Joint Finance Committee Testimony FY-21

DSBA’s Comments to the Joint Finance Committee regarding the Governor’s Recommended Budget for FY-20.

DSBA’s Comments to the Joint Finance Committee Regarding the Governor’s Recommended Budget for FY-20

Joint Chairs and Committee Members, thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today. My name is John Marinucci, I am the Executive Director of the Delaware School Boards Association (DSBA). We are a public education advocacy organization that represents the interests of school boards of 18 of the 19 Delaware traditional public-school districts.

There has been a lot of interest in and talk about education funding adequacy and equity over the past year or so. Regarding education funding equity, State formulaic, per-student funding is widely considered the most equitable because State per-student formulaic funds don’t care which “side of the tracks” the kids come from – or in our case – which side of the county the kids come from. Local funds generated from locally assessed property taxes are in fact driven by relative property values and are therefore much less equitable than State funding. This is what is meant when folks speak about property tax funding not being equalized.

Last year, I provided this body with an analysis of FY-07 as compared to FY-17 public education funding in Delaware which indicated a shifting of the education funding responsibility from State funds to Local funds derived from district assessed local property taxes. This year I’ve provided you an expanded analysis from FY-93 to FY-18. The highlighted yellow column shows the Local funding as a percentage of State funding, which has increased from 37.6% in FY-93 to 56.1% in FY-18.

While the State of Delaware has increased funding to public education over the twenty-six-year period, the local property tax burden over the same period has been forced to be

increased disproportionally to make-up for years of stagnant State funding and in some years, actual funding reductions from the previous years. Because local property taxes are not equalized, the shifting of education funding from State funds to local school districts’ property taxes furthers education funding inequities and puts school districts and their boards in untenable positions.

The DSBA applauds the Governor and his staff and appreciates their continued recognition of the need for targeted additional State funding. We respectfully request the Joint Finance Committee’s assistance in reversing this trend of shifting the education funding responsibility from formulaic State funds to un-equalized local property tax burdens. As we continue to recognize and fund the needs of specific student groups, we must arrange things so that such funding is generated from an equitable revenue source.

Thank you for all that you do on behalf of the citizens of Delaware – especially our most important and precious citizens – our children.


John W. Marinucci, Ed.D
Executive Director, DSBA

Previous Education Funding Trend Analysis FY-1993 through FY-2018
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