More on Red Clay’s capital referendum

How does this impact my tax bill?
The average homeowner will see varying amounts on their bills as the bonds are paid off over 20 years. As existing bonds (from 2003) are paid off, taxpayers will see a decrease in their taxes. With the sale of new bonds for the proposed referendum, tax bills will peak in year 4 with an average increase of $44.10 and by year 20 will decrease $71.47

In 10 more year the bond issued as a result of the last successful Red Clay capital referendum approved by the voters March 6, 2002 will be paid in full. So for the next 10 years Red Clay taxpayers will be carrying two bonds.

 How will the district monitor construction and keep the public informed on progress?

Capital expenditures will be reviewed by the district Community Financial Review Committee, which is now in its fourth year of existence. Monthly reports will be posted on the CFRC website. The Facilities Committee will also monitor construction and give quarterly reports to the board and public. District publications will include updates

Capital improvements or not Red Clay does put contract bid notice and approvals on line as part school board agendas. Also, during capital improvements underway Red Clay also post change orders with details to reasons

What happens if the new school question on the ballot does not
The district will be forced to consider other options to address overcrowding at elementary schools, such as adjusting feeder patterns at elementary schools, reconsidering BSS as a K-8 school, removing programs at city schools (Pre-K, Parent Centers, Boost Up, and Small
Class Size)

Code for more portable classroom for the suburban schools and less programs for the city schools. To me this district comment seems like telling the city taxpayers if you don’t vote yes for a new school we’ll get you back. As you see no reference to busing suburban Red Clay students into the empty seats in Wilmington. Yea fire the BSS parents up with that comment! Another way to trump city voters.

Why aren’t you building a bigger school?
Projections show that a 600 seat school will ease overcrowding in the area and accommodate future growth. The land owned by the district, roughly 14 acres, would not support a school much larger than 600 seats. Also, research shows that a 600 student elementary school is ideal.

See this from the Community News January 25, 2011

“The school, which would serve kindergarteners through eighth-graders, would be built off Graves Road if funding is approved through a referendum.”

See this Red Clay backpedaling on new K-8 school, now PreK-5 ? Originally Red Clay wanted the Graves Road school to be K-8 / 90000 sq ft. then backpedaled when it was pointed-out another middle school for the suburbs and still none for the city. So now it’s K-5 at 70,000 sq ft. What the land support is all about smoke and mirrors.

And what about the seats that will come available as a result of this More on the demise Red Clay’s Lewis schools dual-language program

Back in 2007 the Red Clay community was at an all time low in the trust factor of the district re: financial meltdown. The taxpayers had to step-up with a “operational” referendum and bailout the financial mismanagement of the district. However the community reshaped the school board and former super retired. Taxpayers shouldn’t be in the business of wiping the asses of failed leadership.

We need to maintain our existing schools and though they are aging the fact remains since build each school have received repairs, expansion and upgrades along the way. Proper preventative maintenance helps stretch the life of equipment such as boilers. I doubt we’ll ever agree to knock existing buildings down and rebuild but we must agree to maintain what we have. As far as a new additional school, I question this move. We forget though this capital referendum wants to build a new school on Graves Road we are forgetting the “operational” financial pressure that will be needed to support that school, just as with Brandywine and North Star Elementary. From an operational perspective Red Clay is moving towards deficit spending which had increased do to Markell’s state budget cuts. If this new school is built it means an “operational” referendum will be sooner than later. Sorry if students must be bused in to Wilmington elementary schools but city middle and high school resident students have been bused for years. Perhaps the best solution for the Hockessin / Pike Creek area is a charter school. This gives them a community school and takes pressure off of Red Clay who appears to lack capacity to manage   school Choice and building capacities.

Historically Red Clay referendums don’t pass the first round. With Brandywine Springs it actually failed twice and was never approved by the voters. The district got “creative” in funding Brandywine Springs and you see how Red Clay creativity caused a financial meltdown. North Star took two votes after a bitter battle within the community. In the end it’s always the more involved affluent people who win and more power to them. Every community rich and poor can have equal voice if they use it! The civil rights movement wasn’t started by the affluent and those who think equality has arrived need to get a reality check. Building Camelot schools for some and keeping others on the bus wasn’t part of the promise. Perhaps its time to cut Wilmington four school districts into two or one school district for New Castle County with Choice transportation for all students

If Red Clay were to go with a referendum addressing the capital needs of existing   schools without the Trojan Horse (Graves Road School) it might be in a better position. So if the referendum fails twice perhaps lets blame the district administration. If they care about kids perhaps they should have used better logic when asking for more funds. Many in the community are hurting and let’s not forget businesses pay school taxes and renters pay school taxes through their rent. Did Red Clay administrators get wage increases at the same time mangers in business were laid of or forced to take a 10% pay cut?

Perhaps let’s think of what we have to prevent greater cost. I glad the vote is a two part question. Maybe don’t destroy what we have but question what we might not need right yet. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Renovations has been updated with useful information.


8 responses to “More on Red Clay’s capital referendum

  1. Norman Oliver had a rerun of one of his first Community Crossfire shows on last Sunday and it had on Theo Gregory speaking about the fact that choice was creating a false need to build new suburban schools and undercutting city elementary schools classrooms. The same old story.


    • Gregory said that they should have put a cap on choice then. Oliver said you mean that Wilmington has no high schools and now is going to lose its elementary schools? I don’t know what year it was but Gregory was still on council.


  2. Yes, let them get a charter school going – and not a Red Clay one, please!

    And if we could further consolidate our school districts, I’d be delighted.

    Good for Oliver & Gregory for speaking out…I am sorry that I’ve missed the discussion of our city reps on this point, because I’d certainly like to support and contribute to it.


  3. Hmmm… looks like they changed their FAQs answer again. Last week their response to what would happen if the new school wasn’t approved read like this:

    We would need to consider a number of options.
    • Readjusting feeder patterns in most of our elementary schools to shift the population to our schools in the city. This would be disruptive to all of our schools, and impact important programs in place at our city schools.
    • Reconsider the BSS K-8 model.
    • Continue to rent trailers, and add additional trailers

    shift the population to our schools in the city.

    Oh my, bet that threat hit its intended mark. And yeah, I have the download of this version.

    The Seventh Type is reporting on a recently added referendum meeting scheduled at Skyline for this Thursday. Any ideas why this meeting suddenly popped up?


  4. We are moving back to the area after 4 years on a expat assignment. We are NOT moving to a place where our child will have to attend Delaware public schools. To much nonsense. It never changes.


  5. Pingback: In Red Clay It Shouldn’t Be City vs Suburbs : Delaware Liberal