Results of the Appoquinimink School District referendum

MOT residents have cast their vote for the referendum, and said yes.

The Appoquinimink School District three-part referendum for operating expenses, school construction and renovations passed Dec. 17 with more than 60% of the vote.

“Thank you to all the people who voted yes. It’s very humbling,” school board president Richard Forsten said. “The board and the district have worked very hard over the last two years to put this plan together. When voters look at that plan and say, ‘Yes,’ the way they have, it’s a good feeling.”

The three proposals amounted to about $81 million with $44.1 million from state contribution and $36.9 million from local taxpayers.

Eligible voters went to 16 polling locations and had the option to vote for or against on each part. More than 7,500 people turned out.

Part 1, a $6.2 million operational request,  passed 4,716 to 3,138.

Part 2, a $58 million capital request, passed with 4,847 to 2,989.

Part 3, a $16.7 million capital request, passed with 4,447 to 2,817.

Superintendent Matt Burrows said he is relieved to see the proposals pass after years of planning.

“It feels great to have the community’s support and their belief in what we’re doing,” he said.

What’s in the tax increase?

Part 1: $6.2 million for staff retention and salary increases, safety and security enhancements, sustained technology and classroom supply funding and increased athletic and classroom supplies for enrollment growth.

Part 2: $58 million to buy land on Summit Bridge Road for a campus for kindergarten to 12th grade for $5.4 million, construction of an elementary school at the Summit Bridge site for $37.1 million, and construction of an early childhood center next to Brick Mill Road Elementary for $15.4 million. The state will contribute about $44.1 million — 76% — to the projects. 

Part 3: $16.7 million, 100% from local taxpayers, to replace the roof and HVAC system at Middletown High School for $12.3 million and replace the turf at four athletic fields for $4.4 million.

With all three parts approved, the tax increase for a home with an average assessment will be $21.06 per month or $252.72 per year.

Home values have not been assessed since 1983 and the average home in Middletown has a market value of about $290,000 assessed value of about $89,000.

The referendum prevailed more narrowly than one in 2016.

Three years ago, the voters passed a two-part referendum for school construction and operating costs. With about 7,500 people voting — similarly to 2019’s turnout — 72% voted in favor of the capital expense and 67% voted in favor of the operating expense.

The board acknowledged the 40% who said no to this year’s referendum, and Forsten said it’s never easy asking people to vote in favor of raising their own taxes.

“I talked to a lot of people in the last couple weeks, many who were not inclined to vote [yes] for this referendum,” Forsten said. “We heard what you say and we continue to do everything we can to keep our operating costs down.”

Burrows said he understands why people voted against it but the school district has no choice but to go to the taxpayers when the district is in need.

“This is the system we have to operate in,” he said. “We want to have unity in our community. We want to do what we can to make sure they understand what we are doing.”

For those who are upset with the results, Forsten encouraged people to get involved in their public workshops and finance committees to give their input for future referendums.

Visit www3.nccde.org/parcel/search to look up your property assessment and visit apposchooldistrict.com to accurately determine tax increase.