Delaware Public Media

Indian River School District referendum fails

Feb 5, 2019

Voters in the Indian River School District rejected both pieces of a tax referendum Tuesday.

Residents said “no” to authorizing $63 million in capital funding to build a new Sussex Central High School, an eight-classroom addition at Indian River High School and a four-classroom addition at Selbyville Middle School.

The margin of defeat on that question was 664 votes (3,866 to 3,202).

They also voted down a tax increase to provide additional operating funds for staff, curriculum, supplies, transportation and utility expenses.

That lost by 712 votes (3,836 to 3,124).

If approved, the referedum would have increased the average district property owner’s tax bill a maximum of about $88 per year.

Indian River superintendent Mark Steele said in a statement he was disappointed by the result.

"With our total enrollment projected to grow by more than 1,700 students during the next six years, we are still faced with a shortage of classroom space at several schools. In the coming weeks, our administration and Board of Education will re-evaluate our needs and formulate strategies to accommodate this rapid rate of growth. Many options will be considered, including hosting another referendum in 2019,” said Steele in his statement.

The district needed two tries to get its last referendum passed.  It was approved in March 2017 after failing in November 2016.