long-term ESSA goal of cutting non-proficiency rates in half by 2030 and Delaware’s School Success Framework (DSSF) metrics. These include chronic absenteeism, proficiency and growth, graduation rates, climate, social studies and science proficiency, and progress of ELs towards English proficiency.


DOE will provide toolkits on evidence-based best practices for improving outcomes for ELs and low-income students, providing guidance on selecting high-quality instructional materials, offering technical support to LEAs to comprehensively look at their various funding streams, offering professional learning, and sharing best practices from across the state.


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