The Indian River School District capital expense referendum has passed.
Unofficial vote totals Wednesday night showed the referendum passed by a wide margin with 7,536 in favor and 4,535 opposed.
“I want to offer to my heartfelt thanks to our public for supporting this important initiative,” Superintendent Mark Steele said. “We are grateful that IRSD residents recognized the need for additional classroom space and approved our plan to solve overcrowding problems with the construction of only one new school.”
The district sought support for the referendum for months in order to build a new Sussex Central High School to address the long-standing issue of overcrowding.
Now that the referendum has been approved it paves the way for the district to implement its plan to tackle the overcrowding by transitioning its existing schools accordingly by building a new Sussex Central High School.
All students from Millsboro Middle, and some from Georgetown Middle, would be placed at the new middle school located in the current building of Sussex Central High School, according to Fritz, who said that would free up Millsboro Middle School which would then be turned into an elementary school to free up space at other area elementary schools.
“One building is going to solve a ton of overcrowding at multiple buildings,” Indian River board members Jim Fritz said in an earlier interview. “If we build a new Sussex Central High School, which the numbers would be for 2,200 kids, it would then free up the current Sussex Central High School building and we would turn that into a middle school.”
The maximum property tax increase is 28 cents per $100 of assessed value. However, market factors such as the interest rate on bonds could reduce this amount to about 22 cents. This equates to a tax increase of between $49 and $64 for the average district property owner.
This marked the third attempt by the district to pass the referendum in roughly a year.