Education Funding Study Release Event


December 12, 2023


9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Assessment of Delaware Public School Funding YouTube Livestream

How can we update our school funding system to support all students—while maintaining the strengths of the current system? Join experts on December 12 to learn and engage.

Join the Vision Coalition of Delaware, Delaware Department of Education, and American Institutes of Research live and in-person at the launch of the assessment of Delaware’s school funding system.

This independent assessment—conducted by the national research firm American Institutes of Research (AIR)—is the result of a 2020 lawsuit settlement, after plaintiffs filed suit in 2018 claiming Delaware’s education system disadvantaged low-income, special needs, and multilingual students.

[For background on the lawsuit and the funding assessment, click here.]

This report can serve as a roadmap for Delaware to change its funding system—one that Delawareans agree can do a better job supporting students’ needs by funding schools adequately and equitably, while being flexible, transparent, and stable.

Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Holodick will set the stage for AIR senior researcher Drew Atchison, who will share the findings and recommendations his group uncovered—including ways Delaware can learn from other states’ and improve its school funding formula to better support students.


Drew Atchison, Senior Researcher, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Drew Atchison is a senior researcher at AIR. His primary responsibilities include quantitative analysis on a wide range of projects examining topics such as accountability, education finance, and educational equity. Dr. Atchison has led the quantitative analysis for several reports commissioned by the Department of Education including the Study of Title I Schoolwide and Targeted Assistance Programs, Exploring the Quality of School-Level Expenditure Data: Practices and Lessons Learned in Nine States, and Districts’ Use of Weighted Student Funding Systems. In his time at AIR, Dr. Atchison has helped conduct a number of studies related to school finance, including an adequacy study in California and a study of the pupil weights used in Vermont’s system of school funding. For his dissertation research examining how accountability policies have impacted educational equity of inputs as well as outcomes, Atchison was awarded the Jean Flanigan Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Association of Education Finance and Policy. Dr. Atchison has published articles in top education research journals, including the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, Education Finance and Policy, and Education Policy Analysis Archives. Previously, he was a research assistant at George Washington University and a consultant for Digital Promise.
Mark Holodick, Delaware Secretary of Education
Dr. Mark Holodick was confirmed as Delaware’s Secretary of Education in January 2022. Before joining the Delaware Department of Education, Dr. Holodick served for two years as senior leadership specialist for University of Delaware’s Delaware Academy for School Leadership (DASL). In this role, he coordinated the Governor’s Institute for School Leadership and served as lead faculty for DASL’s Principal Preparation Program. He also conducted research in collaboration with school districts and charter schools, and designed and facilitated research-informed professional development for school leaders. From 2009-2020, Dr. Holodick served as superintendent of the Brandywine School District following a long history with the district as a student, teacher, assistant principal, and principal. Prior to being named Brandywine School District’s superintendent, he was principal at Concord High School as well as at a blended middle and high school in the Delmar School District.
Bettina Tweardy Riveros, Chief Public Affairs Officer, Chief Health Equity Officer, ChristianaCare
Bettina Tweardy Riveros, Esq., is responsible for leading health policy and engaging community stakeholders in partnerships to advance ChristianaCare’s strategy, mission and commitment to achieve health equity and advance population health. Riveros leads work to improve the health of every person in every community ChristianaCare serves by advancing an integrated social care framework, ensuring culturally and linguistically appropriate care, addressing disparities and advocating for policies to achieve health equity. As senior vice president for government affairs and community engagement, Riveros is responsible for identifying and addressing legal, regulatory, policy and relationship issues to advance ChristianaCare’s strategic objectives, with particular focus on legislative policy development, innovative population health and information technology solutions, health care reform and business development efforts. Riveros joined ChristianaCare in January 2016. She serves as co-chair on the ChristianaCare Community Engagement and Advisory Council, on the Board of REACH Riverside, and as co-chair of the REACH Health, Wellness and Safety Committee. Additionally, Riveros serves as vice chair on the Board of Directors for Serviam Girls Academy; on the Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee Steering Committee; and on the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors and Annual Dinner Committee. Prior to joining ChristianaCare, Riveros served as senior adviser for health policy in the office of Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and as chair of the Delaware Health Care Commission. Among her many accomplishments, she was responsible for developing the strategy to implement the Affordable Care Act in Delaware, including the Health Insurance Exchange partnership model and Medicaid expansion that expanded access to health care for thousands of Delawareans; and for leading the development of the State Innovation Model to support Delaware’s transition to new health care delivery and payment models and an increased focus on population health. Riveros was a founding member of the Delaware Center for Health Innovation and served on the DHIN Board and Delaware Health Resource Board. Riveros received her law degree from Villanova University in 1988 and her undergraduate degree from Juniata College in 1985.
Sophie Douglas, senior, Appoquinimink High School; 56th Youth Governor, YMCA's Youth in Government Program
Sophie Douglas is a senior in Appoquinimink High School where she serves as the President of National Honor Society and Student Government Association. She is also the Co-Captain of the Science Olympiad Team. Outside of school, she is also the 56th Youth Governor for YMCA’s Youth in Government Program and Girl Scout Troop Manager.