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Colonial School District schedules second attempt at tax referendum

The Colonial School District is set to ask residents again to back a tax referendum.

The Colonial School Board has voted to hold second referendum vote June 6th.  The district’s first attempt in February failed.


The second attempt again seeks an additional 38 cents per $100 of a home's assessed value – phased in over two years - to bolster district’s operating budget by $10.9 million dollars.

The first time around that request lost by an 894 vote margin.

And because of anticipated cuts in state funding, district officials say this ask will only cover operating and growth needs, and not expansion any initiatives.

Colonial is also dropping its capital request of 1.4 cents per $100 of assessed value – which failed by 540 votes in February.  That would have raise $4.7 million to install secure entrances at all district schools over 3 years.

In response to the failed referendum, the district says it has already enacted a hiring, spending and travel freeze.

Should this attempt fall short with voters, Colonial officials say they’ll need to make $4 million dollars in cuts.  Those cuts would, according to the district, require the elimination of 170 jobs across all departments and increasing class sizes.


In a statement, Colonial  Superintendent Dr. Dusty Blakey says the district realizes it didn’t communicate the impact of failed referendum the first time around. 

"If we aren’t successful in June, we are preparing to make some very difficult choices that will impact our valued staff, and as a result, our students.  When we are forced to make drastic cuts like this, we look to preserve our classrooms. However, staff cuts will mean larger class sizes and possibly the end of some popular academic programs. In addition, some sports and extracurricular activities will also be casualties.”

Other planned cuts include:

  • Cancelation of middle school and freshman sports.
  • Cancelation of student travel and field trips or requiring parents to incur costs.
  • Cancelation of Art Show, Band and Choral Festivals and STEAM Showcase.
  • Cancelation of summer enrichment programs, including Middle School Institute and STEM.
  • Cancelation of Summer Credit Recovery Program for high school students.


Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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