Indian River to hold public meetings ahead of Feb. referendum
The Indian River School District (IRSD) is hosting four public meetings in an effort to build support for their capital improvement referendum next month.
The referendum scheduled for Thursday, February 13, 2020, asks to raise taxes to fund construction of a new Sussex Central High School.
Residents rejected two capital referendum tries last year that would have paid for the new high school and classroom additions at Indian River High School and Selbyville Middle School.
“It’s similar to the referendum we had last year. However, the difference being - the State did not approve the additional classroom additions at Selbyville Middle School or Indian River High School," said Indian River superintendent Mark Steele. "So the only thing that was approved by CN (Certificate of Necessity) by the State was a new Sussex Central High School.”
If the referendum passes, the new high school would be built next to the existing one - just north of Millsboro. Its 2,200 student capacity would more than alleviate overcrowding in the northern end of the District.
District officials say the most an average district property owner will see taxes go up if the referndum is successful is $63.24. And the increase would be phased in over three-years.
“If I could have the taxpayers in our school district sit down and really research this referendum, the cost of the referendum, the tax impact structure of this referendum - I think it would pass with flying colors,” sais Steele.
Steele hopes the series of upcoming public meetings will help understand this latest ask.
“We’re going to take a look at this request in detail," said Steele. Why do we need it? What’s the solution - the best solution for our taxpayers in terms of taxes being the lowest we can keep them? How much is it actually going to cost you in the course of the time period? And then have any questions they have for us answered.”
The meetings are scheduled for January 22, 2020 at Sussex Central High School, January 29, 2020 at Indian River High School and February 3, 2020 at Lord Baltimore Elementary School. Each starts at 7 p.m. A meeting for senior citizens is set for 9 a.m. January 29, 2020 at Sussex Central High.