Cape school board approves opportunity flex funding waiver

State grant to be used across district to support low-income, English-learner students
September 6, 2022

The Cape Henlopen school board unanimously approved an opportunity flex funding waiver so the district can continue to use funding formulas already in place to support English-learner and low-income students across all schools.

Director of Teaching and Learning LouAnn Hudson told board members at the Aug. 25 meeting that the state grant has been awarded since fall 2019 and allocates $616.35 per English-learner or low-income student. Students who are in both categories receive only one allocation, she said.

Since 2019, Hudson said, Cape has used these funds to increase its teaching force to support low-income students and English learners. 

Before then, she said, the district did not have an English-learner teacher in each building. Now, every school has one or more full-time English-learner teachers except for Love Creek Elementary, which has a smaller number of English learners than other schools and has a half-time teacher, she said.

Funds were also used to add more school counselors and a bilingual social worker at Cape High who assists at other schools when needed, and an English-learner specialist who helps with training and staff support district-wide, Hudson said. 

Grant funding has also been used for additional school counselors, and partial funding was used to place counselors at the elementary level.

This year, grant rules changed, Hudson said, and the state doesn't want districts to use funds as a lump sum unless they submit a waiver approved by the school board that allows the district to use funds to support positions across the district. 

The state has calculated funding on a per-building basis according to the number of students who are English learners or low-income, and 98% of funding must be used for the listed building. 

In total, Cape is allocated $950,411, Hudson said, which the state distributed in this way: $88,754 for Beacon Middle; $196,616 for Cape High; $89,987 for H.O. Brittingham Elementary; $78,276 for Love Creek Elementary; $118,339 for Mariner Middle; $124,503 for Milton Elementary; $109,094 for Rehoboth Elementary; $96,767 for Lewes Elementary; and $48,075 for the Sussex Consortium.

Without the waiver, Hudson said, the district would have to allocate money differently; some employees would be moved from grant funding and onto unit funding. With the waiver, 100% of grant funds will be used across the district.

“All schools benefit from the dollars and will continue to do so with the waiver,” Hudson said.

After the meeting, Hudson said if Cape were to operate under the state’s allocations, it would undo what the district has had in place since 2019.

Currently, Hudson said, Milton Elementary comprises the highest percentage of English learners at 19.5%, followed by Lewes Elementary with 13.8%, Rehoboth Elementary with 13.2%, HOB with 9.7%, Mariner Middle with 9%, Beacon Middle with 5.4%, Love Creek with 5.3% and Cape High with 4%.


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