Referendum passes for renovations at North Smyrna Elementary

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

The Smyrna School District referendum Saturday for renovations at North Smyrna Elementary passed 317-134; however, the results aren't official until certified by the Department of Elections.

District citizens were asked to approve $667,300 in bonds to pay the district's share of renovations to the mechanical systems and roof at North Smyrna Elementary. The rest of the total cost of $2,904,400 is being paid by state funds.

The updates to the mechanical systems are mostly for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, said district business manager Jerry Gallagher.

Superintendent Patrik Williams thanked everyone for their support in an email about the referendum results.

No tax hike needed

School district property taxes won't increase with the approval of the referendum because bonds for previous construction projects are being paid off, Gallagher said.

The district includes parts of New Castle and Kent counties.

In New Castle County, on a home with a market value of $200,000, the school district property tax is projected to stay the same in the first year, then be lower by $11 in the second year, lower by $7.42 in the third year, lower by $7.38 in the fourth year and then unchanged in the fifth year. Projections are for decreases in years six to 12 and no change in years 13 to 20.

In Kent County, on a home with a market value of $200,000, the school district property tax is projected to stay the same in the first year, then be lower by $11 in the second year, lower by $7.40 in the third year, lower by $7.41 in the fourth year and then unchanged in the fifth year. Projections are for decreases in years six to 12 and no change in years 13 to 20.

If the referendum failed, property taxes would decrease even more.

The projections don’t include any future referendum plans that may be proposed.

Timeline

The Smyrna Board of Education approved the plan for the referendum at the Dec. 18 board meeting and then held a workshop about the plan at the Jan. 15 board meeting before a community meeting about the plan Jan. 23.

The renovations are scheduled for the summer of 2021 with no disruption to classes planned, Gallagher said.

Request to build school denied

The district also requested a certificate of necessity from the Delaware Department of Education for funds for a new intermediate school, additions at North Smyrna Elementary and Clayton Intermediate and renovations at other schools, but those requests were denied.

Gallagher said each year the Department of Education has to prioritize requests, assess the greatest needs and submit recommendations for funding to the state legislature’s Bond Bill Committee.

“Most projects were denied and some districts didn’t receive anything they asked for, so we’re appreciative of what we received,” said Gallagher.

Districts can submit requests again for the next budget cycle, and then the Department of Education will go through the same process of prioritizing the requests.