LEWES, Del. - The Cape Henlopen School District is proposing a $154.5 million referendum to the board to rebuild and renovate five elementary schools.
In August, the district submitted a major capital request to the State of Delaware for this project. The state approved the request with a certificate of necessity in October, meaning there is a need and the state is willing to fund a local referendum.
However, the state only provides $106 million, so the rest would come from taxpayers.
According to district officials, this proposal is based on a need, not a want. They said new elementary schools are needed because enrollment trends show possibly thousands more students coming to the district in the next 20 years, and elementary buildings must keep up.
The average age of the elementary schools is 70-years-old.
The proposal involves five schools. Officials say they plan to tear down and replace Rehoboth Elementary and H.O. Brittingham and renovate the Lewes School and Milton Elementary. The fifth is Sussex Consortium, which they plan to purchase new undetermined land for and rebuild.
The final project, the Consortium, will happen regardless of the referendum moving forward with the state's grant.
Randolph Adams has three young children in the district and thinks the proposal is a great idea.
"I think it's a good idea to build the schools just for the future, for the kids coming up," he explained. "I am a younger parent so it doesn't bother me to pay more taxes, I could see a lot of people do move to Sussex County for the tax reasons, to pay less money. But if you come here and you're going to enjoy the lower taxes, you may have to help us out in the long run."
Adams said this because of a referendum for $30 million passed two years ago. It was proposed to build another new elementary school on Route 24 in Lewes.
This new referendum will be proposed to the board at Thursday night's meeting at 6 p.m. at Beacon Middle School. They will discuss what the raise would be on taxes at this time.