Capital School District sets forum to discuss referendum request

DOVER — Capital School District will host a public forum next week to present information on its upcoming referendum request, a three-phase plan that totals nearly $115.67 million in spending.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on March 26 in Room 113 of Delaware State University’s Bank of America Business Building.

Billed as the “Straight As for Capital Students” the district is seeking to add two new middle schools, enhance funding for the new middle schools and prepare existing Central Middle School for elementary school students, and add operating revenue.

Voters will be able to vote yes or no on each phase.

The construction of two new middle schools, each with the capacity to hold 800 students, will cost a total of $99,452,778 in combined local and state funds.

The total cost for upgrades and equipment for the middle schools, along with Central Middle repurposing is $11.5 million in local funds.

Additional operating expenses of $4,726,058.02 are requested.

In addition to the community meeting, district leaders are willing to present information to individual community groups. More information on the referendum and scheduling presentations is available at or by calling 672-1500.

The referendum vote is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 9.

Voting sites include:

• William Henry Middle School, 65 Carver Road, Dover.

• Hartly Elementary School, 2617 Arthursville Road, Hartly.

• South Dover Elementary School, 955 South State Street, Dover.

• Towne Point Elementary School, 629 Buckson Drive, Dover.

Voting eligibility requirements include:

• Live in Capital School District.

• At least 18 years old.

• United States citizen.

• Able to show proof of identification at the polling place (a driver’s license, state of Delaware identification card or a bill addressed to your current residence, such as a credit card or utility bill.)

Capital identified several priorities during public forums in 2016:

• Under the current building configuration, there are grade 5-6 and 7-8 middle schools.

According to Capital, students thus experience an unnecessary extra transition during their middle school years, a crucial time for their social, academic, and emotional development.

• The district is experiencing rapid growth of prekindergarten and students with special needs and do not have the space to sustain that growth.

• Capital School District students within Kent County Intensive Learning Center and Kent County Community School Programs are attending classes in expensive leased spaces.

• The district’s last operating referendum was in 2005, Capital said it has the oldest and lowest operating tax rate in the state, and continues to experience millions of dollars in cost being (almost $3 million in 2018) shifted from the state to the district.

Projected tax increases

Projected annual tax increases connected to the upcoming Capital School District’s referendum request. Numbers are based on a property assessed at $31,877, the average value in the district:

Section 1 – constructing and equipping two new 800 pupil middle schools:

• $14.71, $9.35 and $23.02 increases the first three years, followed by drops of 0.87 and $14.33 in the fourth and fifth years.

Section 2 – additional upgrades and equipment for the two new middle schools, plus upgrades and bathrooms at the repurposed Central Middle School set to become an elementary school:

• $14.73, $27.57 and $27.45 increases the first three years, followed by drops of $0.29 and $14.85 in the fourth and fifth years.

Section 3 – funds to support ongoing district operations and expenses:

• $38.25, $38.25, $9.56, $12.75 and $15.94 through five years.

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