Delaware Public Media

Christina School District referendum fails

Apr 30, 2019

Residents in the Christina School District rejected a tax referendum Tuesday.

The measure to add revenue to Christina’s operating budget failed by just over 1,300 votes. 

A little over 8,000 people cast ballots with the final tally showing 3,350 voting for and 4,692 voting against.

The referendum would have raised taxes in three steps over three years and given Christina about $19 million in new revenue to work with, including $13.5 million for the upcoming school year.

It would have raised the average property owner’s yearly tax bill $218 over the three years, with the biggest hit - $154 - coming next year.

There’s not enough time for a second referendum try before setting a budget for next school year, leaving Christina officials with some tough decisions.

Christina School Board member John Young previously told Delaware Public Media that 80 to 100 teachers could lose their jobs if the referendum failed.

The district has a recent history of failed referendums.  It took three tries to pass one the last time Christina sought a tax hike.  Voters twice rejected district asks in 2015 before passing a tax increase in 2016. 

The rejected tax hikes in 2015 triggered $9 million in budget cuts that resulted in layoffs for 78 teachers and 14 aides.