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First State education officials pitch FY 2020 capital needs budget request

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s Department of Education presented its Fiscal Year 2020 capital budget request to bond bill committee members Tuesday.

State education officials are asking for nearly $150 million in capital funding for the next fiscal year.

It includes nearly $12.7 million for Indian River School District to replace Sussex Central High School. About $4.2 million would go to the Capital School District to build a dual 800-student middle school and convert Central Middle School into an elementary school.

James Pennewell with the Dept. of Ed says they’re limited right now to projects that address enrollment growth or overcrowding.

“But each year, we do continue to look forward to see how we can get some of those life, health and safety issues wrapped into the request as well,” he said.

But that number could change based on the outcome of upcoming referendum votes in the Indian River and Capital School Districts.

Bond Bill Committee Chairman Dave Sokola (D-Newak) said he supports making it easier to do major renovations. He said the current process favors new construction.

“You see some needs that I would argue are fairly urgent," he said. "And they’re not necessarily new needs. They’re needs that we’ve known about for a long time.”

Sokola adds it’s time to really fund capital needs across the state.

Capital’s referendum is April 9th. Indian River residents vote for a second time on their referendum May 7th. The first vote failed in February.

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