Capital School District voters approve $115 million expansion plan

DOVER — Three phases of a nearly $115.67 million construction plan were approved by voters in the Capital School District on Tuesday, according to results posted by the Department of Elections.

The “Straight A’s for Capital Students” campaign asked voters to approve adding and enhancing two middle schools, shifting Central Middle School into an elementary school and approving added operational revenue.

The plan was approved 1,746 to 801. The district also got the additional “operating expenses” it asked for with 1,661 voting in favor against 862.

The referendum concerned a three-phase plan totaling nearly $115.67 million for consideration.

The two new proposed middle schools will be interconnected on Pat Lynn Drive at the former Dover High School site. The construction of two new middle schools, each with the capacity to hold 800 students, will cost a total of $99.4 million in combined local and state funds.

The total cost for upgrades and equipment for the middle schools, along with Central Middle re-purposing is $11.5 million in local funds. The additional operating expenses requested totaled $4.7 million.

Due to overcrowding, the state had pledged $64 million in funds.

In a jointly written letter to the editor published in the Delaware State News last week, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Shelton and Capital’s Board of Education President John Martin encouraged residents to vote yes on all three measures.

“This referendum is a small investment that will provide our students with the learning environments they need,” the letter read. “The highest tax increase to the average homeowner would be less than $5.50 per month in the second year and by the sixth year, taxes would begin to decrease. As a district, we are proud of the accomplishments of our children and want to continue to educate them in high-quality schools, with the best staff, ensuring that all students are college and career ready when they graduate.”

The last Capital referendum was brought before voters in 2005.

Projected tax increases

Projected annual tax increases connected to the request were based on 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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