Indian River School District Holds Meeting for Referendum - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Indian River School District Holds Meeting for Referendum

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SELBYVILLE Del.- If you live within the Indian River School District, you may pay a higher property tax soon if a proposed referendum passes.

The referendum seeks funding for a new Sussex Central High School, as well as additional classrooms for Indian River High School and Selbyville Middle School.

The district says it is currently struggling with overcrowding. Indian River School District Superintendent, Mark Steele says, "Sussex Central is a 1500 student capacity" school, he said. "They're at 1661. They're 160 kids over building capacity, today."

According to the district, IRSD's enrollment is 10,697 students in grades PreK-12, an increase of 1,826 students since 2011.

The proposed referendum will add additional class space to help with overcrowding, but at a cost to taxpayers who live in the district.

Under the Major Capital Improvement Plan, the state will pay 60 percent of the costs, while the district pays 40 percent. The taxpayer's portion would be funded by a 35 cent increase on each $100 of assessed property value, the district says.

Additionally, under their Current Expense plan, there would be an extra nine cents per $100 of assessed value, which would go toward hiring more staff and transportation costs associated with the changes. 

In total, the district estimates that the average taxpayer would pay no more than an extra $87.55 a year in taxes.

Some say the increase is worth it. 

"I think it would be awesome to build a new school. When I was in high school there were no desks. It was long tables and it was very crowded," Katie Koenig, who attended Indian River High School said. 

Cathy Graves has grandchildren who go to school in the district. She said of the increase, "It would be tough, but it's worth it because you have to have schools for kids to go to and they need to have smaller classes."

But others like Cheryl Workman said, "I'm not happy about it, we pay enough taxes as it is."

IRSD says a public meeting will be held tonight to discuss the issue further. Additional meetings will be held on Jan. 16, at Georgetown Middle, Jan. 23 at Indian River High, Jan. 30 at Lord Baltimore Elementary, all at 6 p.m.





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