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Sussex Tech seeks to formalize freshman lottery policy

Delaware Department of Education

The Sussex Tech Board of Education votes Monday on having its freshman admission lottery handled by a third party.

The state Data Service Center will handle the lottery for Sussex Tech.

The school has faced accusations it rigs the lottery to give some students preferential treatment. But new Sussex Tech Superintendent Stephen Guthrie said he hasn’t found any evidence of special treatment.

Guthrie said the lottery is done as required by law, but having a formal policy provides transparency.

“As I became superintendent and we have relatively a new board, we decided to make sure everybody knew what the law said through board policy and regulations," he said. "Not only that, but to bring clarity.”

The data center, which is operated by the Colonial and Red Clay Consolidated School Districts, handled the lottery last year. But Guthrie said some parents didn’t realize it. He said this formal announcement is to assure everyone no freshman has any advantage.

“We’re going the extra mile to ensure that not only we’re doing it in a randomized way, but we’re making sure we’re transparent so that everybody can see the process in our board policy and in the state regulations,” he said.

Guthrie said an private audit of the lottery was initiated by the board in the past, but never finished.

However a state audit last year found financial mismanagement by members of the school administration at that time.

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