UPDATED: Cape Henlopen School District Referendum #2 Fails Again


UPDATED – 08:35pm – Cape Henlopen School District voters have denied the second debt service and operating expense referendum.

Votes against – 4624
Votes for – 4127

District voters denied the first referendum attempt by the District on March 26th. The District has to wait before they can try again to pass a referendum. State law says that “There shall be not more than 2 such special elections held during any 12-month period.”


ORIGINAL STORY – 6:15am – Voters in the Cape Henlopen School District head to the polls again today to vote for or against a school tax referendum. This is a debt service and operating expense referendum to propose a new tax rate as a way to generate local revenue to help the district address costs due to increasing enrollment. District officials say enrollment has increased by nearly 2500 students since 2001 and population studies show that enrollment will continue to increase in the next 10 years.

This referendum does not include the originally proposed natatorium (pool), however the District is still looking to purchase land to relocate the District Office and expand Cape Henlopen High School and build a transportation/bus maintenance facility. According to the District’s website, 80% of the overall tax increase would help to pay for safety & security features, personnel salaries & benefits, utility and building maintenance costs, instructional materials & supplies, technology and bus maintenance.

The estimated tax impact on the average homeowner, based on per $100 of assessed value, would be about $12.81 per month – nearly $154 annually – the tax rate increasing between 2025 and 2027 before decreasing each year following as bonds are paid off. The operating tax increase of 30.5 cents per $100 of assessed value would take effect beginning in July and be included in the County’s 2024 tax bill. The debt service increase – 2.3 cents per $100 of assessed value will take effect on the September 2025 tax bill. The tax rate is lower with the natatorium not included in the referendum.

The referendum is one question.

The polls are open from 7am until 8pm at Cape Henlopen High School, Mariner Middle School, Beacon Middle School, Rehoboth Elementary School, and Lewes Public Library. Those eligible to vote can do so an any of the locations.

You can vote in the election if you:

  • Live in the Cape Henlopen School District,
  • Are at least 18-years old
  • Are a USA and Delaware Citizen
  • Show proof of identity and address–Driver’s license or state I.D.
  • You do not need to own property or be a registered voter