Residents Vote on Indian River School District Referendum
Denise Stowell has lived in Millsboro since she was 8 and she went through the district herself, but she's voting against the referendum. "Every individual has to maintain a budget of some kind. Otherwise you're upside down and bankrupt and that's what's happening. The taxpayers, we have all these people living here that rent.
It's the property owners that have to bear this burden,"" she says.
Superintendent Mark Steele says that now is an optimal and more affordable time to build. ""When we go to years 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, we have two bond issues that would be closing out. That would drop the debt service of your tax bill by about 22 cents. After you hit your main payment for 5 consecutive years afterwards, you're going to see almost a $48 to $58 drop in your tax bill."
Robert Raddish has lived in Millsboro his entire life and went to the Indian River School District. His grandkids are following in his footsteps and he's voting yes for them. "We need to step up to pay for our children to be educated the same way someone paid for us to be educated. Whether it's a new high school or it's also going to make room for the elementary. It's going to make room for the junior high students,"" he says.
Steele explains how this referendum will make room for students like Raddish's grandkids but also how it would accommodate a growing population with a new high school that would in turn add an elementary school.
"The existing high school which is built for 1500 students would be used for a middle school which could be up to 1800 students if needed. We would move Millsboro Middle to that building. We would move some of the Georgetown Middle students down as well. The empty building Millsboro Middle would become an elementary."
Steele says that Sussex Central High School is currently over capacity by more than 170 students. ""The vast number of buildings in our district have reached that 90% to 95% range. We're looking to be somewhere around 12,000 plus kids by the 2024 school year,"" Steele explains.
If the referendum does not pass, the district will go back to the drawing board at an administrative meeting on February 15th. It's possible that they would need to bring in portable classrooms.