Equity in Education Series: Understanding School Funding, Basics and Beyond


March 17, 2023


8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Equity in Education Series

Join the Vision Coalition for the first in a series of Equity in Education events: Equity in Education: Understanding School Funding, Basics and Beyond. 

Hear from local and national experts about Delaware’s funding system, the current landscape including the lawsuit settlement, and how Delaware can more equitably fund our schools. Share your questions and concerns to be addressed in future sessions. 



8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.   Coffee & Registration
9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Session I: Education Funding in Delaware: Today’s Landscape and Why it Matters

  • Welcome, Vision Coalition Leadership Team
  • Lawsuit requirements, including independent funding assessment
  • Landscape of related education issues



  • Rob Rescigno, Assistant Vice President Partnerships and Community Affairs, Associate Professor, Wilmington University
  • Ashley Lockwood, State Teacher of the Year, 5th Grade Teacher, Lulu Ross Elementary School
  • Bettina Tweardy Riveros, Chief Public Affairs Officer, Chief Health Equity Officer, ChristianaCare
  • Richard Morse, Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (CLASI)
  • Drew Atchison, Senior Researcher, American Institutes for Research
  • Mark Holodick, Delaware Secretary of Education
10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.   Break
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Session II: Delaware’s Education Funding System in the National Landscape

  • Delaware’s system
  • School Funding 101
  • Moderated discussion



  • Michael Griffith, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst, Learning Policy Institute
  • Stephanie Levin, Research Manager, Learning Policy Institute
  • Kim Klein, Associate Secretary of Operations Support, Delaware Department of Education
  • Heath Chasanov, Superintendent, Woodbridge School District
  • Margie López Waite, Chief Executive Officer, Las Américas ASPIRA Academy
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Working Lunch: Discussion tables: Moderated by Learning Policy Institute and Vision Coalition Leadership Team

  • Questions for the experts
  • What should we cover in future sessions?

  • Table one, Digging Deeper into Delaware’s State Funding Formula: Kim Klein
  • Table two, Intentions and Outcomes of 2019 Lawsuit: Karen Lantz
  • Table three, Independent Funding Assessments: Examples from Other States: Drew Atchison and Michael Griffith
  • Table four, What States Can Do with Funding Systems to Support Equity for Students: Ivy Morgan
  • Table five, National Trends: How Other states are Rethinking their Funding systems: Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
  • Table six, National Landscape of Impact of Litigation: Lawsuits and System Change: Indira Dammu
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Session III: School Funding 201

  • Why school funding systems matter
  • National contextwhat states have made changes and why
  • Prioritizing equity and adequacy
  • Discussion



  • Ivy Smith Morgan, Director, P12 Data Analytics, The Education Trust
  • Indira Dammu, Senior Analyst, Bellwether
  • Jennifer O’Neal Schiess, Senior Partner & Policy and Evaluation Practice Leader, Bellwether


Speaker Bios

Ashley Lockwood, State Teacher of the Year, 5th Grade Teacher, Lulu Ross Elementary School
Ashley Lockwood is Delaware’s teacher of the year and handles the English portion of a Spanish immersion program for fifth-graders at Lulu Ross Elementary School Teacher of the Year. Miss Lockwood has been a teacher in the Milford School District for six years. Before her time with MSD, she was a special education teacher in Dorchester County. Miss Lockwood serves on Ross’ PBS committee, MEA’s Executive Board, the chair of MEA’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee (EMAC), and DSEA’s EMAC. She is also the Kent County Committee Chair for the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League Young Professionals providing community service to underrepresented communities in Kent County. She earned her bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Delaware and her master’s in elementary and special education from Wilmington University.
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.
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.
Heath Chasanov, Superintendent, Woodbridge School District
Heath Chasanov has been the superintendent of the Woodbridge School District since August of 2012. Prior to joining the Woodbridge School District, he served as the administrative assistant, admissions/federal programs director, and business education teacher for the POLYTECH School District. Additionally, he was a business manager for the Laurel School District. Heath has been very active within various professional organizations and statewide committees such as the Delaware Association of School Administrators, Professional Standards Board, Education Funding Improvement Commission, Delaware Teacher Hiring Task Force, the School District Finance Work Group, and more. Heath is a 1987 graduate of Woodbridge High School. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Delaware. He is currently enrolled in the doctoral program for educational leadership. Heath is married to his high school sweetheart, Caryn Brown Chasanov, and together they have three children.
Ivy Morgan, Director, P12 Data & Analytics, The Education Trust
As the director of P-12 analytics, Ivy Morgan designs and conducts data and policy analyses that contribute to The Education Trust’s work to ensure that students living in poverty and students of color get their fair share of resources — including funding and equitable access to effective educators, school counselors, advanced coursework, and high-quality preschool. Prior to joining Ed Trust, Ivy worked as an education research analyst in the Policy and Program Studies Service at the U.S. Department of Education. At the Department, Ivy primarily managed medium-term projects and conducted short-term data analyses on a range of P-12 topics including teacher equity, fiscal equity, and socioeconomic diversity. A native of New Haven, Connecticut, Ivy holds a master’s degree in public administration from the George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies and planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Indira Dammu, Senior Analyst, Bellwether
Indira Dammu is a Senior Analyst at Bellwether Education Partners. In this role, she works with a variety of national clients including schools, districts, and non-profits to drive improved outcomes for students, especially students of color and low-income students. She was most recently the Education Policy Advisor for Nashville Mayor David Briley. In this role, she led the Mayor’s policy agenda related to supporting Metro Nashville Public Schools. She also worked as a liaison between the Mayor’s Office and the Metro Nashville School Board as well as other agencies and community partners. Prior to this role, she worked at SCORE, a statewide education research and advocacy non-profit in Nashville. She is a founding board member of the Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance, a non-profit focused on elevating and empowering teachers of color in Tennessee. Indira is a former classroom teacher who taught in Louisiana and Connecticut. She earned her Master’s in Public Policy from Duke University and is a first-generation immigrant from India.
Jennifer O’Neal Schiess, Senior Partner & Policy and Evaluation Practice Leader, Bellwether
Jennifer O’Neal Schiess is a senior partner & Policy and Evaluation practice leader at Bellwether. Since 2014, she has worked with a range of clients, including national and state advocacy organizations, nonprofits, policy think tanks, and foundations. She advises clients on state and national education policy, covering multiple topics. Jenn has led work on school finance, governance, assessment and accountability, early childhood education, educator pipelines, and more. Prior to joining Bellwether, Jenn served in a nonpartisan role as a senior adviser to the Texas Legislature on the state’s public education budget and school finance system. In that role, she engaged deeply on the fiscal and policy implications of all education-related legislation moving through the legislative process and led modeling and analysis on the state’s primarily school funding formula. During her 10-year tenure, she provided advising and analysis on major legislation related to school finance; standards, assessment, and accountability; charter schools; educator compensation, pension, and benefits; and other topics. Before her time in Texas, she worked in university and governmental relations for Vanderbilt University, and taught English in the Metro Nashville Public Schools for several years. Jenn holds a master’s in public policy from Duke University and a master’s in education from Vanderbilt University. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her family, including two public school students.
Karen Lantz, Former Legal Director, ACLU Delaware
Co-lead attorney with plaintiff Richard Morse in the lawsuit challenging allocation of resources to Delaware Schools in 2018. Karen joined the ACLU of Delaware as Staff Attorney and Policy Counsel in 2018, after serving for seven years as legislative counsel in the Delaware House of Representatives. In 2019, Karen graduated to ACLU-DE’s Legal Director. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Karen began her legal career at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor. She also served as a clerk for the Honorable Theodore A. McKee on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and as a federal prosecutor in the District of Delaware. Prior to attending law school, Karen interned and worked at the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington and Domestic Violence Center of Chester County.
Kim Klein, Associate Secretary of Operations Support, Delaware Department of Education
Kim Klein serves as the Associate Secretary of Operations Support for the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE). In this role she is responsible for the operational support areas of: charter schools, finance (operating and capital), logistics, technology operations (including unit count and nonpublic schools), and pupil transportation. Kim and her team focus on providing timely, effective and efficient supports to all stakeholders in these areas. Kim has a strong financial background with almost 28 years of state service in budgeting and accounting. She began her career with DDOE in 2013 as the finance director, serving as the chief financial officer for seven years. During her career, Kim has served in leadership roles for several state agencies. She served as the bureau chief of management services for the Department of Correction (DOC) for almost five years. She also served as the deputy director of budget development, planning and administration for the Office of Management and Budget for a number of years, where she also held other positions, including senior fiscal and policy analyst for public education. Kim received her undergraduate degree from Delaware State University in business administration and her masters from the University of Delaware in public administration with a focus on organizational leadership.
Margie López Waite, Chief Executive Officer, Las Américas ASPIRA Academy
As one of the founders of Las Américas ASPIRA Academy, Margie López Waite was instrumental in opening the first dual-language charter school in Delaware. She has been involved with ASPIRA of Delaware as a volunteer and board member since 2004. Margie later transitioned into the head of school role shortly after the school charter was approved in April 2009. Prior to becoming a teacher, Margie worked at MBNA/Bank of America for 16 years. After the merger with Bank of America, Margie decided to pursue her life-long goals and passion in education. She earned her master’s degree in secondary education and school leadership certification from Wilmington University in May 2008. Margie earned her undergraduate degree in marketing from Delaware State University in May 1990. She taught in the Appoquinimink School District as a Spanish teacher.
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.
Michael Griffith, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst, Learning Policy Institute
Michael Griffith is a Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst at the Learning Policy Institute. He is part of LPI’s Equitable Resources and Access team, where he focuses on school funding issues. Before joining the LPI team, Griffith was a school finance expert, first with the Education Commission of the States and then as an independent contractor. Over the past 20 years, he has worked with policymakers in all 50 states to help them reshape and reform their school funding systems, always to improve student achievement and education equity. His research work has focused on the condition of state and district budgets, the adequacy and equity of state finance formulas, and promising practices in funding programs for high-need students. Griffith holds a B.A. in Political Philosophy from Michigan State University, an M.A. in Public Administration from The Ohio State University, and an M.A. in Education Management from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
Richard Morse, Senior Counsel, Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (CLASI)
Co-lead attorney with plaintiff Karen Lantz in the lawsuit challenging allocation of resources to Delaware Schools in 2018. Named legal director of The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware 2010, he supervised and directed all ACLU DE litigation, including recruiting and retaining cooperating attorneys to act as co-counsel or lead counsel on cases, as deemed appropriate. He also recruited and supervised legal interns, law students and other legal volunteers to help with legal research and analysis of potential cases. Morse has been a member of the ACLU for nearly 40 years and has served as cooperating attorney in numerous cases.
Rob Rescigno, Assistant Vice President Partnerships and Community Affairs, Associate Professor, Wilmington University
Dr. Rescigno is currently the Assistant Vice President of Partnerships and Community Affairs and an Associate Professor at Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware. He leads and supervises the operation of the Colleges of Business, Education and Social and Behavioral Science both academically and financially. He joined Wilmington University in 2011 as an Assistant Professor in Doctoral Studies for the College of Education. He was then promoted to Director of the Doctor of Business Administration Program in 2013. In 2016 he was promoted to Dean of the college of Business. He has a taught a wide variety of courses in both programs and serves as both dissertation chair and committee member for a number of students. Dr. Rescigno started his career as a Spanish teacher and coach at Xaverian High School in Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Rescigno then accepted a position as an assistant principal and then principal at Milford High School in Milford, Delaware where he severed from 1985-1995. During his tenure as principal Milford High was cited for having the highest graduation rate in the state and was the second highest achieving high school in Delaware. In 1995 Dr. Rescigno joined MBNA America as a Vice President of Customer Satisfaction. He directly managed the efforts of 34 people who recruited, hired, educated, and monitored the quality and performance of a 600-person division. He then went on to be one of three founders of the MBNA Foundation in 1997. Dr. Rescigno was the Director of the MBNA Scholarship Program and promoted to Senior Vice President. The program was responsible for awarding scholarships in the communities of Maine, Delaware and Ohio and to the sons and daughters of MBNA employees. His responsibilities included the marketing and administration of the program, the retention of scholars, and maintaining a $12 million scholarship budget. In 2007 Dr. Rescigno was asked by the Chair of Vision 2015(Statewide education reform initiative) to lead and found the Vision Network which modeled the principles of Vision 2015, a statewide education reform effort. Dr. Rescigno was the founding director of the Vision Network and began with ten schools from four districts and two charters. He served in this role until December 2010. He was one of the original members of the Vision 2015 Steering Committee. Dr. Rescigno graduated from S.U.N.Y at Albany with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Teacher Education. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Spanish Literature from New York University in 1983 and a Professional Diploma in Educational Administration and Supervision from St. John’s University in 1985, where he graduated summa cum laude. He completed his doctorate in 2009 from Wilmington University. The title of his study was “A Case Study of the Launch of Delaware’s Vision Network: an initiative of Vision 2015.” He has also attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education Principal’s Center. In 1990 and 1993 he was recognized by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce as a winner and finalist, respectively in the Superstar in Education Program. Dr. Rescigno has been appointed by two Governors of Delaware and a Lieutenant Governor to serve on committees to review the Department of Education, principal leadership, and to serve on the Southern Regional Education Board. He was recently nominated to serve as a member of The Partnership Inc. of Delaware State Chamber and the New Castle County Chamber School-business Partnership. He has also served on community organization boards, a church board, and education task forces sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, local districts, and non-profits.
Stephanie Levin, Research Manager, Learning Policy Institute
Stephanie Levin serves as Research Manager at the Learning Policy Institute. She co-leads LPI’s Equitable Resources and Access team. Her work centers on school finance, resource equity, and other issues that shape equity and access in K-12 education. Levin is also a member of the Educator Quality team, focusing on school leadership through research on professional learning and principal turnover. Levin has more than 15 years of experience as a mixed-methods researcher and project manager focusing on educational equity; school finance and budgeting; the impact of federal, state, and district policies on teacher effectiveness and student outcomes; and teacher and school leader professional learning opportunities. Also, she has taught applied research courses at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in the Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership and in the Education Policy master’s program. Prior to her work in education research, Levin was a consultant, policy analyst, and budget analyst addressing issues shaping the experiences of children and families in urban settings. Levin received a Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, an M.P.P. from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a B.S. in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.