After Referendum Fails, School District Ponders New Direction - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

After Referendum Fails, School District Ponders New Direction

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SEAFORD, De. - At a margin of nearly four to one, Seaford voters rejected a referendum that would have raised their taxes. The referendum called for increases of 58 cents for every $100 of assessed value, and was meant to address the money lost from the "Race of the Top" program, which is ending in July. 

Citizens voted against the referendum 1,900 votes to 574. In the aftermath, the school district is looking for another answer to their $3.4 gap left behind. The new superintendent Kevin Carson has not at this point indicated which, if any programs will be cut. 

"As a district, we will regroup, get stronger and move forward," he said in a statement released Friday. "After the results last night, many questions are being asked." 

The main question is how the school will address the needed revenue, when the federal comes to a close. The tax increase would have brought in $1.5 million to the school district. 

"Last nights results will impact all of our district and building operations," he said in that statement. "Decisions will be made following a great deal of deliberation and budget review."

At Craig Truitt's third generation chicken farm, he said the vote's results allowed him to take a sigh of relief. His farm has four chicken houses, holding a total of 93,000 chickens. He said the referendum would have hit chicken farmers like him especially hard. He estimated the change would have lead to a tax increase of $1,000. 

"It's unfair towards us," he said. "We've always felt we've paid more than our share... And we just think there should be a better way." 

Mother of four April Popelas was disappointed by the vote. She said the Race to the Top money had made a noticeable difference, and she said she was worried about what would be cut as a result of this falling revenue. She said there was one word in particular that came to mind.

"Uncertainty," she said. "Not sure what's going to happen. And what's gonna be cut for the kids."

Carson's official first day is Saturday, and he said no decisions have yet been made about cuts. 

"We need everyone to take a deep breath," he said. "And give us a chance to put a rational and prudent path forward together." 

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