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Referendum in Appoquinimink School District to renovate school won't raise taxes

Delaware Public Media

The Appoquinimink School District is ramping up for a referendum where they’re not asking to raise taxes.

The district wants to renovate and expand Redding Middle School in Middletown - a project they’ve wanted to pursue for more than a decade.

The project is to renovate and expand the Redding Middle School in Middletown which opened in 1952, and the district says every major mechanical system including the plumbing, HVAC and electric has exceeded its lifespan.

The district adds there are also leaks in the roof brining water into classrooms, common spaces, and offices, some sewer backups and deteriorating floors.

Superintendent Matt Burrows says the school needs to be updated.

"What we're looking to do with this referendum is to really replace all the systems that are in it that have a long outlived their life expectancy to give a 21st century learning environment to our kids and to also put an expansion on there because we currently have trailers on the side of the building for the number of students that are in the buildings," said Burrows.

During that time, the school district has been saving money, putting aside a 24% share of $13,675,300.

Just last year, the state agreed the school is in poor condition, and it needs a massive rebuild - committing to fund the rest of the cost, $43,305,100.

Even though there’s no tax increase associated with funding the project, the school district still must hold a referendum to verify the community supports the project.

But some parents at a recent school board meeting threatened to vote against it because of the state ordered mask mandates at schools.

Burrows says that is concerning, but a no vote will hurt the children more than district officials.

"If you vote against the referendum you're really impacting kids," said Burrows. "You're impacting what can happen for kids and what opportunities are for kids and there's always concern out there and I'm always concerned when I see that someone may look to punish kids or harm kids for an adult’s decision."

The referendum is December 14. with voting from 7 am until 8 pm.

Voting sites are:

  • Alfred G. Waters Middle School
  • Appoquinimink Activity Center
  • Brick Mill Elementary School
  • Bunker Hill Elementary School
  • Lorewood Grove Elementary School
  • Louis L. Redding Middle School
  • Marion E. Proffitt Training Center
  • Middletown High School
  • Old State Elementary School
  • Olive B. Loss Elementary School
  • Silver Lake Elementary
  • Townsend Elementary School
Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.