The proposal includes a 28.37 cent tax increase per $100 of assessed property value for capital and operational expenses.
School buildings are popping up all over the Middletown area, and the Appoquinimink School District is far from done.
At an Oct. 16 special meeting, Appo’s Board of Education approved a three-part, $80.5 million referendum including a few major construction projects.
The board plans to create a K-12 campus across from Summit Airport to accommodate students.
“We’ve got growth needs,” board president Richard Forsten said. “We’ve got to have space to put these kids.”
The new Summit Bridge Elementary is projected to cost $37.1 million, on land obtained at a price of $5.4 million.
Plans also call for a Brick Mill Early Childhood Center at a cost of $15.4 million.
The state has agreed to cover 76% of the capital costs for the land and buildings. The local share comes to $13.9 million of the $74.8 million total.
“In order to go forward and have a successful referendum, we need everyone to be on the same page,” Superintendent Matt Burrows said. “This is for our kids. This is for the kids in our community.”
Lillian Miles, district public information officer, said employees will be at the Middletown vs. Appoquinimink football game Oct. 18 to give information to the public.
The public will vote Dec. 17 whether to accept the proposal in whole or in part.
If approved by voters, property taxes will increase by 28.37 cents per $100 of assessed value. Leading up to the vote, board members said they held about 26 meetings and public workshops where they discussed what the proposal would likely include and to get community feedback.
Summit Bridge Elementary, its land, and the new Brick Mill building accounts for 1 cent of the 28.37 cent tax increase.
Included in the capital spending plan is another $16.7 million from local funds only: $4.4 million to replace four turf fields and $12.3 million for refurbishing Middletown High School’s roof and HVAC. This accounts for 0.47 cents of the increased tax.
Most of the tax increase will pay for $6.2 million in operational expenses, for teacher recruitment and salary increases, curriculum, technology upgrades, safety and security, sports and arts.
The state declined to contribute toward renovations at Redding Middle School, repairs to the district office roof, and unspecified other renovations which are not included in the referendum.
Board members Michelle Wall and Charlisa Edelin were not happy about voting for the referendum without including Redding Middle renovations, but felt it was important to pass it for the teachers’ salary increases, noting it was the third time the board asked for this.
“We are not backing down about Redding,” Wall said.
Forsten said they might try to get a referendum on the ballot next year.