Carney outlines priorities for state (Scott Goss)
Story recaps the State of the State address, which started on a bipartisan note. "We won't always agree on the solutions, but we can all agree on the goals. Working hard and working together, we can and we will get this done." THIS is defined by a "to do" list, including the following: (1) More funding to cover the cost of hiring nearly 200 more teachers statewide due to rising school enrollment. (2) More funding for math coaches in middle school classes across the state. (3) More money for Opportunity Grants Program for schools that serve "at-risk" students. News flash: all students are "at-risk." (4) Increased supervision and incentive-style reimbursement for early child care providers, so as to help working, low-income families pay for preschool. (5) Extra funding to help improve education in five Christiana School District schools located in Wilmington. (6) A variety of measures being undertaken to help make "Wilmington strong again," e.g., stationing social workers at hubs in struggling neighborhoods and encouraging parole and probation officers to work more closely with police officers. (7) Boost employment through private/public partnerships, e.g., plan to redevelop the DuPont Edgmoor plant as a container import-export dock. (No public funds would be required; several offers are being considered.) (8) Possibly pay raises for state employees, and also a proposal for legislation to allow full-time state workers, including school district employees, to take up to three months of paid maternity (estimated first year cost, $2.5M) after the birth of a child. (9) Create a student-loan program for educators, which could supposedly help to retain teachers in "some of the state's highest need schools and highest-demand subject areas." (10) Spruce up state buildings, which have supposedly been allowed to deteriorate. While laying out this list, the governor added that the General Assembly needed to focus on structural spending reform. Despite the relatively favorable budget situation expected this year, he warned, spending requirements are growing twice as fast as revenue sources and therefore - as a matter of "simple math" - further revenue increases will be needed down the line. Reportedly, "no proposed spending cuts were offered during the 30-minute speech." Perhaps the governor will propose some spending cuts in his budget proposal, which is to be unveiled in about a week.