What I think must really have happened is that some unpaid intern moved a piece from the editorial page to news section by mistake. That's the nicest construction I can put on this rehash of things we already knew about the Governor's education budget dressed up as the "news" of a $31 million "increase."
Let's see, part of that $31 million "increase: is the $2 million Charter School Slush Fund.
Over half of it is a pair of increases that he is required by law to make:
The largest portion of that growth comes from $8.8 million to fully fund schools based on the increased enrollment and $8.5 million for “step increases” for school employees, gradual pay raises teachers get as they gain experience and education.
The state is required to fully fund both programs, so Markell and the Legislature would have to rewrite the to make changesAnother section looks like it means $3.2 million in additional funding to the schools, but is really some unknown figure less than that, which DE DOE gets to hand out as pure patronage:
Finally, the proposal includes $3.2 million to provide some help to all state agencies, including education, that are taking hits because of sequestration, a set of mandatory across-the-board budget cuts imposed by Congress earlier this year.
The Department of Education is working to figure out how much it will receive and how it will distribute that money. District officials say the money won’t be enough to ease all their sequestration pain, but it will help.
So let's get this straight: Governor Markell is claiming credit for a $31 million increase in education spending when
1. $17.3 million was mandated by State law
2. $2 million only goes to charter schools while school districts are cutting positions
3. $3.2 million is not really going to education, but maybe a fraction of it, and we really don't know but they included it anyway, and this is investigative reporting News Journal style.
That means that for the most part we're back to giving Indian River full-day kindergarten, funding a couple of minor pieces of leftovers, and ... purchasing new computers to report scores on required standardized tests.
All of which has been known for weeks, even months, but is presented today by the state's captive newspaper (like we have captive insurance companies) doing its bit to counter the growing perception that Governor Jack Markell is simply the worst governor in modern Delaware history.
The only reason I keep my subscription is because I am constantly amazed to see, day by day, the level of pro-administration pimping the paper will sink toward next.