Tax increase would help sports
By Michael Sullivan
Can a community put a price on its sense of pride?
That's one of the questions on the minds of people in Greenwood and
Bridgeville these days, as another Woodbridge School District referendum
These two towns take a great deal of pride in their high school teams,
as was evident this past football season. Coach John Parker attributed
much of the team's success - the team won the Henlopen Conference
championship - to the fan support at the games.
The team played Middletown in the state tournament game. Because of
their unblemished record, the Raiders were given home field advantage.
The coaches, team, and fans were excited to hear this news, but there
was one problem: the Woodbridge home field was deemed an unacceptable
location for the playoff game. Instead, the team had to play at Bob
Dowd Stadium in Seaford.
That took some of the magic away from the moment. And some say the
outcome might have been different - Woodbridge lost - if the Raiders
could have played on their own field.
On Saturday, May 6, Woodbridge residents will get another opportunity
to vote on what the school officials are calling "a golden opportunity,"
as another Woodbridge referendum takes place. In the last vote, the
referendum fell 64 votes short of passing and Woodbridge superintendent
Dr. Kevin Carson hopes that the lowered tax increase percentage (from
67.5 percent to 59.5 percent) will help change enough minds to pass
the referendum this time around.
School officials say that a "yes" vote for this measure is a "yes"
vote for the future of sports teams. That's because this plan includes
a sports complex that will provide space for new fields for every
The Woodbridge Athletic Association has been trying to build a sports
complex for years, and this is a chance to get that project rolling.
150-acre span owned by the district has more than enough space for
new Little League and Woodbridge Youth Soccer Association fields.
Financing these projects would be the responsibility of each organization
but the land, which would already be leveled, would be provided without
"Right now, our community sports programs are playing on school fields,
on private property, or pretty much anywhere they can get permission
to," Carson said. "This would give them an option, and cut costs all
around in the long run. If we level and grade all of the land we plan
to use for sports fields while we already have the equipment there,
we won't have to pay for it again later."
Carson pointed out that the primary reason for the referendum is overcrowding.
"If we don't build a new school, we will just have to spend money
on modular (portable) classrooms," he said.
The 59.5 percent tax increase amounts to a $59 per year increase over
two years for a total of $118.
Why are administrators calling the Woodbridge referendum a golden
Because the state of Delaware will foot 75 percent of the cost of
new construction, leaving 25 percent to be paid by school district
residents. If not taken advantage of, this opportunity may not be
available again, Carson said.
"The Woodbridge referendum is an investment in our schools, in property
values, and in a lot of other things," Carson said.
"In addition to a new middle school and sports fields, the community
is also getting renovations and improvements in the elementary and
high schools such as air conditioning, a new roof, and new electrical
systems. These are needed repairs. Seaford and many other local small
communities have already passed their referendums, and it's time for
us to do likewise."