SUSSEX COUNTY, Del.- For the second time in less than three months, the Indian River School District's major capital improvement referendum was shot down.

According to the district, 4,578 people voted for the referendum, but 4,643 voted against it.

""The defeat of the referendum is a serious blow to the Indian River School District,"" Superintendent Mark Steele said in a statement. ""We are faced with an anticipated enrollment growth of more than 1,700 students in the next six years and there is no guarantee the State of Delaware will approve funding for these construction projects in the future. As a result, we may not be able to host another major capital improvement referendum for several years. The district has no choice but to utilize portable classrooms to alleviate overcrowding in our schools. We project the need for about 22 portables across the district in the next five years. The cost of portable classrooms is astronomical and these units must be funded through our operating budget. This will likely necessitate the need for a current expense referendum sooner than we expected. However, the district respects the democratic process and will examine all possible options to keep our students safe and provide them with the best learning environment possible.""

If approved, the referendum would have funded the construction of a new Sussex Central High School, an eight-classroom addition at Indian River High School and a four-classroom addition at Selbyville Middle School.