Delaware schools are getting massive amounts of money this year for construction and expansion in Gov. John Carney's recommended Fiscal Year 2023 budget, unveiled Thursday.
Schools in New Castle County are getting $82.4 million, Kent County will receive $89.9 million and Sussex County will get $122.8 million.
Gov. Carney is also pushing forward with the Wilmington Learning Collaborative, allocating $7 million to support it, as well as $12.8 million to implement Redding Consortium recommendations. On the whole, school projects will total $339.9 million.
“The big-ticket item in New Castle County is the new vo-tech (at $33 million),” said Cerron Cade, director of the Office of Management & Budget. “$23 million in Appoquinimink includes the new Redding school as well as the new elementary school for over 800 students. Also the Capital School District and the Smyrna School District are seeing a new middle school as well as a new elementary school in the pipeline.”
Mr. Cade said the Caesar Rodney and Milford school districts are each building a new middle school. Two new high schools, one for Sussex Tech and one for Indian River, are on the books for Sussex County.
“It doesn’t fully fund these projects but it gets us on a path to complete funding of them far ahead of schedule,” Mr. Cade said.
Rep. Edward Osienski said he would have liked to see more funding for deferred maintenance of school buildings.
“With population growth in some sections of the state, new schools are needed, but there are also a lot of old and aging schools,” he said.
He also said this budget continues the focus on low-income and English language learners and they are continuing to look for opportunities to double their funding for those demographics by 2025.
The three public higher education institutions are receiving $45 million each for maintenance, capital improvements and technology upgrades. They will also receive extra money for scholarships: $1.3 million to increase the First State PROMISE Scholarship at University of Delaware, $1.6 million to increase the SEED+ for Delaware Technical Community College and UD, and $1.4 million for INSPIRE at Delaware State University.