Voters again said no for the second time this year to a referendum by the Indian River School District.
But it was close losing by just 65 votes based on initial results.
The Wilmington News Journal reports that the tax increase would have required residents to pay around $70 dollars a year over a four year period.
It would have provided money to build eight classrooms on the campus of the Indian River High School and for more at the Selbyville Middle School.
Superintendent Mark Steele told the newspaper that the defeat was a serious blow with the district facing a student enrollment increase of more than 17-hundred students over the next six years.
He added that he expects major changes ahead including possible redistricting.