Sussex Technical High School Seeking Funding to Prevent Cuts - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex Technical High School Seeking Funding to Prevent Cuts

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(Courtesy: Sussex Technical High School) (Courtesy: Sussex Technical High School)
GEORGETOWN, Del. (WBOC) - Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown is in need of funding in order to prevent budget cuts for the 2016 fiscal year. For the 2014-2015 school year, the district cut 20 positions. The district is asking the Delaware General Assembly to approve an increase on their expense tax ceiling in order to make up for a projected $1.5 million dollar budget gap for 2015. 

The Administration at Sussex Tech does not have a concrete number of how many positions would be cut this time if they do not receive the funding, but the $1.5 million is the cost of 47 positions. 

While teachers, students and parents remain on pins and needles they all say they're remaining hopeful. 

The Technical High School is a public school, but when it is in need of funding it must go through the legislature, rather than hold a referendum. 

Sussex Tech serves students throughout the county. Students like Jonay Desire who chose the school specifically for its technical areas. 

"I came here for criminal justice and for the clubs. I also came here for the A.P. classes, I'm in AP English," said Desire. 

Senior Emma Rider is in the Landscape Management and Environmental Technologies program of study. 

"I had brothers who went here so it was a family thing, but I wanted to go to Tech because I could study what I was interested in while in high school," said Rider.

In the last few years, the district has made cuts in order to bridge budget gaps.

"We are in a financial crisis here at Sussex Tech," said Eden Hade, teacher and STEA president. "We had certain operational costs we were trying to maintain to keep up our level of excellence and unfortunately because of the current tax rate ceiling we are not getting the money in to meet those costs."

The tax increase up for discussion is equal to $19 per single-family home in Sussex County for the first year, then $4.76 each year after that. 

"I think before we can even solve the issue for Sussex Tech, we need to hear from the other Vocational Schools as to what their funding needs may be as well. They're all saying the same thing, we need more money," said House Minority Leader, Representative Danny Short.

Short says there are many factors that will go into the decision, including looking into needs of the public schools in the area. 

"I like to think people would have the faith in us to do the right thing. It may not be the number Sussex Tech wants. If it's not 12 cents and we can't afford it, then it's not 12 cents, but we will see what we can do," said Short.

Until a decision is made, parents and teachers are sending a message.

English teacher Jinni Forcucci has taught at Sussex Tech for 20 years. 

"Losing staff last year was rough and the idea that we could lose more this year again is incredibly disheartening," said teacher Jinni Forcucci. " It's not only unfair to the teachers, but it's unfair to the kids." 

The General Assembly will meet again in January and will begin discussing the issue. Representative Short says they will not only look into the state's technical schools but also the public school funding in Delaware. 


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