The Indian River School District has its last chance today to get voters to agree to $7.35 million in property
taxes as part of its second expense referendum of the school year.
The district says the referendum is to help them with the massive growth the district has seen, and to help them in the face of more budget cuts from state funds. If approved, the money would go towards hiring more teachers, funding school programs and upgrading security and technology.
"It's way beyond necessary. It's way beyond critical at this point. $7.35 million is what we need to continue what we are doing. Even if that passes, we're still going to have to make cuts in the school district. We have no choice. We have to."
If approved, the referendum would cost tax payers in the district an extra 49 cents on every $100 of assessed property value. On average, that would mean paying an extra $95 a year.
But voter Bruce Rickards from Dagsboro says he's voting no because the referendum will be far costlier to him, as he owns a lot of property in the district.
"I think it's the most unfair tax there is," he says. "[If] people have a lot of children and if they don't own property, they can vote, but you have to pay. They don't pay anything."
Tyler Beebe says he's a yes vote because he believes it will be good for the economy by creating more jobs. The district says it's likely 150-200 people will lose their jobs if the referendum fails.
"The economy has really grown around here," he says. "There's a lot more people living here now. I've been here my whole life. It's kind of necessary in a way."
The district's first expense referendum of this year failed back in November by just thirty votes. That referendum came days after an audit into the district's finances. Just this week, the state released a follow up to that audit, commending the district's "status of corrective actions" taken to fix their financial processes.
Voting on Thursday, March 2, is from 10:00 am until 8:00 pm. Residents of the Indian River School District who are U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age are eligible to vote. Proof of identification or residency is required at each polling place. Residents do not have to be property owners in order to vote.
Voting will take place at the following poll locations:
East Millsboro Elementary School
Georgetown Elementary School
Indian River High School
Long Neck Elementary School
Lord Baltimore Elementary School
Selbyville Middle School