Indian River School District Makes Plans for Third Referendum
SELBYVILLE, Del. - Indian River School District hopes to try for a third referendum in February. The district says it would cost taxpayers less than what previous referendums proposed.
The district says Sussex Central High School is built for 1,500 students and that 1,840 are presently enrolled.
"One of the things that we don't want to do is continue to add portable classrooms because that comes straight out of our operating funding," says Superintendent Mark Steele.
The district is making plans to hold a third referendum to build a new Sussex Central High School. Millsboro Middle School along with some students from Georgetown Elementary would move into the current high school. Millsboro Middle would then become an elementary.
The Department of Education approved the $140 million project. The state would pay 60% and taxpayers would pay the other 40%. The district says this means taxpayers would pay about $57 million, which is about $5 million less than what previous referendums called for.
Superintendent Mark Steele says the tax hike would decrease quicker than what previous referendums had proposed. "If it's approved by the taxpayers, they will see an increase in year one, year two and year three, but before we actually finish the school, the tax rate would start to decrease," he says.
Alexander Rockwell is a Sussex Central Graduate. He says overcrowding wasn't an issue when he was a student and that the district shouldn't spend money on a new school.
"I would probably vote no for a new school," says Rockwell. He says he might vote differently if funding were to go towards teachers and extra-curricular activities.
Linda Edwards of Frankford has seen how much the area has grown in the 15 years she's lived here.
"It's just really built up," says Edwards. "They're building houses and they don't even have the roads for the houses," she says.
Edwards says she plans to vote on the referendum when the time comes but she's still contemplating which side she'd take.
Steele says his one wish is for those with questions to ask them. "Once folks understand the process, the why, there are an awful high percentage of them who will say 'I understand now. I will support it,'" he says.
Steele says the district is still crunching numbers to see how much taxpayers would have to pay per household each month. He says the district hopes to hold a vote on this referendum in mid-February.