The most recent plan to attract teachers to Delaware schools was applauded in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday.
House Bill 138, sponsored by Rep. Kim Williams, D-Marshallton and chair of the House Education Committee, addresses the ongoing national teacher shortage.
The legislation establishes a new tool to recruit and retain educators through an apprenticeship pilot program.
This model will build off of grow-your-own educator strategy and year-long teacher residency models, which have become more popular throughout Delaware schools as a way to grow the teacher pipeline.
Five states have already introduced legislation to implement teacher apprenticeships and 17 states are exploring or implementing this model, said Sen. Laura Sturgeon, D-Hockessin and Senate Education Committee chair.
“It is our understanding that in the 2023-24 school year, Appoquinimink School District and Wilmington University are planning to pilot this approach,” she said.
Delaware will receive $337,102 from a U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship grant on May 1, 2023.
“This grant includes $150,000 that will pay for the pilot between Appoquinimink School District and Wilmington University,” Sturgeon said. “Delaware Department of Labor will use the remaining amount for other apprenticeship programs.”
Grow-your-own programs normally involve a high school student having some sort of classroom practice with the goal of developing skills as an educator to remain in the district as a teacher after graduating college.
“I look forward to supporting it and working on initiatives that keep our current teachers in the classroom also,” said Sen. Eric Buckson, R-Dover.
Senate committees do not hold public vote, so the result of the bill will come hours later on the bill tracker.
If passed SB 138 would next be on the Senate ready list for the chamber to discuss.
Senate Bill 186, sponsored by Sen. Russell Huxtable, D-Lewes, enables Sussex County to use the Voluntary School Assessment to address the impact of residential development on school capacity.
Essentially, Sussex County could charge a “school impact fee.”
New Castle County already has the assessment in place, and Huxtable said he left Kent County because he engaged with stakeholders in Kent who said the bill isn’t necessary.
SB 186 will be placed on the Senate ready list if released.
House Bill 169, also sponsored by Williams, requires the secretary of education, Mark Holodick, to publish and deliver a report to the General Assembly detailing requests for certificates of necessity that are not included in the proposed capital budget.
Certificates of necessity are funding requests by districts, usually for major capital projects that districts lack the local funds to complete.
The certificate of necessity normally includes a smaller percentage of local share that must be voted by district residents through a referendum. Certificates include reasons why they need the money and must be approved by the state.
The report must include reasons for any rejection and a ranking of the rejected projects by need. It also would include a breakdown of the current and previous five years of state spending via certificate of necessities, as well as priority level (1, 2 or 3) of all approved and rejected applications.
Sen. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, D-Wilmington, said this will help legislators better inform their constituents on where and how money is being put in regard to schools.
“We also agree that more transparency in the certificate of necessity approval and the Bond Bill approval process is certainly in order, so we appreciate the bill,” said John Marinucci, executive director of the Delaware School Boards Association.
If released, the bill will head to the Senate floor.
House Bill 181, also sponsored by Williams, allows the State Bureau of Identification to release arrest notifications to the Department of Education for its employees and contractors, an ability all other government agencies already have.
It will also be discussed by the Senate next if it is released by committee.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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