Some voters unconvinced by Colonial's second tax referendum pitch
The jobs of nearly 100 teachers hang in the balance as voters head back to the polls Tuesday for the Colonial School District's second tax referendum.
Colonial is trying to raise nearly $11 million to avoid laying off 93 teachers and 82 staff. Sports, academic clubs and field trips are also on the chopping block.
But Cindy Blevins isn’t convinced. She has a child in the district and said she won’t approve any tax until school leaders show they’re spending money wisely.
“The fact of the matter is, every three years another referendum comes up and they ask us for more money. That’s a clear indication they’ve not handled the money accordingly,” she said.
Blevins complains the district spends carelessly and has too much overhead.
But superintendent Dustin Blakey said he encourages all parents and voters to participate in the district budget process.
“We have a citizens financial oversight committee monthly that’s open to the public. They can come in and speak directly with our CFO and be a part of that group that looks at our budget and all of our budget lines,” he said.
The district is asking for a 38 cent tax increase for every $100 of assessed property value. That will be phased in over two years and be about a dollar a day for a $200,000 home.
The district’s first attempt at a referendum failed in February by nearly 894 votes. And this time around, the district has abandoned its plan to raise nearly $4.7 million for school upgrades.
But Blakey hopes voters feel more inclined to vote ‘yes’ this time since Gov. John Carney now plans to cut $37 million from in education spending to close the state’s budget deficit.
Districts would have the option to raise taxes one time without asking voters as part of the governor’s plan.
Blakey said he doesn't like that idea.
"But that's something we'd have to consider if this referendum fails," he said. "We may have no choice."
Polls are open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.