Residents in the Indian River School District go to the polls Tuesday, to vote on a referendum to increase school taxes.
Tuesday’s referendum seeks capital funding for construction of a new Sussex Central High School, an eight-classroom addition at Indian River High School and a four-classroom addition at Selbyville Middle School.
New classroom space is needed to address a large increase in district enrollment during the past eight years. There’s currently 10,697 students in Grades PreK-12 - up 1,826 students since 2011. And enrollment is expected to continue growing over the next six years, reaching 12,473 students by 2024.
IRSD Superintendent Mark Steele says, "residents are also being asked to approve additional operations funding. That would help pay for staff, curriculum, supplies, transportation and utility expenses associated with the new classrooms.
Steele says if both pieces are approved the average district property owner’s tax bill will see a maximum increase of an $87.55 per year.
For the capital portion, the highwater mark would be $68.96 in Fiscal Year 2023 and decrease every year after that as debt service decreases.
The additional $18.59 for operating costs would be an annual increase.
Superintendent Steele notes that the legislature approved new polling hours for referendum votes last year.
“It’s going to begin voting at 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. Voting places will be at Georgetown Elementary, East Millsboro Elementary, Long Neck Elementary, Indian River High School, Lord Baltimore Elementary and Selbyville Middle School,” said Steele.
Steele says he’s held several meetings and Facebook Live sessions to inform people about the referendum.