Milford Residents Say No to School Referendums - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Milford Residents Say No to School Referendums

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MILFORD, Del.- Hundreds went to the polls on Wednesday and denied two school referendums in Milford. The first referendum called for nearly $13 million in tax increases in order to replace the Milford Middle School, which closed last year due to infrastructure issues. The second referendum would have raised taxes in order to raise an additional $2.1 million in order to cover operational costs, such as staff and programs. 

That building referendum was denied by the voters by a count of 1,020 to 842. Meanwhile, the vote on operational cost increases was denied 1,074 to 769. 

The polls were open until 8 p.m. at three locations across the Milford area. WBOC met up with Superintendent Phyllis Kohel at the Morris Early Childhood Center to talk about the referendum. She said the two referendums were essential. She said overcrowding made the new school crucial. 

"We have right now 1,043 students in a building that was built for a 1,000 student capacity," she said. "And it is overcrowded. It really is." 

Kohel said without action the problem is expected to grow over the next couple decades. She said a recent study demonstrated that their enrollment would increase for each of the next 20 years. The new school would have cost $44 million, about $13 million of which would have been paid for through the tax increases.  

Kathy May was also entering the Morris Center with her husband to cast a vote. She said they were voting no on the referendum. 

"They've built two new schools already," she said. "Why do they need a third one?" 

Others though, such as Thomas Livelsberger said they would be voting yes. He and his wife were both former employees at a school in Pennsylvania. He said investing in the children was an essential policy. 

"Nobody likes taxes..." he said. "But somebody's got to pay. Somebody paid when we were in school."

WBOC asked Kohel what the school district will do now that the referendums failed, and she said that they would not give up. 
     
"If it doesn't pass, we're going to have to go back to the drawing board," she said. "We will have to go back to a referendum."

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