Delaware Budget Cuts Reach School Districts - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Budget Cuts Reach School Districts

Posted: Jul 10, 2017 7:27 PM Updated:
Dover High School. Dover High School.

DOVER, Del. -- School district officials in Delaware say they are scrambling to make adjustments to their budgets after Delaware lawmakers approved more than $26 million in education cuts to balance the state's $4.1 billion budget.

The cuts were smaller than what was initially proposed by Gov. John Carney in March. However, lawmakers removed a provision allowing Delaware school districts to raise revenue through a "match tax" without a referendum to offset an $11 million reduction to the Education Sustainment Fund.

Officials in the Capital School District said the district lost more than $1.4 million overall from the cuts, but did not require layoffs to balance its budget.

Capital Board of Education President Sean Christiansen said he was opposed to the match tax proposal anyway but feels the cuts are pushing the district closer to its first operating referendum on school taxes in 13 years.

"For lawmakers not to be in touch with that and trying to push it down on us to raise taxes when they should step up and figure out different revenue sources, it's very disheartening. It's sad," he said.

Delaware lawmakers worked to solve a revenue deficit of more than $350 million in the waning days of the legislative calendar. A proposal to hike personal income taxes failed during a vote early July 1 and lawmakers eventually passed a budget after returning on July 2.

Rep. Lyndon Yearick (R-Magnolia) said he thinks lawmakers need to revisit the issue of how Delaware schools are funded and believes more local control on how dollars are used could help districts.

"I think it's time for some leadership to step up and we have to look at this. It's doing the taxpayers, school districts, parents, and kids their best interest that we finally address these things," he said.

Scott Egbert of Dover, who resides in the Capital School District, said he would be OK paying for higher school taxes if it meant his 9-year-old daughter would get the education she deserves.

"Whatever's good for her, I don't have a problem with it," he said. I" mean, really, I don't. The kids deserve it, the teachers deserve it."

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