Indian River School District pushes for third referendum to address overcrowding issues
SELBYVILLE, Del. – “It’s essential for the community it’s essential for the kids because we are just rapidly running out of room,” said Superintendent of Schools, Mark Steele.
February 13th, 2020. That’s the day the Indian River School District will ultimately find out if they’ll be able to move forward with plans to build a new Sussex Central High School, or come up with another solution to address overcrowding throughout the district.
“Since there is anywhere from 3 to 5 year lag time in building a new school, we have to get this started now,” said Indian River School Board Member, Dr. Donald George Hattier.
“That project, would enable us to use the old high school for a middle school, and the current middle school in Millsboro Elementary,” said Steele.
School District officials tell 47 ABC the new high school was granted a certificate of necessity from the Delaware Department of Education which they needed to move forward with planning the referendum. But they say if this referendum fails, they might not get another opportunity like this for years.
“Five years from now if we don’t get this thing through, we probably will not be in the queue to get another CN approved for a couple of years,” said Steele.
With no signs of growth slowing down in these schools, Indian River School District board members say this move is the only way to address the problem head-on. Rather than spending thousands of dollars on short term solutions like portable trailers.
“We spent between $400-$450,000 for those trailers,” said Steele.
“We added 119 kids last month alone. The likelihood is by the time the schools actually happen we’ll be at close to 12,000 kids,” said Dr. Hattier.
And when asked if they think this next referendum will have a different outcome. Their answer was simple:
“We are hoping that with the new numbers that have come in and the way things are being presented that the public will understand this time,” said Hattier.