on March 23
NOTE: Sussex Beat is a mix of news, analysis and commentary by Eric Magill, publisher of Sussex County Online.
The Indian River School District will hold a major capital improvement referendum to seek funding to build two new high schools and renovate and expand an elementary school and several other buildings on March 23, 2000.
The proposed bond issue will provide the district's 40 percent share, or $26.8 million, of the project's $67 million price tag. The State of Delaware will pay the remaining 60 percent, or $40.2 million. The referendum seeks authorization to raise property taxes by 38.3552 cents per $100 of assessed value. The increase will be phased in over the life of the 20-year bond issue.
"Our schools are antiquated and you could even consider several to be dinosaurs," said Greg Hastings, president of the Indian River School District Board of Education. " With our world changing so quickly, this district needs to grow with the changes. It is our responsibility to provide for our children the education we can give. I feel this referendum is a big step toward the best."
If approved, the bond issue will fund the construction of new high schools in both the northern and southern ends of the district.
The new buildings will allow for the relocation of the existing Sussex Central and Indian River high schools. The new Sussex Central High School would have a capacity of 1,500 students and be built on the Ingram Pond property near Millsboro. The Indian River High School would have a capacity of 1,000 students. The district is looking for land for that building.
Currently, Sussex Central houses 1,150 students in a building designed for 1,000 and Indian River houses 785 students in a building designed for 621. Sussex Central Middle School houses nearly 1,100 students in a building designed for 798.
Upon completion of the new buildings, the existing high school buildings will be used for other purposes by the district, with Sussex Central being used as a middle school for Georgetown area students and Indian River used as a replacement building for schools whose students need to be relocated temporarily due to renovations. Indian River could also become an elementary/middle school, alternative school or magnet school.
Besides the new high schools, the district wants to add a three-classroom addition at Lord Baltimore Elementary School in Ocean View to eliminate three portable classrooms there. Lord Baltimore and 8 other schools will be renovated to address fire and building code concerns, infrastructure improvements, painting, window and door replacement, and electrical and plumbing upgrades.
Other renovations are slated for Sussex Central Middle School, East Millsboro Elementary School, Frankford Elementary School, Georgetown Elementary School, Indian River High School, Phillip C. Showell Elementary School, Richard Allen School, and the Southern Delaware School for the Arts/Indian River Educational Complex.
Voting on March 23 for all district residents 18 years of age and older will be from 9 a.m.-Noon at the following locations:
The district has established a hotline to help answer referendum questions at 302-436-1079.
The Indian River School District has proposed changes to its 1999-2000 academic year schedule to accomodate the days missed due to snow so far.
The district will now be in session on President's Day, Feb. 21, 2000, will change half-days for March 10 and March 30 to full days, and use June 13, 14 and 15 as makeup days.
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