Indian River School District Still Hopeful After Referendum Fail - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Indian River School District Still Hopeful After Referendum Fail

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Georgetown schools have seen some of the largest enrollment increases, along with Millsboro (Source: WBOC) Georgetown schools have seen some of the largest enrollment increases, along with Millsboro (Source: WBOC)

SELBYVILLE, Del.- After their referendum failed on Tuesday, Indian River School District officials say they will continue to explore possible solutions to alleviate overcrowding in their schools.

The referendum consisted of two parts: the Major Capital Improvement Plan that would have funded the construction of a new high school and the expansion of existing school sites. The second was a Current Expense plan, which would have gone towards funding new teachers, and transportation.

In the vote on Tuesday, a vote on the Major Capital Improvements resulted in 3,202 for the referendum and 3,866 against. For the Current Expense, 3,124 for it and 3,836 against.

Superintendent Mark Steele says the results are disappointing, but the district will begin working on addressing overcrowding without hesitation.
 
“We are obviously disappointed with the outcome of the referendum but we respect the wishes of our residents,” Steele said in a statement. “With our total enrollment projected to grow by more than 1,700 students during the next six years, we are still faced with a shortage of classroom space at several schools.
 
People WBOC spoke with on Wednesday agreed. 
 
"I have a granddaughter, and she's always talking about she can't raise her hand fast enough because there are too many people in the class," said Virgil Baine, who lives in the area. 
 
Baine says he doesn't mind paying higher taxes if it means students get a proper education, and one-on-one treatment with teachers. 
 
Michael Mercilliott, who lives in Selbyville, says he voted for the referendum despite being retired. He says he's "for education," but knows many people who voted no.
 
"If you're on a tight budget and you have to pay for a tax that doesn't benefit you, I can see how someone would vote against it. But everyone is entitled to vote accordingly," he said. 
 
Steele says for the moment, they're exploring bringing portable classrooms to the schools, though it will not permanently solve their overcrowding issue. 
 
He says, hallways and cafeterias will still remain a pressing issue--especially with the growing population in Sussex County.  
 
The district it plans to sit down with the school board soon to explore another possible referendum--but Steele says the decision is ultimately up to the board and nothing is set in stone at the moment.  
 
 
 
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