Voters to decide on Indian River School District’s $158.5M expansion project today

GEORGETOWN – Today is the day for Indian River School District’s two-pronged major capital improvement/current expense referendum.

The district is seeking voter approval to fund a $158.5 million capital project for a new Sussex Central High School, an eight-classroom addition at Indian River High School and a four-classroom addition at Selbyville Middle School, plus operational funding for staff, curriculum, supplies, transportation and utility expenses for a high school and elementary school.

District residents who are U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age are eligible to vote from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the following polling places: East Millsboro Elementary School, Georgetown Elementary School, Indian River High School, Long Neck Elementary School, Lord Baltimore Elementary School and Selbyville Middle School.

The crux of the major capital request, officials say, is to alleviate overcrowding due to a substantial increase in the district’s total enrollment during the past eight years. IRSD’s current PreK-12 enrollment is 10,697 students, an increase of 1,826 students since 2011. Enrollment growth is projected to reach 12,473 students by 2024.

With plans to construct of a 2,200-student Sussex Central High School on district-owned property at the current SCHS campus, the district would renovate and repurpose two existing school buildings. Millsboro Middle School would move into the existing Sussex Central High School building, which would allow the existing Millsboro Middle School building to be converted into an elementary school.

Renovations in transforming the Sussex Central High School building into a middle school, and conversion of the current Millsboro Middle School building into an additional elementary school would utilize minor capital improvement funds, which would not require a property tax increase.

Total cost of the major capital project is $158.5 million. The state would cover 60 percent, or $95.1 million, leaving the district’s 40 percent local share of $63,405,400.

If approved, this referendum will result in a maximum possible tax increase of $87.55 per year for the “average” district property owner, officials say.

This includes the nine-cent current expense tax increase, which would result in an “average” increase of $18.58.

The “average” assessment is $20,653, based on estimated market value of $199,000 to $225,000.

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