Capital School District Goes to Referendum for Two New Middle Sc - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Capital School District Goes to Referendum for Two New Middle Schools

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DOVER, Del.- Voters in the Capital School District will be heading to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether to raise property taxes to pay for a pair of new middle schools and increased revenue for operational costs.

The district, which primarily serves the Dover area, is seeking to build two middle schools on the grounds of the old Dover High School on Pat Lynn Drive. The first question on the ballot deals with a potential tax hike to fund the district's share of the cost to build the new middle schools, which would replace Central Middle and William Henry Middle schools.

Gov. John Carney's administration has already pledged more than $60 million in the state's bond bill for that project, though the funding is tied to whether the district can raise the funds to pay for its share of the project.

Superintendent Dan Shelton said the plan would help deal with an increasing enrollment level in the district that has outgrown the existing middle schools.

"We can't renovate these two buildings and create those spaces as cost effectively as we can by creating two new schools," he said.

Should the plan be approved, Central Middle School will become an elementary school and William Henry Middle School will house the district's Secondary ILC school.

A second option on the ballot deals with raising taxes to a rate that will help pay for improvements and modern amenities at the new middle schools.

The third option would raise revenue through a tax hike for operational costs and help pay for things like salaries and other budgetary items.

Shelton said the state has been reducing how much it gives the district for operational costs in recent years and passing an operational referendum for the first time since 2005 would help stave off potentially serious cost-cutting measures down the line.

"Nobody wants to get to critical, where we have to make huge cuts to staffing and huge cuts to services," he said.

Should all three options be approved, Shelton said the average property owner could see their taxes rise by more than $5 a month during the second year of the multi-year tax plan.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information about the referendum click here.

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