Indian River School District prepares for third referendum

GEORGETOWN, Del. – “If they want to see a different outcome then they need to present more information on which to base the vote,” said Mary Anderson, a Millsboro resident.

For a third time officials at the Indian River School District are asking residents to vote on a referendum that would seek funding for the construction of a new high school.

Officials say right now they are doing everything they can to address overcrowding at their schools including spending thousands of dollars on portable classrooms.

But ultimately, they believe they need a new building altogether to accommodate their growing student population.

“Over the last ten, fifteen years we have just been gradually increasing,” said Indian River School District Superintendent Mark Steele.

School officials say the overcrowding problem is especially severe at Sussex Central High School where more than 1,800 students are currently housed in a building that’s designed for 1,500.

The new school proposed by the district would hold 2,200 students, but that is not all.

The referendum also calls for a series of capital improvement projects that would further help to relieve overcrowding.

For all of this to happen, taxpayers would have to agree to a maximum tax increase of $63.25 for the average district property owner.

This increase will be phased in over a three-year period. The debt service rate would then decrease the following seven years.

“What makes this very enticing before that school’s built and kids walk in, that fourth year we will reduce taxes to about 8 or 9 dollars,” said Steele.

We are told some taxpayers refuse to move the referendum forward due to money concerns.

“People don’t like seeing tax increases,” Anderson.

But school officials insist that money would be worth it in the end.

“All in all, passing it is by far the cheapest, best move for us in the future,” said Steele.

We are told if this referendum does not pass some students who would normally be attending Sussex Central High School may be shifted south to Indian River High School.

Beyond that, if the referendum is not passed the school district would be forced to get more portable classrooms for their students.

School officials say there will be several meetings throughout the coming weeks for anyone interested in learning more about this upcoming referendum.

They say this referendum calls for a lower tax increase than previous years to help them meet the demands of a growing student population.

They are hoping with this new change people will vote to move the referendum forward February 13th.

For more information about the referendum, contact Indian River’s Referendum Hotline at (302) 436-1079 or visit the district’s special referendum website at

Categories: Delaware