Indian River School District

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If one Delaware lawmaker has his way school in the state would start after Labor Day.

State Senate Minority Leader Gerald Hocker told WRDE that he believed that businesses in the First State would benefit from such a delay.

The Delaware Republican said that the first effort was able to get past the Senate but then failed as time ran out for the session.

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The voters in the Indian River School District have finally authorized a referendum that would raise taxes for school construction.

WBOC reports that the measure was approved by around 3-thousand votes with some 12-thousand cast.

It’s the third time around after the district suffered two previous defeats at the ballot box.

The referendum will mean a maximum possible property tax increase of just over $63 on average.

The money will go toward building a new Sussex Central High School that has been experiencing overcrowding.

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Indian River School District voters are headed for another referendum

The date is February 13th.

Superintendent Mark Steels says it is looking to build a new facility for Sussex Central High School.

The original facility was designed for 15-hundred students but now accommodates 18-hundred.

Meanwhile, Millsboro Middle students would shift to the current high school while their current facility would become the new elementary school.

WBOC reports that Steele says the district would fun 40 percent of the $58-million needed for the project.

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The Indian River School District is looking at referendum seeking money for the construction of a new Sussex Central High School.

If passed by the voters it would raise the average property tax with a maximum increase of $63.71.

WBOC reports that Superintendent Mark Steel says that the overcrowding at the northern end of the district has reached a crisis stage.

The new facility would accommodate 22-hundred students with nearly 310-thousand square feet.

And it would be built next to the existing high school on existing district property.

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Voters in the Indian River School District will be going back to the polls for a third referendum.

It’s scheduled for February 13th.

It is seeking funds to build a new Sussex Central High School.

WBOC reports that it will increase the maximum property tax assess to $63.24 for the average property owner.

Superintendent Mark Steele told the television station that the aim is to relieve overcrowding at the northern end of the district.

Voters turned down two previous referenda.

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The Indian River School District has ended its special needs program as part of a settlement reached with the Coalition for Education Reform.

The coalition filed a lawsuit in 2016 charging that the district used the George Washington Carver Academy as a dumping ground for African American students.

WBOC reports that the coalition made up of activists and parents of the special needs students at the Academy said that black students were placed at the facility on “flimsy pretexts, segregating them at Carver on arbitrary grounds.”

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An agreement has been reached in a lawsuit that charged the Indian River School District had used an alternative education program as a dumping ground for African American students.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the consent order says that the district must end its use of the George Washington Carver Academy by the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

The paper reports that hundreds of students were sent to the facility on the basis of so-called disciplinary grounds.

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A former African American school in Delaware has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Richard Allen School in Georgetown was one of 80 such schools that were built by philanthropist Pierre S. du Pont for the black community during the time of Jim Crow.

After the Supreme Court struck down school segregation the facility became part of the Indian River School District.

Five years ago it was finally closed and has since been turned into a cultural and civic center which explains its significance in the nation’s history.

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The Indian River School District has approved a reduction in the property tax rate for next year.

The new rate will be $3.03 per $100 of assessed property value.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the district says this is due to such things as a reduction in debt service and tuition.

The cut follows two failed referendums that would have increased property taxes.

Over the last four years the district and reduced that property tax by a total of 22.7 cents.

There was one increase in last year after a 2017 referendum.

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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.

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There’s another referendum coming for residents in the Indian River School District.

The school board voted 7-to-1 to propose another measure that would raise property taxes to deal with the increasing enrollment.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the proposal would pay for the costs for adding classrooms at the Indian River High School and the Selbyville Middle School.

Indian River School District Seal

The referendum to expand the Indian River School District campuses has failed.

The tax increase lost by a vote of just over 38-hundred to 31-hundred.

Superintendent Mark Steele told the Wilmington News Journal that he was disappointed in the outcome but respected the voter’s wishes.

The referendum was an effort to deal with a rapidly growing student population.

He told the paper that Sussex Central is so crowded that students must shuffle through the halls “like a group of zombies”.

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In February voters will once again go to the polls for a referendum in the Indian River School District.

And they will be asked to pay an additional $91.37 a year in taxes.

The money will go toward building a new Sussex Central High school and additional classroom at Indian River High School and Selbyville Middle School.

Superintendent Mark Steele told WBOC that the district has scoured the budget for every single dime that could be saved.

But, he added, he saw no alternative to going back to the voters.

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This week the Indian River Board of Education is set to grapple with an expected explosion in student enrollment as they look over major capital improvements in the district.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the district says Sussex Central High School is expected to see an increase in student population from around 16-hundred to over 2-thousand by 2024.

In all 11 schools are expected to be over capacity in the next school year.

That includes six elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools.

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Many Delaware schools are partnering with state police and local law enforcement to provide resource officers to patrol the halls.

Some have assigned duties such as controlling outside traffic, maintaining discipline and identifying problems among other duties.

The officers are not school employees.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that other districts have hired retired police officers with the ability to carry a firearm.

The paper reports that Indian River School District has been in the forefront with retired officers patrolling the hall since 2013.

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The Indian River School District is joining with the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center.

They will be promoting two initiatives with brochures that will be sent home with students.

WBOC reports that one is the Smart911 app which provides a safety plan for people’s families and homes.

The other is PulsePoint alert which notifies CPR-trained bystanders to cardiac emergencies.

The app will tell people the location of the person in need and the nearest Automated External Defibrillator for CPR.

Don Rush

The Indian River School District said it is moving ahead with plans to hand the school bus driver shortage.

WBOC reports that Superintendent Mark Steele said the district has been using spare buses to cover four of the district’s routes because one of their contractors lost six its drivers.

The loss affected 240 students.

The television station reported that three of the routes are in Georgetown while the other is in East Millsboro.

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The Indian River School District says it is not dumping students as punishment into the George Washington Carver Academy.

The district is responding to an amended lawsuit by a group that promotes educational opportunities for minorities.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the original suit was filed on behalf of five students who said their rights were being violated under the 14th amendment and the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

It has since added two more students to the suit.

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There are more plaintiffs in a discrimination lawsuit against the Indian River School District.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that two families with children in the district have been added to three other individuals who attended George Washington Carvey Academy.

The paper reports that the amended complaint also charges that there was a prison-like environment at the school.

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The Indian River School District has a new permanent superintendent.

He is Mark Steele who has been serving on an interim basis.

He has a two year contract that runs through June of 2019.

WBOC reports that he said he sees himself as being a community superintendent pledging to be open and accessible.

Steele has been a teacher and administrator in the district since 1981.

He becomes the sixth superintendent for the district since its creation in 1969.

Don Rush

The Indian River School District Superintendent Mark Steele says his students will get “slammed” under the state budget proposed by Governor John Carney.

He told the Wilmington News Journal that what would hurt the school system most is the decision to cut $22 million in the Education Sustainment budget.

Carney’s budget has also slashed $15 million from the school operating budgets.

For the district the cuts would amount to $1.7 million for the fiscal year of 2018.

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Voters in the Indian River School District gave the thumbs up to a referendum that would raise $7.3 million.

It was approved an overwhelming margin of around 17-hundred votes – that is 7-thousand to 53-hundred.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the district argued that the funds were needed given that its student pollution had grown over 22 percent over the last decade.

The district says it is projected to hit over 10-thousand students by 2026.

The district said that this would save up to 200 jobs.

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Today it’s one more time to the polls in the Indian River School District on a referendum that would raise $7.3 million in property taxes.

The district has argued that it needs the funds to handle the massive growth the district has seen in recent years.

WBOC reports that the district says the money will allow it to hire more teachers and improve security and technology.

In addition, the money would also help fund school programs.

If approved residents would pay an additional 49 cents for $100 of assessed property value.

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The Day Without Immigrants protest found 27 percent of students in the Indian River School District were absent yesterday.

In addition, WBOC reports that the North Georgetown Elementary school where over 60 percent of the students are Hispanic 47 percent were absent.

In addition, Georgetown saw two of his Hispanic restaurants were closed for the day.

Meanwhile, in Salisbury the manager to Plaza Tapatia… decided not report to work in solidarity with the protest even though his restaurant stayed open for business.         

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Attorneys for the Indian River School District say a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a Sussex County citizens group should be dismissed.

The Coalition for Education Reform claims that the district is using the George Washington Carver Academy, a special education school, as a "punitive dumping ground" for African-American students branded as "troublemakers."

American Association of School Administrators website

Susan Bunting, Superintendent of the Indian River School District, says that the district had no idea that their CFO had been mishandling its money.

The press conference by Bunting came a day after the state auditor found that there has been mishandling of funds.

The audit said that it created “an environment ripe with intimidation tactics, favoritism, and nepotism.

Bunting said that there had never been an audit that came back finding there was such an issue before.

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An audit of the Indian River School district found that discrepancies in its finances.

Delaware State Auditor Thomas Wagner said he was sending a message to school officials that they need to be careful about managing taxpayer funds.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that among the problems was the unauthorized use of the board president’s signature stamp.

The purchases in question ranged from $732 in bracelets for staff and a recognition gift to $7-thousand for a Teach of the Year ceremony.

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GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - Authorities have dropped child sex abuse charges against an Indian River School District employee and have charged her accuser with making false statements to police.

Georgetown police arrested 20-year-old Natanael Perez-Gonzalez on Monday on charges of falsely reporting an incident, providing a false statement to police, and forgery.

Officials say charges against 23-year-old Nicole Degirolano of sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of trust, authority or supervision were dropped Sept. 29.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A Sussex County citizens group has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Indian River School District of racial discrimination.

The Coalition for Education Reform claims that the district is using the George Washington Carver Academy, a special education school, as a "punitive dumping ground" for African-American students branded as "troublemakers."

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There will be a $3 million cut in discretionary spending for the Indian River School District budget next year.

WBOC reports that the money will allow for funding more teachers to meet the growth in the district.

Superintendent Dr. Susan Bunting told the station that this was an effort to maintain a safe level of the district’s eroding reserves.

She described the cuts as a short-term fix as the district grapples with student population growth that has jumped by 25 percent over the last ten years.

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