School referendum aim is to renovate buildings

By Ronald MacArthur

The Seaford School District will have a major capital improvements referendum on Tuesday, April 12, to authorize the board of education to raise $2.1 million, the district’s share of $8.71 million of improvements to schools. According to Lynn Lester, the director of administrative services, it’s a great deal. “This is the best deal in education these days for the state to cover three-fourths of the funding,” she said, referring to the state’s ability to pay for 76 percent of the total project. “My message to groups that I’ve spoken to is that these projects not only benefit the teachers and the staff, but they also benefit the community because our facilities are highly used by the community,” Lester said. “If we can make the building more efficient, more comfortable and improve the air quality everyone benefits and we can do it in a pretty inexpensive way.”

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO VOTE?
Any resident of the Seaford School District who is at least 18 years old on or before April 12, 2005, is eligible.  Voters must be U.S. citizens.  You do not need to be a registered voter.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME?
In order to vote, you must present proof of identification (e.g., Delaware driver’s license, Delaware ID card, work ID card with photo and address, U.S. postal material such as an electric bill).
WHERE AND WHEN DO I GO TO VOTE?
Tuesday, April 12 - noon to 9 p.m. at the District Office, 390 North Market St. (across from Seaford High School)
PHASE ONE OF THE PROJECT
Expansion of Blades Elementary School to include four new classrooms, a new gymnasium, an expanded playground and additional storage. Renovation and expansion of Seaford Middle School to include renovation of the locker rooms and expansion of the gymnasium.
PHASE TWO OF THE PROJECT
Improvements at all schools to include: cafeteria renovations/expansions (WS/MS); sprinkler systems (all schools); tile floor replacements (CE/WS/HS); bathroom renovations (CE/FD/WS/HS); roof repairs (CE/FD/WS/shed); chiller replacement (HS); dehumidifiers (all schools); elementary school playground upgrades.
BE – Blades Elementary; CE – Central Elementary; FD – Frederick Douglass; HS – Seaford Senior High School; MS – Seaford Middle School; WS – West Seaford Elementary
WHAT PORTION OF THE COSTS WILL THE STATE PAY?
The state will fund 76 percent of the total project cost, but will only do so if Seaford commits to paying (via a successful bond referendum) the remaining 24 percent.  Therefore, of the $8.71 million project, the district’s share of the project will be just less than $2.1 million.
WHAT WILL IT COST THE AVERAGE TAXPAYER?
Sussex County records show that the average single family home in the Seaford School District is assessed at $15,423.  Using this assessment figure, the Blades Elementary expansion and renovation (phase one) will cost the average taxpayer approximately $2.35 more per year.  A successful referendum means that this increase would be reflected in fall of 2005 tax bills.    The second phase of the project will not be implemented at least until next year (and possibly later) at an additional cost to the taxpayer of $14.50 per year.  The total $8.7 million project will mean an increase to the average taxpayer of about $16.85 per year. To figure out exactly what this means to you, use the following formula:  Your property assessment (on tax bill) divided by 100, multiplied by .11 (projected overall increase to tax rate).

News tips wanted
Call us with ideas for news and features. We're always looking for good stories to share with readers. Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.