A closer look at how the referendum will effect the school district if it doesn't pass, if it passes, and what it means for the students.

Last month, the Appoquinimink Board of Education approved the district's two-part referendum, which will be voted on Feb. 28.

The second part of the referendum, which brings competitive sports to the middle schools, can only be passed is if the first part, the Operating Referendum, is approved by voters.

Here is a more in depth look into the 2013 referendum.

Part I

What it will do The first part of the proposed referendum will restore operating funds and reserves to protect the learning environment. The money will also be used to continue the district's high standard of education and to upgrade textbooks, technology, and maintain the buildings.

Why it's important Appoquinimink Superintendent Matt Burrows said that passing the first part of the referendum, which is known as the Appoquinimink Operating Referendum, is a necessity.

Like other districts across the state, Appoquinimink was hit with $4 million in state funding cuts. Nearly $470,000 alone was cut from the district's transportation budget last year.

Appoquinimink touts high test scores and being the only district in the state to be on the AP Honor Role.

In 2008, the district was forced to start making deep cuts into education when student enrollment increased by 17 percent while there was a 10 percent decrease in discretionary funding per pupil by the state.

Until now, the district has been able to absorb some of these budget cuts by dipping into its reserves, but if they continue to do this, they will run out of money. By the end of 2013, they are projecting to only have $900,000 left in its reserves – a major dip from 2009 when there was $5.4 million in this fund.

If it doesn't pass If the Operating Referendum does not pass, Burrows said that there would be significant staffing cuts on all levels, including larger class sizes and less programs and opportunities for students.

Without this money, maintenance of the buildings could also fall behind. Once this happens it's a struggle to keep up with maintaining the schools, district officials said.

Part II

What it will do If both parts of the referendum are passed, part two will create competitive sports for middle school students. Middle School Sports will be offered as a separate line item on the referendum ballot.

Why it's important Several parents have requested a ballot item be designed to support the creation of competitive middle school sports. The program will use facilities currently available to the schools where boys' and girls' teams will be introduced.

Sports that would be created for the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders will be fall volleyball and cross country, and winter basketball and wrestling.

The spring season would be devoted to intramural competitions.

If it doesn't pass If the middle school sports referendum does not pass, the sports will not be created.

The effect on your taxes

If passed, taxes will increase in steps over the next five years.

The referendum will increase taxes by 26-cents for every $100 in assessed value on your home for the first year.

That amount will increase by 4-cents in 2015 and again in 2016 and an additional 3-cents in 2017.

If the second part of the referendum does not pass, taxes in the first year will increase by only 24-cents.

For the average homeowner, school taxes will increase $18.95 in 2014. In 2015, taxes will be $21.99 more a month than they are now. This step increase will continue until 2017 with taxes being about $24.79 more a month than they currently are in 2016 and $26.98 in 2017.