Indian River residents weigh in on expense referendum

Indian River residents weigh in on...

SELBYVILLE, Del. - On Thursday, residents living in the Indian River School District headed to the polls to vote for or against a tax increase.

The proposed tax is an increase of 49 cents per 100 dollars of their property value. That tax would also increase the average district taxpayer's annual property tax by 93 dollars. Indian River School District officials say  the tax  would have increased revenue by over 7 million dollars,  and the money  would go towards various school expenses like school safety and  textbooks.

This is the district's second attempt to pass the highly debated expense referendum, and it's up to residents living in that district to make that decision.

Back in November,  voters shot it down the first attempt to pass the referendum. During that same time, the Delaware State Auditor released a report highlighting district money allegedly used for frivolous purchases.

However this past Monday,  the state auditor released a follow-up report that found changes and more accountability has been put in place.

Mark Steele, the Interim Superintendent at the Indian River School District  tells us he remains optimistic of Thursday's results and believes this last update could have a positive impact on the vote.

"I think it will help. It helped show that we've gone and taken the steps that the public wanted to see us take. Being able to show the community helps build a layer of trust that we have to work on," says Steele.

However some residents that casted their vote admit that the school district has not regained their trust.

"I just think the money is there, I think they need to spend it more wisely," says Virgio and Cynthia Slye from Roxana, Delaware.

Other residents tell 47 ABC  they are against the referendum because of the financial strain that it will place on them.

"My husband is 80. I'm 75,  and to keep adding more taxes it's to hard on us with a limited income," says Louise Lauterbach from Selbyville.

Other Indian River residents feel differently. 

"I'm very much in passing the referendum.  I'm a strong advocate for our students in Delaware I feel that that Indian river school district is all about the kids," says Kim Taylor from Selbyville.

Megan Browne from Ocean View tells 47 ABC she also voted yes. She says she has a special needs child in the district and believes this funding is important for student's success, which is why she wrote messages all over her car to encourage folks to vote in favor of the referendum.

"We had nothing but amazing experiences here. We are so in love with his school district. They have so wonderful, the staff is so passionate," says Browne.

Polls will close at 8 PM on Thursday, and results are expected to come down by 8:10PM.

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