Community advocates and leaders gathered Dec. 6 to announce the Coalition for Delaware’s Kids, with a goal of convincing the state of Delaware to spend $55 million in one-time state revenues during four years on programs targeted at improving the lives and futures of low-income children throughout Delaware.

Participants who attended the event at Shortlidge Elementary School in Wilmington or have joined the coalition are Merv Daugherty, Red Clay Consolidated School District; Dusty Blakey, Colonial School District; Matt Denn, Delaware attorney general; Linwood Jackson, Delaware State NAACP; Yvonne Johnson, Delaware Parent-Teacher Association; Laura Lawler, Delaware Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics; Maria Matos, Latin American Community Center; the Rev. Vincent Oliver, Interdenominational Ministers Action Council; Rabbi Michael Beals, Congregation Beth Shalom; the Rev. John G. Moore Sr., Calvary Baptist Church; Michelle Taylor, United Way of Delaware; Leslie Verucci, Delaware Nurses Association; Drew Serres, Network Delaware; Eugene Young, Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League; and Don Keister, atTAcK addiction.

The proposal is for use of $55 million in fiscal 2017 revenue to the state that came in above the state’s official revenue prediction for that fiscal year, as recognized by the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Committee in September. The Coalition for Delaware’s Kids believes this money should be spread out over four years rather than spent at once and dedicated to programs that will benefit Delaware’s children, particularly those living in poverty, such as:

— Home visitation programs for infants and toddlers born in low-income households.

— Expanding enrollment of 3- and 4-year olds in pre-kindergarten.

— Increasing financial support for high-poverty elementary schools.

— Expanding after-school and summer programs for low-income students.

— Improving reentry services for juveniles exiting the state’s juvenile correctional system.

— Creating a recovery high school for students being treated for substance abuse.

— Implementing the CDC’s data sharing plan.

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