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DELAWARE: State adds $75M to ed budget for mental health/special ed

June 3, 2019, WDEL, Wilmington, DE: Mental health, special education focuses in proposed major funding boost for at-risk Delaware students https://www.wdel.com/news/mental-health-special-education-focuses-in-proposed-major-funding-boost/article_1ff09afe-8644-11e9-8012-eba496dbed7c.html A major proposed boost in education funding aims to ensure that students at Head Start in Northeast Wilmington and their peers at North Star Elementary grow up to have the same opportunities to be successful. "That's the most important thing that we do, the most important obligation I have," said Gov. John Carney. Carney is backing the funding, set aside by the legislature's Joint Finance Committee, which would add $75 million over three years to Delaware's budget for education, devoted specifically to high-needs schools up and down the state for a wide-range of initiatives. The funding must still be approved by the General Assembly as part of the budget process…. "We were able to target...students and provide intense interventions that allowed students to meet with reading success. Additional monies will be distributed across these high-needs schools, and I'm hopeful that these resources will continue to allow us to effectively serve our students with the greatest needs." Secretary of Education Susan Bunting spoke of the high-need for this funding in Sussex County, where she was superintendent of the Indian River School District, and worked to ensure her students had a shot at success…. Gov. Carney spoke directly to students in the crowd. "This is a really big deal, students, you can start listening now, because it's going to help each of you be successful," said Carney. "I know you were listening, that was just a joke. It's going to help us get you to where you need to be so you can read as you should be and ultimately graduate from high school and do great things for our state." One in five students suffer from a mental health disorder--another area where these dollars will be spent--and where early intervention is key. The Delaware State Education Association has advocated for putting more counselors, psychologists, and social workers in Delaware's public schools. "Trauma can occur, and abuse, and neglect, and violence and can impact a child's ability to regulate their emotions, sleep difficulty, and even affect their immune system" said House Majority Leader Rep. Val Longhurst, who represents the Bear-area. "Children need to have their basic needs met first before we can concentrate on academics--that might mean a warm meal, a hug, or a counseling session." … More than $4 million of this funding will be devoted to basic special education in grades K-3. State Rep. Kim Williams, who's long been an advocate for special education, has introduced a measure to fund this for the past three years. …